Five tips for success for women considering careers in IT

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 22/10/2014 at 3:44 PM in Careers, Graduate recruitment, Recruitment, Summer Vacation Scheme, Talent, Technology Permalink Comments (0)

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Shilpa Shah, a Director at Deloitte and leader of the firm’s Women in Technology network, is a passionate advocate of tech careers for women. Here are her five key tips for female students who are considering getting an IT job when they graduate.

 

 

Get behind and beyond the name

Shilpa says, ‘Technology sounds a tad dull compared to, let’s say, consulting or investment banking so the first thing to do is research and understand what a career in technology actually means. Everything that we use, everything that keeps us connected, every service we benefit from is influenced by technology.’

She highlights the great variety of roles available within IT and points out that they are as varied, subject to change and fast-moving as technology itself. ‘Because technology affects everything, working in it means you can see the effects of what you do quicker than in most other jobs. So it’s far from dull.’

Be passionate and show passion

Women who are pursuing IT careers should let their enthusiasm for technology come through in their applications and interviews, Shilpa says. ‘It’s a fact of life that good businesses always support passionate people who are genuinely interested in the work, and willing to try different things. So, during the application and interview stages, show some passion and excitement about technology!’

Work experience is good, however long it is

It goes without saying that work experience is useful for job hunters, not just because of what they learn on placement but also because it gives them examples to talk about at interview. Shilpa highlights the range of work experience opportunities on offer for students to take advantage of, from insight days, career fairs and campus visits to events such as IT’s not just for the boys!, run by TARGETjobs Events specifically for women undergraduates.

She stresses that students need to make sure their work experience is as broad as possible, and draws attention to the value of networking: ‘However long you work in technology, you should always have the same goal: to talk to as many people as you can, learn about what they do and start networking with them and their colleagues.’

Technology needs women

Mixed-gender teams are more effective than single-gender teams, and technology employers are well aware of the business case for recruiting female graduates. Graduates who have studied subjects other than IT are also welcome. As Shilpa puts it, ‘Women from all degree backgrounds will find the door open and a warm welcome waiting for them.’

She explains, ‘Technology is an enabler for change and the people who are successful have to deal with people, processes and technology. Undergraduates with non-technical degrees who are good with people and processes need to pick up the technology in the same way that technical grads need to develop people skills.’

But women need to believe...

Research suggests that some female students are less confident than their male peers. Leading businesses that are keen not to miss out on talent attempt to counter this and support their female recruits by developing networks that enable women to share experiences, get support and develop their careers.

Shilpa says, ‘Women undergraduates should seek out organisations that are committed to equality and diversity; organisations where women are in senior roles and are passionate about supporting new graduates at the very start of their careers.’

The Women in Technology (WIT) network at Deloitte that Shilpa leads organises mentoring, seminars, training courses and events with external speakers, and also works in schools.


The importance of feedback.

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 10/10/2014 at 4:37 PM in Careers, Experienced hire recruitment, Graduate recruitment, Recruitment, School Leavers, Talent Permalink Comments (0)

Since joining Deloitte I have become aware of the prevalence of giving and receiving feedback and its importance. However, aside from being relevant to the formal appraisal process and promotion prospects why is feedback so pertinent?

First, it allows others to provide you with invaluable information about your performance, how you work with others, and how you can become better at what you do.

Second, whether it is positive or constructive, feedback triggers self-reflection and willingness to learn or change.

In Deloitte, feedback is given through a number of channels, both formal and informal. For example, feedback can be requested through an online performance management system or by email. Alternatively (and arguably more usefully) feedback can be gathered through ongoing informal chats where it is immediate, personal, and facilitates two-way communication.

You can and will get feedback from virtually anyone in the organisation, and even externally from clients. To prevent - or at least minimise - the rush of the year end process, I would recommend actively seeking out feedback over the course of the year, capturing everything whether it be an official feedback form, or a seemingly insignificant email from a client saying “great job – well presented”. This broad range of feedback from different viewpoints and perspectives will help to give you an overall picture of your strengths and weaknesses.

