Meet Kelsey - Transition from student to young professional

Deloitte New Zealand - Meet Kelsey

Meet Business and Maori Development graduate and Deloitte Senior Analyst Kelsey, who shares her career journey and transition from student to young professional.

Kelsey started in a graduate role at Deloitte, while simultaneously completing her Co-op there. The past four years she has spent at Deloitte working on diverse projects, focusing on Maori Development and Health Economics.

What is your role with Deloitte?

I am a Senior Analyst in the Corporate Finance team  within Deloitte Access Economics, based in Wellington.

What do you do?

My day-to-day varies, but I tend to work in small project teams across three to four projects at a time. As our team is based in Wellington we do a lot of work for the public sector. My focus is Māori Development and Health Economics so I tend to work with government agencies and health trusts involved in this space. I could be sitting on Excel all day working in an economic model or in-and-out of meetings with my team or clients. Work tends to be pretty fast paced around here.

What three things do you like about your job?

First, I’m lucky enough to work on projects for other service lines too!, such as the Consulting team and the Private team, so I get to be involved in a wider range of work and to meet people across the firm and country. Second, Professional Services has a lot of young people who come through the Graduate Programme so you have peers across the office/country in the same boat as yourself. Third, it’s a steep learning curve in your first two years so the amount of professional and personal growth you experience is incredible.

How did you prepare for your role with Deloitte? 

I didn’t have any exposure to the corporate environment before starting my graduate role at Deloitte, nor did I have any idea about the Big 4. When candidates are offered a role (Intern or Graduate), you are paired up with a buddy and this person tends to be relatively junior and within your team. I would recommend reaching out to this person, prior to your start date to ask questions! We all understand it is a niche environment we work within – so we are happy to answer any questions and help guide you in your Deloitte journey.

Could you briefly explain the recruitment process? 

The recruitment process can differ depending on the service line you are applying to. For example, Consulting has two stages of online assessments, which occur after you pass the first stage. A successful completion of both online assessments will result in an interview with our Consulting teams in either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

For the other service lines (teams) - Audit, Tax, Private, Financial Advisory, Risk Advisory - there is an online test, and if your assessment is successful your application is reviewed. The next stage in the recruitment process is a video interview. Following a successful video interview, applicants will be invited to a face to face interview. Some of the teams provide case studies as part of the interview process. Case studies are realistic scenarios or problems that our teams would encounter and the expectation is for candidates to complete or respond to these case studies. This allows us to understand how you would approach a task with your current logic and technical skills.

This process is very similar for the internship and graduate programmes and I would encourage anyone interested in a graduate role to complete an internship first! This will give you a better idea about the type of work we do, but also whether the team you are working within is the right team for you. Each team requires different skill sets and performs different activities, so it is helpful to understand this before setting yourself up in a team.

What tips did you learn about yourself during the recruitment process?

  • Back yourself – have confidence in your skills, competence and worthiness to be part of the team you are applying for. Easier said than done, but if you can’t inspire trust and confidence in your interviewers, how can you do the same for our clients?
  • Identify what sets you a part from the crowd – As a Polynesian woman, I bring a range of skills from my upbringing; an ability to talk to people of all ages, great interpersonal and communication skills, cultural knowledge, navigation of hierarchy and protocol. I identified that the firm was looking for an economics graduate and I could bring my Māori background/cultural expertise, my experiences as a woman as well as my additional majors of Māori Development and Event Management to the role.
  • Show who you are – Deloitte is not looking for a carbon copy of team members they already have. Show your personality, your interests, your life experiences – this gives the interviewers a better understanding of who you are and how you arrived where you are today!

As a young Māori professional, how did you navigate your own transition from a student to graduate? 

I hadn’t finished studying by the time I started my Graduate role with Deloitte – so my transition period was probably a lot longer than my peers. I had completed all my academic papers and had my Co-op paper left to complete – so in my interview, I requested that I complete my Co-op with Deloitte. This meant that I was studying full time during the first ‘semester’, and working fulltime at Deloitte.

  • Corporate setting
    • For many graduates, they had an expectation or understanding of the corporate environment. In many cases this is because they had interned at a “Big 4” prior or because they have parents or siblings within the sector. I, however, came from a family in trades industries and had no real concept of corporate expectations, dress code, manner or even the need to navigate internal politics and hierarchy. I had to be very observant in my first 6 -12 months, to see what to do and what not to do. I also made sure to connect with other Māori and Pacific people in the office, and sought their guidance in a lot of ways.
  • Wellington
    • Due to the location of Central Government/Public sector in Wellington, our Wellington office has significant involvement in public sector projects. As someone with Māori whakapapa who had studied Māori Development, I find the Big 4 are notably Western Structures – and so, the literal culture shock of leaving Auckland and moving to Wellington, was significantly felt. Corporate Wellington has poor Polynesian representation, and so I started to build a network around me of Māori and Polynesian people that had similar roles and so we could support each other in our roles.
  • He Tangata | The people
    • Every work environment has amazing people and less amazing people, I found that I have had to engage with people often different from myself – in discussion, debate, in tense situations and during social events. Some differences are amazing, others not so much. The lesson is to not take anything personally, business is business and we can be put in some very stressful situations.

What advice would you give to new graduates who are entering the workforce?

  • Find other graduates who share your values and purpose – this will help you to support each other, while staying true to who you are. This will also help you to stay connected with people who come from similar backgrounds, cultures, or religious affiliations.
  • Be open minded – stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. The corporate industry has a variety of people who have different beliefs, backgrounds, opinions – be open minded to people with these differences!
  • Know that you’re not alone – while it is very difficult for others to understand the predicament and demands of Big 4 life, find others like you – trust me you’ll be bonded through shared experience.
  • Be yourself – going into an environment like Deloitte/Big 4, is intimidating! Bring yourself to work, it’s hard to enjoy your work if you are trying to keep up a façade. Part of the reason you got the job is because of what your personality can bring to the team, so bring it!

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