DELOITTE CONSULTING (S&O)
The companies we cover are big players in the industry and show up on all sorts of lists – best company to work for, the best place to start a career – Deloitte Consulting, and specifically Deloitte S&O (Strategy and Operations) seems to enjoy talking about it more than the rest. From its website to its newsletters, from its Deloitte Consulting Careers page to its Deloitte Facebook presence, the firms love to talk about the lists they’ve graced and the rankings they’ve achieved.
So, is Deloitte Consulting all talk, or are they really all that? And is the Deloitte S&O interview the same as MBB firms? If you want to work globally, which of the many Deloitte Consulting locations is right for you?
Sure, Deloitte Consulting was named the best place to launch a career by Business Week. Yeah, LinkedIn ranked Deloitte Consulting the #1 world’s most in-demand employer. Deloitte Consulting was also named as one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Women. But are these just glitzy titles, or are they backed by something real?
Let’s be clear – the Deloitte Consulting division, and specifically the Deloitte S&O practice is no McKinsey, and as far as we can tell, it never will be. But if you’re not going to MBB, Deloitte S&O is MC’s pick for your best non-MBB option to launch a career in consulting.
Deloitte Consulting is likely never going to be a McKinsey, Bain, or BCG – from pay to travel perks to project types to exit opportunities, you won’t find us advising a consulting client to choose Deloitte Consulting over MBB. The firm does, however, have huge things going for it. Excellent Deloitte Consulting salaries, great training programs, and some very interesting projects make Deloitte Consulting a legitimate player in the consulting world.
Another thing that makes Deloitte Consulting special, and puts Deloitte S&O at number 1 on our non-MBB list? Consulting experience there won’t exclude you from getting into MBB later on. We’ve worked with several 1:1 clients who have gone from Deloitte S&O to McKinsey, BCG, or Bain – which is something we can say for only a handful of firms.
Bottom line? Deloitte Consulting touts itself as one of the best places to work, and we don’t disagree – but we have quite a lot to say about this massive black box of a firm.
DELOITTE CONSULTING (U.S.) KEY STATS
Deloitte Consulting Website: Deloitte S&O
Deloitte Consulting Headquarters: New York, NY
Deloitte Consulting Employees: 40,000 consultants
Deloitte Consulting Locations: 44 U.S. offices
Deloitte Consulting Chief Executive: Punit Renjen
Deloitte Consulting Revenue: US$19B+
Deloitte Consulting Engagement Cost: $400K
Deloitte was founded in 1845 in London, England by William Welch Deloitte. He was the first person to be appointed as an independent auditor for a public company – the Great Western Railway – and went on to build his credibility and business on the railway and hotel industries.
Deloitte accepted his first partner in 1857 and opened his first overseas office in New York in 1880. After Deloitte’s retirement in 1897, the company started on a long series of partnerships, affiliations, and mergers that continued into the 21st century, not to mention countless name changes. Key persons involved in the growth and direction of the company include George Bailey, George Touche, and Nobuzo Tohmatsu.
The first appearance of a management consulting function at Deloitte was after George Bailey, then president of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants joined the organization in 1947. To further strengthen the company’s consulting business, Deloitte & Touche partners decided to create Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group in 1995. In more recent years, major developments in Deloitte’s consulting business include the purchase of the North American Public Service practice of BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) in 2009 and their acquisition of Monitor Group earlier this year. Not to mention Deloitte adopted the case interview format.
DELOITTE CONSULTING ORGANIZATION
When you think of Deloitte, you usually think of bean counters doing an audit, or suited up professionals from their transaction advisory practice. But Deloitte is a LOT more. They’re a major corporation with almost 200,000 employees across the globe. They are definitely a force to be reckoned with, and an excellent place to start, develop or end your consulting career.
One of Deloitte’s greatest successes is that it provide the whole suite of services – from audit to risk to strategy and more, and the Deloitte interviews can cover that breadth. Their breadth also lends to their weakness, however. Sure, they will win one engagement a year from the big dogs – the McKinseys and the Bains – but from the management consulting lens, Deloitte is not a pure strategist, so they don’t stand out as one of the top players, and probably never will.
If you’re pursuing consulting at Deloitte, rest assured that its Strategy & Operations practice (lovingly known as S&O) is a great option for your management consulting career. If you’re currently at Deloitte trying to get into consulting – perhaps you’re an analyst in their risk practice or a manager in their audit practice – your first step should be to transition into Deloitte S&O from your current sector. In either case, a background in Deloitte S&O will set you up for a great career at Deloitte or a launching pad for MBB. The broader Deloitte Consulting practice has lots of amazing options too, but S&O is where the best of the best land.
DELOITTE CONSULTING PRACTICE AREAS
To understand Deloitte Consulting better, we thought it helpful to lay out where the practice fits in the bigger planet of Deloitte. First, the umbrella firm – which we’ll fondly call Big Daddy Deloitte, is the parent company that encompasses the firm’s entire global operation. Big Daddy Deloitte boasts 300,000 employees, offices in 150+ countries, and revenues of US $46B.
