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A day in the life of a Big 4 Consultant

A day in the life of a graduate is a new series – graduates across a whole host of industries will write about their average daily experience, enabling you to gain a better understanding of the world of work. 

The old saying of “there are no two days the same in consultancy” holds much truth in reality. Things come up that you didn’t anticipate, and each study is different. It depends on your partners, Engagement Manager (EM), clients … all sorts of stuff.

That being said, this is my attempt to capture a typical day for an EY consultant working on a project outside of their hometown.

On a Monday my team, which can be anywhere between 3-20+ people, and I will either take a train or a flight to another city where our client is located. Then we will head straight to the client’s office for the day. First thing I do is check my emails if I haven’t done so already, as it’s quite probable you would have received a few from the weekend. I would then reply to the most urgent ones. After this, we would have a team meeting to set our objectives for the week. This would either be done in a boardroom style meeting or simply just gather around someone’s desk and discuss. These meetings are informal and relaxed and a chance for anyone to raise any concerns they may have with this week’s timelines and objectives without the pressures of the client overseeing.

Once the EM and the team have outlined key objectives for the week, we would then go to our workspaces. This could either be any desk or work area or an allocated desk. EY operate with a hot desk system which I prefer because it allows for flexible working and presents you the opportunity to network with other people outside your team. But most clients I have worked with don’t do this and will give you a desk to work on. I will be around clients. I won’t know all of them and I might not even talk to them. Some of them will know who I am, but I’ve been told not to assume they do. Whatever you do, respect clients first. There will be specific clients that have been assigned by their company to work with you.

I would then proceed with the work, whether that be performing a current state analysis, data remediation, compliance check or competitor analysis for example. These are just a handful of roles I have undertaken in my time at EY. Around noon I would head to lunch with my colleagues and I personally make the conscious effort to have it away from the workspace so I can clear my head for the afternoon stretch. At EY I have always been assigned on projects where I have made friendships with my team as opposed to just being colleagues, meaning at lunch we won’t just talk about work, but about other things such as interests, football, what we did on the weekend. That sort of thing.

After lunch I would head back to the workspace to continue from the morning with whatever I was assigned to do. Throughout the day, I would also be on conference calls with my home team back in London keeping up to date with any progress from that end. I would need to balance my commitments back in the London office with the client’s demands. Not only would a consultant have client work to perform but also ‘side of desk’ work to do. This is non-chargeable work you do for your home team, whether this be building out solution work, coding an App or simply preparing some L&D materials. This is where time management comes in as a key skill to have.

At the end of the day, we would usually connect and review what we have done and what we plan to do tomorrow. Depending on deliverables, deadlines and the client themselves, I usually leave the office around 6pm everyday on average. However on Mondays I would start late due to travelling and Thursday I would finish early to head back to London.  After the day, we would all head to our respective hotels (it’s usual for everyone not to be in the same hotel) and sometimes we would go out for dinner & drinks, or you can relax in the hotel and order room service. When you work away from your home office, everything is expensed. And I mean everything. Within limit of course…

Then I would wake up around 8am for the next day, expect it to be the same, but in reality, it’s different and new challenge awaits. And that’s what makes the job so fun and exciting.

Nik works for EY as a Financial Services Consultant, working in Performance Improvement – they enable their clients to improve business performance, confidence and trust.

Find out more about Nik’s service line and firm here: EY Advisory Services

Author Profile

Nik Rai
Nik RaiEY
Nik graduated from the University of York in 2017 and has since been working at EY as a Financial Services Consultant, working in Performance Improvement. Whilst at university Nik was President of the Economics Society and also did an internship at JP Morgan.

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