Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Caroline Durbin
All about the fit
“When looking at career options, think about who you could see yourself spending every day with. It’s the same criteria I used when I was deciding where I was going to play college basketball. I want to make sure it's somewhere I'm going to fit in and excel.” — Caroline Durbin, Tax, Houston
Born and raised in Austin, Texas. BBA at New Mexico and master's at Texas (go Lobos and hook 'em)! Played professional basketball in Spain after school, then joined Deloitte Tax.
Caroline started her career at Deloitte by asking for a year off. She had just completed her master’s at the University of Texas and had been recruited to work in tax at Deloitte, when a unique opportunity arose. She signed to play professional basketball in Zamora, Spain. “Deloitte was fine with it,” she says. She pushed back her start date by one year and headed to Europe. “It was a great experience for me, but in the end I was ready to come back and get started on my career.”
She came back more than just ready. She came back with a global perspective one can only gain by working and traveling throughout Europe. That perspective has come in handy. “The group I’m in, we actually do a lot of work with expats.” Specifically, Caroline’s team provides tax compliance for US citizens working overseas and foreign citizens working in the US. Her work applies to salary, benefits, and global rewards programs, “such as stock options, stock purchase plans, and restricted stock.”
Day-to-day, the job requires her to be in contact with clients around the world, answering questions and providing direction. Caroline says she can relate to the stress her clients express about taxes and finance. “When I went to Spain I had a panic moment where I was saying, wait a minute, am I going to have to file a Spanish tax return?”
A career in tax and accounting was a pretty natural choice for Caroline. She grew up in Austin, Texas, the daughter of an accountant. During school, she interned for her father’s small accounting practice. And though she has worked in the family business, she chose Deloitte over smaller practices specifically because of the culture and people.
Coming out of college, she says, “I could tell almost immediately they had a great culture in the Houston office. I felt like I fit in very well, and that was important to me.” It’s turned out to be true. As an example of the culture, Caroline talks about the office’s chili cook-off. “Basically for all the new hires, myself included, it was our job to organize our group's tailgate.” She says it was particularly fun to connect with people from throughout the office outside of work. “Seeing it come together and everyone have fun—that was cool.”
Sports remain a big part of Caroline’s life. She works out most every day—CrossFit, tennis, and of course basketball. “I might get grumpy if I don’t work out on a given day. I pretty much have to do something active.” But basketball for her is more than just a way to let off steam, she says. Some of the most influential mentors in her life have been coaches. “I had a coach back in Austin who founded a nonprofit basketball program that raises money for breast cancer.”
Caroline looks to do the same for others. She loves coaching youth “middle school to high school” and pursued that avenue of community service while attending the University New Mexico and the University of Texas. She says she’s started looking for the right opportunity now that she’s settling into life in Houston. “I’m kind of picky,” she says. “I worked with a great guy in Austin and he had a great heart. I want to find that here.” Again, for Caroline, it’s about the people.
Caroline's secret to success
I would say speaking up and asking questions. I think answers are everywhere, and help is everywhere, you just have to reach out and look for it.