As a consulting firm, Protiviti is in the business of helping others. That’s our passion. While helping our clients is always top of mind, we place just as much, if not more, emphasis on helping our employees to grow their careers by providing opportunities to mentor, to lead, and to get engaged. Through Foundations, our entry level hiring program, we aim to deliver a customized series of meaningful experiences and opportunities that help our people uncover the things they are passionate about.
“I knew pretty quickly that I didn’t want to stay in Phoenix for my professional career,” notes Edward, who recently moved from the Phoenix area to San Francisco. “It gets up to 120 degrees and I wanted to get away from those scorching summers.” A success story from Protiviti’s Summer Leadership Conference, Edward’s path to joining Protiviti full-time in August of 2017 was an exciting one, complete with an internship in the summer of 2016. “As I was finishing up my academic career at the University of Arizona and starting to focus on my life after college, I had to really think about what I wanted. I was finishing up my business degrees and what I was really interested in was technology and working with people. For my sanity, I couldn’t be at a desk 8 hours a day — I needed more human interaction.”
Fast forward a few years and Edward, an Experienced Consultant, has now successfully cleared his first year in the corporate world — and we’re grateful that he has done so with Protiviti. I had the opportunity to catch up with Edward and get some insight into his experience with consulting.
This is Edward’s story.
Q&A with Edward
We’re excited to have just rolled out Foundations, which will help to deliver meaningful experiences and opportunities to our new hires. Can you talk a little bit about your own personal experiences in consulting thus far?
“Definitely. I’ve had some great opportunities at Protiviti so far in my career. As some background, I graduated with a degree in Management Information Systems and a specialty in Cyber Security. I was hired into the Internal Audit and Financial Advisory practice, which has been great and I’ve learned a lot. Ultimately though, because of my background, I really wanted to get insight into a more technical space. I remember sitting with our Security & Privacy Managing Director in San Francisco and talking with him about how I could become a resource he could call on in the future. One of the things that has always stuck with me is that he wrote me an email with all these resources – podcasts, information and ‘things you should know’. One of the things he sent me was information on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and I really started to study it and educate myself. Since then, I’ve had a few opportunities to work in the security space as well as the internal audit space.”
That’s pretty great to be able to have those conversations with leadership and it sounds like it was really useful to you in starting to steer your own career.
“It was, and the Managing Directors in our office really like to promote that they have an open door policy. I’ve always felt comfortable to stop in and chat. At the time, I was still a relatively new consultant, and I decided to muster up some courage and meet with this particular Managing Director when he was around in January of 2018. I introduced myself and mentioned that I had an interest in security and the rest is history. Keep in mind, I hadn’t really talked to him prior to that meeting and it was great to see that the open door policy Protiviti said they had was actually true!”
That definitely resonates for me as well, in being able to access leadership. You mentioned you had to “muster up the courage”, which I think is a typical feeling as a consultant. Seeing that it’s worked out well for you, do you have any advice to those just starting their careers?
“Don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone. And that might be cliché, but finding those opportunities is important. It can be a shock coming off campus and transitioning to your career. Getting in to the groove can take some time — that’s to be expected and it’s OK. Embrace and recognize that change. You’ll look back on this experience in a few months or years and you’ll see the value in the change that occurred. Enjoy the new and the exciting.”
I echo that! Now lets talk about project work. What’s been a favorite moment of yours so far on a project?
“A couple months ago, I was on a smaller Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) engagement and I was working hard to transition myself from that college student to a consultant. I was sitting in a meeting with our Protiviti team and the client, and I was representing the technology side. The CFO at our client’s company asked a question and I had an opportunity to walk him through the answer. I think it was one of the scariest and most intimidating moments initially, but it ended up being extremely rewarding, which takes me back to the advice I just offered. As a consultant, it was nice to have this realization that even though I was nervous, I knew what I was talking about and I was educated properly in that area. Looking back on it, you think about how you’ve learned a lot and come a long way.”
What about life outside of project work?
“I like that there are really supportive people at Protiviti. It’s a great network, especially in the San Francisco office. Some of the most impactful moments with my colleagues and mentors have been the “small ones” – the ones that have occurred outside of the office at happy hours or for coffee, even just the short moments when you’re grabbing something in the break room and management comes up and you get a chance to chat. I think those are the things that will stick with me the most in the long run. ”
People do make a difference and it’s great to hear that you’ve grown a great network internally.
“Exactly. And when you start at Protiviti, you also get advisors who will coach and mentor you. To that point, another thing I think is equally as important as taking advantage of those resources, is not to be afraid to have your own informal mentors. There’s so many people you can learn from and the varying perspectives are always helpful to have – and they keep you sane. They are reassuring, and that’s great to have.”
For anyone who is thinking about a career in consulting, I’d love to get your input on ‘why Protiviti’?
“The reason I accepted my offer and what keeps me at Protiviti is that I found myself surrounded by people that I knew I can learn from. From great project managers, to people who had strong technical skills, I knew I could be inspired by them and ultimately become a better consultant. I also have appreciated that all of my great mentors around me were more than willing to teach me. That combination of having really smart and driven people who are also invested in me and my career development is really special.”
Favorite Movie: “Lion King. You can re-watch that with the same nostalgia every time!”
What would you be famous for? : “It would probably be something really, really random. Something bizarre, like the world’s biggest rock collection.”
Favorite Song from the 2000’s: “Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes”