Sunil Kumar, UK
Sunil Kumar studied Law and Business at the University of Liverpool and joined EY in September 2016 after graduating.
What attracted you to EY?
I wanted to work for an international organisation, but I also wanted to work for a well-established consultancy practice, particularly within FS. I knew that EY specialised in this area which is something that set the firm apart for me. I like aspects of their culture such as Vision 20:20 and their forward thinking approach with regard to emerging technologies within banking/ Fin-Tech in general.
What drew you to Financial Services?
I’ve had a long standing interest in the industry and this was enhanced by studying financial services based modules at university, from both a legal and business perspective. Generally, throughout my upbringing I sought a career in the industry but wasn’t entirely sure as to the specific area. The unique element to this programme is that it allows for immersive experiences in a variety of different sectors within FS, such as Capital Markets, Wealth and Asset Management, Insurance, Fin-Tech, even Political and Brexit related strategy. It allows you to hone your skills in each area and provide a more informed decision as to what you might want to specialise in after the two year scheme.
Tell us about some of the projects you’ve worked on.
My first project saw me working in the financial services Government team, conducting Brexit analysis on the industry as a whole. This was part of EY’s internal knowledge capability, which was ultimately presented to industry leaders. I have since worked on a Risk and Remediation programme at a Tier 1 Retail Bank and I’m currently working on a front-office investment banking project. My experience so far has been varied and has seen me working mainly in London, with some short spells across Manchester and Liverpool as well.
What advice would you give to students going through the recruitment process?
First and foremost, go into any interview having completed thorough research on the firm, and what it is doing in the market at present. Take this further by picking a couple of interesting, current topics; it could be anything such as Open Banking Solutions, Cryptocurrencies or Brexit Advisory and see what the firm might be doing in those areas. Get online and research the wider industry, see what issues are affecting the industry at the moment and analyse from both an EY perspective and our clients’ perspective. Ultimately, when meeting in person show energy, passion and the willingness to work in teams, because EY places a big emphasis on these traits.
Describe the EY Culture.
I find that the culture is welcoming, intellectual, and just quite fun. At a peer level, there are plenty of graduates joining at the same time as you. Everyone is friendly and sociable and naturally you will make some really good friends on this programme. These friends are important in helping you get through your day-to-day at EY. At a more senior level, people are always willing to help you develop and also very sociable. There are a number of different teams at EY, whether it be the sector you’re aligned to, or your individual project team and with these come a variety of different social events. This attitude is exemplified right from the top down, for example I play 5 a-side football on Wednesdays with two Partners, a Manager and another Grad! In addition, when you join you will have a buddy who can provide you with daily support, and there are further networks such as ‘peer groups’ and ‘town halls’ which provide an opportunity to share experiences, knowledge learned, upcoming projects etc.
What are some of the qualities you admire in a leader?
The ability to listen to a group’s ideas and/ or issues and really taking those into consideration is essential, and being able to communicate well and delegate tasks based on the team’s strengths is a positive for me. Knowing that the person leading will be able to take responsibility if required is important and you will often find that a good leader has a presence, or acts in a way that will bind the team well, creating a harmonious atmosphere. There is no single leadership style that works, and I’ve been fortunate to work with some very different but great mentors and leaders here at EY.
Describe EY in three words.
Diverse, challenging, innovative.