are Deloitte Consulting Partners too Political?-2

This article series shares advice our clients receive during the networking phase of the case interview process, as well as our feedback on how to make networking more effective.

In the first article in this series we introduced Martin and the start of his networking journey where he was chatting with McKinsey partners. Martin is an ex-McKinsey associate trying to rejoin the firm after almost 2 decades out of business school.

In the second article we covered Martin’s conversations with Strategy& partners.

In this 3rd article we are covering Martin’s initial interactions with Deloitte Consulting.

The names and some details have been modified for confidentiality reasons. In the articles to follow in this series we will continue to follow all of Martin’s networking efforts and some of his interviews feedback, all leading to his re-entrance into management consulting.

Below you will find a unique opportunity to follow Martin’s networking with Deloitte Consulting. Note that Martin’s networking efforts were very successful, he joined a top firm as a partner, so take this opportunity to learn and see what you can adopt to improve your networking results.

Networking with Deloitte Consulting part 1: Justin Cameron

“Michael,

I had an enjoyable call with Justin Cameron, a Sr. Manager in the Deloitte Consulting’s Chicago office. Justin’s profile is similar to mine (family business, previous consulting experience, consumer products). In fact, he knew my family from his previous experience (Dad took him golfing 3 times in the 90s).

As with my previous call I started with one question and built off of his comments.

Justin talked a lot about the struggles to build his network within the firm during his first year and the expectations of a Sr. Manager at Deloitte Consulting. He did make the firm sound fairly political, however. I will be interested to compare/contrast his perspective with others at the firm.

I will send him a thank you note and am considering the following. Any feedback you have is much appreciated.

Justin,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this afternoon. Given the similarities in our careers to date, your perspective on transitioning back to consulting was extremely helpful.

I appreciated you sharing the challenges in building a network within the firm as an experienced hire. From our conversation it appears you have navigated that well and are having meaningful impact with your clients and the firm.

I will reach out again as the process moves forward. Have a great holiday.

Regards,

Martin”

FC Feedback:

This is very common to firms where revenue is a key metric of performance. You will hear less of this at McKinsey and so on. Yet, it still happens.

deloitte consulting partners networking quote 1

When revenue is a key metric and promotions are determined by sales, consulting leaders tend to be very protective of clients. They want to keep the revenue versus bringing the best person onto the role.

This is why it becomes political.

Consultants are jockeying to be on a large client where they can sell and hopefully bring in about $3 million per annum to make partner. This is not necessarily bad and is not just happening at Deloitte Consulting. It happens at all firms including the strategy firms. It is just more pronounced at the other firms.

Networking with Deloitte Consulting part 2: Adam Deans

“Michael,

I just completed a positive call with Adam Deans, a Senior Manager at Deloitte Consulting in Chicago. He does manufacturing in Aerospace/defense and chemicals. He was very informative, and shared a lot of information on the firm, the recent acquisitions, its work and its culture.

He also offered to refer me to others within the firm that may be able to speak with me about Consumer Products/Operations.

One trend I am noticing about Deloitte Consulting is that the folks there talk an awful lot about “going to market,” “selling” work and “hitting numbers.” Is this unique to Deloitte Consulting or is it common across all of the firms?

Regards,

Martin”

FC Feedback:

I recall having a discussion with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of a major strategy firm. I am talking about a strategy firm with 3,000 consultants. You can guess the firm. The CMO was using “going to market” etc. language, and I politely asked her not to use such language. No client CEO wants to be considered as part of a market. They want to be treated as if they are unique. I further pointed out that when she and her team use these words, consultants pick up these terms. Then the entire organization is using this horrible language.

She was offended and never spoke to me again for 2 years.

It is derogatory to use these terms for clients. We forbid anyone at FC to use such language. Yes, financials are important but they are an outcome of focusing on the value/results to clients. When a firm discusses its revenue and profits, you know the jig is up. It is NOT valuable to a client to see this information.

You will see these terms very often at tier-2 firms, but to be brutally honest, we still see too much of this at BCG and Bain. Even McKinsey has changed. These firms are all now large and they worry about growth, which is much harder to achieve as a firm grows.

Never ever talk about going to market or selling work. It is offensive to clients. It is offensive to me, although I am probably old-school in this regard. And not a Will Ferrell old-school but more in the mode of consulting being a servant-leadership model.

