Here at Deloitte we believe your life outside of work is as important as your life at work, so much so that we support our employees in some of their extra-curricular activities. In 2013 Deloitte and British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), the national governing body for higher education sport announced the beginning of a brand new partnership. The partnership aims to identify and offer support to club captains and other talented students to develop their leadership, communication and team skills in a business context.
Oliver attended our annual BUCS Deloitte Leadership Academy in November 2014 and will be joining our 2015 graduate scheme in Consulting. He served as rugby secretary and Athletics Union President at Imperial College London, all while studying Chemistry with Molecular Physics and doing a year in industry.
Chemistry with Molecular Physics and a Year in Industry
Rugby Cub Secretary, Athletics Clubs Chairman
How has the BDLA supported you in your role?
BDLA has supported me in my role by equipping me with skills that have directly impacted how I work with and manage other volunteers. The whole two days in Hereford were fantastic and provided a great opportunity to meet both people in a similar position at different universities around the country and some really inspirational characters.
I'm still in touch with several and use them as sounding boards for ideas. Particularly useful was the second day; success depended on communicating effectively under intense pressure. Combined with the incredibly interesting negotiation training, I've been a lot more effective in my roles this year because of BDLA.
To find out more about our partnership with British Universities and Colleges Sport click here
Alex Bosshardt, a manager in the firm’s sports business group, has been involved in tennis from a young age and began officiating through the Junior Player programme set up by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). Deloitte’s Time Out scheme enables employees to take a four-week period of unpaid leave once a year, for any reason. Alex will take advantage of this scheme to officiate at the AEGON Championships at Queens, an ATP Challenger event in Manchester and The Championships.
Alex said: “Being able to take a period of unpaid leave to umpire at such a prestigious event as Wimbledon is amazing and really shows me that Deloitte is interested in the views and needs of its employees. I started umpiring in 2005, after being encouraged by the LTA as a former junior player. I now umpire at the event every year and was a line umpire in the Federer v Roddick 2009 final, a particularly exciting final to be involved in! Trying to work this around holiday always proved tricky and actually adds more stress to taking time off. I started working as a line umpire and I’m now a chair umpire, meaning the final decision of a game could rest on me – I need the time off to fully commit to the game.
“There is a real culture of change at the moment at Deloitte, and it is understood that people have family commitments, interests and hobbies outside of the workplace. People are grateful to be able to spend time doing the things they love, without having to justify the request to a manager. I believe it will encourage more people to stay at the firm, as it offers a great work life balance, which is what people want these days.”
We know that employees throughout our organisation want a more agile working pattern and really value time outside of work to pursue other activities, be that sporting activities, spending time with the family or just doing something they love but never normally have time to do. We also know that even though they want this time they remain serious about their careers - they just want a better balance between life and career. Addressing this issue has been a major strategic priority for Deloitte over the past 18 months, resulting in our WorkAgility programme, of which our award winning Time Out scheme is a key part. Our aim is to ensure that all our people are able to balance their lives with a successful and fulfilling career, that they are trusted to choose what works best for both them and the team, and that they are judged on output.
Find out more about our agile working at Deloitte here.
Why you got involved/what interested you into joining SID?
As a first-year student emerging from semester one, I had little clue as to what I wanted to do with my future so the opportunity to apply for a spring program where I could experience a professional atmosphere without having to determine a set career path was excellent. Deloitte appealed to me, particularly, because of their well-organised career events as well as the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the professionals who came along to them. I applied to ‘Spring into Deloitte’, thinking my experience would entail some teamwork exercises and perhaps a tour of the office but I honestly did not expect to leave feeling as inspired and motivated as I did, after just two days.
What did the event entail, what did you get up to?
Over our short time at Deloitte, we were given five insightful presentations about the different service lines the company offers. The most useful part to these was the case study exercises we completed. It allowed us to apply and expand our knowledge about the particular topic we were researching, whether it was on tax advice, auditing, consulting or even risk analysis, and it helped us to enhance our teamwork skills as well as our communication and presenting techniques. The skills and knowledge that I have picked up are invaluable to any important interviews, which I may have in the future. The feedback we were given, by the employees at Deloitte, was essential to the improvements we saw in our skills.
