5 min read

Successful mentoring relationship unlocks untapped potential

Both University of Nottingham economics graduates, both musicians and both colleagues at Deloitte. As mentors and mentees go, Daniel Lister and Tom Burgess have more than a little in common.

They met in 2017 through the non-profit organisation upReach, one of our One Million Futures partners. upReach works with universities and employers to provide students from less-advantaged backgrounds with opportunities to explore different career pathways, gain skills and pursue graduate careers.

For mentee Tom, the partnership has been fundamental in helping him unlock his full potential. He secured a graduate role in consulting at Deloitte and, after being nominated by upReach and his mentor, was honoured during the 2018 Student Social Mobility Awards at the House of Lords, where he won the Outstanding Achievement in Consulting award.

Here, they share their experiences.

Tom Burgess, analyst, Consulting.

“At university I didn’t have any idea about how to secure a role at a firm like Deloitte. I went to a state comprehensive and neither of my parents work in professional services, so I wanted to learn more. Then I found out about upReach.

upReach matched Daniel and me based on our shared interests. The day we met I’d just attended the Spring into Deloitte career insight programme and was excited by the idea of a future in consulting. Working with a mentor who had over ten years of experience in the career I was interested in was fantastic.

It was hard to know what to expect at first but we worked together to create a project plan to prepare me for a career as a consultant. We talked about my achievements so far, and what I could do to develop myself personally and professionally. And then we set goals together that would help me to achieve my ambitions.

Although the official time commitment was a one hour-long call once a month, we talked, Skyped and exchanged emails regularly.

Daniel helped me prepare for my future career by working through practical case studies, research projects and presentations, and really boosted my confidence. And it all paid off when in 2018 I secured an internship with Deloitte on the Summer Vacation Scheme and was then offered a graduate role in the Strategy and Operations Consulting team. The mentoring programme played an important part in helping me achieve all this.

Our partnership was featured in an article in the Evening Standard earlier this year, which I hope has encouraged others to explore the benefits of a mentor relationship. I’ve also been working as a mentor myself, helping sixth-formers from less-advantaged backgrounds with their university applications and I’m proud that all my mentees received offers from their chosen universities.”

Daniel Lister, senior manager, Risk Advisory

“I became involved with upReach shortly after joining the firm. I love working with people at the start of their careers, helping them realise their ambitions and grow their skills. The upReach mentoring programme plays an important role in allowing students from less-advantaged backgrounds to broaden their network and access a range of careers.

Ever since I first read Tom’s CV, I have seen how driven he is to make the most of opportunities. When we met, I was hugely impressed by his commercial awareness and his enthusiasm for Deloitte and the work we do. We spent time together to develop his consulting skills, but also prepare for interviews and presentations.

Some people ask what makes for a successful mentoring relationship, but there is no blueprint. We tried some innovative approaches… for example, Tom and I are both really into music so we used some musical arrangements and discussed how we would tell their stories in new ways for various audiences – an unusual task but a good way to think differently and to prepare for working with wide range of people.

The thing that I’m most proud of is how our story has inspired others to get involved. Three people in my team have signed up as mentors and one of their mentees has also secured a role at Deloitte.

Tom has already mentored school students and will become a great mentor and role model for the next generation of upReach associates and Deloitte colleagues. I hope we have started a virtuous circle!"

Never out of reach

Founded in 2012, upReach is working to improve social mobility in the UK. Its six-year partnership with Deloitte has so far helped 55 graduates from less-advantaged backgrounds to join the firm.

The mentoring programme is one of several initiatives designed to give our future talent the best possible opportunities. Others include Professional Experience Weeks and the Professional Services Career Academy, the Spring into Deloitte insight course and the Summer Vacation Scheme internship scheme.

“This partnership has allowed both organisations to identify and support university students who have untapped potential,” explains Stephanie Lieber, upReach’s Head of Programmes and Impact. “It has helped to build students’ knowledge and networks in the sector. It also gives them the chance to talk to professionals who know what it’s like to be in their position.”

  • 55 graduates hired since the partnership began
  • 65 participants in Spring into Deloitte and Summer Vacation Scheme
  • 87 students have joined Deloitte Professional Experience Weeks
  • Up to 50 Deloitte mentors matched with graduates each year

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