Day in the life of a young consultant | Rafah Mohamed

Rafah Mohamed

Consultant, EY

I always wanted to work in law and had just started my degree in International Development when I unexpectedly lost my vision in February 2017. I woke up and all I could see was blurry images, static and white halos. I thought medication would help, but later I was diagnosed with ‘visual snow’, a rare neurological disorder.

While I tried hard to keep up with my studies, I found it hard to come to terms with my sight loss and adjust to my new way of living. I struggled with anxiety and started to be withdrawn from friends and family. I had to relearn how to view the world from seeing my computer to identifying colours and shapes. That’s when I discovered coding, where you use a programming language to get a computer to behave how you want it. I was determined to ensure my visual impairment did not define me or hold me back in any way. Within four weeks I became a self-taught coder, created and sold a social delivery app.

Coding, programming, and creating UI/UX became my purpose. As I was coming to the end of my degree, my plans changed. I no longer wanted to work in law, but to continue working in tech. While I had built up freelance experience, I was keen to work in a client-facing role for a business where I could learn within a fast-paced environment. It was also important to find a company where I felt a strong sense of belonging and an environment where colleagues with neurodiverse abilities could thrive.

EY provided several consultancy graduates schemes that were geared towards more technical candidates. I applied to the cybersecurity graduate programme and was accepted. Now that I have joined, I can truly say no day is the same. Every project and client is different which makes work incredibly exciting. I was nervous before I joined the firm as I thought I may struggle with my visual impairment, but I can honestly say that everyone I’ve worked with has been so helpful and encouraging.

EY is an inclusive employer and its biggest strength is its ability to listen to the needs of its people. Even as a fresh graduate, I have been encouraged to get involved in different areas, and facilitate and lead on diversity and inclusion events, particularly around wellbeing and allyship.  Despite working remotely for the last ten months, I’ve made some great connections within the firm and I’m looking forward to working from the London office in the coming weeks.

I am proud to work for a firm that celebrates its people and encourages them to be their authentic selves.