Global relationship builders
Deloitte & Touche (D&T), one of the Big Five professional services firms, is the American branch of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a global leader in professional services with 59,000 employees in 126 countries. The firm's consulting arm, Deloitte Consulting, which has 2900 employees in the U.S., ranking it as one of the largest consulting practices in the industry, exploits the firm's expertise in international business and its global resources. Deloitte Consulting complements its parent company's other competencies, and emphasizes the building of long and lasting relationships with its clients; more than 75 percent of its business comes from repeat customers.
Leaders in consulting
D&T's consulting group grew rapidly during the last decade, doubling its revenues from 1995 to 1997 alone. The firm is considered a leader in certain fields, including systems integration consulting. Relationships with software and systems companies like Oracle, AutoTester and SAS Management only enhance D&T's techno-savvy. In 1997, about half of Deloitte Consulting's revenues came from its management consulting business; half of that was information technology revenue.
Establishing a rep
In 1998, D&T set aside $25 million for an aggressive advertising campaign designed to differentiate it and its consulting arm from the rest of the Big Five. The ads targeted Andersen as "distracted by infighting," and portray PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG as part of an undifferentiated mass. Soon thereafter, it rolled out a $15 million marketing campaign which highlighted the "great people" that work at D&T. The firm already had a reputation as a nicer place to work than the other Big Five firms - earning the No. 14 spot in Fortune magazine's 1998 100 Best companies to Work for in America list. In fact, it was the only Big Five firm to make the list.
Chutes and ladders
While Deloitte & Touche continues to close the gap that separates it from its Big Five rivals, it must deal with the loss of DaimlerChrysler from its client list as rival KPMG takes over the auditing of the automotive giant. Deloitte still handles General Motors' books, however. The firm is also making a big splash in B2B commerce through a partnership with Chase Manhattan. That venture is using Deloitte Consulting's growing resources to tap into a trillion dollar market.
Like the other Big Five firms, Deloitte & Touche is posting tremendous revenues and profits, and it is growing rapidly to meet an increased volume of business. According to insiders, "in the past year the firm has recruited over 1,500 individuals through referrals." Deloitte "really concentrates on the referral route because they are going through their own employees to find qualified individuals. The employee that referred [the candidate] knows him more than the interviewer. This way it cuts down on a lot of searching for the qualified employee for the job."
Deloitte has also stepped up its campus recruiting efforts, and the firm conducts extensive on-campus recruiting, both at colleges and top business schools. It will "advertise when necessary to fill a position" as well. One source delineates the various methods of getting a foot in the door this way: "Unless you have at least one year of experience after undergrad, all recruiting is done on campus. After the one year, referrals work best, then headhunters, then contacting the company directly."
For the most part, "there are very few technical questions asked during the interview process. There isn't much emphasis on grilling recruits to determine their technical abilities because the recruits' academic records should speak for themselves." Applicants to the more technically-oriented areas are warned to be ready for an occasional question testing their aptitude, though it will not necessarily be the determining factor in hiring decisions.
There may also be "a little written test-something quantitative that's quick and dirty." More commonly though, "most of the questions asked are 'What would you like to do? Where you see yourself down the road? What previous experience do you have?'" All things considered, most people who have been through the process described it as "fairly long and stressful," but "not as rigorous as investment banking interviews." Deloitte "lets you know shortly [afterwards] by giving a phone call and sending a basket of goodies."
For applicants who wish to enter Deloitte Consulting, insiders warn that the company "spends a lot of time on fit." For example, for MBAs, "they do the fit interview first and the case interviews second. Everyone else does them the other way around." "Quantitative analytical capabilities" are, as usual, of paramount importance for consultants, since "the client throws books and books of data at you, and it's your job to sift through them."
Other valued consulting assets include "oral and written communications skills, especially in a presentation format," and "a history of leadership." In fact, sources warn that without leadership experience, it may be difficult to obtain an interview. Volunteer activities are suggested as a suitable means by which to acquire such experience. While Deloitte "wants someone who is well rounded more than [someone] in the top 5 percent of their class," grades do hold sway to a degree. The prestige of a candidate's school also matters. In fact, the pay scale is "pretty much the same for the top six to eight [business schools], but after that it is different," to the tune of 20 to 30 thousand dollars in initial pay.
Working and living in harmony
Deloitte Consulting likes to emphasize that "experience teaches better than training." The lack of ego is also refreshing, say employees: "People don't go around bragging about where they went to school. The jerk is the exception." While most consultants acknowledge that "we aren't a McKinsey or Andersen," they feel "we are well known." Even though consultants work "intensely demanding schedules," they say that the firm has an "extremely flexible" approach to the ways in which employees structure their time. Deloitte, one employee comments, "respects personal commitments and fosters a better life-work balance than many of its competitors." Contributing to this balance is Deloitte's "3-4-5" policy: Employees spend three nights on the road, fly back on the fourth day, and spend their fifth day at the home office, ensuring a weekend at home (or at least, in the home city).
Bureaucracy and management
Despite this enticing flexibility, "sooner or later, the bureaucracy gets to you," insiders report. One consultant complains that "Deloitte's corporate culture is great, but I don't know where it comes from, because the partners are not a great lot at all. I've worked for a few who are decent, but overall they don't know what you're doing as far as human resources go." Turnover is about 19 percent a year, and "only a few people stay a decade."
Hard-working, conservatively-dressed women wanted
As one would expect, workweeks at D&T can be "ominously long." Individual offices determine their dress codes, which vary from "year round business casual" to "suits, suits, suits," from Monday to Thursday, with dress-down Fridays, "which are business casual, though not beach bum casual."
Many contacts agree that "Deloitte Consulting has become very sensitive to gender and life-style issues;" and its "Women's Initiative" has "immensely improved" career prospects for women. Ethnic diversity at the firm is less impressive, say insiders. One employee comments that "until Deloitte comes up with a Minority Initiative like its Women's Initiative, nothing is going to change."
Accounting and auditing;Tax advice and planning;Information technology consulting;Management consulting;Mergers & acquisitions consulting
Andersen Consulting;Arthur Andersen;AT Kearney;Booz-Allen & Hamilton;Ernst & Young;KPMG;PricewaterhouseCoopers
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