In addition to the Deloitte-specific exercises, we were given the most fantastic workshop on professional behaviour. The quality and expertise of the individual that spoke to us highlighted how much Deloitte valued our presence by investing in her time and skills. Furthermore, this talk was overwhelmingly useful as it opened our eyes to the effectiveness of adult behaviour and professional communication. This is something that, as young individuals, we have had little exposure to and yet it is a highly important element that we need to grasp in order to become successful.
At the end of the two days, we were given detailed information about the next steps in the Deloitte process and were able to prepare for a mock interview that we had during the final hour. The interview mirrored the format of the Summer Vacation Scheme interview and the interviewers, who were managers or senior managers, had actual experience conducting the proper interviews, themselves. This exercise left me feeling confident and prepared for the next steps and motivated to improve on what I had delivered. We received both professional feedback, which was detailed and highly constructive, as well as feedback from our peers, who were able to compare our interview to their own.
What did you get out of the whole experience?
Overall, I have left Deloitte feeling even more determined and prepared to pursue an exciting and successful career path. The two days allowed me to decide which service line I would be suited to and filled me with confidence that Deloitte will support my every step. Furthermore, the opportunity to mix both socially and professionally with bright, like-minded individuals has enabled the best outcome from the two days, by being able to bounce off different peoples’ ideas and learn skills through teamwork and cooperation. The Deloitte professionals who shared their fantastic stories have inspired me and it is clear that the company nurtures success on a global scale. The Deloitte team was very well organized, happy to be with us and probed us constantly for constructive feedback, so that they could improve even further. This whole experience has been instrumental in motivating me to take those extra steps towards creating a career for myself as well as providing me with unique insights into Deloitte and the professional world. I am so excited to see where Deloitte might take me and to potentially succeed and prosper within such a well-established company. ‘Spring into Deloitte’ has set me up with the foundations I need to do this.
A review from Katherine Wilson - First year student at Kings College London
Exam time can be a challenging period for a lot of students. Different students deal with it in different ways. We asked three of our BrightStart school leavers (Devon, Michael and Angharad) and one of our graduates (Nayema) how they got through it. Here’s a summary of what they said. Stand by for some invaluable tips!
Having been through exams yourself, what would be your best tips for someone who’s about to take them?
Start revising early. It gives you the chance to plan properly. It gives you time to spot gaps in your understanding and ask teachers or lecturers for help. It gives you the best possible chance of walking into the exam room feeling prepared and confident. It might be tempting to have fun now and revise later but the benefits of revising early are endless.
Practising past papers is also crucial. It’s no good memorising the entire syllabus if you can’t perform in a practical scenario. Practising papers under timed conditions will help you understand what the exam will be like on the day, and that’ll take some of the pressure off you.
Sounds cheesy, but DON’T PANIC!! A bit of pressure is good to motivate you to revise beforehand. But when it comes to the actual exam, you’re so much more likely to remember those little things you forgot to look over if your head is calm.
At Deloitte, how do you manage your time between work and revision?
Generally, work time is for work. And study happens around that, mostly at weekends. Waking up a little earlier at weekends and doing a couple of hours of solid revision really helps.
Deloitte’s study days are also brilliant. We’re allowed to take a number of days as study leave every year, so that’s a great way to take some time off just before exams to prepare.
What would be your three top tips for staying calm throughout the exam period?
Don’t just revise. Make sure every day has some non-exam chill time. Go for a long walk. Watch a movie. Take up a hobby. Do anything that gives you some head space.
Talk to people. As clichéd as it sounds, talking to other people who are doing the exams will help you realise that you’re not alone and that other people may be finding it hard too!
Eat and sleep normally. As tempting as it is to stuff your cheeks with chocolate, drink copious amounts of Red Bull and stay up until 4am cramming as much into your brain as possible, the caffeine rush that keeps you awake isn’t going to last forever and will leave you exhausted and with a headache – not ideal exam conditions.
What would be your top tips when it comes to time management around exams?
It’s all about planning your weeks in advance. See which days you can realistically fit revision in and stick to that schedule. Also, give your phone to someone else while you’re revising. You might actually get some work done!
