‘You are not married to your degree’
My Career Path: Georgina Hughes, People Advisory Service, EY
Georgina Hughes: “Don’t underestimate the power of extracurricular activities or passions when applying and interviewing for jobs.”
What/where did you study, and when did you graduate?
I studied business and law in TUD [formerly DIT]. I graduated in 2017 and from there, joined EY.
What attracted you to your current role/ company/ path?
I was always interested in working in business, so having completed a degree in business and law, with my sights set on a consultancy role, I naturally gravitated towards the ‘Big 4’. At the beginning of my final year in college, two consultants came to speak to us about the work EY do. Thes painted a great picture of EY and having spoken to my cousin who worked in EY’s advisory practice as well, I knew it was the place I wanted to begin my career.
EY is progressive, innovative and inclusive. The things I learned about EY in college that day still stand to be true, and I am delighted to have been able to start my career in a firm that I genuinely believe is working towards a goal that’s broader than profit.
What did you find most challenging about the working world, or the transition from education to the working world?
I don’t know if it was necessarily a challenge but I think the most notable difference between being in education and moving into the ‘corporate world’ was the fact that people have much higher expectations of you. You are no longer a student, you are working with clients every day, representing an organisation and are – rightfully – expected to deliver. While this can be a bit of a learning curve, the benefit of starting in a graduate programme means you have support there during that transition if you need it.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what is their value to you?
A senior manager named Emma Walsh has been my mentor since day one. We have worked on the same client engagement for the last two years and she has taught me so much.
I think the best type of mentor is one who teaches you and gives you guidance when you need it, but also trusts you enough to take on deliverables that will challenge you and bring you out of your comfort zone. Emma is the perfect example of this and acts as a role model for me and many other people around her.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned since you joined the workforce?
There are two main things that stick out – that asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness or laziness. And, if you are at a certain level or stage in your career, you can absolutely perform just as well as or better than those above you. You don’t need to conform to your role title.
One piece of advice for new graduates?
You are not married to your degree. If you want to explore different career paths, there is probably no better time to do it. Some of the best consultants I work with have no business or financial background.
Don’t underestimate the power of extracurricular activities or passions when applying and interviewing for jobs. Just because a hobby is not strictly ‘professional’ doesn’t mean it’s not important or of interest to your interviewer.