How to Work in Consulting—Without Traveling all the Time

Alyssa Greenfield
How to Work in Consulting—Without Traveling all the Time
Sponsored by, EY

When most people think of a career in consulting, one thing comes to mind: lots of travel. Spending so much time on planes, trains, and in cars sounds like a dream to some of us. For others? Not so much.

Thankfully, professional services organization Ernst & Young LLP (EY) has an answer for those recent grads who’d prefer to stay in one location: Service Delivery Centers (or SDCs for short). At these innovation hubs, analysts work with international teams to deliver results for EY clients, similar to the way a team in any other EY location would—minus the travel and with a few other small differences.

We talked to two employees in the Jacksonville, Florida SDC—Tina, an Associate Analyst II and Joe, an Analyst—to get their take on what it’s like to work there. Here’s what they had to say.

First thing’s first. What do you do at the Service Delivery Center?
Tina: I work in the financial crimes compliance part of the SDC. Banks will hire EY to help with projects like transaction monitoring, customer remediation, and document remediation. Since I started about a year ago, I’ve been working on transaction monitoring for a client, investigating scenarios that appear to be money laundering.

Joe: I’ve had a little bit of a different experience than Tina. I’ve been here just about a year and a half and have worked on three different clients. So far, I’ve worked on sanction screening, document remediation, and transaction monitoring projects.

How does the SDC compare to a more traditional consulting environment?
Joe: A lot of our work is pretty similar to traditional advisory folks. However, you’re not traveling Monday through Thursday, which was very attractive to me. If you were a traditional Advisor, you would be traveling and going on-site to clients. One other thing that stood out to me here is how different your day can be. Sometimes you come in and you think you’re going to be working on a certain type of alert or team, and I’ve come in and been pulled in to help with a pressing project. I love not knowing how my day will turn out.

Tina: It really is a lifestyle difference for me. The best part of the SDC is that we’re all working together and have the same goal. It’s a very healthy work-life balance.

Joe: On Tina’s team, some people come in at 7am and leave between 3 and 4pm, where I like to come in a bit later and I’ll be here til 5 or 6pm. Because we’re not on client sites, we have the ability to be a little more flexible, which I know a lot of people here enjoy.

What does EY do to help new SDC employees succeed?
Tina: Everyone that starts at EY goes to a “Welcome to EY” event to learn about the company as a whole. With the SDC specifically, before you join, you’re assigned a peer advisor at the office who can answer any of your questions.

Joe: We also have multiple classes and a dedicated Learning Leader in our office who’s in charge of developing different classes. We also just did an Excel training class here, where EY flew in a trainer from our New York office to teach the class.

How have you grown since joining the SDC?
Tina: I started almost a year ago, and since then I’ve had several opportunities to go beyond my projects. I have a recruiting position in the Advancing Women Executives community here, and Joe and I are on a committee that plans networking and recruiting events. I’ve also been able to go on campus for recruiting. If you lead with your work and tell your managers that you’re interested in something, usually they’ll help you do it.

Joe: There are really so many different ways you can get involved in the SDC besides your work—though your project work always comes first. For example, I like to understand the metrics and engagement economics with a project. I made it known to my manager that I’d really like to understand how a project is run from a budget perspective and the first thing she did was help me sit down with a senior manager. They showed me exactly how to do a budget and run a project from a money perspective.

What’s your best advice for landing a job at EY’s SDC?
Tina: This may sound cheesy, but the most important thing is to really be yourself. Show that you’re humble and ready to work hard. We also love to see how you can make things more efficient and that you’re skilled at time management. For my interview, I played water polo in school and I was on the executive board of my team. I used that to show that I had leadership experience.

Joe: One of the biggest things our recruiters look at is whether you’ve worked on a team before. Whether it’s a project at school or a leadership role for an extracurricular, highlight that experience. Specifically within the SDC, we never work by ourselves, so that’s important. Also, some people hear terms like “financial crimes compliance” and think they’re not qualified because they don’t have a banking background. Don’t worry about that. EY really has a diverse group of people here from all different backgrounds and all different majors, and that’s what makes this office thrive. When you come here, they give you all the tools to be successful.

Any final thoughts on why a recent college grad should work at the SDC?
Joe: It really feels like you’re building every project from the ground up with help from leadership. Everyone comes together to build something out of nothing together, which I never would have expected from such a big company.

Tina: What I’m doing today, I wasn’t doing three months ago. What I was doing three months ago, I wasn’t doing six months ago. The mentorship here is amazing. We have all-hands meetings where you can just go up to partners, introduce yourself, and have a conversation. If I have a goal for my career, I feel like I can go to people and get advice on getting there.

See yourself at one of EY’s Service Delivery Centers? They’re hiring now! Head over to WayUp to explore open positions and apply!