This last month has been extremely busy. The last time we spoke I was on the beach, contemplating how one should optimize one’s time off. In the last month I’ve been attempting to manage multiple projects. I guess that’s one of the beauties of consulting – one never knows what the next hour, day, week, or month will bring.
So, what have I been doing? I have spent a lot of my time staffed on IT audits that augment EY’s Assurance service line. The other things I have been doing has been through EY’s internal training program: Spot On.
Reaching the Top with Spot On
The Spot On program is a training curriculum designed by EY that I only really found out about when I started. Whilst I had heard that EY placed a premium on continuing education and improvement I had not expected it to be so rigorous, thorough, and diverse.
So what is Spot On?
Spot On is an internal EY program designed to help train us new consultants in core consulting skills, whilst allowing us to contribute to the overall knowledge base of the firm. On our first day I remember it was put to us to think of Spot On as an internal consultancy within EY. Part of the Spot On program is your regular professional development system with lectures and sessions on improving your skills in presentations, competencies, and skills. The other aspect of Spot On is based around internal assignments. Seniors at the firm request so called Top Assignments that consultants can be staffed on. The benefit of this is that you, as a junior are tasked with leading the assignment from beginning to end. You are expected to take responsibility for the whole assignment; from project management, to dealing with stakeholders, undertaking research, and then delivery. In addition, these assignments cover all the different areas of work that EY undertakes. To help you, each TOP Assignment is also staffed with a Coach who is there to help you with tips on how to proceed, stakeholder management, and generally passing on their experience.
Speaking about these assignments in the abstract can make comprehension difficult, so to give a bit of clarity to the issue I will provide a little bit of exposition on my current Top Assignments.
I am currently undertaking three Top Assignments and, to speak of them in order of commencement, the first is an internal project looking at the future of the Consumer Products and Retail sector and the cyber security risks that companies will have to face. As a team of three junior consultants we are undertaking research, conducting interviews, and creating a slide deck with the aim of producing a presentation for the risk team. This can then be utilized for further internal training, or augmented to create decks for proposals, or other sales materials.
The second is based around developing marketing material for Artificial Intelligence work at EY. With the recent release of EY’s collaboration with Microsoft, examining the current state of AI in Sweden, we are compiling what we believe are the most exciting AI projects in each sector. In this project I am working with another junior consultant to deliver to Managers within the technology competency area.
Finally, my third assignment is investigating the future market opportunities of drones in Sweden. This project is slightly different from the others as it is being delivered to an external client and I am working with a Director to create materials and accompany him to visit the client. In addition to examining the future market opportunities we are analyzing the potential for the client to maximize their benefit from the technological sea change.
Finding Your Why
So, you may be wondering now why have I told you about all this?
To put it simply, I think consulting is a vocation that offers a bevy of opportunities and it can be difficult to know what you want. In many cases the only way to know is to experience.
To that end what I like about EY’s Spot On program is that it has allowed me to experience a wide variety of projects with the support of my coaches, colleagues, and seniors. By experiencing different sectors, and activities, you can more easily find your “why”.
For me I feel like these experiences have confirmed many things. First, it has confirmed that consulting was a good career to embark upon. Consulting at EY has pushed me into areas that I haven’t immediately felt comfortable in and I’ve had to learn and adapt to be able to work in the field. Secondly, working in technology consulting has allowed me to engage with the kinds of projects that I imagine constitutes the future of our society: robotics, drones, Internet of Things, and cybersecurity. Thirdly, doing it at EY has meant that I haven’t been tied to dealing with anything in one particular way; through the Spot On program you have the ability to explore any area and build up your competencies to always be learning.