Consulting Careers: How to Change Paths Without Changing Jobs
Daniel Rimm is a consultant in Deloitte's technology consulting practice. Based in Boston, he serves clients nationwide. A graduate of Boston College's Carroll School of Management, he interned at Deloitte in 2012, and joined Deloitte full-time in 2013. He recently found time to talk to Vault about his experiences at the organization.
Vault: Hi, Daniel. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell us a little about your background?
Dan: I grew up in Branford, Connecticut where I started my professional career through a couple of standard entry-level jobs--one of which was at a large office supplies retailer. I received my undergraduate degree in Information Systems and Marketing from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and came to Deloitte through an internship during the summer of my junior year. I applied to Deloitte through the standard campus recruiting channels, got the internship, and spent that summer interning at one of our local retail clients. I really enjoyed the experience, and was lucky enough to receive a full-time offer upon graduation. I've been here ever since.
Vault: Can you tell us a little about your role at Deloitte?
Dan: I'm currently a consultant in our Technology practice – a service area of Deloitte Consulting LLP. Within that area, I'm specifically aligned to our Technology Strategy & Architecture service line, and I focus mostly on life science and healthcare clients.
What I do, at a broad level, is help clients solve business problems with technical solutions. I've done that in a lot of different ways, and so I've had a pretty wide variety of experiences through my time at Deloitte. I started off by working in a technical and functional role helping to develop a custom patient management system. I've also worked with major life sciences companies to help them define their business and technical product strategies, which involved switching from a more technical skillset to a strategic skillset. And then I also spent about a year working with our innovation practice, helping both clients and Deloitte to develop their own innovation strategies, exploring new technologies--things like the Internet of Things, blockchain, cognitive computing--and developing a point of view on what their impact will be on the way companies do business, and how and where healthcare is delivered.
Also, at Deloitte I have some other activities that are things that I do because I'm just interested in them. There are two other main roles that I play within the organization. First, ever since I started at Deloitte I've been working on a collaboration with the MIT Sloan Management Review researching digital business trends and producing a report every year on how those trends impact companies. That's been a really interesting experience for me—developing original research and interviewing thought leaders and executives from large companies to learn what they're doing around digital. The second role is that I participate in our national Business Technology Analyst Advisory Council, which is a group of about 25 staff members who are tasked with improving the analyst experience for all of our analysts across the country. One initiative I've been working on there is a program for senior leaders to proactively engage analysts in the first year or two of their career, to help ensure that the analysts are developing in the ways they want, and to try to help guide them on their desired career path.
Vault: You told us that you started at Deloitte as an intern. Can you tell us a little more about the internship, and what attracted you to Deloitte?
Dan: I wasn’t set on one specific career when I was in college. So I think one of the things that initially attracted me to Deloitte was the option to do a lot of different things and have a lot of different experiences in a short time frame. That aspect of consulting really appealed to me.
I think what convinced me to stay [full-time] is very different. When I was an intern I worked on the project management team for a large technology project for a retail client. And while I learned a lot from the project itself, it was really the people I worked with and their commitment to my development that convinced me to come on board full-time.
My group of colleagues on the internship were intellectually challenging on the job but also fun to grab dinner or a drink with after work. But what really stood out to me though was their commitment to my development. About three weeks into my intern project, I was doing project management activities and I was enjoying that experience, but I really wanted to see the functional side of the business—see what it's like to actually work with the client to redesign processes to work in a technical system. I raised this to my project manager, and by the end of the week he had rearranged my schedule so that I could spend a few hours a week working with our functional team and gaining those experiences. And that commitment to development is a pretty consistent experience that I've found at Deloitte ever since. I think people recognize that the projects come and go but the people are here long term and everyone I've met has really been dedicated to helping me develop and grow in the way that I want to.
There's a strong commitment to mentorship and a strong mentorship presence here, and that's something that really sold me as an intern and has kept me here since. I felt like this was a place where I could continue to grow and develop at a fast rate.
Vault: What kind of opportunities do you see for career development in the future at Deloitte?
Dan: There are two real types of career development at Deloitte: formal development, and then the piece I mentioned earlier about being able to pursue the things you're interested in.
The formal development is the general career knowledge that you gain as you move up in the organization. And I think Deloitte does a great job with that. Generally, from your first week, and every time you're promoted, Deloitte takes a week out of your year and brings you in for a training at Deloitte University, which is this great learning facility we have in Texas. We engage in simulations, hear from speakers, and have different classes to develop the skills needed at the next stage of our careers. So when I moved from analyst to consultant, I went back to Deloitte University for a week for consultant milestone training and learned what it means to be a consultant from some of our more senior consultants and leaders. We were then able to test these skills through simulated client experiences, and practiced how to respond as if it were in the real world. And now these are skills that I can take anywhere in my career.
And the other piece is the thing that I've always liked about Deloitte from a career perspective: that if you put the effort in here, you can steer your career in almost any direction you want. If you have an area that you're really interested in, there's a chance that one of our clients is also interested in it, or has problems or questions about that area. I've actually seen people build practices that started as just a passion that they had. One colleague in Boston was really passionate about sports, and has built our whole Sports Consulting Practice from the ground up.
So I think if you're willing to put the effort in, Deloitte is a great place to help support developing your career in the direction that you want to go, as well as for gaining a robust general skillset.
Vault: Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about applying to Deloitte?
Dan: I'm biased because this is what sold me on Deloitte, but my biggest piece of advice is to talk to as many different people as you can throughout the interview process. Deloitte does a lot of events on campus during internship and full-time recruiting, and we usually try to bring a lot of practitioners onto campus. I think being able to talk to people and hear their stories and hear the type of work they're doing can let you figure out if this is the type of place that you would want to be, and also figure out what you want to do when you get here. We have work across almost every major industry, and we do all types of projects from strategy consulting to technology consulting to talent and human capital consulting. I think figuring out what the different positions entail and what the different people do on a day to day basis will really help you to understand the role well, which comes across well when you're interviewing. Ultimately these conversations help you figure out 'this is what I want to do, and this is the path I have to go down to do it.'
This post was sponsored by Deloitte.
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