Consulting in Deloitte careers blog
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Born in Sri Lanka, Sheree was adopted at three weeks old and raised in Northern Ireland. Now a Belfast-based Technical Business Consultant, she has inspired thousands as UK Expansion Director for Women Who Code, the largest non-profit in its space, with over 137,000 members globally.
We caught up with Chris Baker (working in Human Capital HR Applications and relationship manager for London Consulting’s charity partner, The Prince's Trust) after attending the One Young World summit in Bogota.
He shares his experience to date and his top tips for being a young leader. Check out his account below:
I recently attended the One Young World summit in Bogota and it was inspirational on many levels. The stories and achievements revealed by young speakers at the event were amazing, emotional, and humbling. And the one thing every individual had in common was their attitude to getting things done.
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.
We grabbed a few seconds with him and had a chat about his role and what impact the BUCS Deloitte Leadership Academy (BDLA) had on him.
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.
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.
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
Hello again. In the latest in our series of blog posts inspired by insight from our Chief Economist Ian Stewart, we look at how business confidence is putting recruitment of talent back on the boardroom agenda.
The UK economy has delivered many positive surprises in recent months, with the latest GDP data showing that output was 3.1% higher in the first quarter of this year compared to a year earlier. This represents the fastest pace of growth since before the financial crisis, and has beaten most economists’ forecasts for growth.
These strong output numbers have reflected many of the results we have been seeing in our CFO Survey recently. Risk appetite among the Chief Financial Officers of the UK’s largest companies rose to a six-and-a-half year high in the first quarter and our index of economic and financial uncertainty has fallen by a third over the last year.
Encouragingly one of the biggest improvements we have seen recently can be found in CFOs expectations for the jobs market.
In the years following the financial crisis CFOs have been fairly pessimistic about the outlook for new jobs in the UK. Between the third quarter 2010 (when we first started asking CFOs about their views or hiring) and the end of 2011 an average net -16% of CFOs believed that UK corporates’ hiring would rise in the following 12 months. Over the same period only a fifth (+19%) of CFOs thought there would be a rise in hiring, compared to more than a third (+37%) who thought hiring would be scaled back.
Pessimism about hiring peaked at the end of 2011, when a net of -71% of CFOs thought hiring would fall in the following 12 months. Astonishingly, not one of the CFOs that we surveyed in Q4 2011 thought employment would rise in the following year.
The views of these CFOs – who typically represent around a third of the UK equity market – were borne out by the employment numbers that followed. Throughout 2012 employment growth fell steadily. Year-on-year growth in employment fell from 1.4% at the beginning of 2012 to a low of 0.1% at the start of 2013. A total of 206,000 workforce jobs had been lost through 2012.
The good news is that our CFOs expectations for hiring have changed in a big way in the last year. Optimism about hiring reached a peak in our latest survey, for Q1 2014. A net +81% of those surveyed believe UK corporates’ hiring will increase over the next year, with an average reading of +58% for this indicator over the last four quarters.
So far the recovery from the financial crisis has not been driven by businesses investing in hiring new staff, capital expenditure or discretionary spending. The fact that CFOs are now so bullish about expanding workforces in the next 12 months bodes well for the UK jobs market and for the sustainability of the recovery we are seeing in GDP.
You can keep up to date with the economy as it shifts by subscribing to the Monday Briefings at http://www.deloitte.co.uk/mondaybriefing
And of course, we'll have another in our series of Economics & Employment blogs to share shortly.
After graduating from university, I was hit with a decision faced by all graduates, one to which only the lucky few know the answer; what’s my next step? I’d graduated in Mathematical Economics and Statistics and I wanted my first job to be relevant to my degree. I wanted a job that would give me the opportunity to use and develop the skills I’d invested in. The only problem was that I didn’t have a clear grasp of how my degree was directly applicable to a specific career.
When researching Deloitte I was attracted to the culture of Consulting and the firm itself. I decided to apply, and while completing the form was confronted with the list of competencies. Out of fear of selecting a competency that could mean the knowledge I’d acquired from my degree going redundant, I selected Actuarial & Pensions Services (APS).
