How learning to talk to “celebrities” helped me land a job at Deloitte

By Avalon D'Souza

Staff Accountant, Audit

My name is Avalon D’Souza and I want to humbly thank you for taking the time to read my story on how I got into this amazing firm. My hope is to inspire you to dream big and dance with your fears.

I remember this moment like it was yesterday. Every year, our university would host this huge event where students would dine with industry representatives. As a second year student, I wasn’t excited about this event at all. In fact, I was just the opposite – I WAS FRIGHTENED TO THE BONES.

I spent two days practicing my elevator pitch, opening conversations, transitions, closing statements and much more (yes I am insanely analytical when I’m in panic mode). The big day finally arrives and I find myself standing in front of the banquet hall stating affirmations like “you got this”, “facing your fears is the gateway to success” and I even rapped Eminem’s entire 8 mile song to pump me up. I took a deep breath, opened the doors with a smile and followed my plan: making small conversations and exchanging business cards. Everything was going great, until I saw a Deloitte rep and suddenly I had the, you guessed it, “brain fart” (term coined by my best friend when your brain stops functioning).

A little background: has your favourite celebrity ever sat next to you at a restaurant, but you find yourself completely out of words? Well Deloitte was my celebrity at the time. During high school, I remember sitting on the steps outside of the Deloitte Toronto building, watching people in their suits strut with confidence. And I was like wow, I want to work for this firm and walk like them. To be honest, it was entirely the reason why I chose accounting #dontJudgeMe #highSchoolMentality #tooMuchSuits.

Back to the event. I was too scared to approach my celebrity crush. I dabbled in conversations with everyone else to hopefully find the motivation to approach them. When that didn’t work, I ran to the washroom and re-read my “opening lines” cue cards like 100 times. The event was about done and word on the street was that the Deloitte representative was about to leave. “Now is the only time Avalon.” I took a deep breath, walked with confidence straight up to the representative with my hand pulled out to shake his hand I said, “Hi Mr. Boldie. My name is Avalon D’Souza and I’m currently chosen as the CA Ambassador for UTM by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. I realize that you have to leave so I’m hoping you could share your business card with me so that I can ask you some follow up questions about the firm via email. Here is my business card.” He looks at my business card, looks at me and then says, “So you are a CA Ambassador. Tell me more about what you do in this role.” I was shocked! My celebrity crush was actually interacting with me. I was screaming like a Justin Beiber fan on the inside. We continued the conversation for half an hour, talking about our passions, the culture at Deloitte and my leadership and teamwork skills.

Afterwards, I attended a couple of Deloitte mock interviews and got into the Deloitte National Leadership conference (highly recommended), which translated into a summer internship and then a full-time role. I’m now one of those individuals walking down the streets of Toronto in my suit, strutting with confidence because I work in this amazing firm with challenging and talented colleagues. Thank you for re-living this memorable journey with me. Like the representative, I now invite you to showcase yourself on Deloitte Canada's social media channels because we’d love to know more about you!

Avalon is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce with an accounting specialization. He is currently a Staff Accountant at our Toronto practice.

Avalon D'Souza - Staff Accountant
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