So far, I have been recognised for being proactive and managing my time well in challenging project situations. However, improvement points have also been raised including having a fuller understanding of my overall client project rather than just concentrating on the activities in my work stream. Taking this on board, I now actively go and speak to team members across the project team to ask questions and gain insights.

One of the most useful, and memorable pieces of feedback I received was actually delivered to me by a Partner during my final interview in the recruitment process. While he admitted that he was hesitant to bring it up, he pointed out that I quite often blush. Is this a bad thing? Not at all, but it is something to keep in mind as some may perceive it as a lack of confidence. Working in a client-facing role, you can begin to see its relevance. By highlighting this, I am now conscious of when it is happening and can work to keep what my manager calls ‘tomato mode’ to a minimum!

My top tips for feedback would be:

  1. Actively seek it out on an ongoing basis.
  2. Actually listen to and digest the feedback - ask questions or request examples if you don’t understand it.
  3. Put a plan and timescales in place to tap into strengths or work on development points identified.
  4. Ask your colleagues for support in implementing any changes identified.
  5. Finally, when delivering feedback, be honest (but sensitive), concentrate on the facts, and prepare what you want to say.

I hope something here is useful and helpful to you.

Callum.


6 commonly asked questions at student recruitment events

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 15/09/2014 at 11:11 AM in Careers, Graduate recruitment, Industrial Placements, Recruitment, School Leavers, Summer Vacation Scheme, Talent Permalink Comments (0)

I’m a recent university graduate, in my first year working in the Transaction Services team in Leeds. In this blog I’ll let you know about my experience in the Deloitte grad scheme, and give you tips to help with your application. Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below.

Regards
Grant.

                                                                                                                                                                                    

In the last couple of weeks I have attended a few student recruitment events on behalf of Deloitte, and I noticed a few questions which came up time and time again:

1.       How can I improve my chances of my application being successful?My advice is to: do a thorough manual spell check of your application (automated spellcheck doesn’t pick up everything). Make sure your application highlights all of your transferable ‘soft skills’ as well as your academic record. Be well informed about the Service Line you are applying to. And, make sure you apply early.
I’ll be doing a later post which will set out in a bit more detail my top tips for getting a job at Deloitte, make sure to keep an eye out for that!

2.       When do I need to apply? There is no set deadline so apply as early as possible – applications opened on 1st July 2014, for the September 2015 intake and the sooner you apply, the better your chance of securing the role you want.

3.       Do I need to have a degree in Accounting or Maths? No. The more relevant your degree is, the more it will help your application, but I know loads of people of people on the graduate scheme with degrees in other subjects, ranging from Politics to Modern Languages.

4.       In what ways is your job different to your expectations? The work in Transaction Services is a lot more fun than I expected – it’s a lot more about general business skills than number crunching; my colleagues are from a wider range of backgrounds than I thought; and the atmosphere is more challenging than I expected - if you join TS, be ready to be pushed outside of your comfort zone.

5.       Do I need to have done a [summer placement]/should I do one? If you do one it will hugely aid your application. But, if it’s too late to apply for a placement, don’t be put off applying for the grad scheme – I and many of my colleagues got the role without having done a placement.

6.       I’m a foreign student studying in the UK - will Deloitte sponsor my visa application? There is no easy answer to this one unfortunately, as it depends on the specific circumstances. I suggest looking here:  http://mycareer.deloitte.com/uk/en/university/apply-now/work-permits. If you are unsure of your right to work in the UK without a sponsorship from Deloitte, I suggest that you check with the UK Border Agency website.


But what do you actually do in Transaction Services?

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 11/08/2014 at 10:28 AM in Careers, Corporate Finance, Graduate recruitment, Industrial Placements, Recruitment, Regions, Talent Permalink Comments (0)

This is something I get asked a lot: Most people have heard of mergers and acquisitions but have no idea about our role is in the process.

