Image: Holly Treadaway
Jessica Blake is a final-year student of Commerce and Arts at The Australian National University (ANU). While studying her degrees, she has significantly advanced her professional and personal development by working various casual jobs, participating in the CBE Internship Program and through a student-exchange programme at Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Recently, Jessica was offered a graduate position with EY’s Assurance division, in the Climate Change and Sustainability Sub-Service line.
How did you find out about the EY graduate program, and what was the interview process like?
I found out about this opportunity after noticing the 2019 EY Future Female Leaders event in the CBE Careers newsletter. After reaching out to EY, I was invited to come into their office for a day focused on women in the corporate space. While speaking to EY employees, I found out about the EY graduate program in detail and learned about the different roles available. Prior to this event, I had not considered that a position, both fitting to my studies and desired career path, would be available at a major firm. As part of my research, I looked into the Climate Change and Sustainability service lines further and thought it would be the perfect graduate role for me. Soon after, I worked on specific academic and professional experiences that would help secure a job. They included applying to the CBE Internship Program, getting a casual office-administration job for the summer and utilising my remaining electives for relevant subjects.
After an initial application, psychometric testing and online video recordings, I made it to the fourth and final round – a virtual interview with the EY team. The online interview was different to the in-person interview that would ordinarily have been at an assessment centre. Instead, there was an initial Zoom meeting with other applicants, where we discussed the EY values and the experience of a graduate. Afterwards, I had a 75-minute interview with two members in the EY Climate Change and Sustainability team, where I was asked behavioural questions relating to how I would work in a team. Although it was daunting being interviewed online at first, the EY staff were kind and emphasised that it was an informal interview with more conversational questions and answers. A couple of days after the interview I received an offer over the phone.
What advice would you give to first-year students?
Use your first year of university to explore different options and make the most of the student experience. I lived on campus for a couple of years, and definitely made the most of the many social and sporting opportunities available. Last year, I also took a leap and moved to the Netherlands for an exchange program, which was an entirely different experience. These opportunities make for great situational and behavioural interview examples down the line and make you stand out!
University is the time to learn how to balance out all your commitments; you don’t need to give up your favourite activities or events to create a future career path. I think it is a great idea to learn to balance your favourite commitments with some networking and career events early on, so that in your later years you can continue to enjoy all that University has to offer without the stress of being unsure of your future. ANU is fantastic at facilitating career fairs, seminars and online job postings, so all you need to do is read the CBE newsletters or check out their Facebook page to begin learning what is out there.