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EY Case Interview Including EY Parthenon: What You Need to Know

EY Case Interview Including EY Parthenon What You Need to Know

Congratulations! You’ve successfully landed an interview invitation from EY Advisory or EY Parthenon. Now it’s time to prepare for your EY case interview to make the most of this opportunity.

In this article we’ll share:

  • The EY Parthenon & EY Advisory history and culture.
  • The EY Consulting interview process.
  • The EY Parthenon case interview.
  • The EY Parthenon fit or behavioral interview.
  • What to expect in the EY Parthenon group interview presentation.
  • MCO’s top 5 tips on acing your EY Consulting interview.

Let’s get started!

The EY Parthenon & EY Advisory History and Culture

To ace the interview, it’s important to know the company you’re interviewing with. This is especially important for the fit/behavioral interview. In the case of EY, you should know that consulting at EY is divided into two distinct paths and each path is looking for a different set of professional and personal skills.

  • EY Parthenon: In 1991, two former Bain & Company consultants formed a management consulting firm called The Parthenon Group which then merged with EY in 2014 to form EY Parthenon. EY Parthenon now serves as EY’s strategy consulting arm, doing projects similar to McKinsey, Bain, and BCG. This work includes topics around strategy, marketing, organization, operations, transformations, and mergers & acquisitions.
  • EY Parthenon looks for candidates who are “smart, nice and driven.” While most management consulting firms are looking for smart and driven candidates, EY Parthenon is uniquely positioned by clearly highlighting “nice” as a key characteristic of employees it recruits. This highlights their people-centric culture.
  • EY Advisory Services: EY was established in 1989 when Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young & Co. It is one of the big 4 accounting firms but also has a consulting arm.  EY Advisory Services provides consulting services mostly focused on implementation projects. This includes performance optimization, technology implementation, financial services consulting, and risk transformation. EY Advisory Services looks for candidates who are growth-oriented, innovative, and have a positive mindset along with the passion to work in a highly diverse and global environment.

If you’re interested in more on the distinction between advisory and consulting, please refer to our article Consulting vs. Advisory.

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The EY Consulting Interview Process

Despite their differences, EY Advisory Services and EY Parthenon follow a similar recruitment process which includes the following three steps:

  1. Application screening: HR screens candidates’ resumes based on their credentials and EY’s business requirements. This is followed up by a phone screening step where recruiters ask a series of questions to understand more about your background and interests.
  2. First round interviews: Once you successfully pass the application screening process, you’ll undergo two first-round case interviews with junior consultants. Each interview consists of one or two fit/experience questions followed by a case interview.
  3. Second round interviews/presentation: The second round of interviews is with managers or partners and follows the same format as the first round of interviews with fit/experience questions followed by a case interview. In some offices, candidates are asked to take part in a group presentation after one one-on-one interview.

For further details, please see the careers page for EY Parthenon or EY Advisory Services

The EY Parthenon Case Interview

EY case interview

EY Parthenon and EY Advisory use a similar interviewing process. While the actual cases are different, you’ll have 3-4 case interviews in 2 rounds with either  EY Advisory or EY Parthenon case. All EY case interviews are interviewee-led rather than interviewer-led, similar to case interviews conducted by Bain and BCG.

However, EY Parthenon does a lot more private equity work. As a result, their case interviews are more heavily focused on private equity, often on market entry or investment cases.

EY Parthenon places huge emphasis on case interviews. It’s a chance for the firm to assess your ability to succeed in the consulting world while providing a glimpse of what working at EY Parthenon looks like. Therefore, remember that throughout the interview, your interviewer is assessing your analytical skills and whether he/she would feel comfortable placing you in front of a client.

He or she wants to know:

  • Can you listen carefully and quickly grasp key aspects of the problem statement?
  • Can you structure and solve complex problems?
  • Can you think of creative solutions for solving problems?
  • Can you read charts and do business math?
  • Can you communicate the solution clearly and concisely?

To succeed in the case interview, we recommend that you navigate through the EY Parthenon case interview by following a tried-and-tested 4-step approach:

Step 1: Understand the question being asked.
Step 2: Structure the problem, covering all its key aspects.
Step 3: Ask pertinent questions to form hypotheses and drive analysis.
Step 4: Provide a recommendation.

We’ll elaborate on each of these steps below.

Step 1: Understand the Question Being Asked.

The interviewer will start the case with a background of a hypothetical company and share crucial information including the business problem the company is trying to solve. Take notes, particularly on financial data, and repeat the problem you’ve been asked to solve back to the interviewer in your own words. Repeating the question back ensures you address the right problem.