In simple terms our job is to investigate the target company of a potential acquisition. We analyse the company in order to assess its ongoing financial viability and identify any possible risks to the business. The general sorts of things that we are investigating (although it varies greatly from job to job) are:

  • Is the company profit making, with a healthy balance sheet and a positive cash flow?
  • Are the company’s projections of future profits reasonable: are they in line with historical trends? Were historical profits influenced by large one off items which are unlikely to be repeated? Have they lost any big contracts recently?
  • Are there any risks to the company which we can identify: have the owners underfunded investment in the company, in anticipation of selling up? Are the company overly dependent on a small number of key customers/suppliers? Are they owed a lot of money from a company which is struggling to pay its debts?

Every company is different, meaning every assignment is different making this not just a vital part of any transaction but also a fascinating place to work.

                                                                                                                                                                                

I’m a recent university graduate, in my first year working in the Transaction Services team in Leeds. In this blog I’ll let you know about my experience in the Deloitte grad scheme, and give you tips to help with your application. Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below.

Regards Grant.


What is the average Deloitte employee like?

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 28/07/2014 at 10:41 AM Permalink Comments (0)

I’m Grant, a recent university graduate in my first year working in the Transaction Services team in Leeds. In this blog I’ll let you know about my experience in the Deloitte grad scheme, and give you tips to help with your application. Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below.

 

If you’re anything like I was before I started Deloitte, you are probably currently picturing: a man, with a degree in Maths or accounting, and they’re probably a bit geeky. Now that I’ve met the other Leeds grads, and spent a month with my colleagues in Transaction Services, I can say that I was completely wrong…

There is a much wider range of people here than I expected. Of the new grads in Leeds there’s about a 50/50 split between men and women [(although Corporate Finance is fairly male dominated)]. My new colleagues come from a wide range of backgrounds, and with varying degrees.

The one thing that unites the new grads (and Deloitte employees in general) is that they’re intelligent, confident and personable – Deloitte obviously want people who can develop positive relationships with clients, and not just number crunchers.


Building a surprising career in technology.

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 16/07/2014 at 5:08 PM in Careers, Experienced hire recruitment, Graduate recruitment, Industrial Placements, Recruitment, School Leavers, Talent, Technology Permalink Comments (0)

If you’d told me a year ago I’d be working in Technology, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I studied Maths and Statistics at University and besides a little experience of statistical programming, I had no background in tech.  I have since come to realise that working in Technology means much more than programming.

It started when I began my final year statistics project at University. I realised that I was able to think creatively and harness data to create innovative solutions to various real-world issues. This small taster of the possibilities that exist within Technology led me to decide I wanted to enter into the world of Analytics, and embark on a career transforming data into insight.

I applied for the inaugural Deloitte Analytics Training Academy, a graduate recruitment scheme run in partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning and Belfast Metropolitan College. It offered the chance of a job at Deloitte’s Insight Studio in Belfast where analytics solutions are built for a wide range of clients. 

What struck me most about this particular programme was that it targeted graduates from any discipline. Indeed, together we made up an incredibly diverse bunch coming from a wide variety of backgrounds including English, IT, History, Finance and Fine Art to name a few. We all had in common that we were keen to make a go of it in the fast-paced, cutting-edge world of Technology.

Training was nine weeks of classroom based learning and a second phase of five weeks working onsite in the Belfast office, all designed to equip us with the skills and knowledge required for a career in Analytics.

The broad syllabus covered technical aspects such as SQL (a programming language designed for managing data) and fun exercises, such as finding innovative ways of displaying data to make it easily digestible and understandable for others - a crucial part of working in Analytics.

On completing the nine weeks it was clear that there are numerous areas in Technology that I could specialise in, and in that short space of time I had developed skills in many. I graduated from the first stage of the Academy, received a certificate from Minister Farry, the Minister for Employment, and was invited to join the second phase of the programme. We were asked to work on an exciting upcoming project and undertook a project simulation which tested everything that we had learned and more. The experience I gained was invaluable. Not only did I learn the basics of what elements make up a Technology project, but also how they  work together to be able to produce a successful outcome.