In my first year in APS I worked on a number of small, technical actuarial engagements but spent most of my time on a larger, cross competency project. On this project, I worked with and got to know a team from Analytics within the Technology competency. I found the data architecture work they were doing a lot more interesting than the technical reviews I was used to, and compared to the smaller teams I’d worked in in APS, I enjoyed the culture of working in a larger team.
At the end of my first year I approached some of the contacts I’d made during my time working with Analytics, to discuss a possible move at the end of the 21 month Analyst Programme (the graduate scheme). They put me in contact with the head of Data Management (DM), who was very approachable and friendly. After an informal discussion, we were both keen on the move, and it became a simple HR process. I moved at the end of the 21 month programme, and joined DM as a Consultant.
Three months later I’m happily working on a Finance and IT transformation as part of another large, cross competency team. Taking a moment to reflect, the move has helped me realise two things.
The first is that I worried about the application of the academic knowledge I’d learned at university, and forgot about the other skills that university teaches you. Since moving to DM, my logical and analytical problem solving skills are being challenged daily.
The second is that the people at Deloitte care. APS, the competency who had hired and trained me, didn’t stand in the way when they saw I would be happier elsewhere. Technology (and DM in particular), the competency who hired me knowing I had little experience, were helpful, friendly and supportive of the move and made the whole process remarkably easy.
When you start with Deloitte you’re encouraged to quickly expand your network to find project opportunities. It’s always interesting to me, as this happens, how quickly individuals write-off industries or projects as something they don’t have an interest in. In reality, I’ve found there’s something interesting and unique about every industry – and with the variety of projects we provide across the spectrum, I truly recommend people give something new a chance.
- First, focus on skills: I have no interest in cars (can barely tell the difference between them) but I was surprised how much I enjoyed a project with a global car producer where I had the right process experience to help them set-up a new business unit in the Middle East & Africa. You can switch experience between industries with more ease than you’d expect.
- Second, think long-term: Experience across multiple competencies is something that will only make you more well-rounded as you grow in your career. Take interesting opportunities as they arise and you’ll quickly discover that trying something new is what keeps this career fun and challenging - previous experience is what provides future opportunity.
And most important…it’s all about people: When you’ve found great people to work with, you’ll realise the challenge and excitement comes from the team around you. When you’ve found a great manager (or above) to work with – take a chance on the project itself, you’ll most likely be surprised how much you enjoy it.
Sarah, Manager, Supply Chain Consulting.
Whenever I attend a Graduate Recruitment event at a campus and mention that I am from Technology Consulting, there are always some people who recoil in horror. “I want to be a Consultant,” they tell me, “but not in Technology. I can’t do Technology.”
I think this comes from a perception that Technology means you will be sat in a dark, dimly-lit basement coding C++ endlessly with only coffee for company. This could not be further from the truth. A career in Technology Consulting at Deloitte is so wide-ranging that you can easily enjoy the job and succeed with little or no technology experience. (However, you can spend all your time coding if that’s your thing!)
Technology is all around us – and some of the developments that have happened and are due to happen in the next few years are very exciting. Some of the current trends, such as Wearable Computing, will genuinely revolutionise the way we work. Working in Technology at Deloitte means you can be responsible for enabling some of this significant change.
I had no formal experience with technology – other than studying IT at GCSE years ago. My Management degree at Lancaster had no core technology modules. I’ll admit that my choice of Technology was mildly swayed by the fact that the Consulting Industrial Placement, which I joined, was only offered in Technology – but I have not looked back ever since.
Some of the engagements I have worked on have been fascinating. Most notably, I worked on a project in the public sector helping the CIO at the client define his IT strategy for the next five years. Others have included building internal websites for a large client in the retail industry, and helping a major global bank with their strategy for Records Management (essentially, helping them understand what documents they have. As it turns out, a large global bank has a lot of documents). And the best bit – I managed to avoid doing any coding until I actively seeked out work where I would do some.
Full training is provided, including some studying towards the British Computer Society qualifications – so you will feel confident in Technology in no time at all.
Joining Technology at Deloitte was a decision I am glad I made – the rapid progression being made in different technology fields and industries is fascinating and there is no better way to experience it than by being part of it.
Jack - Technology Consulting