As an observer at the Ernst and Young IA consulting challenge, I had the benefits\u00a0of speaking to the competitors as well as the organizers of the contest.\u00a0 The competition packet received by each team evidenced a well-structured test of consulting, analysis, and presentation skills.\u00a0 I approached the E&Y team during an intermission in the contest to inquire on how this competition maps to the qualities and skills they look for in potential hires.According to Bill Schaumann, Sr. Manager at E&Y, the challenge is designed to test one\u2019s problem-solving and consulting skills.\u00a0 \u201cThe IA Challenge addresses different business problems each year,\u201d said Schaumann.\u00a0 \u201cSince there is no constant set of variables, one\u2019s ability to assess a problem, formulate a plan of attack, solve the problem, and provide meaningful feedback is tested.\u201dMr. Schaumann's comments were elaborated upon by his team of E&Y advisors.\u00a0 Vicki Kamenova, Sr.\u00a0Advisor at E&Y and graduate of Walsh College emphasized the importance of consulting skills in the context of the Challenge.\u00a0 \u201cYou must be able to build a rapport with the client from the moment you step in the room,\u201d said Kamenova.\u00a0 \u201cYou must then present your assessment of the situation clearly and show how you add value.\u00a0 That is what we are looking for from the teams.\u201dProfessional consulting skills was a clear focus as my conversation with Ms. Kamenova\u2019s colleagues continued.\u00a0 \u201cThis is not a regular 9-to-5 job\u201d said one advisor.\u00a0 This became evident as they regaled me with stories of the recent engagements they completed.\u00a0 These stories illustrated the following traits that are valued by Ernst & Young. Consulting work is not for the timid.\u00a0 You must be respectful but also command respect from others. You be able to maintain composure and provide answers under all circumstances. The analytical mindset is common to most, if not all, E&Y personnel. My next blog post will profile the competitors, their approaches to the problem, and the lessons they learned.