Following a Partner interview, 10 Academy participants were offered a job in the Insight Studio, including me. Having started work I can now see how the skills I  gained are invaluable and have already seen a number projects that I would love the opportunity to get involved with. This, however, is only the beginning and I know there will be a lot of learning and tough challenges ahead -especially given that the world of technology is ever changing.

I’ll keep you updated.

Sarah

Sarah is an Analyst Developer in Deloitte Analytics


"Halfway between university and a normal job."

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 10/07/2014 at 12:55 PM in Careers, Graduate recruitment, Industrial Placements, Recruitment, School Leavers, Summer Vacation Scheme, Talent Permalink Comments (0)

Hi everyone - it's Grant back for part two. I’m a recent university graduate, in my first year working in the Transaction Services team in Leeds. In this blog I’ll let you know about my experience in the Deloitte grad scheme, and give you tips to help with your application. Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below.

Anyway, back to that quote - "halfway between university and a normal job."

Before joining Deloitte, that is how someone described the grad scheme to me – to be honest I didn’t really know what they meant. After my first two weeks at college studying towards the ACA qualification, I’m beginning to understand what they were getting at.

I’m in college with the approx. 40 other Deloitte Leeds grads (mainly from Tax and Audit). It’s early days but there seems to be a really good group of us. The college work isn’t easy, and there is a lot of content to get through, but it’s a lot of fun being in college with all the other grads: once a week all the guys play football together, and Thursday/Friday nights a load of us go out in Leeds.

Having looked at my schedule, I’ll be spending about 1/3 of my first year at Deloitte in college (on full pay). I’m looking forward to getting into the office and seeing what the job is like, but I’m looking forward even more to my next stint in college.


Becoming a professional…

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 25/06/2014 at 5:36 PM in Careers, Corporate Finance, Graduate recruitment, Industrial Placements, Recruitment, Regions, School Leavers, Summer Vacation Scheme, Talent Permalink Comments (0)

Hello, I’m Grant and in 2012 I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Maths and Physics. After taking a gap year, in September 2013 I Joined Deloitte as a new grad in the Transaction Services team in Leeds.

Over the coming months I’ll be letting you know how I get on with the Deloitte grad scheme. Hopefully along the way I’ll be able to help you decide whether or not the graduate scheme is for you, and also give you a few tips to help with your application.

If anyone has any questions, post them in the comments section and either I or someone from the graduate recruitment team will try to get back to you.

And so to part one; Becoming a professional

All the 40 or so new Corporate Finance grads start out by attending the graduate development week. In a nutshell it was all about turning us from students and into respectable professionals.

During the daytime we had workshops and teambuilding exercises designed to help us: make a good first impression, improve our presentation skills, hold effective meetings, be an effective communicator etc. During the evenings there was a fair amount of networking (drinking).

The whole week was really fun - my highlight was a talk from TV Psychologist Judi James (those of you willing to admit watching Big Brother will know who she is). Having a physics background, I was pretty sceptical going in, but it was fascinating. It was full of tips and tricks to help you improve your body language and make a good impression on colleagues and clients.

The week has really developed my ‘soft skills’, I’ve made a load of new mates, and learnt to think about things in a whole new way.

And that was only the beginning. I'll be back soon with part two of the journey...


Ed’s Middle Eastern adventure part 2 - Getting hot under the collar

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 16/06/2014 at 11:05 AM in Careers, Experienced hire recruitment, Graduate recruitment, Recruitment, Talent Permalink Comments (0)

As month one draws to a close, I sit in Dubai airport with a large gin and tonic, contemplating what has just passed.  It has included spitting camels, football injuries, sand in brogues, waterparks, new team members on boarding,  inappropriate team member gym wear and, of course, long hours for all of the project team.

