We interviewed Purva Dafle, a BBI student from the Class of 2023, about her placement as a Senior Analyst in Strategy & Transactions at Ernst & Young.
Read more to understand how she landed the role, and what she recommends doing in college to get the competitive edge.
- As a Senior Analyst in Strategy & Transactions, what are your responsibilities?
“Working as a Senior Analyst with the Strategy & Transactions department of EY typically entails business consultancy. As a team, we’ll be working towards helping businesses realise their goals and navigate through ecosystems, portfolios and reinvention to better establish themselves in the market. The role heavily links to corporate strategy, capital allocation and transaction advisory. Aimed at strategic development, my responsibilities include financial due diligence, IPOs, restructuring of banking loans, mergers and acquisitions across varied industries.”
- Describe the recruitment process – was it easy or tough? How many stages did you go through?
“My recruitment process at EY happened through the EY NextGen Women competition 2022. It consisted of several rounds. The first one being resume filtering, undergraduate women all across India had applied to the competition. The second round was a basic aptitude test which tested one’s reasoning, logic, mathematics, language and general knowledge. This round was followed by a technical interview wherein we were supposed to study up on any recent transactions in the Indian Market for the past one year. This would establish our understanding of the field. I went ahead with the HDFC & HDFC Ltd merger. Following intensive research, this round helped me understand the working of mergers in the banking industry and their implications. This interview round was followed by an HR round, after which the shortlisted candidates moved on to the final round — the case study competition. Keeping up with its theme of testing our knowledge in the fields of strategy and transactions, the case study revolved around a European energy company looking to invest in two similar ventures. The problem statement was to advise the company on their investment strategies. This required a primary reading of the information that was provided and a thorough understanding of the company’s values, investment objectives and goals. The final round took place in Delhi where we were required to present to the EY Strategy & Transaction Partners’ Panel. This 2-day round also involved shortlisting and the candidates that did well with the case study were interviewed again on sustainable development to determine the winner of EY NextGen Women 2022. Overall, it was a process that went on for almost 8 months, was intensive and tested us every step of the way.”
- What attracted you to EY and what do you hope to achieve there?
“EY has always been a company that I’ve dreamed of working at. In all honesty, me enrolling for the competition was purely because of the company name. I went in with zero expectations of clearing even the first round, let alone be the first-runner up! Over the years, I have been interested to work in several industries and have wanted to pursue a wide range of things, however, consultancy seemed to be the only field where all my interests and fortes aligned. EY has established itself to be quite the industry example when it comes to consultancy and even the success stories of the employees is a testament to that. But despite all of this, I had my reservations about working in a company like EY. Nevertheless, the 2-day case study round that took place in the EY Delhi office helped me understand the culture of the organisation and the lengths that the employees go to preserve it.
I believe in making the most of one’s situation and leveraging all the opportunities that come my way, which is why I hope to achieve a thorough understanding of varied industries whose participants we will be working with, when I work with EY Strategy & Transactions. A perk of working in consultancy is the understanding of industries that one develops as a consultant. This is an attribute to the fact that the projects that are worked on range from pharmaceuticals to banks to media agencies and much more!”
- Describe the interview. What are three tips you would give your juniors?
“My rounds of interviews throughout the competition with the EY Partners’ panel were informative and extremely comfortable. Being a student with little to no experience with corporate interviews, all of us expect to be put in a spot by the interviewers. However, it was quite different for me. They ensured that I was comfortable and the whole time it felt more like a conversation than an interview.
I believe the first most important thing in an interview is to have a clear thought process. Go over the things you would want the interviewer to know and the whole time keep yourself from sidetracking your thought process. Secondly, I think that interviews should be treated more like a conversation. This not only helps with the nerves but also ensures a flow of conversation. Putting your best version forth is a daunting task, and it gets even more difficult when you keep thinking about what is at stake. Researching comes in handy to calm these nerves. Walking into the interview, you should be confident about the reading up that you have done, on the organisation, the role or concepts. There is nothing more embarrassing than an interviewee being clueless about the organisation or the role. Lastly, honesty is the way to go, always. Say, you don’t know a concept, be forthcoming about it. Additionally, being freshers, the interviews don’t expect you to know everything, they’re looking to see how you tackle the question. So keep your heads up!”
- What are some hard skills and soft skills one should acquire till they reach the third year?
“When it comes to the soft skills, I believe that networking skills are the foremost. Networking is often chalked up to being opportunistic (LinkedIn is underrated). It helps you understand opinions, industries and is a good skill to hone in surprising situations. Always know who you work for, who you work with and who you want to work for.
When it comes to hard skills, I cannot emphasise enough on the importance of being able to navigate through Excel. No matter which role you apply for, Excel always comes in handy. Additionally, curating a presentation is equally important. To complement what you’re presenting, the presentation should be able to hold the attention of the audience and reiterate the points you put forth. Lastly, the single most important thing is to read. Books, magazines, articles, anything. Anything that gives you insights on various topics is a safety net that everyone needs. Being updated with current events seems like a task, but once it is turned into a habit, there is no going back! One thing I have focused on for a better part of my degree life is to ensure a tangible take away from everything I do. Be it a lecture, an assignment or a presentation, you need to ensure that there is something new you learn that acts as a value addition.“
- Have you interned anywhere? If yes, how much have the internships helped you?
“I have had a rocky relationship with the internships that I took on as a student. Driven by my interest in sustainable finance, I interned with two sustainable finance organisations that helped me understand the industry better. In addition to these organisations, I interned at a venture capital fund and an advisory as well. All these internships not only provided structure to my day but also helped me realise where my interests lie, what I’m good at and what I would like to pursue. Internships are the most efficient ways to prepare yourself for corporate life. They teach you how to network, provide industrial examples for everything we study in the classrooms and are an attribute to your commitment. In simple words, they give you a reality check.“
- According to you, which attribute of yours gave you a head start against your peers?
“I believe that my networking skills, reading habits and communication skills gave me an edge with the competition. All the internships I have secured have been through networking. My reading habits helped me perform well in interviews and my communication skills helped me leverage the opportunities that were at hand.”
- How do you plan on making the most out of this job role for your career path? How does it align with your career goals?
“I see myself working in the sustainable finance industry in the long run. Being in consultancy, I plan on understanding the workings of companies and industries. Establishing a good understanding of these things will help me contribute better to the sustainable space.”
- In your opinion, is it the package that’s important in the first placement or the company that you get placed in?
“I strongly believe that as freshers, we should focus on being a part of an organisation that speaks to us in terms of achieving our goals. Learning and leveraging should be the goals and no matter how important the packages are, the organisation you work for should align with your goals, and more importantly, your interests.”
- How can students make the best use of college resources to succeed in their careers?
“Looking back on my college life, I can categorise using my resources as being a part of clubs and committees, establishing a cordial dynamic with your professors and (might be a little off-topic) establishing healthy friendships. To elaborate, clubs and committees have been a huge part of my college life (shoutout to ConCourse and Endeavour!) They’ve taught me so much more than I expected, including working with people you might not like! Our department offers us a wide range of faculty and it would be wasteful to not leverage that. From experience to advice, you can go to them for anything and you will always have a tangible takeaway! Lastly, healthy friendships define your college life, they make or break your will to attend college and often even what you want to achieve in life. A supportive group of friends is extremely important, and I can’t stress on how lucky I have been in that aspect! All of these things combined have helped me navigate my way through college, internships and now a job!”
We wish Purva all the luck for her new role!
–Authored by Purva Dafle, TYBBI.