EY-Parthenon: how to get hired and what it's like to work there

George Saunders is an associate at EY-Parthenon. He studied economics and management at the University of Oxford.

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My job started with three weeks training in Boston with our U.S. colleagues.

What made you choose management consulting?

It presented the opportunity to learn about different business models in a variety of industries, and I’d always enjoyed working towards a common goal within a team.

Did you do any work experience before starting full-time work?

My consulting internship applications were unsuccessful, so I gained work experience at a law firm which helped me develop important soft skills and gain an understanding of a parallel service line. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find an internship – instead look for other ways to strengthen your full-time application.

What was the most challenging part of the application process?

The final round case studies - they are longer, more challenging, and interviewers are looking for that little bit extra.

What is your role in the team?

Associates are responsible for the various data collection and analyses which underpin our final recommendations. This can involve coding a consumer survey, building a market model, conducting calls with market experts, presenting output in PowerPoint and contributing to brainstorming sessions with your team.

Has anything surprised you about consulting work?

The autonomy and responsibility which you are given is far greater than I expected.

What is your work/life balance like?

Our deadlines are often driven by the client, which means you might have to work late at short notice, but we rarely work on weekends and there isn’t a face time culture here. Managers are considerate of out-of-work commitments, provided you are on top of work responsibilities. At my level we barely ever travel, which is beneficial for work/life balance.

What are the most exciting parts of working in this area?

The nature of the work we do is impactful and high-stakes. We help private equity firms test their investment theses on an investment opportunity, and advise blue chip companies on their future strategy.

What training and support have you received so far?

My job started with three weeks training in Boston with our U.S. colleagues, where we were introduced to the associate toolkit of skills. We returned for another week of training six months later to focus on more complex topics such as modelling and financial analysis. Consultants run regular training sessions to develop our skills.

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

Alongside technical skills such as Excel, I have greatly improved my teamwork and communication, since our work is team-based and you are required to communicate your findings succinctly to your managers.

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