5 things I wish I'd known about Advisory

5 things I wish I'd known about advisory hero image

My name is Robert Phillips, I am a final year student at the University of Manchester, where I study Philosophy, Politics and Economics and I have just finished three brilliant years on the EY Advisory Scholarship Programme. The EY Advisory Scholarship is based in Advisory, so as a ‘heads up’, here are five things I wish I’d known before I joined.

1. Day to Day

Put simply, Advisory services works alongside clients to help them grow into better businesses – but what do we actually do on a day to day basis? Well, the truth is that every day is different, so it’s really difficult to say.

Generally speaking, we all have different responsibilities and roles within any given project, so need to continue these on an on-going basis and, alongside various internal and client meetings, this is what you’d be doing on a day to day basis. Usually though, the first thing I do is check my email – are there any emergencies that have popped up that need to be dealt with straight away? If there are, these are a priority and will very much dictate activities for that day.

2. What sort of clients are there?

What sort of clients aren’t there is probably a better question. For the EY Advisory business it is an especially exciting time with lots of new business keeping everyone very busy. Personally, on the EY Scholarship, I have come into contact with one of the biggest consumer products firms in the world, one of the big six energy firms and the largest infrastructure firm in the UK. Others have also worked with top insurance firms, retail banks and private equity groups. The clients are great, and you get amazing business exposure from the very beginning of your career.

3. Work/Life Balance

Ok, this all sounds great, but surely it comes at a price? Well, of course you would be right. People at EY work really hard to make sure they offer the best service and are helping clients as much as possible. That might mean late nights and early mornings on occasion. However, the firm has introduced a raft of innovative flexible working plans, such as an increased ability to work off-site. Often, I work from home on Fridays, for example. The firm understand if you have important family arrangements as long as you tell them in advance. Ultimately though, it does take a lot of hard work to be number one, and it is to this position that EY aspires.

4.  Learning to lead

So what exactly does the leadership ladder look like? When I first joined Advisory, I remember being unsure how to approach people because I was a bit intimidated by their position in the firm. It became quickly apparent, that everyone at EY is approachable, as this is the sort of person EY is looking for. If you are interested in different areas of the firm, all you have to do is ask, and someone will put you in contact. In my first week, I expressed an interest in the consumer products centre. Within a few days I had a coffee meeting with a partner in this sector. EY really is a place where you can ask lots of questions, learn from the best, and speak to anyone.

5. Skillset

What is the skillset required to actually be a successful consultant? Well, you need to hard working, well-presented, a team player, commercially aware and client focussed, to name just a few. There are so many skills required to be a consultant, so I think the best way to sum it up, would be the ability to balance. Balancing confidence without arrogance, risk-taking with caution, responsibility with delegation and so forth. Striking the right balance isn’t always easy and takes time to perfect. 

Discover EY opportunities

You can find out more about life on the EY Advisory Scholarship here. Unfortunately we’re now closed for applications to join in 2015.

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