Graduate associate at Parthenon-EY

How I got hired at Parthenon-EY

Philippe Ducrest is an associate at Parthenon-EY. He completed a degree in management at HEC Lausanne (Switzerland), followed by an MSc in economics and strategy at Imperial College London.
Professional experience not only strengthens your CV but allows you to stand out from the crowd.

What made you choose management consulting?

My main motivation was wanting to be exposed to as many industries and business challenges as possible.

What do you think made you stand out from the other candidates?

I did two internships (in asset management and venture capital) before applying to Parthenon-EY and definitely think they helped me to get my job. Professional experience not only strengthens your CV but allows you to stand out from the crowd. I also spent most of the beginning of the academic year working on case interviews so that when the recruitment season started, I was prepared. Case interviews are stressful and challenging but being prepared enables you to cruise through the easier parts (cases are more similar than you think) and approach the key questions with more confidence.

What was the toughest part of the application process?

The final round, because of the higher stakes and the length of it – I had three one-hour interviews back to back.

What is your role in the team?

Associates are expected to be able to do pretty much everything, which is what makes the job so interesting. One day I will be in charge of building a model and the next day I will be doing cold calling and running interviews. In general on each project we are responsible for the underlying analysis that supports our answers and/or recommendations.

What’s your work/life balance like?

Keeping a healthy work/life balance might be the most challenging part of the job, given the long hours. However, we try to avoid working on weekends and, as we mostly work for investment firms, we don’t have to travel much.

What gives you a buzz?

The nature of the cases we do. We help private equity firms to test their investment theses on a potential investment opportunity. These types of cases require you to think like an investor and often run several pieces of analysis on the company itself as well as on the market.

Tell us about a career highlight.

My biggest highlight was the first time I had to present my analysis to our clients. We were providing due diligence on a potential investment opportunity and I had to build and subsequently present the model and its result. It was great to take full ownership of my work and rewarding to see that I was delivering genuine value to them.

What training and support have you received so far?

I started my job with three weeks of training, first in London then in Boston, where the company is headquartered. Six months later we had another week of training that was focused on more complex topics such as modelling and financial analysis.

What skills in particular do you think you’ve developed?

Alongside my analytical and communication skills, I have greatly improved my time management skills, which is essential if you want to meet deadlines and have a life outside the office.

What advice would you give to students hoping to become consultants?

There are no tricks for the case interviews – it is all about practice! The sooner you start, the more feedback you’ll get, so the easier it will be to get a job. I think successful consultants need to have:

  • business acumen to understand the client’s needs and the bigger picture
  • analytical rigour – to explain how you came up with your results
  • communication skills – to be able to present your analysis well.