EY Graduate Profile

Meet EY at the CDES Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Expo!

Athena Jourdan

  • Advisory Consultant, EY
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Information Systems and Operations & Supply Chain Management) and a Bachelor of Arts (Chinese and Asian Studies)

Did your career plans change as you studied?
Most definitely! It was hard enough deciding what to study at university, let alone trying to choose a career path. When I first started studying, I thought I would major in International Business and Chinese, simply because I knew I had a passion for languages, and believed that International Business would complement that well. However, after having completed my first year of commerce and sampling all of the subjects on offer, I found myself drawn to Information Systems and Supply Chain. I realised that both were hugely important for organisations to understand in order to thrive in the modern world, but that doing so could be a very tricky process. That's when I first started thinking that a career in consulting, and in particular, in advisory services could be the way to go.

As an Advisory Consultant at EY, I have been amazed by the breadth of opportunities that I have been exposed to in such a short period of time - whether that be in terms of projects, clients, or travelling. I love the fact that I'm constantly challenged and always learning.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
I'm now a year in and I still feel like I have so much more to give and contribute to "Building a Better Working World". I can therefore still see myself being at EY in the foreseeable future, as I can really resonate with the firm's purpose - but whether that'll be at the EY Auckland office or somewhere else around the globe, we'll just have to wait and see. If there was another career path that could tempt me however, it would be working in academia. I've always had a passion for teaching, mentoring, and leading teams, so it's definitely something I would be open to exploring. In a nutshell, as long as the position I'm in enables me to pursue my interests and to continue to grow, I know I'll be happy.

How valuable was your internship OR work experience for you as a student? How did this help you fine-tune where you wanted to head?
I would say that any work experience is invaluable on your journey to finding the right career. It can help you to start figuring out what you may love or hate in a job, give you a taster in the life of a working professional, and begin building up your connections. While at university, I was able to juggle a few different part-time jobs (including being a tutor and marker in the ISOM department for instance), and I was also lucky enough to obtain a summer internship with EY in my second to last year. This enabled me to see how my interest in Information Systems and Supply Chain could be aligned to the work undertaken by EY's Performance Improvement Team, and to confirm that the firm's culture would indeed be a good fit for me. I would therefore highly recommend giving an internship a go at any company of interest prior to finishing your studies. Best case scenario, you'll have a job waiting for you at the end of it, and worst case scenario, you'll come out having learnt a whole heap - so what have you got to lose?