Matthew King 'Meet our Ex-Military People' article

After serving six years in the Parachute Regiment, operational tours in the Middle East and Northern Ireland as well as a lot of overseas exercises, Matthew initially transitioned from the military to the Financial Services sector before moving to a role in EY’s UK&I Tax business.

After the Army

I did a lot of networking prior to leaving the Parachute Regiment and was able to secure a role at an investment bank as a Business Manager. I wanted to utilise my technology, leadership and relationship management skills more though, so I moved to a contractor role within the MoD helping define and implement a fully-integrated Command and Control network for UK forces in Afghanistan. This programme experience meant that when I saw a role advertised for EY’s Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credits team I had the broad portfolio of skills and experience necessary for life in a professional services firm, but which industry experience alone wouldn’t necessarily have given me. In this respect, my military experience placed me in a great position.

My early role in the R&D team was focused on delivering R&D Tax Credit claims across the financial services sector and the broad range of clients found there, such as banking and insurance firms. Cutting my teeth in that sector provided me the foundation to take on growing the Aerospace & Defence R&D business, where my management, planning and interpersonal skills give me a definite advantage. Our R&D Aerospace & Defence team is growing successfully and is proud to provide R&D Tax services to a broad portfolio of clients ranging from well-known defence integrators to specialist small to medium enterprise (SME). My background gives clients confidence that we truly understand their sector and the challenges currently faced by their businesses – or in other words the gravitas necessary to win work with them in the competitive R&D marketplace. Internal to EY, I am able to leverage core project management and leadership skills from my military career that are important to building a new team. 

A key military philosophy taught to me was ‘Mission Command’ which at its most base is about not waiting to be told what to do, and this is helping me build the Aerospace & Defence R&D business at EY; The core exposure I have had to thinking through complex problems and delivering multi-layered solutions in my own personal style has been critical to achieving success. It’s great
that EY gives me the freedom to do this and I’m encouraged to work with the team in this way.

My advice is before you leave the military; seek advice from people who have trodden this path before you and their experiences of transitioning to a new workplace or professional services firm. Build and engage your own personal ex-military network and be thorough in choosing a role that suits your background and skills, but also your ambition.