Don’t forget to take breaks. It’s best to work for an hour or so, then take a 10-15 minute rest. Also, don’t waste too much time going over topics you know well. It’s better to know 5 topics well than 3 topics excellently and 2 topics not very well.
Have you got any tips for university students in the final stages of completing their dissertations?
Get as much advice from your mentor as possible. Make sure you arrange as many one-to-ones as you can.
Get someone to properly proofread your work and double check that your structure is logical.
Focus on having a strong first half, but an even stronger second half. People often concentrate on getting the beginning right, but the findings/conclusions can really make or break a good dissertation.
Work/life balance is important during exam time. What do you do to avoid getting too stressed?
Having a plan definitely helps. If things get intense, plan your weeks and then prioritise your daily tasks each morning.
Make sure you remember to take some time out. Exercise is great stress reliever. And even just spending a few hours reading a book or seeing friends can make a big difference.
At Deloitte, ‘make it happen’ (the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day) means putting our words into action and delivering on the commitments we have made to developing a more inclusive culture and achieving gender diversity. On 18th March, we did just that at our IWD event with guest speaker Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, Champion of Inspiring Women Campaign and Partner at Dechert LLP.
I had signed up to the Inspiring Women Campaign last year and have since been working with one of the London colleges to review CVs and organise a presentation for female students interested in Engineering. Needless to say, I was keen to attend the event and brought along a couple of my clients. They hadn’t quite realised how inspiring the evening was going to be!
I was genuinely proud to see how much we are “giving back” as a firm (Deloitte Access in collaboration with Teach First, the Micro Tyco Challenge), and was pleasantly surprised when Emma Codd, our firm’s Managing Partner for Talent (and mother of twin girls), introduced Miriam to the stage and shared that Deloitte had supported in developing the Inspiring Women Campaign platform which matches volunteers with schools.
(The Deloitte Access programme is designed to raise aspiration, support achievement and provide opportunities for students in low-income communities. To date Deloitte has supported over 5000 young people and over 1000 Deloitte volunteers have got engaged with the programme).
Blogging about Miriam’s passion and how she inspired a number of us in the room, doesn’t quite do the evening justice. I hadn’t seen Miriam speak before, but her ability to engage us and get her very important messages across was impactful. Miriam encouraged us to whip out our phones and sign up to Inspiring Women Campaign, promising to reply to each new volunteer. (How many events have you attended where texting and emailing is encouraged by the key speaker!) The campaign aims to encourage girls to “block out the noise” – the labels and expectations, speak up and aspire to be leaders in whichever field they choose. By matching women in organisations like Deloitte and other industries, with schools across the country, the campaign is changing the aspirations of young girls.
Megan is one of the young girls who has been inspired by the campaign after a visit by Miriam and other public figures to her school. Megan and her Careers advisor, Maxine, both spoke very passionately about the impact the campaign had on them and the wider school – so much so that the boys were asking for an Inspiring Men campaign! The campaign has been a success with 15,000 volunteers and 250,000 girls already, and interest from 10 other countries. So what are you waiting for? Sign up.
We were all left inspired and the buzz of energy was palpable when we moved to networking drinks. It was also great to see members of our Executive team at the event. Nick Owen, Vice Chairman, Consulting Partner and advocate of our Women in Leadership programme, was inspired by our panellists:
“What an inspiring panel of speakers. I’m proud our firm played a key role in developing the Inspiring Women Campaign platform; the impact of the campaign on female students is critical to businesses like ours. The campaign’s success is testament to the passion shown by Miriam, the campaign team and volunteers. A shining example of how to really live this year’s IWD theme of ‘Make It Happen’. ”
I really enjoyed the event and my most important take away is that although IWD is an annual event, we each have the duty to contribute to inclusion and diversity on a daily basis.
“It doesn’t get more inspiring than hosting an evening with Miriam and her Inspiring Women Campaign to acknowledge and celebrate International Women’s Day. We are grateful for advocates like Miriam, Maxine and Megan who work tirelessly to help build a sustainable pipeline of female talent, open doors and create a legacy that young women can aspire to. Their drive, passion and genuine commitment to make a difference in this space make them inspiring role models to us all. It was a fantastic evening and a great way to connect with both our Women’s Network members and our firm’s clients.”
