MBA Recruiter Interview: Kristina Liphardt, EY

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 9am

EY (formerly Ernst & Young) comes in at 23 on the Universum Top 100 Ideal MBA Employer Ranking, and has also been included on Fortune’s Best  Companies list 16 times. While the London-based multinational professional services firm has recently undergone a rebranding, you can trace its roots back as far as 1849 with the founding of the English company Harding & Pullein. Ernst & Young itself was not formed until 1989 when Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young & Co. The official rebranding to EY, which was common parlance on an informal basis, took place in 2013.

To learn more about MBA jobs at EY, we spoke to Kristina Liphardt, EY’s Americas campus recruiting leader for MBA recruiting. In this interview, she discusses what EY looks for in their MBA hires as well as the impact EY’s rebranding has had on MBA job candidates.
EY comes 23rd in the Universum Top 100 Ideal MBA Employer Ranking. Why do you think so many MBA grads want to work for EY?
EY has the career-making reputation, opportunities and culture that MBAs are seeking. We offer MBAs entrepreneurial opportunities, transformational work for leading clients, learning and talent development, mentors at the highest levels, and a supportive, inclusive culture. For the 16th consecutive year, we were also among Fortune magazine’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’, which gives us great pride.
Has the rebranding made EY a more appealing employer with MBA candidates?
Yes. EY is committed to doing its part in building a better working world, and this is something that matters to students today. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies around the world. We play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
What do you look for when evaluating MBA candidates’ résumés and experience?
We are looking for 3-5 years of prior applicable work experience in addition to the MBA degree. We also look for individuals who demonstrate skills in problem solving/analytics, written communication, leadership, presentation, and teamwork.
Could you please give an overview of EY’s recruitment and interview process?
We have several early identification events, including presentations and office treks, before the on-campus interview process. We conduct on-campus interviews that include a case study and a writing sample assessment. Our second round, in-house interview process includes a case study and team exercise assessment.
What steps should students take in order to make a good impression during the interview process?
They need to differentiate themselves and come prepared to share experiences and examples of past behavior and accomplishments. In addition, they need to demonstrate their critical thinking and problem solving skills as well.
In your experience, what are the most common mistakes MBA grads make when applying for jobs?
Some MBAs have not done their homework in terms of knowing what opportunities a company has to offer. In addition, it is important that students attend events during the first year of their MBA program, so they get to know the firms, and so the firms get to know them well ahead of the formal recruiting and on-campus interview process.
What does EY expect from its new MBA hires? What can they do to increase their chances for advancement down the road?
We look for people with positive and enthusiastic attitudes. We also seek candidates who are flexible, who exemplify the ability to deal with change, and who show they’ve historically adapted to different situations and experiences. New MBA hires need to have the ability to work in teams and to show initiative and seek out projects – rather than simply waiting to see what you are scheduled for next. Other key qualities include technical proficiency and flexibility to work on different types of clients in different locations. A lot of our client work requires travel.
How do you think EY’s MBA hiring needs will change in the future?
EY will continue to invest in the recruitment of MBAs in the future, as they will be an important part of our overall growth goals.

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