Life at Deloitte
Career Journey: Rajeev Ranjan
How learning from others made him a better consultant
“If I have learned something, it is because someone has taught me.” — Rajeev Ranjan, manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Rajeev is from India. And this, along with a driving desire to “be part of something,” has shaped his journey to Deloitte and through life.
There’s the wisdom of his father who grew up poor in a poor society. “He taught us that if you become self-sufficient in your profession, never forget to give back to your society. Remember that society has built you in some way or some fashion.” That led Rajeev to create the Ayn Rand Foundation, which supports private schools that families making just $500 per year can also afford. In fact, students pay only $7 per month to attend. He started the foundation because, “You never know where the next Bill Gates will come from.”
There’s his experience as an immigrant to the United States, which led Rajeev to donate time to help refugees learn job-seeking skills. “There are always a few challenges for them. There is trouble with the language and they do not know what the job environments are like or what they will be asked in an interview. So we help them out, do mock interviews; tell them the body language they should show. That is coming from my personal experience and what I went through.”
Rajeev’s advice to you
“You need to do what you love. If you are not happy with work, you won’t be interested in learning more about how to improve in your role and you probably won’t perform as well as someone who truly loves their job. This inevitably impacts your personal life. So if you are not making any part of your life happy, why do it? Joy is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”
Making a difference
And then there’s discovering Deloitte itself.
Throughout his time as a consultant, Rajeev worked first at other organizations, then ran his own small firm specializing in IT and HR projects. “Deloitte was looking for a technical lead who could manage a human resource project as well as manage their off-shore center in India. Through my network, someone approached me, saying this is an independent opportunity. Is this something of interest to you?” Ultimately, Rajeev added Deloitte to his client list. That was 2006. It was the beginning of an ongoing relationship. As he worked through that first project and subsequent ones, he found himself learning a lot. Both about himself and the Deloitte culture.
About himself. “I’m sitting with my Deloitte counterparts and we’re trying to present a strategy. And the strategy was a very simple one for a data migration.” As an SAP specialist, it was something Rajeev had been doing “his whole life.” But his counterparts from Deloitte challenged him as he worked through the presentation. “What I was presenting was kind of my side of the story, but what my counterparts came back to me with was—are you thinking from the client’s perspective?” He hadn’t been. “And I thought, you know what? Yes, I have been doing something ok, I might have been doing it correctly, but it takes more than that.” He realized he could learn much from the standards, processes, and support at Deloitte.
About the Deloitte culture. “One thing I always noticed, even though I was an independent contractor for them, in any meetings they always made it clear they were relying on my experience. I think it is a culture that is embedded within Deloitte.” Here, Rajeev mentions the other firms he’s worked with and for, “I always felt that I am there, but I am not there.” But at Deloitte he found something different. “What do you crave as a human? As a person? You want to be a part of something that matters...something that makes a difference in the world. I think Deloitte has figured that out. Deloitte is not only going to challenge people professionally, but also personally to use their expertise to provide value.”
Today, Rajeev is a manager in consulting for Human Resources Transformation at Deloitte and has been since officially joining the consulting practice full time in September of 2013. He leans on a unique perspective based on his background in other countries, with other firms, and as the owner of his own firm to help clients transform their HR practices and deploy custom software solutions. Like many consultants, he travels frequently, working Monday through Thursday on site at client campuses. Friday’s are spent in the office in Chicago or at his home office. Outside work, Rajeev spends time with his family, enjoys camping (in a tent!), reads science fiction, and excels at ping-pong. He is also learning to play golf, where no doubt his perspective on life keeps him well grounded despite the occasional slice.