When Scott Penqué Jr. was wrapping up his dual degree in computer science and business from Lehigh University in 2005, he was interviewing for a job with PwC, and happened to meet a partner at the firm while on vacation.
“She actually stayed in touch with me throughout the process, and no more than 15 minutes after I received my offer, she was the first one to call and congratulate me,” said Penqué, still with the firm almost 15 years later. “That experience for me — a partner who took such interest in a student — was really special, and I’ve tried to give that back ever since and stay involved.”
That’s perhaps the strongest reason why Penqué, a Hoboken, NJ resident, is so excited to join the board of advisors for the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology. And as a director in PwC’s digital assurance and transparency practice, most of his day-to-day work involves leading a team charged with using analytics, visualizations and automations to empower clients to make better decisions through their data — the sort of work many Stevens students aspire to.
“It’s really exciting to be part of something that’s growing and doing something different — not just offering the business degree of old,” he said. “Stevens is setting students up for a different kind of career in a very different kind of workplace.”
Using data to improve client decisions
Penqué leads a team working in data analytics and IT audit support. He does a lot of work fostering relationships and explaining to clients how PwC’s services can make them savvier about their own data, improving efficiency and guiding better decisions. It’s a role that’s rooted in the technical business education he received at Lehigh, where he was among the first students to graduate from the computer science and business program.
“When they started it, I saw a balance of IT and business that was aligned with what I saw as future needs in the workplace,” he said. “That’s helped make me successful and is aligned with what Stevens is trying to accomplish.”
PwC has a long relationship with the School of Business — Penqué was nominated to his seat by his colleague, Brendan Dougher; the firm employs countless Stevens alumni and takes on many students as interns; and the company is sponsoring an AACSB International effort, led by Stevens, to update business curricula for the digital age. Dean Gregory Prastacos said he was excited to bring a new voice from PwC to the board.
“PwC looks at technology and sees the future of business, not the present,” Dr. Prastacos said. “Scott’s path to success is something many of our students hope to emulate, and I’m excited to welcome him aboard.”
Consulting is a popular field for new graduates at Stevens, and for students interested in this path, Penqué said, it’s important to bring a sense of time and project management to early assignments.
“In consulting, you’re thrown a lot, every day there’s a fire drill, and being able to quickly assess what the real priority is is a key skill,” he said. “Coming from an engineering-themed program taught me how to manage a work-life balance while taking 18 credits. I was talking to a partner and he said, ‘You’ve never done everything I’ve asked, and that’s why I like you.’ Eventually, everything gets done, but it’s so important to understand what the priority is.”
Ask Penqué what he likes about his work, and he’ll tell you the variety of challenges and the people — coworkers and clients — he meets, “even though that always sounds cliché.” But it speaks to his desire to help aspiring consultants and new hires grow in their roles and become successful.
“After all my time at PwC, I’ve seen students who I’ve recruited become managers and peers,” he said. “That’s pretty special. It makes me feel old, but it’s so rewarding to be a part of someone’s professional development.”