Deloitte is considered one of the top four consulting firms in the country, as well as one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. Founded 172 years ago in London, the firm has an American headquarters in New York City, and employs over 244,000 people worldwide.
How do you get to work for a firm with such prestige? We interviewed a recent Deloitte hire about how he got there. He requested to remain anonymous, so let’s call him John.
What drew you into the world of consulting? Were there other paths you were considering?
John: I originally thought I wanted to become an economist, and went on a very academic track in undergrad to pursue a PhD in Econ. However, I eventually realized that I was less interested in academics and more interested in having an impact on the real world. I also realized I wanted a more team oriented environment. Based on these criteria, management consulting seemed like a good fit.
Why Deloitte? What other firms did you apply to, and why?
John: I interviewed with several consulting firms, as well as data analytics and corporate finance positions. However, Deloitte stood out for several reasons. The company offered exceptional opportunities to learn and grow as a professional, as they give you a great deal of responsibility from the start. I felt that their work was interesting, and they stood out among their competitors. Culturally, I felt Deloitte was far less pretentious than any of the other consulting firms I interviewed at. I interviewed with some of the best recognized firms in the industry, and the theme of the interview was always “this is (insert snooty firm here); you’re lucky to be here.” However, Deloitte was a much more relaxed atmosphere, and the interview theme was “hello, we’re glad you could join us for the interview”. For me, that was far more appealing. I also had applied to several economic consulting firms and boutique consulting firms, but after receiving my Deloitte offer I discontinued all other interview processes.
What was the interview process like? Did anything stand out compared to other interviews you’ve done before?
John: Most consulting firms have a very specific type of interview called a “case interview”. Essentially, it is a mock consulting project that you walk through with your interviewer. Usually, you are given a prompt about a client that is facing a business problem. Your job is to figure out what the cause of the problem is, and come up with tangible solutions. Each consulting firm does these differently, as some are led by the interviewer, some by the interviewee. Most are done orally, but others can be done as written tests, presentations, and group interviews.
How did you prepare for a career in consulting during your college experience? Were there certain clubs or courses you took?
John: Doing well in these interviews is key to entering management consulting. Almost everyone fails at these interviews their first time, and so it is important to practice these kinds of cases with materials online. Make sure to do them with a partner, and not just by yourself. I recommend you get either Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng or Case in Point by Marc P. Consentino.
Most consulting firms take students of any major, although business/economics and engineering students are more prevalent. Consulting firms look for people that are passionate problem solvers with both strong analytical and communication abilities. Demonstrating leadership and innovation will improve your chances. As for the interview, the best preparation is to do case interviews with fellow students, but preferably anyone that has previous consulting experience you can draw from. This is why it is important to network as much as possible. Also, stay on top of your grades. Many of these firms have strong GPA cutoffs, which is typically at least a 3.5/4.0 scale.
What are you planning to do in the future, and why is Deloitte good for that?
John: I am not sure what I want to do in the future, but I really know I want to get start my career in consulting. Deloitte is one of the best places to start your career, as it is a top feeder company for many of the best MBA programs in the country, and has incredible exit opportunities for people that decide they do not want to be consultants for the long haul. Likewise, many consultants start up their own companies after utilizing the business experience they had at Deloitte and other firms.
Do you have any tips for people looking to get into consulting, or general advice for college students?
John: My advice for other students is to follow a career path for their interests, not just for the money or prestige. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. When you do go in for interviews, whatever the field, have a story about how you came to find your passion, what you are doing about it, and how it ties into what you are going to do (or where you want to work). Also, always remember that an interview is just as much you seeing if a firm is right for you.
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