Avoid the temptation to immediately jump into details of a potential solution or start sharing a laundry list of all possible solutions.

For example, consider the following real EY Parthenon case interview question:

Market sizing example – How many people use Zoom per day in the US?

Your first instinct might be to either say that you don’t know or blurt a random number. However, the interviewer is more interested in understanding the approach you use to get to the answer. Start by ensuring that you understand the question you’re being asked. Clarify any unfamiliar terms.

Asking questions is important to ensure you understand the problem and what success looks like for the client. If you don’t understand the company or the problem statement before you try to solve the case, you’ll be wasting time.

While repeating the question may feel awkward when you start casing; with time and practice, this habit will help you ace the EY Parthenon case interview.

Step 2: Structure the Problem, Covering All Key Aspects

Once you understand the question, structure your approach to solving the proposed problem.

In a case interview, request time to structure the problem – interviewers appreciate it if you take the time to think (provided you don’t take more than a couple minutes!) Similarly, in a presentation case interview, take the time to structure the problem before sifting through data looking for an answer.

Write down what you may need to learn about the client’s situation. You may structure the problem based on business frameworks you’re familiar with or, better yet, develop your own structure. Developing your own structure to break down a problem shows you’ll have the skill to solve actual problems you’ve never seen before.

Share this with your interviewer, incorporating any feedback they might have.

Market sizing example – How many people use Zoom per day in the US?

The structuring step is where you’d identify the key categories of people who use Zoom and how you’d break out their frequency of use.

  • What is the total population in the US?
  • What portion of the population requires Zoom? A great way to approach a market sizing question is to segment the market and provide insight into each market segment’s behavior. For example:
    • White-collar workers: What % of the working population is in white-collar roles (marketing, journalism, finance, publishing, law, etc.) and require Zoom interactions? How do they use Zoom?
    • Managers: What % of the working population is in managerial roles and requires Zoom interactions? How do they use Zoom?
    • Students: What % of the population are students who will be using Zoom? How do students use Zoom?

You can save the detailed math for the next step.

See our article on business frameworks for more on how to structure EY Parthenon case interviews. Make sure you communicate the structure with your interviewer (whether in the general interview or the presentation case interview).

Step 3: Form Hypotheses & Drive Analysis

Since EY Parthenon’s cases are typically interviewee-led, your interviewer will probably let you suggest the best starting point for your analysis. But if your interviewer suggests a starting point, follow their lead.

EY Parthenon likes to test candidates on their ability to interpret data on charts and graphs. During the case, the interviewer may share data charts or graphs and ask you to use the information while conducting the analysis. Continue to ask relevant questions that will provide you with data on each branch of the problem structure you created.

You may also need to do some basic consulting math to analyze the case. Remember, the interviewer is also assessing your analytical ability. Walk them through your setup of analytical problems and listen if the interviewer guides you on how best to approach the problem.

Continue referring to your structure while analyzing the case. Otherwise, you risk running down a rabbit hole and ignoring other important aspects of the problem. At the same time, keep incorporating any new data that the interviewer provides into the structure you have created.

Make sure that throughout the interview, each question you ask the interviewer is relevant to the key aspects of the problem.

Market sizing example – How many people use Zoom per day in the US?

In the analysis step, you’d assess how frequently each group you outlined uses Zoom. Every day? Five days a week? Every other day? How large is each segment relative to the US population?

This is also where you’d set up your equation and actually do the math. What’s the final answer on how many people in the US use Zoom each day?

Step 4: Provide a Recommendation

Once you’re confident you have the required information to solve the client’s business problem, conclude the interview with a logical summary outlining the problem you set out to solve, key conclusions you’ve reached based on the data shared including implications for the client, and a persuasive recommendation on how you’d help the client resolve the challenge.

In this step, the interviewer is looking to assess your capability to advise clients. Make sure you communicate the solution in logical steps and that the interviewer (client) follows your logic. A strong conclusion leaves a great impression on the interviewer.

Market sizing example – How many people use Zoom per day in the US?

Since our example is a market sizing case, you don’t need a recommendation. But you could provide useful insight you’ve learned. For example, though most business people will focus on the adults using Zoom, there were a lot of students using Zoom 7 hours a day/5 days a week during Covid. That’s a big part of the market with unique needs. How could a business take advantage of the unique needs of the school market?

For a detailed example of how to crack the EY Parthenon case interview, see our Ultimate Guide to Case Interview Prep.

The EY Advisory / EY Parthenon Behavioral Interview

EY case interview: EY Parthenon Behavioral Interview

Behavioral or fit questions will be a part of all EY case interviews. The interviewers are looking to understand whether you are a good fit for the company and whether you are people-oriented. They are also assessing your ability to work in teams, put ideas into action, and your ability to learn from new experiences.

