Life at Deloitte
Alexandra McConnell, Consultant
Consulting – People & Programmes, HR Advisory
I attended St Andrews and studied Modern History, and then went on to the LSE to study a Masters’ degree in Health, Population and Society. I joined Deloitte because it gave me a platform to explore a variety of interests, and to learn continuously about business and management, which I had very little experience in! Almost all of my previous experience was in the charity or health sectors—so Deloitte provided me the opportunity to learn about something I’d never previously thought I’d get the chance to get involved in.
What work do you get involved in on a day to day basis?
There is a huge variety of work to get involved in on a day to day basis — and that definitely keeps our jobs interesting! When I started with Deloitte, I learned how to write a process map, learning how to depict what goes on in a specific HR process — say Employee Referrals. That helped me understand the activities that HR is responsible for, and how an organisation’s HR function is organised — really good grounding for someone with little business experience! I learned how to start researching materials from our shared knowledge base, to inform the leading practice used when we discuss solutions with clients — presenting the opportunity to leverage skills developed writing two dissertations in two years! I also developed confidence in helping to facilitate workshops with clients, where we presented what we had done, and worked through how it would best fit the client’s situation.
Ultimately, even within a single project, the exciting part of being an analyst at Deloitte is that you won’t be doing the same thing from one day to another—and even though it might be a bit daunting to learn new things every day, you start to develop an ability to translate what you learned yesterday into making today’s task a little bit easier.
What do you like most about the office and region that you work in?
I work in London, at Stonecutter Court as a base. However, most of the time I am located with a client. For the last year, I have been located on a number of clients in London, which has presented opportunities to spend time at Stonecutter and deepen my network in the firm — and a to-the-minute understanding of the benefits of walking vs. taking the bus at rush hour from Chancery Lane to Soho!
I spent my first two projects in Europe. This provided ample experience to practice my very limited German skills, develop a taste for Ritter Sports, and work with and befriend people who I never would have met in London! The other amazing part of being on a travelling project was the friendships I developed within my team — not an experience I would trade for anything!
What is your top tip for working in your industry?
HR Advisory provides an excellent opportunity to understand people as a key asset to a business. It allows consideration of business trends that are constantly in the news, such as employee engagement and talent retention, while allowing the development of an understanding of how a business’ HR function works. My top tip for working in HR Advisory would be to understand the landscape of what HR trends your clients are talking about—not only will you be able to contribute to a more tailored solution for them, but you will develop a much greater understanding, through practice and examples, of top business concerns and how to solve them.
Talk us through the most exciting project that you have worked on
My most exciting project to date has been working on HR policies for a major telecoms company. This required understanding all the policies in place in 14 different countries and holding one-on-one meetings with HR representatives in each of those countries to understand their suggestions and concerns as we discussed amending the policies. It was especially interesting to consider the impact the changes these policies would have in each of these countries — and why certain policies could not be changed.
This was a huge project, with multiple workstreams — and a large, friendly Deloitte team — so one of the most rewarding parts of what I worked on was getting the opportunity to present back my policy findings to my friends and colleagues who were preparing in-depth workshops with my contacts in these countries. It was also a good opportunity to get to spend time with, and learn, alongside my friends who had joined with me through the analyst programme.
What social, society and corporate responsibility activities have you been involved with at Deloitte?
There are loads of opportunities to get involved with social and corporate responsibility activities at Deloitte. I have been a member of a BeyondMe syndicate in which a group from Deloitte, along with a Deloitte partner come together to invest time, expertise and money in a charity project — I am a member of a large syndicate focused on Empowering Women. However, there is a huge variety of different syndicates, with the opportunity to start one which addresses your particular interests!
How has Deloitte played a role in your long term career goals?
Working at Deloitte has given me the confidence and skills to pursue a variety of goals. These skills have been gleaned not only from formal training, but from learning on the job, through my network. I’ve learned so much about HR, but I’ve deepened by presentation skills and ability to conduct a client interview even further. I’ve also learned to work within a team towards a common goal, how to ask for help and how to continue to strengthen my confidence. The best part about working at Deloitte is that the people around you are wholly invested in your development and helping you learn these (admittedly at times new and frightening) skills. This multifaceted education in how to work in a professional environment, developed from the people around me has been an invaluable tool that can be leveraged in a variety of environments.
What advice would you share to others considering a career in your industry?
I think if you are considering a career in consulting, you should jump in with enthusiasm. There will be an outlet for whatever you might be interested in — and consulting provides you with the tools and platform to develop your interest. Consulting at Deloitte, in particular, gives you access to a network of people who know so much about so many different topics — it’s a really powerful thing to be able to ask a colleague a question they can answer by connecting you with an expert. As long as you are excited and keen to learn, Deloitte can provide an incredible platform via which you can develop your interests and skills.