What is Ernst & Young best known for? The better question might be, what isn’t the company known for? Ernst & Young was originally founded as an accountancy but has since expanded into many other businesses. Rebranded in 2013 simply as “EY,” the firm now divides its business into 4 core segments: Assurance, Tax, Strategy/Transactions, and Consulting. EY’s footprint extends into every industry and geography you can think of. As a result, it’s an exciting place to be for anyone looking for broad industry exposure and diversity of work. But where to begin? Breaking into EY requires a solid understanding of the company’s service model, so let us help you out.
Table of Contents
- EY Key Stats
- EY History
- EY Careers
- EY Internship
- Practice Areas
- EY Office Locations
- Career Path
- Exit Opportunities
- Notable Alumni
- EY Culture
- EY Buzzwords, Benefits & Staffing
- EY Interview
- Target Schools
- EY Salary
EY Key Stats
- EY Website: https://www.ey.com/en_us
- EY Headquarters: London, UK
- EY Employees: 365,000
- EY Locations: 700+ offices, 150+ countries
- EY Chief Executive: Carmine Di Sibio
- EY Revenue: $45B+
- EY Engagement Cost: Variable
Like many other professional services giants, EY came together through the mergers of several legacy firms. For EY, the most important merger happened “across the pond” – between the US and the UK. On the English side were two firms: Whinney, Smith & Whinney, and Broads Paterson & Co. On the American side were another two firms: Ernst & Ernst, and Arthur Young & Co. During the middle decades of the 20th century, these four firms became two pairs through two Anglo-American mergers. Finally, in 1989, Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young & Co. to formally become Ernst & Young.
Primarily an accounting firm in 1989, Ernst & Young invested heavily in its consulting business throughout the 1990s. At first, this expansion ruffled some feathers, as regulators worried about conflicts of interests that might arise. Partly due to this pressure, Ernst & Young carved out its consulting business in an $11B sale to Capgemini in 2000.
The company went on to successfully navigate the turbulence of the global economic downturn in 2008. Then in 2013, Ernst & Young officially became EY, complete with a new tagline: “Building a better working world.” EY brought back its consulting business in a major way via the acquisition of boutique strategy firm, The Parthenon Group, in 2014. That acquisition resulted in EY-Parthenon, the strategy consulting arm of EY. EYP is a smaller, more versatile firm that has the global reach and reputation of EY to back it.
EY recruits from a few different pools of candidates. Traditionally, many people join the firm through the campus recruiting track (both undergraduate and graduate university programs). But EY also hires a lot of “experienced professionals,” an umbrella term for anyone coming from industry. The experienced professional track is becoming more popular as clients look for specialized talent on certain engagements. Full-time not for you? EY hires freelancers as well through GigNow. And once you get in the door, EY careers are fairly flexible with internal moves. Whether it be functionally or geographically, there are plenty of opportunities for a practitioner to try different things.
EY structures its internship programs in a similar way to other firms. For college students, EY internships extend across the firm’s four service areas: Assurance, Tax, Strategy/Transactions, and Consulting. Typically, EY will survey candidates on their practice preferences and then interview accordingly based on numbers/interest. The story is similar for MBA and other advanced degrees, though EY likes to hire MBAs especially for consulting internships. EY internship interviews usually happen in the fall, with offers going out sometime in the winter. Internships are fast-paced, project based, and client-facing. Be prepared to push yourself and learn a lot in those 8 to 10 weeks!
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Here is a detailed look at the breakdown of EY practice areas within each of the four service areas. As you can see, the firm has an expert for basically any service a client might need! To read more about any practice, follow the hyperlinks to practice landing pages.
- Audit Quality
- EY Digital Audit
- Financial Accounting Advisory Services
- Forensic & Integrity Services
- Climate Change and Sustainability Services
- EY Reporting
- Sustainable Impact Hub
- Tax Planning
- Tax Accounting and Risk Advisory Services
- Tax Compliance
- Tax Policy and Controversy
- Tax Function Operations
- People and Workforce
- US Tax Reform
Strategy / Transactions
- Strategy Consulting (including Parthenon)
- Corporate Finance Consulting
- Buy And Integrate: M&A Advisory
- Sell And Separate
- Reshaping Results
- Digital M&A Framework
- Infrastructure Advisory And Consulting Services
A quick note on the industry angle. Noticeably, EY is organized by functional expertise rather than by industries (banking, energy, healthcare, etc.). This functional structure is great for sharing information and best practices across the firm. More than ever, the consulting world is seeing similarities across sectors that appear very different at first glance. For example, digital customer experience helps win market share for both banks and hospitals.
EY Office Locations
With over 700 offices worldwide, EY has a presence almost everywhere. Those 700+ offices are sub-divided into 28 regions, in 3 major geographic areas: Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific. You can search for any office location here, but from an Americas perspective – some of the biggest EY office locations include:
- EY Atlanta
- EY Boston
- EY Chicago
- EY Dallas
- EY Houston
- EY Los Angeles
- EY New York
- EY San Francisco
Consulting has a flat structure when it comes to on-the-job work with clients. On a given client engagement, everyone chips in on the various workstreams. That said, the levels and promotions at EY follow a systematic progression. As a college graduate, you can expect to join the firm as an Analyst. Performing in that role for a couple years will earn you the Associate title.