It’s great to practice and prepare for the common interview questions in advance by developing stories that best portray your skills and character. Following are some of the common questions:

Getting to know you questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in working for EY Parthenon?
  • Walk me through your resume.
  • Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.

Behavioral questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you used data to solve a problem.
  • Give a time when you disagreed with your manager.
  • Describe a situation in which you handled conflict while working on a team.
  • What is a piece of feedback you have received from a former supervisor or colleague?

Learn more about the common questions and how to answer (and NOT answer!) these by reading our Ultimate Guide to Behavioral Interviews.

What to Expect in the EY Parthenon Group Interview Presentation

The EY Parthenon Group Interview is only conducted in a few offices. We suggest you ask your recruiter whether or not it will be part of your recruiting process so you know whether you need to prepare. The group case presentation takes place in the second round of interviews.

During case presentations, all the candidates will be divided into groups of 3 to 5 and will be presented with a client situation to solve. The group will have 1 hour to solve the client’s problem and develop a presentation. They’ll then have 15 minutes to present their findings and recommendations via PowerPoint followed by 15-20 minutes for Q&A.

During the entire 1-hour of analysis and developing the recommendation, the group will be silently observed by senior EY Parthenon consultants. These observers will also view the presentation and ask questions.  

During the EY group presentation, it’s important to remember that you should add value to the discussion. Facilitate the discussion by asking relevant questions and expanding on others’ ideas. As you hear different opinions and voices in the group, synthesize the information and try to reconcile the different points of view so the team can move forward. Keep an eye on the time so your group doesn’t get caught presenting without having arrived at a recommendation.

Remember that the observers are also interested in your people skills in addition to your ability to solve complex problems. Hence it is critical to listen carefully, speak with a purpose, and involve everyone.

This interview format is fairly unique, but you can read more about it in our free guide on Group Interviews here.

MCO’s 5 Tips on Acing the EY Consulting Interview

1. Practice Live Cases and Solicit Feedback

Learning how to solve consulting cases takes time, but investing this time is critical if you want to land a job in consulting. Ensure you’ve mastered each of the 4 steps to solving a case interview. Make sure you are confident at structuring case problems. However, do not overdo it to the extent that you ignore the behavioral/fit portion of the interview.

Seek feedback from peers, interview prep partners, and mentors to understand where you are meeting the EY Parthenon’s bar and where you need to practice and focus further. Practicing with other people, whether current consultants or peers in the interview process, is critical.

2. Explore EY Consulting’s Values

EY Parthenon’s values tell you a lot about the type of consultants the company wants to hire. Prepare for your fit questions based on these values. Identify situations where you have exhibited these values and look for opportunities during the interview to showcase these traits.

Because EY consulting is looking for “nice” people, be sure to consider your behavioral/fit interview answers in that light. Make sure your stories highlight your collaboration and team-building skills. But like all consulting firms, EY is looking for good problem-solvers who also have leadership skills and are self-starters. Take time to develop stories to illustrate these skills. Practice these stories with interview prep partners until you have your answers polished (but don’t practice so much that they sound memorized or robotic).

3. Listen to the Interviewer

Listening is one of the most important skills in consulting. Listen to your interviewer’s instructions, feedback, and questions, and ask probing questions to understand the case. In the case of EY Parthenon group interviews, this skill becomes even more important. Listen to your peers and develop your own hypothesis as well. Then discuss with your peers.

4. Structure Your Thoughts

Structure your thoughts carefully and avoid going deep in a rabbit hole when solving EY case interviews. Involve the interviewer(s) in your thought process to allow them to gauge how well you structure your problems in logical steps.

5. Stay Calm & Collected

The EY Parthenon case interview not only tests your ability to solve problems, but also your ability to remain calm under stress, your listening skills, your ability to work in a team, and your reactions to difficult situations. Be prepared for your interviewer to challenge you and make sure your professionalism shines through at all times.

– – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • Difference between EY Advisory Services and EY Parthenon.
  • EY Advisory Services and EY Parthenon interview process.
  • How to prepare for EY Parthenon’s case interview.
  • How to develop stories for the EY Parthenon’s behavioral interview.
  • How to prepare for EY Parthenon’s case presentation.

Our 5 tips on passing the EY Parthenon’s interview process

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the EY Parthenon interview or the EY Advisory interview, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.

Other people prepping for their EY case interview found the following pages helpful:

Help with Case Study Interview Prep

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on consulting interview prep. My Consulting Offer has helped almost 85% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too. For example, here is how Nicole was able to get her offer from EY Parthenon.

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