Networking with Deloitte Consulting part 3: Domenic Teron

Michael,

Domenic Teron, a Deloitte Consulting partner who leads the Consumer Products Supply Chain & Operations practice in the Southeast connected with me on LinkedIn this morning (I sent the invite a couple of weeks ago and I was close to thinking he wouldn’t respond).

I haven’t spoken with anyone from Deloitte Consulting since before Christmas, but I think it is important to keep moving forward with this firm for the time being. I was planning to send the following email:

Domenic, 

Thanks for connecting on LinkedIn. I am a former McKinsey associate who left consulting to run a beverage distribution and manufacturing business, which I sold at the end of 2014. I plan to return to management consulting and am considering applying to Deloitte Consulting in the near future.

Would you have time over the next week for a phone call to discuss how your practice area is helping consumer goods clients solve supply chain and operational issues and to share your thoughts on the Firm in general?

As always, your thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated. 

Regards,

Martin”

FC Feedback:

I think Martin is doing very well in general. Do you notice how odd it was for him to hear a heavy discussion about the financials and metrics? That is something many people do not recognize, as incorrect, once they work in a heavily sales oriented firm. It just becomes normal to them to go for the heavy sell and after a while they cannot even see the difference.

So are Deloitte Consulting partners too political? I would say for their business model they are doing the right things. A better question is whether or not you personally want to be a part of that business model.

Stay tuned for the next post to continue follow Martin through his networking journey back into management consulting. The best is yet to come.

Thank you Martin for sharing this information and advice with the Firmsconsulting community. 

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QUESTION OF THE DAY:

Do you think Deloitte Consulting’s business model is ideal for you? If you were a global managing partner of Deloitte Consulting what would you do differently and what aspects of the firm would you preserve, based on your current knowledge? Should you do anything differently?

Ok, you are right, there is no global managing partner of Deloitte Consulting – it is not a global partnership. But if there was, and it was you, what would you do differently and what would you strive to keep the same? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Keep in mind that FC still believes the future of consulting will be a fight between McKinsey and Deloitte. The other firms will fade away. Deloitte is here to stay.

We are asking you these questions to train you to think like a leader, the kind of leader who believes that the buck stops with you.

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Image from Trey Ratcliff under cc, cropped.

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2 responses to Are Deloitte Consulting Partners too Political?

  1. Really well said Anna.

    Everything you say is very true and explained in our editorial of the firm: https://www.firmsconsulting.com/consulting-rankings/deloitte-so-ceo-michael-canning/

    Michael

  2. Michael,

    I think Deloitte Consulting overall is a good company. They have a ton of issues but they also do a lot of things right.

    If I was a global partner of Deloitte Consulting, the first thing I would change is the way recruitment is done, at least in North America.

    People are the most important asset of any consulting firm. Yet they often let first year associates do 1st round interviews, which in my opinion is nothing short of ridiculous.

    Firstly, in consulting everyone is competing for promotions, better ratings and better projects. What incentive does a 1st year associate have for bringing in people stronger than her/him?

    Secondly, why Deloitte thinks that those 1st year associates can even judge who deserves to go to the next round and who does not, especially when it comes to hidden gems with unusual backgrounds, like your students Sandra or Irina.

    Another thing that I would work on changing is to make it a truly global partnership. I personally heard Deloitte consultants from certain countries speaking ill of Deloitte consultants in other countries, on multiple occasions. It is so bad that associates think they can speak ill of partners from developing countries – this is how little respect there is between various partnerships.

    If you are a star Deloitte consultant from, lets say, Asia and want to transfer to Deloitte Consulting in North America, you will be treated like a stranger from the street corner and will likely be declined because “the standards are just not the same”. Yet if you are a McKinsey or BCG consultant from Asian office and want to transfer to North America – go ahead, you are one of them.

    Like Kevin mentioned in The Consulting Offer Season 2, if I remember correctly, there is more similarities between McKinsey consultants from various countries than between people within the same country. This is not the case at Deloitte.

    This makes Deloitte less attractive to top graduates.

    What I would try to preserve is employees’ engagement, many aspects of culture and job satisfaction. The culture is really cool and open. Many people who leave Deloitte Consulting miss Deloitte because if its culture.

    Deloitte also invests quite a lot in developing employees. The training itself is often quite weak, but at least they really try.

    Deloitte employees generally feel quite happy in their jobs and many return to Deloitte after trying out other firms. For example, a BCG consultant once told me that her years at Deloitte were the best professional years of her career. And I heard similar feedback from other people as well. In this regard, it is a great company.

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