gradireland National Student Challenge – A day to impress

by Caroline McAniff, Head of Recruitment and Employer Branding, EY.

The world is changing

We are in the fourth industrial revolution.  Macro-economic trends and tech advances, including smart devices and artificial intelligence, are altering business, industries, professions and jobs at an unprecedented rate.  The disruption for professionals is real, in a world where up to five million jobs may actually cease to exist.  Scary stuff!

Also the traditional employer/employee relationship is shifting.  Successful future professionals will be those that continuously learn, adapt and improve their skills and themselves.  So what skills will be important?  Our global research tells us that the skills that matter will be

  • Complex problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Cogitative flexibility
  • Collaboration

If you develop and hone these skills, and gain experience using them in a work setting, you will be increasingly in demand.  However, it doesn’t end there (Yes there is a lot expected of you if you are going to be favoured over the bots!). You must also adapt yourself to the new world of work.  You must have self-reliance, be resilient and self-promote, and most importantly you have to develop your personal networks as they will become more critical than ever.

So how do these insights link to the National Student Challenge (Get to the point I hear you say!)

A day of opportunity

The National Student Challenge is a day when the brightest talent in the country congregates to compete in a variety of challenges that are assessing different competencies.  You may see this challenge day as an opportunity to win some prizes or add something great to your CV (which of course it absolutely is).  However, there are six businesses involved on the day who are all looking for stand out people to join them.   This is an amazing opportunity to network with these businesses, ask questions you won’t find out on their website, self-promote and also show your resilience as you progress through all of the challenges!

Each of the businesses will be looking for the different skills mentioned above.  In these team events I think collaboration is key.  It is always the students that include everyone in the conversation that stand out. Getting a range of opinions on any problem will always result in the best answer.  Just like in business.

You can expect to meet lots of new people so make sure to talk to them.  Use your communication skills to get to know people and use this day as an opportunity to hone your networking skills.  Connect on LinkedIn, you never know how a connection on this day could be useful in the future.

Polishing your skills

Once the day is over you will get the opportunity to socialise with your peers and with the businesses involved.  Those businesses want to talk to you.  Don’t shy away.  You may already have a career opportunity but there is no harm in having conversations.  Also if a business reaches out to you after the event make sure to respond.  It may not be for you right now but again you never know what direction your career will take qyou in the future.  That connection you made the day of the National Student Challenge might be the link to beating those ‘bots in the future!

Why EY?

A lot of people view EY as purely an Accountancy firm (and sometimes that leads to a presumption of boring).  When I joined EY 2.5 years ago I had the same perception.  However, EY has an amazing amount to offer any graduate who is ambitious and enjoys a challenge.  First of all there are four parts to our business – Assurance is home to our Audit practice, Forensic Accounting and Data Analytics.  The Audit profession is changing hugely as data and ‘bots are removing the mundane jobs and our auditors are moving into an advisor space.  It is one of the most exciting times ever for the profession and we are at the forefront of that change.  Yes there are exams but we have so much support to help you and you also have up to three months to take as study leave! The second part of our business is Tax.  Like Audit this area is also going through a huge change and we have just recently become one of the first firms to become paperless. Data Analytics is again allowing our Tax service to push boundaries and really provide our clients with amazing solutions.  Our Transactions area, also known as TAS, deals with some of the most interesting and challenging mergers and acquisitions in town and like all of the other parts of our business you will be in the thick of the action.  Finally, our Advisory services, sometimes known as consulting, has doubled in growth in the past 2 years with plans for the same growth again.  We advise on some of the most interesting projects in the country and the opportunity to see the best in action while learning the skills to be an advisor is an amazing opportunity.

EY has had double digit growth for the last four years.  We are on fire!  33-36% of our people have been promoted or progressed every year for the last 4 years.  50% of our employees are under 30 so there is an amazing energy in our open plan office and a real hunger for change, innovation and disruption.

If this sounds like somewhere you would like to start your career make sure to talk to us on the day of the National Student Challenge or just check out our website for more details  Best of luck on the day!

Take the National Student Challenge today here!

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