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Ernst & Young Consulting Challenge – The E&Y perspective

May 04, 20092 mins
CareersIT Leadership

As an observer at the Ernst and Young IA consulting challenge, I had the benefits of speaking to the competitors as well as the organizers of the contest.  The competition packet received by each team evidenced a well-structured test of consulting, analysis, and presentation skills.  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’s problem-solving and consulting skills.  “The IA Challenge addresses different business problems each year,” said Schaumann.  “Since there is no constant set of variables, one’s ability to assess a problem, formulate a plan of attack, solve the problem, and provide meaningful feedback is tested.”

Mr. Schaumann’s comments were elaborated upon by his team of E&Y advisors.  Vicki Kamenova, Sr. Advisor at E&Y and graduate of Walsh College emphasized the importance of consulting skills in the context of the Challenge.  “You must be able to build a rapport with the client from the moment you step in the room,” said Kamenova.  “You must then present your assessment of the situation clearly and show how you add value.  That is what we are looking for from the teams.”

Professional consulting skills was a clear focus as my conversation with Ms. Kamenova’s colleagues continued.  “This is not a regular 9-to-5 job” said one advisor.  This became evident as they regaled me with stories of the recent engagements they completed.  These stories illustrated the following traits that are valued by Ernst & Young.

  • Consulting work is not for the timid.  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.


Steven F. Fox provides security guidance to ensure compliance with Federal standards and requirements as a Senior Security Architecture and Engineering Advisor for the IRS. Fox contributes to multiple working groups including the IPv6 transition team, Developer Security Testing workgroup and the Security and Privacy workgroup. He brings a cross-disciplinary perspective to the practice of information security; combining his experience as a security consultant, an IT Auditor and a systems engineer with principles from behavioral/organizational psychology to address security challenges. He is a syndicated blogger covering IT Governance, Risk Management and IT-Business fusion topics. He also volunteers his time to the Ponemon Institute and Security BSides Detroit. Follow him on Twitter - Join his LinkedIn network -