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EY’s Chief Recruiter Tells You How To Get Hired

What’s your chance of landing an MBA job at EY during the COVID-19 pandemic? We speak to Dan Black, EY’s global recruiting leader, to find out

Wed Sep 23 2020


Dan Black, global recruiting leader at Ernst & Young (EY), aims to hire 200-300 MBA graduates globally before July 2021. Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Dan’s goal is to keep MBA hiring levels consistent with the last recruitment cycle.

While COVID-19 has changed the hiring process at many global firms, it’s not impacting the value employers place in MBA graduates. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, hiring of MBA talent is expected to rebound in 2021, with MBAs in consulting and finance earning average projected salaries of between $115 to $145k.

EY hired over 80,000 people in the last financial year (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020); half of those were graduate hires. But, especially for MBA graduates, and with the added impact of the pandemic on the MBA jobs market, competition for roles is fierce.

BusinessBecause caught up with Dan to find out more about applying for MBA jobs at EY during COVID-19.

COVID-19 Impact on EY Recruitment

EY recruits on-campus at most top-ranked business schools, although is increasingly accepting candidates from MBA or master’s programs at lesser-known schools too. Business school students generally receive offers from EY between nine and 15 months in advance of joining the firm.

The main impact of COVID-19 is that EY has not yet confirmed its hiring plans for 2020-21. While plans are generally in place by September each year, with coronavirus and the upcoming US presidential election, 2020-21 recruitment targets have not yet been finalized.

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EY has done is honor all its job offers, hiring graduates who already received offers before the coronavirus outbreak, including second-year MBA students.

EY ran its summer internship program for around 15,000 candidates (undergraduate and graduate) virtually this year. 70%-to-90% of interns globally are offered full-time positions at EY. This year, many candidates have joined EY full-time without ever setting foot in an office.

“The bottom line is that we’re going back to campus for interviews, but we don’t know today what final hiring numbers will look like,” says Dan. In terms of hiring numbers, Dan explains that the impact of the pandemic has been more on experienced rather than b-school hires.

“EY takes a very long view on what its graduate hires mean to the firm. We need to be able to hire people to grow them into the leaders of the firm several years down the road.

“Making that investment now to ensure we have a full complement of people that can lead the firm in the future; that commitment has not changed.”

EY’s Candidate Screening Process

Applying for MBA jobs at EY is a little different right now. With people’s working lives disrupted by the pandemic, EY is running a series of free Facebook Live sessions for jobseekers, with advice on how to effectively network and conduct interviews in a virtual environment.

For students, the recruitment process at EY typically consists of:

- Review of resume and qualifications.

- Application for employment, with instructions provided by an EY recruiter or your school’s career services center.

- Video assessment (skills-based)

- Second assessment (interview)

- A decision is usually made within a few weeks of the second assessment.

EY is actively using artificial intelligence in its recruitment process. It says AI technology is used to screen-in rather than screen-out candidates. So what happens internally when you apply for jobs at EY?

- You can use EY’s candidate assistant tool to find out which available EY jobs best suit your profile. Submit your resume and within seconds you’ll get a list of relevant jobs. This is not about keywords, instead the AI infers skills from your work experience.

- Once you’ve submitted a job application, EY’s AI matching technology extracts your skills, competencies, and backgrounds from your entire application and highlights candidates with the strongest match to the job profile. The algorithm removes potential for bias.

- The next step is the interview process. If you’re entry level you’ll go through two-to-three interviews; executive-level candidates go through seven-to-eight interviews.


What skills does EY look for?

EY recruits based on its leadership model: ‘Better you; better us; better working world.’ The focus is on the individual; how you work with others; and how you can make an impact.

At the core of the model are skills and qualities like critical thinking, resilience, empathy, and the ability to navigate an increasingly volatile environment.


“We’re looking for the same leadership skills now, but some are coming to the fore,” Dan explains. “If you have a gap in your employment because of the pandemic, there’s going to be a lot of forgiveness, but you want to show you’ve been actively learning new skills. 

“Transformative leadership; dealing with uncertainty; being an inclusive leader; being comfortable with technology—these things have never been more important.”

In interviews, EY asks candidates behavioral questions like: ‘What have you done to show resilience?’ “A lot of people are able to give examples from the pandemic,” Dan says.

What’s your chance of getting an MBA job at EY?

Applying for MBA jobs at EY is competitive. What candidates must do is establish a connection with the firm—via virtual career fairs, workshops, and connecting with relevant alumni online—as soon as possible. Candidates without any interaction with EY before applying may be at a disadvantage.

“Right now there’s a lot of uncertainty. You want to make sure, as we a better sense of what hiring looks like, it’s not the first time you’re introducing yourself to us,” Dan explains.

EY recently launched its own internal MBA program, in collaboration with Hult International Business School, but Dan says this won’t impact MBA hiring. The virtual MBA is focused on technical skill development, and is specific to EY, whereas Dan values the wider management knowledge, leadership skills, and diversity business school graduates bring.

Ultimately, you’re better off applying for management jobs at EY with an MBA background than without one.

“We ask schools: ‘What are you doing to ensure you’re up to speed with what’s happening in the world? How are you modernizing your curriculum? Where are you sourcing talent?’,” Dan says.

“The best business schools are adapting to change, focusing on those valuable skills, and developing students we want to hire.”

Find out which companies hire the most MBAs.