‘My only advice is to go for it!’

Graduate profile: Yanyan Zhang talks about the EY graduate programme

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from and what you studied in college

My name is Yanyan and I am originally from China. I moved to Ireland in 2020 to complete my master’s in business analytics at UCD’s Smurfit Business School. In January of 2022, I joined EY as part of the graduate intake programme in the technology consulting team. It’s fantastic here and I really love it.

How did you find out about the grad programme?

When I was studying in Smurfit Business School, EY visited our campus and was an active company at the Smurfit job and career fair. Naturally, I applied and I was absolutely delighted to have been chosen. It was exactly what I wanted.

What is the graduate programme like?

This has been an invaluable way for me to enter the world of consulting. The programme has helped to equip me with the foundational learning to be part of a high-performing client-facing team. I work and train with senior colleagues on a variety of really interesting projects.

There are a lot of social events for us graduates within the programme and it’s a great way to meet one another and to discover more about the firm. That has been a lot of fun. I’ve been able to expand my network beyond my immediate work which has been so valuable and it gives me the chance to interact with colleagues in different departments.

Explain what the work experience was like.

Almost five months now into the programme, I am fully immersed in the technology consulting team and I have a healthy work-life balance. I was assigned a buddy and a counsellor at the beginning of the programme. This is common to all new employees and it’s to ensure the best onboarding possible for everyone.

We are also offered the opportunity to upskill through the badges programme (our in-house, globally recognised training programme), as well as great opportunities to learn in peer-led workshops and through a variety of certified external training programmes.

What do you plan to work as after the programme and why?

I’d like to continue working as a technology consultant here. I enjoy working on a variety of projects, acquiring new skills and I love the learning and nurturing environment. It’s where I see myself flourishing.

What’s your advice to graduates applying to the programme?

My only advice is to go for it! If you enjoy being challenged, if you love to learn new things every day and you thrive when collaborating with others, then it is for you. Don’t hesitate.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times