The Deloitte project team has grown to 18 members, with a client team of 80+ involved in over 12 separate workstreams. Relationships have strengthened and the as-is analysis of the first 17 companies in wave one of the project has begun, aiming to baseline existing support function service levels within the companies. Once the base-lining is complete, we can use the data to design and build the new Global Business Services company to integrate staff, process and technology into.

In parallel to all of this there have been work streams looking at how to set up a new company: Working with branding and visioning agencies to define the name, logo and mission statement for the brand new entity - all quite sexy stuff.  This vision has then been used to develop key design principles for the future organisation which will drive the operating model and organisational design – the next phase of the project.

It has been an incredibly busy month in the office, but at weekends we have had some time to kick back a little, enjoying desert camping and Abu Dhabi’s largest waterpark. As well as this, ‘sports night’ has kicked off with an inter-Deloitte football match, a closely fought battle ending in a draw, a sprained ankle and a need for the magic sponge!

It has been another great month on the project and as temperature, workload and deliverables increase, it’s certainly going to be a very hard next few months. I will keep you updated as we go.

Ed


A career in real economics.

Posted by Deloitte careers UK on 23/05/2014 at 9:36 AM in Careers, Consulting, Experienced hire recruitment, Graduate recruitment, Industrial Placements, Recruitment, Summer Vacation Scheme, Talent Permalink Comments (0)

This time last year I didn't know that any economic consulting transpired at Deloitte. Economic consulting was meant for other niche firms, not a Big 4 firm. Fortunately I discovered that situated within the Corporate Finance service line is an economic consulting branch which I had the opportunity to get first-hand experience of.

 

I was studying Economics and Management at Oxford University and was looking for work experience in the summer preceding a graduate economics program. After searching around I happened on Deloitte's economic consulting branch that were offering a 3 month paid internship, with the aim of getting involved in three distinct projects that would offer both breadth and depth. Perfect!

 

However, a healthy dash of scepticism led me to believe that I would be trawling through data, cleaning up PowerPoints and proof reading reports! The real work would be left for the 'real' economists. The first project that I was on did initially involve extensive research, but after the brunt of this was done I found that my opinion was valued throughout the whole process, and what I was actually doing was applying economic theory from my course directly to real life situations.

 

The project I was working on was to calculate the impact of a large tax rate on a certain product in an African country. We applied economic concepts such as demand elasticity and Gini coefficients to calculate the number of products that would be purchased at different tax rates. We also had to determine the impact until 2020. This meant that we needed to factor in the expected changes in the distribution of wealth, earnings, population, household size and access to electricity.

 

This is only one of the projects that we were involved in. A recent report from the department was featured in the Financial Times. Commissioned by eBay, it was assessing the impact of online sales on sales within brick-and-mortar stores. Our clients were surprised that we could apply robust economic theory and statistical analysis to make such substantive recommendations. We have also worked with other high profile organisations such as Facebook or Twitter. As corny as our department slogan sounds, we are actually 'bringing economics into the boardroom'.

 

After working on a number of other projects, a series of unfortunate circumstances meant that I didn't end up getting enough funding for my masters. But, as the department had been growing so quickly, they took me on as a temporary associate before I started the Masters in the following year.

 

Since then I was able to experience a wider range of sectors in which the department has expertise: health, energy and telecommunications. 

 

In my opinion, the key reason for the department's success is the people. A culture has been developed where I could approach colleagues to ask questions and get guidance to work out a problem. Every employee is assigned a mentor, and I have found that the process of mentoring has meant that I have had feedback on all my major projects; highlighting what I have performed well in, and given me development opportunities. The department also has an emphasis on organic growth so that this culture is retained, and hard work is duly rewarded.

 

All in all I feel that I have experienced some of what the economics department has to offer: I've been able to apply economics to real instances, in variety of sectors; I've met friendly, approachable and very smart people; and I now know a plethora of Excel shortcuts!

 

Peter, Economic Consulting