Perspectives

How working at Deloitte is like a summer camp

By McKinsey Bond, manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Mclean, VA — Growing up, one of the highlights of my summers was the time spent at YMCA Camp High Harbour in Alabama. As a child, that annual week in the woods gave me my first real taste of the vast world outside my family and home. Later, during my teen years, I worked as a counselor, spending even more time at the camp each summer.

This wasn’t just a fun vacation away to me. It felt like meaningful work, bringing new discoveries and skills to children who were just beginning to understand their places in the world. It also helped to shape who I am as a professional and created a sense of what a close-knit culture can offer.

Little did I know that I would wind up working at a company that often reminds me of that summer camp. At first thought that might seem preposterous, comparing one of the world’s largest professional organizations to a camp crawling with kids and teens in flip flops and shorts.

But it’s true. In my time at Deloitte, I’ve been struck repeatedly by the ways that my formative experience both reflects and informs the work I do.

Some of that similarity is little things. When you’re working hard on a project alongside people for long hours, you get to know your team very well—their quirks, how they blow off steam, what’s going on in their personal lives. You’re often teamed with people you’ve never met before, and often only for one project. Yet soon enough, you’ve forged a bond that connects you for years. I still spend time—even vacation—with people who are no longer on my team or have moved on professionally to other organizations.

"That level of bond is something I very much associate with summer camp."

As a technology consultant, I am expected to challenge and nurture the growth of a business. The businesspeople who come to Deloitte for consulting work are entrusting us to care for some of their most precious gifts—their ideas, goals and ambitions. Much as the parents who brought their children to High Harbour were entrusting me and the other counselors with their most precious gifts—their kids.

That trust comes with enormous responsibility. But it also brings powerful personal rewards when a project, or a week at camp, comes to a successful close. I truly feel like we take a client’s idea or goal, spend time with it, and return it stronger, better and more capable. Not all that unlike my role as a camp counselor.

Deloitte even has its own camp of sorts. Deloitte University is an inspiring professional services camp. Where we as practitioners go away and come back stronger leaders, having learned not only from some of the profession’s top trainers but also from each other. Indeed, much like at High Harbour, I’ve built enduring connections with the people I “camped” with at Deloitte University, connections that go beyond professional roles and courtesies.

The lesson in all of this is to remember that when you look for a career, look for a place with an open, accepting culture, where you can continue to develop and where you feel like you’re making an impact on the people around you each and every day. For me that’s happening at Deloitte. And best of all, this camp isn’t only for a summer.

About the author:
McKinsey Bond works as a technology consultant with a range of Deloitte’s government clients in the financial sector. In addition, she is an active recruiter for Deloitte at her alma mater, the University of Virginia

 

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