Finance alumnus Jan Bailyu now working for EY at Dubai Airports

“At Vlerick, I discovered my true passion”

In 1988, when Jan Bailyu obtained his Master's degree in Law, he had no idea that his career would have nothing to do with the law. It was only during his Special Licence (now called a Master after Master) in taxation and auditing at Vlerick that he discovered his passion for finance and laid the foundations for his professional path.

One step ahead

Jan Bailyu“During my Master's degree, I came into little or no contact with figures and finance,” says Jan Bailyu, Senior Advisory Manager at EY, one of our Prime Foundation Partners. “All the same, I was always interested in these areas. During my Master in Financial Management (which at the time was known as a Special Licence in Taxation and Auditing) at Vlerick, I came across methodologies for introducing structures to organise information and analyse data and I truly worked as part of a team for the first time. Not only did I discover that I had an aptitude for it, but also that I really enjoyed it. These experiences sent me down a career path which I might otherwise never have taken. I also made several friends for life at that time. Looking back, the year was a good investment and I was one step ahead of students who went into a job right away.”

“Not only did I discover that I had an aptitude for it, but also that I really enjoyed it,” Jan Bailyu, Senior Manager Advisory EY

Advisory

The School's intense collaboration with partner companies immediately gives you access to a comprehensive network. That's how I ended up in the audit department of EY, which was still Ernst & Young at the time, where I gained two years of experience. I then went to work for Sun International, a group which operated in the travel sector and included the tour operator Sunair and the airline Air Belgium. I spent my nine years with the group in various roles, including internal auditor. I went on to work for the Belgian subsidiary as a project supervisor and Quality & Operations manager and spent the last six months as CFO. I gained a lot of experience in a complex international context and increasingly found my path as a financial adviser. During this period, I often undertook assignments for affiliated companies and subsidiaries and was asked to help streamline them.” So the step towards consultancy was a logical one? “Yes, it was. I discovered that I could put all my skills to use in this role. At the end of 2000 I joined EY Advisory, where I initially helped medium-sized companies in various sectors, at home and abroad, with their management accounting. The assignments were very varied but were mainly aimed at providing the management with a better understanding of the costs of their products or services or the drivers which are important for pursuing and adjusting their strategy, allowing them to steer the organisation more effectively. Today, our strategy is more geared towards larger companies or organisations which often have a well-developed financial team. Assignments therefore tend to focus more on support or guidance during major transformation projects. For more public organisations, I can also apply my management accounting skills.”

Building a better working world

“The variety in my job gives me a lot of satisfaction. New clients, new projects, new countries, new cultures. I am currently working for Dubai Airports, a challenging assignment in which I can put my experience in the travel sector to good use. I am spending three months here with a colleague. My family is still at home, and I spend one weekend with them every fortnight. The way an assignment is structured depends on the client but also on what is feasible for the team. For example, with a previous assignment for the European Commission, I spent every weekend at home. During other periods, I mainly work from Belgium. I appreciate that things are different for everyone, but this is a good balance for me. I get a lot out of my work, I like passing on my experience to young talents within EY and feel it is important to do so, and I am also happy in my personal life. At EY, our baseline is ‘building a better working world’ with good reason. With each assignment, I ask myself whether I can offer sufficient added value. Can I genuinely turn this into something better? I am convinced that you can only implement our mission properly if you are also constantly evolving and improving as a result of the experiences which you gain.”