Within Big Daddy Deloitte, there are 4 tribes – Tax, Audit, Financial Advisory, and Deloitte Consulting. Each of these firms is separate legal entities and are managed and owned by a partner group – some of the best-paid partners in the world, might we add.
Deloitte Consulting is further broken down into 3 sectors: Human Capital, Strategy & Operations, and Technology. Most management consulting candidates are focused on Deloitte S&O – which is broken down into these 6 areas:
- Infrastructure Operations
- M&A Restructuring
- Supply Chain and Manufacturing Operations
- Service Operations
You’ll notice that practices at Deloitte Consulting, in contrast to MBB, are organized less by industry and more by function. Why is this? It has to do with who Deloitte Consulting is selling to. While MBB firms are focused on CEOs and reorganizing entire businesses, Deloitte Consulting focuses on a level below that – a particular function, like accounting/finance, HR, or operations. That means Deloitte Consulting is usually talking to someone at the VP level, a level below the C-suite. If the firm is working with C-level clients, the clients are often heading up operating units, portfolio companies or organizations beyond the Fortune 500.
It’s important here to note that Deloitte’s tax and auditing practice dominates in the Fortune 500 segment – just so you can begin to navigate who’s who in the Deloitte zoo. It’s also important to know that, while Deloitte’s other practices are technically a part of the same company, if you’re aiming for S&O but not there yet, you’d much rather be in one of the other Deloitte Consulting practices – Technology or Human Capital – than in a separate legal entity (like Audit) altogether. The transfer possibilities, which we’ll talk about later, will be much easier – and the skill sets will be highly transferable.
Deloitte Consulting Locations
Deloitte has 150+ total offices worldwide. 75 of those have Deloitte S&O practices.
Deloitte Consulting has one of the most consistent global brand names out there, and tons of offices around the world. One of the benefits of working for them is that they make possible a lot of inter-country transfers. If you’re a non-U.S. resident looking to work in consulting in the U.S., transitioning from a foreign Deloitte Consulting office to one of their U.S. location is an excellent way to do that.
Not only are they everywhere – and we mean everywhere (Deloitte S&O hires in the town of Harrisburg, PA where you won’t find any other major consulting firms) – they have very big offices. The downside of this is that there isn’t a lot of interconnectedness within the office; the upside is that in terms of lifestyle and raising a family, there are a lot of options in terms of where you can live.
Deloitte Consulting is quirky in that it’s probably one of the most common firms that people go back to after leaving and working somewhere else. You’d rarely see someone return to MBB after a career on the outside – it just doesn’t happen. Why is Deloitte Consulting different? They have a strong global network and they’re open to rehiring people later in their career. In fact, Deloitte Consulting is very clear that, in contrast to MBB, theirs is not an “up or out” culture – because it has so many options for consultants to tailor-make a career, leaders emphasize that the firm is a great place to grow a whole career- not just to get training for a future as a CEO.
DELOITTE CONSULTING CAREERS
Undergrads come in as Analysts while MBAs and APDs will usually come in as Consultant. After that, you progress to Senior Consultant, Manager, Senior Manager, and finally Principal/Director.
Deloitte Consulting Exit Opportunities
One exit opportunity is internal – you can move to a different area in Deloitte. Like we’ve said, there are tons of locations, a variety of practices, and a breadth of opportunities to explore within the business. Other firms aren’t big enough to offer such variety; there’s just not enough space. At BCG, for example, if you become an expert in something, you’re going to become more and more specialized in that area. The only direction you can go – at all of the MBBs – is up or out.
A note about inter-Deloitte transfers, however – it’s really important that you try as hard as you can to start where you want to end – so if you want to go to S&O, apply there – the firm’s party line is that you can’t switch (we understand this, but have anecdotal evidence to the contrary).
There’s nothing super surprising about the other exit options, including career consulting (going to MBB or a boutique firm), moving to a start-up, or working in strategy for Fortune 500s.
There is something, however, that you’re less likely to do when you leave Deloitte as compared to MBB – you won’t find yourself in private equity, and this is a pretty popular option for alumni from the top echelon. But remember, before you can exit, you actually have to make it past the Deloitte Consulting interview!
Notable Deloitte Consulting Alumni
- Orin C. Smith – former CEO of Starbucks
- Rick Vanzura – Chief of Strategy and Business Development, GameStop
- Allison McGourty – Founder of Lo-Max Records
- Ken Zeff – Former COO, Green Dot Public Schools
- Art Martinez – Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Fred Goodwin – Former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland
- Sergio Marchionne – CEO of Fiat
- Bill Owens – Former Governor of Colorado
- Pierre Pettigrew – Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Peter Cosgrove – Chief of the Australian Defence Force
- Sam Morgan – Founder of TradeMe
DELOITTE CONSULTING CULTURE
Terms we associate with Deloitte are “ethics,” “integrity,” and “code of conduct” – that’s probably due to its foundation in accounting and auditing. What we don’t associate Deloitte with is “entrepreneurship,” “innovation,” and “out of the box.” This isn’t to say you won’t find Deloitte consultants who have these characteristics – it’s just that the firm, in general, isn’t known for these things. Instead, it’s built a name for themselves by doing things consistently and delivering on time. Whereas a CEO would hire thought leaders from MBB to come in and turn a company around, a VP of Supply Chain would hire Deloitte to come in and deliver an operations solution that works because it’s been done again and again.
