Ben Bing is a Manager in EY's Advisory services practice and based in the firm's New York City office. Prior to joining EY, he was an Officer in the United States Navy, where he spent 11 years as a Naval Aviator and staff officer. Ben is currently on a one year U.S. Navy Reserve mobilization at the United States Central Command Headquarters in Tampa, Fla., where he is working in the Operations Directorate as a Joint Fires Element Planner. He earned his B.A. in history from the University of North Florida and is expected to earn a MBA from the Keenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the Spring of 2018.
- What tips would you give to other veterans looking to enter the professional services industry?
Whether someone served four or 24 years in the military, transitioning from active-duty to a professional services firm career will be a challenge in many ways. My tips would be:
• Build your résumé to articulate past roles and responsibilities that easily translate to the civilian world.
• Take advantage of veteran-focused hiring and networking events sponsored by the organization you're interested in to establish contact with the right recruiters. Most professional services firms, like EY, have recruiters that specialize in hiring veterans. Seek out these specific individuals!
• Prepare to interview in a concise manner that demonstrates your capabilities through practical examples from your military career. Explain how you worked with diverse groups or how you led a team to success on a specific task or job.
• Once you join an organization, be ready to operate outside of your comfort zone and meet other veteran colleagues to learn more about how to best succeed in your new role and within the organization — don't forget, they went through the same process you did!
As veterans, we possess strong leadership skills that we honed during numerous overseas tours or deployments, which can help us succeed in the professional services industry. However, veterans tend to lack industry or firm-specific subject matter, so it's important for them to aggressively aim to learn the business and job responsibilities. Patience is essential during this learning process, but as long as veteran professionals employ the same resilience learned while serving, they'll emerge stronger professionally.
- What are some key skills you learned in the military that have helped you succeed in your current role?
The two most applicable skills I learned were how to bring order to chaos and the ability to make decisive decisions in challenging situations. As a Navy EP-3E Aircraft Commander (Pilot-in-Command), I had final decision authority for safety of flight onboard a 24-person, multi-engine reconnaissance aircraft. We tirelessly trained to pilot the aircraft safely, perform during emergency situations and make authoritative decisions. The ability to be decisive has routinely applied to my current role at EY.
Service members are too often dropped into highly chaotic situations with little guidance and are expected to achieve results immediately. This situation is so common during a military career that it is essentially considered normal. I honed my ability to bring order to chaos while serving in the Navy and have adapted this skill to help plan, organize and prioritize projects in my current role and with my teams.
- What tips would you give to veteran professionals in terms of looking for a mentor or sponsor?
Take advantage of all resources at your disposal. Numerous non-profit organizations exist to help veterans connect with mentors and sponsors. Find the right organization and allow them connect you with a mentor or sponsor. Use LinkedIn to build your professional network and be confident when requesting connections and reach out to people you might not know. Most will be excited to assist a transitioning veteran. Lastly, within your organization, attend as many networking events as you can and ask your managers about new assignments that you're interested in or would like to learn more about. Through internal networking, you may be able to find a mentor or sponsor within your organization as well.