Careers Pathway – Alexandra Chan, EY

Name: Alexandra Chan
Current Role: Cyber Security Executive
Current Organisation: EY

 

Tell us about your education… did you go to University? What did you study?

I studied Computer Forensics at Northumbria University. Originally, I was looking to study
Biomedical Science at Manchester but found that Northumbria offered the Computer Forensics
course. It was a bonus that it was at home for me, I was also interested in computers. I enjoyed
the forensics side as I used to watch CSI a lot when I was younger so this made me feel like I was
investigating something interesting, but it was never like what it was on TV.

What Service Delivery Centre did you begin your career in, what was your role there and what attracted you to the role?

I joined EY in Advisory Service Delivery Centre in January 2016 as a Cyber Security Associate. The
Cyber Security team was brand new to the Newcastle department and there was an opportunity
to work with a variety of clients and work streams. This, coupled with working for one of the
largest professional services firm in the world attracted me to the role.

What did you enjoy most about working in a Service Delivery Centre?

I enjoy the opportunities to work with a variety of clients, delivering projects for a number of
globally renowned companies. This has helped me build client relationships and understand client
requirements and flex to client requirements. I experienced how different cultures and countries
have a variety of rules and regulations and how they apply to what we do. This also increases skills
in problem solving issue using my own initiative, find the best outcomes and how we can make
things more efficient. Alongside client work, EY offers a wide range of Networks such as Mental
Health, Unity, Asian networks. This has a big appeal to me as it is so important to understand
different cultures, help support others, knowing where you can reach out to when needed.

Did the organisation offer any support, development initiatives or other opportunities to help you progress your career?

EY has provided me with opportunities to develop my technical knowledge by supporting me in
taking multiple professional industry recognised qualifications. EY takes pride in initiating and
nurturing colleagues in their personal and career development. Not only does this provide me
with support in general but it also enables me to gain knowledge from other experienced
colleagues. EY also provides mentor/mentee relationships which can enable colleagues to connect
from around the world, sharing their knowledge and getting to know the wider firm. The
invaluable experiences shared between colleagues coupled with the technical qualifications have
allowed me to hugely enhance both my workplace and everyday skills.

Tell us how your career progressed from your first Service Delivery Centre role to your current position:

The beauty of EY and the Advisory Service Delivery Centre, is that no matter what your position is
you will have exposure to a wide variety of work and clients. Since joining in 2016 as a Cyber
Security Associate, I have been fortunate enough to complete two professional Cyber Security
qualifications (CISMP and ISO27001 Lead Auditor) and study towards CompTIA Security+. Since
being promoted to an Executive in 2017, I have been playing a project lead role in many Third
Party Risk Management projects as well as taking a prominent role in project financials,
community and charity work and other internal projects. In 2017, I had been given an opportunity
to become part of the EY Smart Futures Programme, whereby I act as a mentor to a school leaver
by providing my advice and expertise.

What advice would you offer to anyone studying a non-tech-based subject, who is interested in a career in tech related roles?

Never be afraid to pursue a career that interests you. Everyone has got to start from somewhere
whether it is later in life, don’t let anything stop you. There is always help and support if you
choose to seek it. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

What’s next for you?

I am currently studying towards my next Cyber professional qualification CISA to further my
knowledge. There is still so much for me to learn and I know that I will gain and develop new skills
within the Advisory Service Delivery Centre.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“Always make the first step yourself, never wait for opportunities as opportunities do not wait for
you. If you fail, never give up. Sometimes things happen for a reason you may find that reason but
you may not and it may lead to other opportunities.”

Catch the latest @north_biz In Conversation with Andrew Doubtwaite, CTO @virtualarmour. Find out about emerging threats and any differences between the states and Europe. youtu.be/ou9NpSpJ1xo

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