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Based in Washington, D.C., Shannon Cabrey is a human capital analyst in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Practice. A graduate of Virginia Tech, where she studied business with a focus in marketing and management, she interned with Deloitte in the summer of 2015 before joining the organization full time in August 2016. Here, she talks to Vault about her experiences with the organization to date, including what she’s learned so far, and where she sees her career at Deloitte heading from here.
Vault: Thanks for talking to us, Shannon. Can you tell us a little about your current role at Deloitte?
SC: I’m a human capital analyst at Deloitte and my role currently is working on a federal project. I’m on a tech adoption project and I am helping with strategic communications and stakeholder engagement work. So I’m doing a lot of the tasks that build into bigger strategies for the client.
Vault: Do you have a technology background?
SC: I was a business major at Virginia Tech; I took business information technology courses in undergrad but was mainly focused on marketing and management, as well as business leadership. So, while I was not on a technology track, I was drawn to the strategic communications aspect of it, which is in line with my skills. In the work that I’m doing, we communicate strategically about technology practices, so it’s a good middle ground and an opportunity for me to learn a lot about cyber and technology while using communication skills.
Vault: Is your current project the first since you we were hired?
SC: Yes. After I was hired, I went through training, and then from there I started on this project. I was lucky enough to be staffed on a project right away, which was wonderful, and I’ve been there ever since.
Vault: Once your current client engagement is complete, do you have an opportunity to change tracks or to move practice areas?
Yes. I’m very open to learning other things. Later, I will reach out to my network within Deloitte and see what other projects or opportunities are out there, see what other things might spur my interest and align with my skills. I definitely don’t feel like I’m locked down into any one track; I’d like to expand and learn about different types of projects. A lot of it is just timing and seeing what fits, and where there’s a need at that point in time.
Vault: Can you give us a sense of how Deloitte has supported you in developing your career so far?
SC: There is a lot of on the job learning and training available to me. My teammates were wonderfully supportive in terms of providing the institutional knowledge that they had from the client side, and giving me the background on the technology projects that were going on—things like figuring out the history to date on the happenings, and the processes that I needed to jump in on. I was given a very thorough onboarding process, which I was very grateful for, and which meant that I felt comfortable before diving in and being able to deliver the work. I would say that Deloitte provides a great onboarding experience and colleagues who are willing to teach you as you go – as well as the opportunity to be on the client site and learn directly from the client as well.
Vault: What was the formal/informal training balance like?
SC: I completed some cyber courses online as a prerequisite for consultants who are working within a cyber environment at the client. So that was within a virtual classroom environment. But the majority was learning directly from my colleagues.
Vault: And have you had a chance to experience Deloitte University?
SC: Yes—in my second week at Deloitte I went for five days of analyst training. I was there Monday through Friday, and it was very rigorous. I got to meet a lot of people, and definitely had fun too.
Vault: Can you tell us a little about your experiences on the internship?
SC: It was the summer of 2015, between my junior and senior years. I looked into the internship during my junior year. I came across it through meeting with a VT alumna who was involved with a student group I created at school. I was co-founder of a women in business organization at VT, and we had a lot of outreach from alumni who wanted to get involved and support our group. One of those alumna was from Deloitte and had a very strong interest in supporting our students though a group called Collegial Women in Business. And from there, I formed a relationship with that alumna, who asked if I had an interest in career opportunities with Deloitte. I provided my resume and started getting in touch with recruiters to hear more about opportunities in consulting and human capital that aligned with my interests.
Vault: What was the hiring process like? Had you gone through the application process at that stage?
SC: After I’d made contact with the VT alumna I mentioned, I was put in touch with Deloitte’s lead Virginia Tech recruiter and spoke with her about opportunities that aligned with my interests. She suggested that human capital consulting.
Then I spoke with human capital professionals at Deloitte about their daily experiences and work-life balance, and I asked questions to explore whether it was a career I’d be interested in, because I wasn’t sure if human capital was a good fit for a marketing management major. I wanted to determine whether I’d be able to contribute based on my skills. When I figured out that I did have an interest, I applied through the VT online career portal. My first round interview included a case study and a behavioral interview. I went through all the interview stages and steps until I was selected to be a summer scholar. That was in the spring of my junior year.
Throughout the process, I was able to feel out whether it was a good fit for me or not, and get a good feel for the job and the requirements. And I had a good idea of what the internship would be like when I was applying.
Vault: Did you find that the internship prepared you for what the full-time role would be like?
SC: Absolutely. I was given a lot of responsibilities as an intern to make a real impact, and worked with a Deloitte team that included a managing director and a senior manager– a wonderful opportunity. We were asked to be creative, given challenging work…it was such a great experience that I couldn’t imagine working somewhere else at that point. I knew that if I was extended a full-time offer that I would want to accept. It was definitely a challenging summer, and now that I’ve been in the full-time role for a while, I reflect and realize that it did prepare me for a transition into being a full time professional.
Vault: Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about applying to Deloitte or thinking about the internship?
SC: Myadvice would be the same advice I was given, and that’s to talk to as many Deloitte professionals as you can. Everybody’s experience is different and you’ll get a wider breadth of information, and I think that the people are so wonderful, and that was a huge selling point for me. They were really on my side and wanted me to do well, and they were encouraging me to succeed. That was great, to get that feeling before you go into an application or an interview process—to get to know some people, projects, goals, and priorities. The more people you can talk to and the more information you can gather in order to be confident in your decision, the better.
Vault: What would be the process for doing that?
SC: There’s no “process”, per se. Alumni networks are great—that was my initial connection. I think you can reach out online as well, through professional or social networks. Also, using your campus resources at your university; many already have a relationship with Deloitte. Also, reaching out to counselors to see if they have information from the lead recruiters for the school. Try reaching out to recruiters; they are often a great channel to connect students with professionals.
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