Meet Mohammed Shaikh has been saved
Life at Deloitte
Meet Mohammed Shaikh
Director, Strategy & Operations
Mohammed started his CA articles at Deloitte in 2006, and was admitted to the Partnership in 2016. He has worked in our Audit Advisory, Business Process Solutions and Strategy & Operations service lines respectively (as he puts it, he is on his third “career” in the same firm!) He spoke to us about his multifaceted career journey and the aspects he loves about working at Deloitte.
I grew up in Durban as the eldest of three siblings. Neither of my parents finished school: in our wider family, everyone was either an entrepreneur or worked for someone else, so getting a full education was not a big thing. However, my mother always wanted us to finish our studies and have a better life. I was the first person to matriculate in my family, and both of my sisters followed suit.
I focused hard on my studies and decided on the CA route – to me, coming into that profession was a stepping stone to becoming a better entrepreneur. I applied to all of the Big Four firms, but after being exposed to Deloitte during university career fairs, I had developed an affinity to the brand. When I got an offer from them during my Honours year, it was truly where I wanted to go, and I knew I had signed with the right firm.
After my articles, I went to the USA on secondment, which has been one of my favourite experiences thus far. I then spent a year in the Audit Advisory service line. Subsequently I actually took another job outside of Deloitte, but returned after just six months! I realized the importance and impact of the culture, the people you work with and where you work. Not everything can be measured by only your role and salary.
From a career perspective, this has been the most wonderful journey of my life. I’m essentially on my third “career” in 12 years within the same company – Deloitte is a big firm with a lot of space. I moved to the Business Process Solutions service line after it merged with Audit Advisory, and I have now found a new home in the Strategy & Operations division. You've got to get used to change, and be agile and adaptable. It can be daunting to take something on that’s outside of your comfort zone, but it’s amazing to reflect and see what have you have gained once you have learnt something new.
Growing up at Deloitte has shaped me in many ways. All of us at Deloitte commit each day to act with integrity, show commitment to each other, deliver outstanding value to our clients, show strength from our cultural diversity and protect and leave our brand in a better place at our clients. We are a firm of people, therefore growing and nurturing our talent has great importance. There is also the employee wellbeing programme, which has helped to support me during times that I have faced both professional and personal challenges. Becoming a Partner was an incredible feeling and a really proud moment for my parents and I. As a Partner in the firm, I have personally invested into the brand.
I have always sought out individuals I am inspired by and chosen them as mentors – one shouldn’t underestimate the value that a good mentor can add. There are partners at Deloitte that will dedicate time to you no matter what, and that’s an amazing thing to have. You don’t need to get to where they are right away; I think a good place to start is to ask, “Who do I want to be when I grow up?”
This world has tested me to another level. I am lucky enough to have been appointed the Africa leader for a global client, and it has provided me with exposure on an international scale. As I am also entering a new chapter of my career in Consulting, balance becomes critical. It’s not always easy to get it right, but when you are passionate about what your client does, it makes your job that much more exciting and it keeps you invested.
Where you start off at Deloitte and where you end up could be totally different, and it’s all about the process of exploring and gaining exposure to the firm. I’d like to end off with five pieces of advice for graduates:
- Find someone that inspires you and ask them to mentor you
- Never stop learning throughout your career
- Find your passion and purpose
- Be curious
- Be courageous.