Graduate Mentor Helped Me Understand My Industry

“It’s really hard when you get constant rejections, but you have to believe in yourself.”

Hear about Malika’s journey and how she overcame low self esteem to get the job she deserved.

You would think a First in an Economics degree from City University London would open doors for me, but this was far from the truth when I graduated in 2021. The only thing that was holding me back was a lack of confidence to apply to the big four. It took a year before I felt confident to make the application after several rejections. My journey all really started when I attended the EY Workshop organised by the team at Graduate Mentor.

My biggest fear was the unknown. I really didn’t know how the recruitment process worked at the big four so I lowered my benchmark and applied for roles with smaller accounting firms and non-graduate roles too. It was a mistake. When I got rejections from all of these I didn’t think I had any chance with larger firms. The EY workshop was so informative and interactive that it opened my eyes and helped me understand the process so much more My friends were brilliant in encouraging me to aim high and that definitely helped but I still needed to do more homework as I really couldn’t face another rejection!

Naturally I turned to Google and YouTube which really helped giving me focused advice on applying to the big four. I then took the step of applying to EY and within days I was invited to their assessment centre. This was a huge boost – I’d got through the first stage! I found it was extremely helpful to learn answers to a variety of questions before doing the online video questions such as “Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone’s point of view and how you managed that.”

In the team exercises I soon realised I was one of the quietest ones and really didn’t interact. On reflection I was annoyed with myself, however, what the assessors were looking for was how I interacted with the team and not to be too dominant so by being myself I got noticed. My feedback from one of the partners was very encouraging. He said they could see my ability and wanted to see more next time.

The second interview was a more about them getting to know me so they asked what I liked doing outside of studying to which I replied running and travel. I was introduced to another team member and we were all getting along really well – my confidence was growing. The next day I was offered the role. I’m so pleased to join EY in Edinburgh in September 2022 and I encourage other graduates to use Graduate Mentor to give you the confidence and belief in yourself to go for it. I’m proof it can happen eventually!