Guest post by Talia Haller.
Walking into Paccar on March 1st, there was a little extra static in the air. First of all because there happened to be towering black, white, and green balloon tunnels outside the two main entrances. But mostly because it was Deloitte Day. This day had special meaning to me since I actually accepted an offer to be a full-time Strategy and Operations Business Analyst for Deloitte starting in the fall.
As a student, it can be confusing to understand the full array of opportunities within a company and intimidating to network with professionals at high-level firms. Deloitte makes it easy. Over 30 Deloitte professionals with varying roles and levels of experience, including high level executives, volunteered to come out and engage with students. Recruiters, technical experts, and consultants alike were there to answer questions and share their experiences. In fact, the day was said to be the largest, most impactful, cross-functional, and memorable recruiting and faculty interaction event that Deloitte has taken at UW to-date.
The day started out with Swag and Donuts, continued with Deloitte Speed Dating, included a presentation from Seattle’s Managing Partner Edward Thomas, and ended with a taco-n-mockarita-fueled networking reception.
I was blown away by the friendliness, enthusiasm, and genuine desire of the Deloitte professionals to get to know UW students. I went to a special Q&A session that brought together a diverse selection of 30 student leaders and focused on how Deloitte could improve their student engagement efforts. This session included high-level executives like Chief Financial Officer Pete Shimer, Managing Partner Edward Thomas, and Principals Mark Horn and Tara Hall, among others. While I was expecting a more one-sided Q&A, I was pleasantly surprised by how real the conversation became. Here were these executives and they were asking for our input, truly desiring to understand our perspectives and how they could be of help to us. What’s more, they were great listeners, building off of our ideas and explaining initiatives that were already in the works. For instance, a pilot program in which Deloitte partners with colleges to create curriculum designed to transition students right from college to consultants, somewhat overstepping the entry level analyst position. Many potential ideas came to light, such as an MBA mentorship program and consulting club advisory support.
What really stood out to me about Deloitte Day was their effort to promote inclusion on all fronts, from ethnicity to gender to religion. It’s not just something that Deloitte’s mission statement says, but something that is clearly a priority to top level management. Not only does diversity in the workplace create an inclusive environment, but research has actually shown that it makes companies more successful, noted Managing Partner Edward Thomas. This concept has led Deloitte to become part of an effort called “onBoarding Women” in order to get more women in boardrooms. As a future Deloitte employee, I am incredibly proud that they are taking this initiative. I even got the chance to start a conversation with Carrie Miceli, a Managing Director who is also the Seattle Office Inclusion Leader, about potential opportunities for me to help promote women inclusion and mentorship.
I also got the opportunity to hear from CFO Pete Shimer, who made an inspiring comment: he stated that conversations around gender inclusion can’t just be about increasing women-to-women mentorship, they need to encompass the full spectrum and make men just as big a part of the picture. Instead of creating gender-specific sides, it’s important to encourage supportive crossover. For example, creating an environment where it’s not just women supporting women, but men-to-men, men-to-women, women-to-men, and women-to-women mentorship.
On a final note, one story from Managing Partner Edward Thomas’s speech really stood out to me. Talking along the lines of growth, he recalled a conversation with his dad: I told him I had just finished two years of practicing law. His dad had responded, “Did you just finish two years of practicing law? Or did you just repeat one year of practicing law twice?”
It was a powerful reminder to always keep challenging yourself and to continue learning. Don’t get stuck in a rut where you’re just doing the same thing over without gaining new depth and understanding. My desire to continually learn and experience is actually what drew me to consulting. I loved the fact that you work on different projects, for different companies, in different industries, in different areas of the world, and with different teams. You never stop learning.
All in all, it was a fun, thought-provoking day full of networking and great food. I am so appreciative that Deloitte provides this opportunity for students to be able to learn from industry professionals and help us begin to envision our life after college.