The next level (typically post-MBA) is Consultant, which helps you prepare for the Manager job. Manager is where you can expect to start leading and managing workstreams. From there, the senior levels go: Senior Manager, Director, Executive Director, and Partner. Specific titles can vary based on circumstance and practice area, but the Analyst to Partner progression captures the broad brushstrokes.
Here’s the EY career path progression in table form:
|Level||Comments / Average Time in Role|
College graduates / 2 years
|Associate||Pre-MBA / 2-3 years|
|Consultant||Post-MBA / 2-3 years|
|Manager / Senior Manager||Managerial responsibility / 4-5 years|
|Director / Executive Director||4-5 years|
|Partner||Ownership stake in firm|
Working at EY opens up a slew of exit opportunities that really depend on the service area you work in. And when you exit EY, you can expect to join your next organization at a higher, VP-type level. This is the case with most consulting firms, as corporate employers place a premium on consulting experience. EY exit opportunities from the Assurance or Tax divisions might include senior accounting or tax officer roles. On the consulting/strategy side, you can expect to access senior roles on corporate strategy teams. Outside of corporate strategy, many EY strategy professionals go on to work in product, marketing, and operations. It all really depends on how you manage your network and leverage your client contacts while at the firm.
As proof of these fantastic exit opportunities, here is a list of just a few of the many notable EY alumni:
- Arthur Blank – Co-Founder of Home Depot, Current Owner of the Atlanta Falcons
- Andrew Gould – Former CEO of Schlumberger
- Chris Kubasik – Former COO of Lockheed Martin
- Patricia Woertz – Former CEO of Archer Daniels Midland
- Cheryl Gillan – Member of British Parliament, and Former Welsh Secretary of State
EY culture prides itself on prioritizing its employees in a “you thrive, we thrive” manner. Once EY extends you an offer, they want to make sure that you’re set up for success within the firm. For some, that might mean work-life balance. For others that might mean mobility options. Others still look for engagement with social issues, diversity & inclusion. And of course, many people want all the above! EY has always had a reputation for an adaptive culture that reflects its ever-changing workforce. That said, the firm did take some heat around the time of the #MeToo movement. EY has recently made positive moves to support women, including tapping Kelly Grier as top US executive.
EY does a great job putting a formal structure around the firm’s perspective on diversity. The company’s latest thinking on the topic emphasizes that diversity is a “must have” and not a “nice to have.” As you consider EY in your recruiting journey, be on the lookout for future diversity programs and events, as they are sure to come up. The EY US Executive Committee recently signed the EY Board Diversity Statement.
EY Buzzwords, Benefits & Staffing
EY is the only “Big 4” firm that has made Fortune’s 100 Best Companies list for 22 straight years. Translation? Perks! EY offers a total rewards package that provides benefits across several categories. From a financial perspective, you can expect competitive base salary plus variable compensation. EY employees also enjoy plentiful paid time off that increases with tenure. Other benefit categories include resources for mental and physical health, social impact, and retirement planning. Read about all EY benefits here. When you’re actually working and not enjoying these benefits, EY uses a similar staffing model to other firms. You can expect to work with a staffing department to network around and find projects.
Every consulting firm has its share of buzzwords, and EY folds a lot of theirs into the EY firm values. The values are as follows:
- Integrity, Respect, Teaming, and Inclusiveness
- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Courage
- Relationship building by doing the right thing
No real surprises here. EY uses a combination of behavioral and case interviews (check out our complete prep guide here) to test candidates. The number of rounds will vary by office and candidate level, but you should be prepared for different mediums. Phone, video, and in-person are the obvious ones. EY interviews will also occasionally include a pre-recorded video portion. This consists of the candidate answering one-way questions via webcam. On EY’s interview tips page, the firm identifies three “mindsets” that they believe are critical for successful candidates – the Innovation Mindset, Global Mindset, and Analytics Mindset.
The following list of EY undergraduate and MBA target programs below is not exhaustive by any means. These are just some of the top pipelines for EY, so don’t fret if you’re not at one of these!
- Amherst College
- Barnard College
- Brown University
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Claremont Colleges
- Colgate University
- Cornell University
- CUNY Macaulay Honors College
- Dartmouth College
- Duke University
- Georgia Tech
- Harvard University
- Howard University
- Rice University
- Tufts University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Chicago
- University of Michigan
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Southern California
- University of Texas at Austin
- Williams College
- CMU Tepper School of Business
- Columbia Business School
- Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
- Dartmouth Tuck School of Business
- Duke Fuqua School of Business
- Emory Goizueta School of Business
- Georgetown McDonough School of Business
- Harvard Business School
- MIT Sloan School of Management
- Northwestern Kellogg School of Management
- NYU Stern School of Business
- Rice Jones Graduate School of Business
- UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
- University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- UCLA Anderson School of Management
- University of Michigan Ross School of Business
- UPenn Wharton School of Business
- USC Marshall School of Business
- UT McCombs School of Business
- UVA Darden School of Business
- Yale School of Management
The EY salary is competitive to the other Big 4 firms. Pre-MBA grads (Undergraduate and Master’s full-time hires) immediately out of school can expect a base salary of $72.5K/year, not including benefits. Post-MBA grads (MBA and PhD full-time hires) immediately out of school are looking at ~$155K/year. For more EY salary data, including benefits and bonus numbers, be sure to check out our updated Management Consulting Salaries report!
So, whether you’re interested in a consulting, audit or tax role, EY has a practice area that’s sure to interest you! Work with us on resume edits and case coaching, and get ready to crush the EY recruiting process!