We recently spoke to Farrah about securing an Assurance Associate position with EY. She shares her top tips for members going through the application process, the toughest interview questions she's faced and how Bright Network helped her secure her role.
What stood out to you about the firm you secured your role with?
Of course, EY has an incredible reputation within the industry worldwide. This reputation is initially what drew me to look into the firm. However, once I started reading about the firm through the perspective of its current employees, through blog posts and from speaking to some employees first hand, what really stood out to me was the company’s dedication to its people. It was clear to me that employee development and wellbeing was a top priority for the company, and I sensed a strong theme of employees feeling like part of a community and family. In addition, I was extremely impressed with the company’s promotion of diversity and inclusion. Coming from a multicultural background, it was very important to me that I work for a company that values diversity of background, thought and experience and it was clear that EY did just that.
How did you build your commercial awareness before the interview?
I looked at Bright Network’s tips to build commercial awareness! I made sure I kept up to date with current affairs in the sector more broadly, and the Financial Times was an excellent resource for this. In addition, I made sure to keep up to date with specific deals or events relating to each of the firms I applied to, so that I gained a deeper understanding of the firm and had the confidence to speak about the company in an interview.
What would be your top tip to members going through the application process?
My top tip would be to have confidence! You always have more experience than you think, and any experience is great.
Although I had no direct experience with the financial sector, I drew upon my experiences at University and my volunteer roles to demonstrate the key skills that I would need at EY. Specifically, I picked out great examples of times where I displayed great interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills.
How did Bright Network help you secure this role?
The Bright Network helped me tremendously. Over the last summer, I completed two virtual internship experiences, one for Consulting and one for Operations. Both of these gave me amazing insight into the world of business, and even the financial sector. I had not considered this sector before these internships, but they inspired me to look into the prospect.
In addition, the resources on the website were extremely useful! I was particularly impressed with the commercial awareness and interview tips, and I think having access to these resources gave me the knowledge, and confidence I needed to have successful interviews.
What’s been the toughest interview question you've faced and how did you tackle it?
I think the hardest question to answer was about what I thought my weaknesses were. I think that it’s really important to be honest about your shortfalls, but it is equally as important to speak about the steps you are taking to improve yourself. I was very nervous to answer these questions because I did not want to make myself look bad. However, I was honest in each interview and told them that I thought my biggest weakness was that I did not come from a business or financial background, as my degree was in Psychology. However, I always made sure to mention that I was actively seeking to improve my commercial awareness, and I think displaying this motivation to learn really helped me.
Did you use Bright Network Academy in your career search and if so how did that help you?
As I received 3 offers from Big 4 Firms, among other offers, it was very overwhelming and difficult to choose between the offers. Once I decided that I would most like to work in Audit and Assurance, I had to choose between the Big 4 Firms. Bright Network has a fantastic page that points out the differences between each firm, and this helped me a lot in making my decision to choose EY
What top three tips would you give Bright Network members looking to follow in your footsteps?
- Do your research! Explore all of your career options, and then really look into what companies interest you within each sector.
- Be confident and try not to stress.
- Be proactive and start early - it can be overwhelming to apply to many jobs. So, make sure you have enough time to get through them all without getting too stressed.