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Deloitte team members from left to right: Ella Kemp (BrightStart), Andy Gardner (Summer Vacation Scheme Graduate), Katie Barrows (Scholar), Zoë Dexter (BrightStart), Victoria Elkins (BrightStart), Claire Siviter (Talent Director – South Region) and Hugh Knudsen (Scholar).
Zoë is a BrightStart Apprentice working in our Reading office. Zoë identified that when giving careers advice, her school placed a lot of emphasis on traditional university routes and lacked awareness of alternative pathways. To try and remedy this, she proposed the idea of an essay competition, designed to challenge local students to consider a wider range of school leaver opportunities. A small team, led by two of our BrightStart apprentices, pulled together to make this happen. We caught up with Zoë to find out more...
Victoria Pearce, Director at Deloitte in the Forensic Technology team shares her experience on returning to work with Deloitte.
Victoria said "I joined Deloitte Forensic in 2000 and in 2011 I started my maternity leave and subsequently took a 3 year career break following the birth of my daughter."
"Earlier this year I was contacted by Deloitte via the Women in Leadership initiative and asked if I was interested in returning to work at Deloitte. Following a number of discussions and interviews it became apparent the opportunity was too good to miss. Deloitte have implemented an agile working policy which enabled me to return to Deloitte Forensic Technology as a part time worker in their growing St Albans team. Flexible working allows me to work remotely to ease child care issues and to spend quality time with my daughter, here we are standing in muddy puddles – just before jumping!"
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.
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 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 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.
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...
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 https://www.deloitte.co.uk/mondaybriefing
And of course, we'll have another in our series of Economics & Employment blogs to share shortly.
Part 4 – The Interviews
We run two interviews as part of the selection process. Both are looking for different things from candidates but neither should be too stressful if you get yourself prepared.
Competency Interview - Relax and you will be grand!
This interview is usually conducted by a manager. Think of plenty of examples illustrating core skills and qualities as outlined for your service area (at least 2-3 examples per quality) and the interview should be fine. By thinking of lots of examples you will prevent repetition. Always be mindful of potential follow up questions! Just remember to keep calm!
Examples of some questions that may be asked:
Describe a recent situation where you had to build a relationship with a new colleague
Tell me about a problem that you solved and how you solved the problem? Why did you choose that method?
Have a look online and see other types of competency questions- the key here is examples and plenty of them, so get thinking!
Partner Interview- do not fear, Stef is here (I am sorry that is really quite cheesy but it rhymes)
The partner interview can vary in content. The partner will be looking to assess your career motivation, so make sure to have a solid answer for this. The partner may even ask you about the research you have completed for the role, or for any other roles you have applied for, so be prepared for every eventuality.
Use STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) as a way of framing answers.
Read up on current affairs, grab a Financial Times and be prepared to share some snippets that interested you. And that’s it. With the Partner interview completed your application is completed.
Good luck folks! I hope these tips have been useful.
Part 3 – E-tray
Firstly, it's not that bad, but I can feel you are all practically groaning at the concept, so here are a few pointers:
The exercise is split into two areas, Inbox and Written exercises.
These exercises are focused on;
- Time management and the ability to delegate and prioritise time
- Client focus and adaptability
- Analytical skills
- Negotiation skills - being able to consider several options
- Decision-making capacity
You can practice for the E-Tray exercise here:
TIP- move your task bar to the left/right of your computer screen to be able to navigate the inbox effectively
Respond to 21 emails in an inbox. Don’t worry, at the beginning there will be quite a lot of content that you will need to read, but when you are familiar with the content you will be quicker and finding key bits of information and responding to emails.
A lot of the emails are multiple choice - there are some mathematical questions but these are quite basic.
Make sure to address the email appropriately, come to a logical conclusion and prepare the report in a succinct and well-structured manner.
Be very careful about spelling and grammar as a spell check isn’t available during this part of the assessment. It might be handy to have a dictionary nearby!
When these are completed, if successful you’ll move onto the final stages – the interviews. We'll look at these in Part 4.