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Life at Deloitte
Your first client engagement: Meghan Linehan
Lessons learned when starting out at Deloitte
November 4, 2019
Deloitte professionals are constantly challenged by new projects and clients, allowing them to learn and grow professionally. The scope and depth of the work are varied and sometimes complex. But when asked, Deloitte professionals always remember their very first client engagement.
For some, it was both an exciting and nerve-racking experience, while others were confident in their abilities right off the bat. But the consensus is that it was an opportunity to grow and to learn from their team members, understand the needs of their clients, and to make an impact.
“Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions.”
This is one of the key pieces of advice Meghan Linehan would give to anyone just starting at Deloitte. Meghan began her career at Deloitte as intern in 2017 and transitioned into a fulltime position with consulting later that year. Today she serves as a strategy & operations consultant for Deloitte Consulting LLP, specializing in supply chain across multiple industries including oil, gas, and chemicals and industrial products.
In reflecting on her career journey at Deloitte, one of the experiences that stands out the most is her first client engagement. We caught up with her to learn more about that experience and how she overcame feelings of nervousness to ultimately thrive in her career at Deloitte.
Meghan Linehan, business analyst, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Boston, MA
Outside of work: I love to hike, spend time outside, and I’m a huge music and theater fan (you can find me volunteering at our local Arts Center or singing all over social media).
What was your first day at Deloitte like?
My first day at Deloitte was a whirlwind! I had my official first day of training followed closely by my first day on a project. I just remember two things about both days—learning an incredible amount and meeting incredible people.
Describe your first client engagement.
My first client engagement was in life sciences, and it was local in Boston. It was great to start on a local project because it allowed me to adjust to life at Deloitte before I hit the road each week. The project was for a large biotechnology development and production company, and my team was responsible for helping to consolidate supporting functions (HR, finance, IT and all the things you need to support selling a product) to reduce overall costs. In the six months I was there, this included a location assessment, a full assessment of all supporting functions, and a two-year roadmap to help them achieve their goal.
What was the scope of your role on the project?
On my team of five, I was the only business analyst, so my role covered project management as well as assisting with deliverable creation. It was really eye-opening, and I learned so much in the six months I was with the team.
Did you feel nervous?
Of course! I started out incredibly nervous and second-guessed almost everything I did. With time, I calmed down and gained confidence. After month one, I felt more prepared and capable, largely thanks to the support and wisdom from my team.
What are some tips you would give someone just about to start a client engagement?
For someone just starting a client engagement, I’d offer these words of wisdom:
- Ask questions. Sometimes this makes you feel stupid, and for the first week or two, this may feel like a burden to your team. However, it helps you get up to speed quickly, comprehensively, and successfully, and lets everyone know you care.
- Don’t be afraid to bring your energy. No matter what your personality type and working style, you’ve got something unique and important to offer your team. Bring your energy (whatever it is) with a positive outlook and you can add value immediately.
- Take deep breaths. The first few weeks on a project can be very overwhelming. Just take a deep breath and know that while it’s overwhelming now, you’ll get the hang of it soon.
Is there anything that you know now that would have helped you with your first client engagement?
As a recent college graduate on a big team, it can be easy to feel insecure. I wish I had known earlier how valuable it is to raise your voice in the room and make sure you understand; not being fearful of asking for help.