We spoke to Maria from EY who shares her experience of going from a science degree to a career in business.
When did you start thinking about which industry and employer to apply to? What did you do to get the ball rolling?
When I first started University I was intrigued by the complexity and abstractness of chemistry and was keen for a challenge. I knew I wanted to work in the public sector and could achieve this through biochemical research.
What made you realise you could get a job at EY with your degree, and what drew you to EY in particular?
A friend of my informed me that science degrees are really sought after by the big four as candidates tend to be very analytical. I was skeptical to join the professional services sector, as I feared I would become a “corporate clone.” I was given offers to EY and a competitior. I chose EY because of the culture and people. During my assessment centre and interview, everyone was very friendly and down to earth. Throughout my career, I have realised that the people you work with has a huge impact on your happiness at work.
What skills and experiences helped you through EY’s application and selection process?
For the psychometric tests, practice was definitely needed as I hasn’t taken an exams for many years by the time I applied to EY. Throughout my career I developed strong time management skills which were definitely beneficial for the application process.
What skills from your degree have you been able to transfer to your role at EY?
In EY you regularly use Excel and have to conduct analytical tests. This was very common in my degree and I was able to apply that to my every day work life.
How has EY supported your transition from a science degree into business?
Science can often be seen to be wildly different from business. EY supported my transition through ample training and education.
What’s your most important piece of advice for students studying the same degree as you?
I changed degrees at the age of 28, it’s never too late! Sometimes we get trapped thinking that we have to work in the same sector we studied otherwise our university degree was a waste of time and money. That is definitely not true.
A science degree is unbelievably transferable. Concepts which we apply in our understanding of chemical and biological processes can also be applied to a business. I feel that I’ve had an advantage over students that have studied a business degree, as I have a more analytical and out of box mind.