What advice would you give to students who have their hearts set on working for you? How can they enhance their job prospects?
Like anything, it’s all about relationships. So the way they can enhance their opportunity to know us better is by participating in the events we sponsor….and to maintain those relationships with us. Obviously, we’re trying to maintain those relationships with them because we really want top talent to be part of our organization.
So what they can do is engage back with us. And take advantage of the various early activities and work with our recruiters and practitioners when they’re on campus. We have an established group of people that we call talent scouts, much like they do in athletics, who are out looking for top talent on campus at the graduate and undergraduate level. And they hold events that are connection points.
And so my biggest advice would be to take advantage of the opportunities when we’re on campus. Go there, meet people, stay in touch with those folks, and nurture those relationships. That’s one of the best ways to demonstrate interest and get to know us.
Obviously, use social media…but it needs to be a meaningful connection. After they’ve met with someone at an event, link with them and continue to take advantage of those relationships over social media. Also, get to know more about our company by following some of the things we put out there. And then talk with the folks they’re building relationships with. ‘Hey, I saw this. Tell me more about that.’ Show them that you’re interested.
There is talk of a skills mismatch or disconnect between what employers need and workers offer? Could you speak to that in terms of the MBA? How closely are most MBA programs aligned with your realities?
I think that MBA programs are continuing to produce students that, for the most part, fit our needs and the needs of our clients, both from a technical and a soft skill standpoint, especially the top students coming out of the top programs. It’s important for MBA programs to understand what the evolving business needs are, particularly changes fueled by regulation and technology innovation. From what we’re seeing, MBA programs are, for most part, responding by tailoring their offerings to be as relevant as they can be in the environment we’re in. We’ve seen them add courses around areas like data analytics and global business and things like that. I wouldn’t say I have any complaints right now. In general, the curriculum is producing what we need. As long as the programs continue to be timely and responsive, I think we’ll be OK.
[At Deloitte], we’ll also enhance what comes out of an MBA program, particularly around leadership skills. We have a leader development program to focus on helping the people who join us identify and understand their strengths and how to leverage those (and also how to bring out the best in other people). Through Deloitte University, the actual facility and programming, we offer a lot of educational courses that will help those coming to us understand how to manage a client and build their executive presence and how they interface with other executives. We’re ready to enhance what MBA programs are teaching. It is a good collaboration and partnership right now.
Recruiting can be a two-way street. What has Deloitte done to make itself more appealing to MBA candidates?
This is something we are really, really focused on because the competition for top talent is fierce. So we want to be seen as a very viable option for MBA students to further their careers.
One of the things we seek that students are really looking for is an inclusive environment that is built on diversity and is focused on innovation and creativity. We try to articulate that to students as we’re interfacing with them. It’s one of our core values. What we’re trying to do is build a very diverse workforce that includes the best talent possible, people who have all kinds of backgrounds, when it comes to culture and different experiences.
We think that will be better for our clients, by building around innovation and creativity. We think this is attractive to students today, that their ideas and experiences they bring are relevant, that they’ll be valued and able to contribute right away. I think that’s important to students who’ve invested in their development by incurring a lot of expense to get their MBA. They want to know that it’s worth something. And that they’re going to be able to come into an organization and contribute immediately.
Another thing that we think is important would be that they want to continue to be life-long learners…and that the company they’re joining will invest in their skills. We think we demonstrate that by our investment in Deloitte University, a $300 million dollar state-of-the-art learning and development facility in West Lake, Texas. But it’s more than just a facility. It’s a concept that comes with a cultural aspect. So what we’re trying to do is use the physical facility to drive our approach to communicate with our people on all of their learning needs, not only their technical skill sets [throughout their careers]. They have an opportunity to enhance their skills relative to their industry knowledge, leadership capability, and also engaging with clients. [Because of this], Deloitte University has become a hub where we help solve unique client challenges as well.