Consulting was not a career I had ever heard of growing up, but during college I had begun to question whether I wanted to attend University and started to explore the other options available to me. When I heard of friends applying to accounting school leaver schemes, I researched the ‘Big 4’ and discovered the role of a Consultant. Throughout school and college, I had worked as a waitress and hence a client-facing career appealed to me. After finishing my A Levels, I joined Deloitte, London within their Risk Analytics team. I had very little idea what the role would involve but thoroughly enjoyed the variety and projects that I worked on. However, after completing a year at Deloitte, I decided that a degree would be beneficial to me and that I would enjoy learning full-time before continuing my career as a Consultant.
Throughout university, I focused on Consulting as a career and completed a summer internship at EY in London. As a part of this, I supported the London Ventures team which further confirmed my desire to work in this division. The project worked with local authorities to implement innovative solutions as they faced increasing demand for their services. I worked with a range of companies including technology start-ups and was part of the team that helped introduce them to local councils. (London Ventures won the MCA Project of the Year Award in 2019 – more details can be found here: https://www.mca.org.uk/consulting-case-studies/ey-with-london-ventures.) This project had such a positive impact on society and improved the services that councils could provide to everyone, including young and vulnerable individuals and families – it was the type of work that I wanted to continue doing. Consequently, I started as a graduate at EY Bristol in September 2020.
Like many others, I have started my new Consulting career in one of the most extraordinary times that I have experienced. Having left university in March to go home for Easter I never imagined that things would escalate to an extent where I did not get to say goodbye in-person to many friends and academics. Instead, the class of 2020 have sat online exams, graduated with no ceremony and headed off into an uncertain world. With many friends losing graduate offers or having their start dates postponed, I felt extremely lucky to be joining EY who fulfilled all their offers and ensured over 1000 new joiners started in September.
Starting a new job virtually is a weird prospect but one that has become the norm for many people recently. I have been couriered and set up on a laptop that has become my one link to EY and the way in which I have met all my new colleagues. I have joined virtual induction events which have been a stark contrast to when I began my summer internship where hundreds of us gathered on the first day. I have made connections virtually and despite having met no-one in person, I am settling into a new project team whom I speak to everyday. I am working within the Supply Chain & Operations division which has proven extremely interesting. The work is very relevant right now as we explore the many risks that could arise in the winter period (including COVID-19 and end of transition period) and the impact this could have on contracts and suppliers. It reaffirms every day the uncertainty of the world we are living in.
As we continue in a virtual world, and in a career that is built upon relationships with others, I think it’s important to remember to check-in with colleagues, reach out to those in your network and even to those you don’t know. Although it isn’t as natural as bumping into someone whilst making a cup of tea, this is a new reality that may go on for some time and it is, therefore, important that we do not forget that there are people sat behind the screens.