Do you want to make it happen? Don’t just read this blog and (hopefully) feel inspired to act - volunteer now. #IWD #MakeItHappen
Nneka Orji is a Manager in Consulting within our Strategy & Operations practice. She has been with the firm for 3 years and has worked on a number of Financial Services and Oil & Gas engagements both in the UK and internationally. Within the firm, Nneka Co-Chairs our Multicultural Network and is an active contributor to our internal Consulting Women in Leadership newsletters.
Being born and raised in the north of England, the grand plan was always to return from the capital to the fairer half of the country. Joining Deloitte in 2011, I then got engaged to a fellow northerner and we both knew we wanted to eventually journey back up north before raising a family.
As the time approached and we planned to begin a family, concern over working arrangements made its way to the top of our life agenda; however, in conjunction with that, an improved focus on agile working became a prominent Deloitte strategy.
Discussions began with my very niche London-based team. I didn’t want to leave and they didn’t want to lose me considering the significant progress we’d made in my three years with them, but the north was calling.
The team therefore broached discussions with the Leeds office around the possibility of a transfer to Leeds, while remaining within my team – something the team in Leeds were very willing to accommodate. Clearly every situation is unique and what I’ve been able to achieve could not be guaranteed for everyone. But the firm is committed to working closely with you to try to find a solution which works for everyone.
I live within a one hour commute of the Leeds office, as was the case in London, but now we’re near both our families. I’m also pleased to announce that we have a child on the way (due next month). Thanks to Deloitte’s flexibility and open communications between the London and Leeds offices, we were able to move in our own time with much less stress than is usually the case.
Taking into consideration the strides made by Deloitte in relation to technology, the implementation of Desktop Anywhere (allowing me to log in on my personal computer) and the accessibility of the internet from almost everywhere, working remotely is now a doddle. Coupled with secure methods of logging in and your own responsibilities surrounding data protection, the ease with which we can work from whenever, wherever (to coin a well-known Shakira phrase) means that I can meet both firm and client needs, without losing any quality or quantity in output.
As is the case with any role, it is considered important to maintain regular contact with your team, and although I am 200 miles away from them on a daily basis, we maintain regular contact via audio and/or video technology, shrinking the distance and maintaining the bonds that were present whilst I was physically in London.
One of my major clients has also benefitted from my relocation, reducing their journey time to visit me. (Plus, the lunch in the Leeds office received great informal client feedback!)
Finally, the Leeds team deserve thanks and appreciation for making me feel so welcome. Not only were senior management very accepting of my relocation and flexible around dates, but the wider team have made a real effort to get to know me and remind me of my inner-Yorkshireman (in most respects a good thing!) As we don’t work on the same clients, this may not have happened naturally and I appreciated them taking that time to make the transition easier for me.
As I say, everyone’s story will be different but I can vouch for how hard the business will work to support you.
Dan Conlon is a Manager in our Tax team based (now) in Leeds
Situated in the heart of Britain’s IT corridor, the Reading office presents fantastic opportunities for graduates interested in developing careers working with a truly diverse client base. Our people find themselves in a unique position where they are provided with the opportunity to work with a variety of companies ranging from the largest FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 brands to privately owned fast moving entrepreneurial business across all industry sectors. Our globally diverse client base provides our graduates with opportunities to coordinate with our other UK as well as global offices, thereby assisting their development as a 21st century professional.
The Reading office is the largest office outside London and has around 600 people working across all four of our service lines (Audit, Tax, Consulting and Corporate Finance). This means the opportunities to learn and grow are endless.
We encourage our people to work with their counterparts in other service lines right from the start of their career with us. We offer office-wide initiatives to promote networking to help develop business and professional skills vital to everybody’s success (which also leads to developing some lifelong friendships!).
New joiners can expect a wealth of support upon joining Deloitte. Every new joiner is paired with a ‘buddy’ who mentors and offers support in the initial weeks and months. There are regular training sessions and constant professional development is encouraged and delivered across the grades.
