Since leaving EY 20 years ago, alumnus Michael de Kare-Silver has built a successful career running digital and tech ventures, and has been published extensively on digital transformation. Here he shares key lessons learned at EY and the value of the alumni network.
Q. You were with EY for 10 years. Tell us about your time with the firm and your proudest achievement.
A. I joined the firm in 1989 as an Associate Partner. I had been at McKinsey and then set up a new strategy consultancy firm, the Kalchas Group. EY took a 10% shareholding and we went on to collaborate very well together, introducing clients and sharing work.
My proudest achievement was opening our second office in New York (our head office was in London) and successfully building that up with the support and advice of EY Partners.
Q. What were the most valuable lessons you learnt at EY?
A. The value of collaboration. At the time, EY did not have a Strategy consulting capability and that was the piece that Kalchas Group could provide. It took a while for us all to learn how to collaborate, when to introduce to each other’s clients and to trust that we would respect client ownership.
Q. Since leaving EY you have successfully published several books on Digital Transformation. Tell us about your latest book ‘Winning in 2025: Digital and Data Transformation: The Keys to Success’.
A. Companies everywhere are looking to drive Digital Transformation. But research shows that 70% of such initiatives will fail. This book looks at the reasons for that, and the reasons for success. It seeks to identify the keys to successful digital and data transformation and provide a blueprint that can help companies navigate their way through these fast-changing times.
Q. Have you found your connection to EY helpful?
A. It is a privilege to be part of the EY alumni community. It’s a respected brand and firm, and mentioning my association with EY provides an instant credibility. I was also able to continue to be involved with other EY alumni and was invited to join a couple of new business ventures.
Q. Tell us more about the business ventures you joined.
A. In 2007, I set up MyFaveShop.com with Maurice Saatchi and John Clare as co-founding shareholders. The business was successfully sold after a few years to a pan-European B2C shopping portal. Tapping into my EY connections helped me at every stage: with EY introductions at the time of founding, building the team and selling it successfully three years later.
Q. What’s your top career advice?
A. Be prepared to experiment. The first thing you do may not be the right thing. Don’t feel uncomfortable about experimenting and changing course.
I trained to be a lawyer but found the practice boring. Book writing came on my radar through a chance conversation with a publisher at a friend’s book launch event over twenty years ago.
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