University of London, King's College - English Law and French Law
After graduating from King's, I completed a Masters in Financial Services Law at Trinity College, Dublin. I then worked as a paralegal for a mid-size technology consultancy firm. This job was my introduction to the sector, and sparked my interest enough for me to apply for the Deloitte technology graduate programme.
I've never been a typical technology person. When I was at school, I learnt how to use PowerPoint and Excel at a very basic level, but I didn't take IT any further than GCSE level. In fact, I haven't met that many people that you would consider to be stereotypical "computer people" here. People come from a huge variety of different backgrounds, and it's not necessary to have a grounding in technology (though it is essential to be interested in what it can bring to a business); what they're looking for are good communication and interpersonal skills. As part of the 21-month graduate programme, everyone receives eight weeks of intense training covering all the areas of consulting. You are also trained to obtain two diplomas with ISEB (Information Systems Exams Board) as well as to take foundation CIMA exams (Certified Institute of Management Accounting). It was challenging, but worth it. The training made us project-ready and in a position to deal professionally with clients.
I've worked on three projects since I've joined, and they've all been in the sourcing/procurement area, which is perhaps because of my legal background, since there are a lot of contracts to be drawn up. In this area, we work with our clients to help them select their IT suppliers. We help the client assess who provides the best service, in terms of technical expertise, quality of work and value for money, and provide them with advice based on our experiences and our understanding of the market. My role is very much on the analysis side. I get a lot of data on our client's situation and it's my job to find the relevant information, put it together, and make it concise and understandable for both the people above me and the clients themselves.
The first project I worked on was based in France, so I got to spend three months living in Paris. One of our clients had chosen a supplier to help them manage all of their IT. They were going to collaborate long-term with the provider and my job was to draft a contract summary. The contract was under French law, which was great, because I'd studied French law in Paris as part of my undergraduate degree.
In consulting, you work on a project by project basis. So after I've finished this one, I have the option of training up in something else, like coding for example, which is something I might look into in the future. Deloitte give their graduates a career counsellor, who takes us through our career plans and helps us decide what we'd like to do. The great thing about it is that you don't have to specialise until much later on. You can try your hand at a bit of everything!
Did you know?
Some people don't realise how fundamental the technology work Deloitte does is to wider society. We take on a lot of public sector projects. For example, Deloitte is working closely with LOCOG, as a key sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was also instrumental to the technology behind the congestion charging systems for Transport for London.
Third year consultant
University of Bristol - Classics
I've always had an interest in technology, which can be traced back to my GCSE in IT, but I was by no means an expert. I didn't use technology beyond my laptop for emails and my mobile phone on a day-to-day basis! But in the summer of my penultimate year at university, I did the Summer Vacation Scheme at Deloitte, where I did a placement in Enterprise Risk Services (ERS) and loved it. I realised that you don't have to be a "techy" person to work in ERS, as a lot of what we do is around the controls and risks of the IT environment. Of course, there are lots of roles available to those with brilliant computer skills, and there is the opportunity to get involved in the more technical side of things, but a large proportion of the people in my department - controls - don't come from that sort of background. The important thing is to have a genuine interest in the work, and to be aware of what's going on in the industry.
I work in the ERS - Controls team and it's our job to make sure that the IT environment of our clients' systems have secure controls in place, for example, to ensure they can't be accessed by unauthorised people. We understand and test the controls around the IT systems and see how effectively they're operating. Whenever we find inefficiencies, areas of risk, or lack of controls, we make recommendations to improve them. We work across industry sectors, and I've worked in financial services, media, telecoms, energy, retail and more, because they all need to have secure systems. Some industries, like banking for example, are more heavily regulated than others and we need to be aware of the different requirements from sector to sector.
Ironically, an area of technology many people are most comfortable with is one in which we're increasingly finding risks for our clients. We've recently worked with a large client in the fashion industry, helping them control the risks to their brand brought about through the significant take on of social media. Beyond impact to the brand and "cyber mud-slinging", many of our clients are being exposed to risks in terms of intellectual property, data protection and compliance. The protection of your customers is pivotal to your brand and reputation, so we're working with many of our clients to strike a balance.
Did you know?
I think some people feel daunted by not having had training in IT or accountancy before they apply for Deloitte ERS, but the opportunity exists for you to do it once you're actually in the job! If there's a relevant qualification that you wish to pursue, Deloitte will often support you. For example, in our department you can do the ACA and become a chartered accountant. Of course, there's also the opportunity to do lots of IT specific qualifications.