Aside from the fantastic professional development opportunities, Reading is at the forefront of leading our Corporate Social Responsibility projects. We have both formal and informal charity support arrangements in place. We encourage our people to actively participate in such opportunities and the firm allows each individual to spend 3.5 hours each month specifically on community investment projects. Our office often participates in “Community Investment” days – where the whole office spends a day with a number of different charities in the region doing things like painting, gardening and building – just giving something back to our local community. Our people also have the opportunity to participate in a number of nationally acclaimed charity events – be that the annual Paralympic “Ride Across Britain” event or climbing Kilimanjaro!
Given the unique size of our Reading office, each graduate is presented with the fantastic chance to gain greater exposure to senior members of teams and therefore enable them to interact and gain experience from them on a regular basis. As a firm we are supportive of agile working and our people are actively encouraged to take advantage of the flexibility the firm offers us
The Reading office is the ideal place of choice for anyone looking to explore differential opportunities within the Big 4. Our size and breadth means that we can offer an unparalleled opportunity to all of our people to professionally develop in a way that’s personal to them – allowing each individual to achieve their career and life aspirations.
Anita Grant, Tax Partner in Reading
Anita is the Partner leading the SE Executive Remuneration team and has been advising remuneration committees and companies on reward strategy, share and incentive scheme design, and developing tax efficient and commercially effective pay structures in the UK and many other jurisdictions for over 15 years.
This is the first of a series of blogs that I am writing to give prospective joiners an idea of what life is like during the first few years of the Deloitte graduate scheme. A new blog will be posted every month, each with a different theme and perspective, and you can keep up to date with my new postings by following the graduate careers team on Twitter: @DeloitteUKgrads and Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourfutureatdeloitteuk
This first blog aims to give you a taste of what a month at work is like for me by taking you through my experiences in the past four weeks.
First taste of managing
I have just been given the results of my last professional stage exams. I’m relieved to have them out of the way, but its straight back to work! November started with a few days returning to a big retail client.
It was my first experience of mentoring a new joiner, a fresh responsibility for second years that involves answering lots of questions and making sure that they leave on time for the evening’s exam prep.
There have also been plenty of other opportunities to meet some of the new joiners in our buddy group meetings and department socials. The buddy groups combine four people from each year group together and the group leader organises regular socials in the bar below the office.
Another new experience that week was working directly with a partner to finish an audit from October of a small subsidiary company. As it isn’t normally the task of a second year to finish an audit file, this was a steep learning curve!
The next three weeks were split between audits at a law firm, a restaurant group and a marketing company in the heart of the city. At the marketing company I enjoyed developing a good working relationship with the FC by discussing what the key challenges and opportunities are for them and their strategy going forward.
It’s not all about work
It’s been far from all work and no play in November. The bi-annual pub quiz took place, and in a team of my intake we showed that we still had a lot to learn on our general knowledge beyond sports and geography. A few beers definitely helped to console our poor performance!
A few days later, having a meal at a Peruvian restaurant was an excellent way to celebrate the end of a demanding summer job, and a good chance to relax with colleagues outside of the audit room.
Deloitte has a wealth of social club and sport opportunities to get stuck into and meet people beyond the department. November saw the final mixed hockey match of the year at Battersea Park in fog so thick you couldn’t see the other side of the pitch.
Playing hockey with other departments and against other companies has been a great way to meet new people over some pizza and beers in the local pub afterwards. The hockey team is now looking forward to defending the annual Corporate Games trophy in June.
Ross graduated from the University of Bath in 2013 with a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Having worked as an engineer in two aerospace companies, he decided to pursue a career in accountancy following his degree for a different challenge with excellent future prospects. Following a brief summer of travelling in South East Asia, he joined the London audit office as a member of the Consumer Business corporate group. Since joining, he has passed the first 12 exams of the ACA qualification and works with clients across London and the South East in a variety of industries including retail, manufacturing, professional services and marketing.
Testimonial from Parvin Badalbayli, Deloitte Micro-Tyco Student Challenge participant in February 2014
"I initially applied to the Deloitte Micro-Tyco Student Challenge because I was intrigued by their newsletter, which presented the challenge as an “opportunity to unleash your inner entrepreneur”. On February 1st, I found myself in a room with four people and £1, thinking of ways to make as much money as possible. Over the next month, we organised dozens of sales all across Nottingham and events such as a pub quiz and a club night, generating a total of £1389.
