Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Aaron Brown
Fun-loving audit professional with knack for foreign language
“I picked audit because I wanted to learn how a business was run from top down … to see the backbone of an organization, learn processes, learn what senior management is looking at.” — Aaron Brown, Audit, San Francisco
- Happy and diverse professionals
- A head for business
- Studying in France
- Teaching in Morocco
- College Summit
- Video: Aaron Brown, making his impact on a new generation of auditors
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Happy and diverse professionals
I’d take two lessons from Deloitte … making sure that your people come first. Happy people make for a successful company. And then … not everybody should have the same mentality. You should definitely have diversity on your team, different people with different skill sets.
A head for business
Bottomless curiosity and love of diversity are what make Aaron Brown tick. In his audit work he assesses risks, devises audit strategies, directs and works alongside staff, and, of course, looks for errors. “You're generally looking to see, okay, where could there be an error, and then what's the susceptibility of that error happening? It’s typically something different.”
Aaron has seen how audit provides a foundation for learning about a company and business in general. “I want to learn because in the future, I’d one day like to own something. Whether it's a business or running an organization, whether it be Deloitte or another company.”
Studying in France
He comes by this desire to learn honestly. His mother was the principal of his high school. “I couldn’t get away with anything,” he jokes. And he has a twin sister. He says they have a bit of a sibling rivalry. So much so that he chose to take French in high school because his sister picked Spanish. It turned out to be a good choice.
In fact, Aaron recently returned from a three-month sabbatical. He’d always wanted to study French abroad and hadn’t had the chance to do it while in college. He found a language class in France geared toward professionals. He participated as part of a program that allows Deloitte professionals to take up to six-month-long sabbaticals, depending on their length of time at the organization. Following the class, he lived in Paris for a month and “pretty much just roamed the city, indulged in the culture, and practiced my French as often as possible.”
Teaching in Morocco
Themes of learning and diversity dot Aaron’s career journey. While at Morehouse College he took a trip through France, Morocco, and Turkey. He grabbed opportunities to present to a multinational beverage company, a global pharmaceutical company, and an airline company through his business school. He took a leadership course where he was able to meet famed civil rights leader Andrew Young. After graduating, he was even able to return to Morocco to teach accounting in Ifran. That was his first time really living abroad. He saw that “although we are very different depending on where we grow up, there is a commonality as human beings. A smile is universal. A hug is universal.”
It was actually that experience that sparked his desire to work in a diverse culture like Deloitte. After getting his master’s from Wake Forest University, Aaron studied the Big Four firms.
He says there was diversity within the partner group at Deloitte and that made it stand out. “They help ensure that leadership reflects diversity from the top down. Automatically, I said that's the place that I want to be.”
Working at Deloitte has been what Aaron hoped. Besides the meaningful work and recent sabbatical, it’s connected him to College Summit, a nonprofit that works with inner city youth to help them prepare for college. Through his past involvement with College Summit, Aaron helped kids work on their personal statements, fill out college applications, and learn about financial aid. He says the fact that these kids are striving to succeed despite what they’ve been through inspires him. “You see what these kids go through some day, it definitely puts a long work week into perspective.” Aaron also spent time volunteering with Spark and First Graduate.
A co-worker and I started the Leadership Academy for first- and second-year professionals in our San Francisco office. It covers things like team dynamics, analyzing personalities, personal brand building … in an informal event setting.
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