Life at Deloitte
Sophie Bruce - Consultant
Consulting – People & Programmes, Public Sector, Organisation Transformation & Talent
I studied Molecular Biology at the University of Bath, specialising in neuroscience as I progressed through the course. During my third year I had the opportunity to work in industry and found myself in the US, working first at the University of Iowa for six months, and then at Cornell Medical College in Manhattan for eight months.
While I had an incredible time I realised that I needed to pursue a more interactive career. I left University in 2011 and completed the Teach First Leadership development programme in Oldham, Manchester for two years. It was a life changing experience which enabled me to develop a whole host of skills including communication, presentation skills, data analysis etc. which are so totally transferable to other careers. I chose to move to Deloitte because I was ready for my next challenge – I wanted to be able to apply the skills I had learnt to a broader audience, specifically focusing on the public sector. I have had a broad range of experiences since joining as an Analyst in 2013 and am now a Consultant sitting in OT&T. I am also working on my part time Master’s degree in Leadership, specifically focusing on leadership within Education.
What work do you get involved in on a day to day basis?
My day to day work varies widely – which is half the reason I love my job! Typically I will spend time talking with clients, getting to understand not only their requirements but also what is driving them towards implementing the change within their organisation. I will go and identify our data gathering needs to gain an understanding of the as-is environment, and will look at different solution options. I will work with my team to develop a plan for delivery and will spend time creating deliverables which we will review with the client to gain their input. We will have team meetings to track progress against the plan and monitor any risks and issues which arise. My days can be very variable as I may arrive with a plan of what I am going to achieve but then suddenly something will happen which means that I need to channel my attention elsewhere. We spend a lot of time communicating with stakeholders and presenting ideas – I like to think we are just helping our clients reach their own conclusions.
What do you like most about the office and region that you work in?
I work in Stonecutter Court – the London Consulting office. I love working here because it is always bustling with activity and there is a really good community feeling (and loads of restaurants, bars and cafes on the doorstep!) London is such a diverse city and a large number of our clients are based here so I have spent most of my time working here which means I don’t have a very long commute. I have been quite lucky with that!
Why your industry?
I am aligned to the public sector. In practice I actually work across both public and private sector as the skills required, and the types of activities I am doing, apply to both. I chose to align to public sector as, having been a teacher, I can relate to some of the issues and challenges faced by our clients. I feel like I am able to give something back – if I can help public sector organisations to become more efficient, use public money more wisely, become more skilled at their jobs then I am doing something “good” for the wider community.
What is your top tip for working in your industry?
Not only do public sector clients have to work under quite strict budget constraints, they are also very vulnerable to changing governments and policies, and come under a lot of pressure from the press and the public. I think it is really important to remember that these workers – whether they are nurses, policemen or teachers – started their careers because they wanted to help people in the UK. They are investing in us, to it is important to bear that in mind!
Which personality traits or skills aid success in your industry?
Being flexible, articulate and first and foremost – friendly!
Talk us through the most exciting project that you have worked on
I spent some time working on a short, sharp project to design a skills assessment approach which would allow the unit we were working with to gain an understanding of what skills they have and where they may need to invest in development. This is all part of a bigger programme of change and it was really interesting to work with a small team within that. I found it exciting as it was my first project as a Consultant and it really gave me the opportunity to work autonomously with the client.
What social, society and corporate responsibility activities have you been involved with at Deloitte?
I am part of the Teach First Ambassador community at Deloitte. We support a number of Education based corporate responsibility activities, particularly with regard to the Deloitte Consulting school which we sponsor in Islington. Last year I worked as part of a team to develop and deliver an Employability day which went down really well! I also take part in the mentoring scheme, working with a 6th form student to help her make wiser and more informed choices about her next steps.
I also organise events for our Public Sector community which is a really great way to get to know people in the wider team in a less formal setting.
How has Deloitte played a role in your long term career goals?
Deloitte has really supported my development over the last year. It has allowed me to have more choice in the type of work I get involved in, shaping my career direction. I came to Deloitte to work with some of the best in the field and gain a broad range of experiences – it really helps you to understand what career goals you can start to aim for.
What advice would you share to others considering a career in your industry?
I would say – make sure you get involved in community activities to get to know individuals working within the industry. Look into the different areas that you could work in, and finally... don’t say no to opportunities provided to you. You should go into everything with and open mind as you never know what you might learn!