In March, we were told that our team came fourth in the challenge, meaning that we all got the opportunity to do a two week Easter internship at Deloitte in London. We were then supported to apply for the Summer Vacation scheme which I also took part in. At the end of the summer I ended up getting a graduate role offer before I even started my last year in university!
I encourage everyone to participate in Micro-Tyco because there are so many things to take away from it. Firstly, you get the chance to put your business skills into practice. Then, whilst organising events, you get to meet many new people from different courses and year groups that you would never have met otherwise. You also get to work with a Deloitte Coach that helps you expand your network and understanding of how the business world works. The challenge also changes the way you think about investment and profit. You begin to realise that all you need is to spot a ‘gap in the market’ and provide that missing service. And finally, the money you earn goes to WildHearts, who are doing an incredible job helping women in developing countries realise their dreams and improve their families’ living conditions through microfinance.
The main advice I would give future participants is to really give every money making idea a chance, because as we have learnt - the simplest things are often the most profitable. And, on a more practical level: plan in advance. Even though the challenge starts in February, there is nothing stopping you from discussing ideas and driving responsibilities ahead of time."
Emma Codd joined Deloitte 17 years ago and is the Managing Partner for Talent, a position she juggles alongside her client-facing role.
Fifteen years ago, if you’d asked Emma about her career aspirations, she would never have thought of being in her current position as a Partner at a Big 4 firm. But her rather quirky credentials – she studied history at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies at University of London – coupled with her experience in business intelligence and single-mindedness when it comes to something she feels she can sink her teeth into, are exactly the kind of attributes that the firm is seeking in its future stars.
‘Opportunity – that’s what I saw when I joined the firm 17 years ago,’ says Emma, who besides being the Managing Partner for Talent is also a Partner in the firm’s Forensic and Dispute Services practice, where she established and now runs its Business Intelligence Services.
‘I couldn’t believe the clients that I was going to work with and the travel options I was being given and that’s how we inspire people coming here,’ she says adding that she was an unlikely executive of a Big 4 firm when she first graduated. What Emma was sure of was her need to have a passion for whatever she chose to do; to be fulfilled in her work – a perspective she was taught by her parents.
‘That is the basic rule that I have lived by,’ she explains.
‘I was lucky that I found something that I liked doing and it turned out that I was very good at doing it and then I’ve stuck to this rule. I stuck to it when I came to Deloitte and when I became a Partner and was offered opportunities to work on wider projects, I would consider those very carefully and only took those that I was passionate about and that I knew I would make a difference on.’
Innovators, entrepreneurs, those with a more strategic way of thinking – they are all being sought by Deloitte’s Talent team.
‘We want to attract people who may rule themselves out on the assumption that we only look for highly numerate people, when that’s not the case. People describe us as an accountancy firm and of course we are, but we are also a leading consultancy practice, a leading tax advisory practice, a leading corporate finance practice and each of those practices has a huge array of client services within it. So while we do expect a good level of numeracy we also offer great opportunities for people who have a leaning towards the arts and social sciences for example, and I’m proof of that. Of course we welcome the people who only ever wanted to work in professional services. But I didn’t do the careers fair stuff at university, I was the last person who would have thought about that – and yet I have ended up on the Executive of a Big 4.’
It’s important to the recruitment teams that Deloitte leads the way along this new path from alternative pools of talent into the profession but they also want to ensure the traditional paths to the right people remain open.
‘We are just looking a bit wider, opening our eyes a bit more,’ says Emma.
Once at the firm, there’s a commitment to retaining the best people, through flexible and agile working practices. As a working mother herself, Emma knows how it feels to have an unexpected home commitment – and even had to call off a meeting with the CEO when one of her children was sick.
‘We based our recently launched agile working initiative on three principles. The first one is, judge me on output – don’t judge on presenteeism, judge on what I produce. The second one is open and honest communications, and then the final one is around trust and respect . And we have to trust the people we work with. Sticking to those principles will ensure we have something that works for everybody. The most successful forms of flexible or agile working are those that work for the person and the team.’
Typically firms have lost women when they can’t get the flexibility that they need but Emma emphasises the need to encourage men to take up flexible, agile working too.
‘I have men in my team who are equally open that they want to go to their child’s sports day or other events. We want people to know that they’ve got that work/life balance,’ she says.