EY develops professional development workshop exclusively for IST students

Jessica Hallman
January 03, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “The job market as a whole continues to engage and evaluate students earlier and earlier.”

That’s according to Ryan Ward, who graduated from Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology in 2010 and is now employed as a certified information systems auditor for EY. Recognizing that he could blend his position at a Big Four professional services firm with engaging young talent from his alma mater, he worked to establish the EY Signature Series, a professional development workshop designed exclusively for IST students.

“[The purpose of the series] is to help students understand their path and refine their skillset,” he said. “Whether they go on to work for EY isn’t the point. But when they go out into the workforce, hopefully they’ll be better workers and colleagues and community members, and that benefits all of us.”

EY hosted the series for the second time in the fall 2018 semester, which saw 21 students take part in three 90-minute sessions on executive presence, teamwork and communication, and global mindset. Advisory services managers from EY led each of the topic discussions with a group of College of IST students.

“I hope students get excited about their careers beyond college and really put into practice, personally and professionally, what we discussed [in these sessions],” said Amanda Huber, an IT advisory manager at EY who led the workshop on teamwork and communication.

Ward assisted in creating the professional development series to get students more engaged and prepare them for life after college. They specifically wanted to stress the importance of the skillsets that make up the foundation of the IST curriculum.

“The soft skills are the biggest part of it, especially in the College of IST where things are so technical,” said Ward. “Our goal is to help students engage with how they are going to take those technical skills and translate them to the environment they’re working in, or translate their technical knowledge to someone who is not technical.”

Students who participated in the series are already seeing these benefits.

“The series has not only allowed me to gain a greater understanding of where tech lies in consulting as well as audit and business strategies, but it has also given me an insight as to what Penn State IST students are able to do with such versatile degrees,” said Sydney Wehn, a second-year student majoring in applied data sciences.

“Some of the main takeaways I got from this series are that global thinking and how to perform on a team are very important skills to have,” added Ritika Bafna, a junior majoring in security and risk analysis. “Even if you lack a few skills from the job description, as long as you have an executive presence and are able to convey your thoughts in a healthy and constructive way you already have an upper hand.”

Ward has the unique perspective of being closely familiar with both the College of IST’s curriculum and ongoing trends in the industry. IST students have an advantage, he said, thanks to the college’s efforts that encourage students to continue learning how to learn.

“We talk about how technical skills and an adaptive mindset [are] going to be so big in the marketplace,” he said. “We are going to start hiring for a mindset rather than a skill. The College of IST is really fostering that.” 

Last Updated January 04, 2019