Financial Services Careers

Assurance Careers | The move to Ireland has been great and I look forward to many new experiences – MJ’s Story

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MJ Marais is an Audit Senior in our Assurance team, focusing on Banking & Capital Markets. MJ joined us from EY Johannesburg in July 2021. Below you can learn more about his career journey to date, and what it was like moving to a new country with a family of four.

“I am from a small university town called ‘Potchefstroom’ in South Africa. My family and I arrived in Ireland in July 2021, during the Covid 19-pandemic. Fortunately, we were able to find accommodation and a great school for the kids quite quickly, which helped us settle into our new life faster than we expected.

Auditing wasn’t my initial career path. I initially completed a BA degree in Arts & Communications. Fresh out of university, I joined my girlfriend (who, in the meantime, also became my wife) for a working holiday in Ireland. During this time, we spent time in Galway where I worked for Subway, making sandwiches. After about 4 months, we left Galway and went to Dublin, where I got a very interesting job at Photo-Care doing darkroom photographic prints for the Irish Times. My time in Dublin is the source of many great memories, and I always knew I would love to return someday.

Back in South Africa, I opened a photo retail store, which I ran for about 15 years. After a while, I felt like it was time for a new challenge, and I decided to venture into more corporate work. Being from a business background, Chartered Accountancy seemed a good option and I started a full-time CA degree in 2013/2014, completing my postgrad through distance learning and concluding my degree in 2016. I did a short stint at the Auditor General before joining EY Johannesburg and worked as Assistant Manager before making the move to EY Ireland Financial Services in 2021.

During my time at EY Johannesburg, my wife and I started toying with the idea of relocating overseas, as we believed it would be an enriching experience for us as a family and present new opportunities career-wise. Ireland was a relatively easy choice, as we already had a ‘history’ with the country, but also because of practical reasons. As English is the first language here, my family and I didn’t need to learn a new language. Furthermore, Ireland has a very good education system and a high standard of living. Ireland is also quite accessible for South Africans who are eligible for a critical skills visa, and as the spouse of a CSEP, my wife is able to work without a work permit. As an added bonus, Ireland also offers a more straightforward path to citizenship than most other EU countries.

The process of securing a role at EY Ireland was relatively straightforward. EY facilitated most of the steps involved with moving, and also arranged my Critical Skills visa. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there were lots of logistics involved. Emigrating with a family of four is no joke, but fortunately we managed. EY’s relocation package and support really made this challenging time so much easier.

Thus far, my time at EY has been provided me with a great opportunity to grow my professional skill set. When I arrived in July 2021, in the midst of Covid 19 restrictions, onboarding was quite unique, but EY was very supportive and provided me with the necessary equipment very quickly  – such as a computer workstation. I’ve only started going to the office a few days a week recently, and I’ve been enjoying the opportunities for some face-to-face interaction with my colleagues, as remote working can become a bit isolating.

Recently, I’ve been working on TDGF Investment Bank – which has been rather challenging. This experience pushed me to approach my workday differently. I’ve also had to assume new roles and manage new tasks and expectations. Overall, it has been a learning curve providing a combination of delegating, planning, strategizing, and loads of auditing. I would definitely recommend EY Ireland Financial Services as a place to work as I have acquired many valuable new skills within a dynamic financial services context. There really has been a lot of growth in the industry in Ireland, specifically FS.

Something to keep in mind about making the move to EY Ireland is that Dublin is a small city and therefore easily navigable. The commute to the EY offices is relatively easy from anywhere in Dublin. The Irish culture is generally very open, welcoming, and friendly. South Africans may find that there are quite a few cultural similarities between themselves and the Irish. Another big bonus is that Ireland is part of the EU and Europe is very accessible from here – this brings lots of great traveling opportunities. However, it’s not even necessary to cross the borders, as Ireland is a beautiful country with some magnificent landscapes, so definitely worth exploring!

Overall, the move to Ireland and EY Ireland Financial Services has been great, and I look forward to many new experiences. ”


We are currently recruiting for a number of positions within our Assurance team across all levels.  To learn more about Assurance Careers in EY Ireland Financial Services, read our People Stories here and explore our current vacancies here. You can also check out our Assurance Mobility Hub here.