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.
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.’
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:
Actively seek it out on an ongoing basis.
Actually listen to and digest the feedback - ask questions or request examples if you don’t understand it.
Put a plan and timescales in place to tap into strengths or work on development points identified.
Ask your colleagues for support in implementing any changes identified.
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.
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.
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.
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.