Life at Deloitte
Interview with the Deloitte Global Project Challenge Alumni
On 31 July 2015, the Deloitte Global Project Challenge has come to end. It was the first time the Project took place in Kazakhstan. We asked its alumni Marina Stramaus, Dilmurat Sultanov, Dmitriy Kim and Inkar Yerzhanova to share their experience during the past month.
My time at Deloitte was my first real experience of working in a big company. I was involved in an academic capacity on the global “Who is doing what in the legal world” project. I had four people in my team: one from Gibraltar, one from Bangkok, one from Germany and one from Beirut. I got on well with my mentor, who was in touch with us every day through Lync (PDA) and email, constantly exchanging information interactively. In addition to weekly calls, we kept in constant contact with other group members, even though we were scattered all over the world.
In the office, I was involved in developing a credentials database based on experience gained from another department and the automated preparation of client proposals in PowerPoint through Excel, using macros. It took a lot of effort, but my basic knowledge of Excel helped me a lot. In addition, I was often asked to help in other areas, for example, a colleague from Astana asked me to help her prepare some documents. It was all a great experience.
The main thing that pleasantly surprised me in Deloitte was the friendly atmosphere in the office. I felt the corporate spirit everywhere. Even the furnishings are in Deloitte blue and green! My green scarf was a great help on my first day as it immediately helped me become one of the team (laughs). Honestly speaking, I had heard that the Big Four sucked the “juice” out of everyone, turned you into a zombie. Not so! Even when I had to stay late, I did not feel that I was tired, either morally or physically. My brain was a bit tired, as I had been working hard all day. The work itself more than lived up to my expectations. It was interesting, and every time there was something new to do.
Sometimes clients asked a question to which there was no single answer, meaning I had to look for the answer, read information and find a solution.
I'm still studying and this year I will be completing my 4th year at university, studying taxation! At Deloitte, during my first week and a half, I had tax training with experts, managers who work in tax every day. They taught me how it was in practice. I hope that the invaluable knowledge I gained here will give me an edge at uni! (Smiles)
The global project in which I was involved was the World Economic Forum client playbook. The purpose of the project is to create an effective strategy to attract new clients during the World Economic Forum in Davos. I was the coordinator of our team.
In addition to this project, I also helped senior tax consultants with various projects. In principle, I was not afraid of routine work, as there’s no shame in an intern making copies all day, but the work I was doing was not boring. Especially when at the end of the day, you sum up what you have done today, and you start to think, how else you can approach the problem - what angle can you approach it from. New ideas always inspire me.
One of the tasks I performed during those few weeks began with a single file, a single register, which we started to complement with analysis. As a result it has become a valuable tax analysis tool. It's really cool when you create something new from scratch, creating a real product.
Another thing I learnt was how important the quality of product presentation is. Before, I could not have imagined how important design is in selling a product and how it deserves no less attention than the product itself. Delivery is the professional’s business card. Clients want to see quality work at all stages and in all respects.
I also really enjoyed the atmosphere in the office. Actually, I did not think that the situation in an office could be so friendly and relaxed. I don’t mean in the sense that nobody had anything to do, but in the sense that is wasn’t as strict as at university. Everything was different, even though everyone was responsible for themselves, teamwork was also very important to the overall result.
This is why Deloitte values and emphasises teamwork. When a colleague asks you to help, you take the time to help. Nobody will refuse to help you either. You really feel that the team is behind you. You feel secure and confident.
Overall, any internship, especially one like that improves how you approach your work, and I'm sure that it will open more doors for me. I really hope I can stay at Deloitte as a consultant. I am most interested in finance, strategy and operations.
On my first day, like anyone else experiencing something for the first time, I was a little worried. What was most different from what I imagined was the actual work. I thought that it would be more “back-office” like, i.e. making photocopies or coffee. In practice, I was involved in real projects for clients. When you work on real projects and share responsibility, the feeling is completely different.
I was involved with an experienced colleague in a global "Mass Tax Data Analysis" project analysing competitor success in the area. So, if I had any questions, I was always able to ask them for advice. For the project, I also had a great mentor, probably the best! (Laughs)
I had something different and interesting to do almost every day. There was never a moment when I had nothing to do. In fact, the opposite was true, as soon as I finished one thing, I always had something else to do, often in a bit of a hurry. My days were never empty, but not so that I felt stressed or, conversely, doing something dull and routine. Everything I was given to do was a challenge for the brain - a test of my ability to find a creative solution.
I discovered that it is important not only to find the answer, but also to present it properly. My friends and I are now trying to start a joint business, and of course preparing a business plan. I understand I need to pay more attention to presentation as we will be working with investors. To be honest, we hadn’t taken into account the tax component in the business, but now I realise its importance and can use it to my advantage.
I believe Deloitte really does have a corporate culture that promotes friendliness and openness. During my internship, I worked with the internal legal department, the corporate finance department. Everyone was very responsive. I also made great friends with the other interns. Before I applied for the internship, I was lucky enough to read an interview with Mark Smith and I am now very much in agreement with what he said about the atmosphere at Deloitte.
I was asked to work in team number 12 in the Deloitte People Network project. The objective was is to improve the facilities of the Deloitte social network, based on a detailed analysis of similar platforms such as LinkedIn, HeadHunter, and the local HiPO. Working with me on the team were people from Malta, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Almost every week we had a call to discuss progress.
Our working day began at 9 am with instructions from consultants and managers, if there was something urgent, we would start with them. Then a quick lunch and after that back to work. Two days a week were devoted solely to global projects.
In the office, I was involved in preparing client proposals. I had not done anything like that before, and I enjoyed it. At university, I had not tax courses, so the experience was, of course, great.
Before my internship, I thought that office work would mean the same thing every day: going to the same office and sitting at the same desk ... but it turned out to be much more interesting and to have a life of its own.
I also thought there would be barriers preventing us from addressing managers or partners directly. There weren’t any, and we even went to lunch with one of the partners, when he invited all of the interns out.
We felt like one big family, with senior staff taking care of us all the time. At the same time, there was something new in the office every day: picnics, charity events and competitions. Every day was very intense.
At Deloitte I witnessed a professional approach to work for the first time. Even the other interns on my global project were very responsible! The experience I gained is a great example of what kind of professional I want to be.