Omar El Saidi, UK
Omar El Saidi joined EY in August 2015 after completing a Biochemical Engineering Degree at the University College of London.
What drew you to a degree in Biochemical Engineering?
I’m not your typical graduate who has done the bachelors degree and then gone straight to EY, so I've had several experiences in between, Yes, I did Biochemical Engineering, but it isn't directly related to what I’m doing right now. It has more to do with the processes behind creating drugs and medicines and so forth, so it’s been a shift from what I was doing there to what I’m doing here. I’m very much a generalist, so I enjoy getting as much exposure as I can, meeting different people, having a lot of variety on a day-to-day basis, which is what kind of gradually pushed me towards engineering. I previously worked as a financial analyst with Fitch. I also worked at subsidiaries in London for a year, and then subsequently from there, I moved into EY and into consulting, which has given me variation and flexibility and exposure to clients, which I have greatly enjoyed.
What attracted you to EY?
I have a few friends who’ve worked across the Big Four and I kind of got the idea that EY was one of the best, people-wise and performance-wise, and it certainly is reflective when you see the results and outcomes of all its projects. I was also drawn to the fact that opportunities were available to me to expand and develop my skills whilst also exposing myself to different areas. I also like that you aren’t stuck doing one particular thing, you get to experience many difference projects and meet a large variety of people.
What do you currently do at EY?
I work in IT Risk Assurance, so a lot of what we do is we work closely with the audit team to provide insurance advice, financial statements, and verify that all financial documents supplied by our clients are accurate and complete. We are constantly working with various clients to get evidence and to review that evidence, and to design various tests to provide that assurance.
Was it a conscious choice to move into financial services?
To be completely honest with you, it just came to a point where I said, 'I don’t wanna work as an analyst,' having experienced that role before. I wanted to move into consulting, and when I looked at the opportunities EY offered, they were the ones that interested me . I found that there was a good variation of work in terms of a risk element, an insurance element, a technology element; and there's also a kind of financial services element, which I hadn’t really gained much exposure to previously.
Have you been able to use the skills you gained before joining EY?
Yes, from a technical perspective. Engineering can be very mathematical and I've been able to use those skills within IT Risk Assurance. I work on a lot of code reviews, where we look at an underlying code that can is quite complex, and since I did a small amount of this in my university degree I was able to apply it across to EY. It's been quite useful because these are areas that we're now focusing on a lot more, and I’ve noticed that not a lot of people have this kind of capability, so I've been able to leverage what I’ve learned from my engineering degree.
What have been some of your highlights here?
One of my highlights would be going to the Channel Islands and being based there for several months. I enjoyed the variation and being able to work with colleagues in one of our other markets.
What does building a better working world mean to you?
We talk about risk, we talk about assurance. We’ve work a lot within that arena with some of the biggest financial services institutions in the world. and Society relies heavily on what they do and we're there to enforce regulation, we're there to mitigate any risk and to limit the risk of things going wrong. We also have some initiatives that are going on in terms of supporting students in local schools and other kind of charitable events.
Tell us about the graduate community at EY.
We’re quite close, we do meet up informally just to catch up. We’ve been able to meet new grads across PI and across advisory. Personally speaking, I’ve been able to maintain these friendships on a casual basis. We also have a social team who organize regular catch-ups and drinks.
What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
Right now the benefit of starting off as a graduate in this organization is you get a lot of exposure to different areas. So I really just want to try and build that exposure and gain experience in different areas. I would really like to delve into other areas of Advisory and progress through the ranks, gaining more responsibility.