While they’re not necessarily creative, Deloitte consultants are very good financial modelers, and you should be prepared for questions about quant skills in the Deloitte consulting interview. Consultants don’t do as much one-on-one customer research as an MBB consultant would, but their modeling skills rock. MBB recruiters know this and know that they can build on the training foundation Deloitte is so good at offering its consultants; if a consultant can think outside the box as well, the rest can be taught.
Like any consulting firm, Deloitte Consulting offers great benefits and perks, plenty of opportunity to learn and grow, and lots of travel. In fact, while MBB usually runs on 4-days-a-week with Fridays in the home office, because of Deloitte S&O’s operational nature the firm is on a standard 5-day-a-week travel program – so they push the travel-heavy end of the spectrum.
When it comes to local office culture – a huge draw at places like Bain – Deloitte fails the test. Because the firm is so gigantic – you’ll find 1000 people at a Deloitte office and 50-100 at a typical BCG office – local office culture and connectivity are almost non-existent at Deloitte. The repercussions extend to a weaker mentoring/coaching environment and no clear bond among Deloitte alum.
Think of it like the difference between going to Harvard vs. UT Austin for undergrad. At Harvard you can vouch for the caliber of your classmates – you have similar academic backgrounds, you took similar coursework to graduate, and you get to know one another on the small campus. When you meet another Harvard grad, you “get” each other. At UT Austin, on the other hand, you’ve got a huge variety of fellow students alongside you at college – from cheerleaders and professional athletes, all the way up to individuals pursuing a Ph.D. in Astrophysics.
DELOITTE CONSULTING INTERVIEW
The Deloitte Consulting interview is not as quantitative or as long as MBB case interviews. That is, if you’re using MBB as a standard for case practice, you’ll be well-prepared for a Deloitte case interview. Expect at most 2 quantitative cases at a max of 30 min (more often around the 20-minute mark), and a heavy emphasis on market sizing – with an even heavier emphasis on fit questions.
Deloitte interviewers are usually more interested in your upfront case structure and your answer as opposed to your mental math and quantitative horsepower. Deloitte case interviews are most similar to Mark Cosentino’s Case in Point, which – while not the best prep step out there for MBB interviews – is a great DIY resource for Deloitte case interview prep (or you can work with our hand-picked team that prepares hundreds of candidates for Deloitte each year).
You can find lots of information about Deloitte’s internship program on its website – including Q&As, opportunities, and, of course, accolades the firm has received (Vault’s top 10 internships, etc.). While Deloitte closes fewer consultants from its internship program for full-time hires (many prospects use a Deloitte S&O summer as a launching pad to banking or MBB consulting), the Deloitte Internship is a top choice for 2 other reasons – good projects and great training. The firm also offers a variety of Deloitte case competitions and conferences for undergrads, MBAs, and other advanced degrees – all great ways to get to know the company culture and gain consulting experience.
The company also offers a 1-month pre-MBA Deloitte internship – consisting of 1 week of training and 3 weeks working on a project. This is a great opportunity for people who want to feel out consulting before fully committing, and of course, an excellent way to beef up your resume. According to a recent client we worked with, the Deloitte case interview for the pre-MBA internship consists of three fit interviews and one case interview, with a focus on demonstrating clear communication, confidence, and structured thinking (no surprise!). Read his whole story here.
At the end of the day, Deloitte Consulting is going to hire in a big way from second-tier schools – those schools that fall 20-50 in the major undergrad college rankings, like big state schools, and the top 5-20 MBA programs. They will also hire from top schools, like the Ivies, and from Harvard and Stanford, but they’re not necessarily going to hire the very top performers/leaders from those schools. For example, Deloitte S&O will attract the president of a sorority but not the president of the class.
Deloitte Consulting Salaries
Are you an undergrad, MBA or intern who’s interested in working at Deloitte, but you don’t know how much you’ll make? Check out our latest Management Consulting Salaries post to find out!
Deloitte Consulting Target Schools
Deloitte Consulting recruiting comes from most of these schools:
- Brigham Young University
- Chicago Booth School of Business
- Columbia Business School
- Duke University
- Duke’s Fuqua School of Business*
- Georgetown University
- Harvard Business School
- Indiana University
- Kellogg School of Management
- MIT Sloan School of Management
- McCombs Schools of Business
- Michigan Ross School of Business – Graduate Program
- Michigan State University
- New York University
- Northwestern University
- Stanford University
- Texas A&M University
- Wharton School at U Penn
- UC Berkeley
- University of Illinois
- University of Michigan
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Texas Austin
- Washington University
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re at a Deloitte Consulting target school (or if you’re curious about international target schools), check their website here.
Note: Duke Fuqua is one of the biggest schools that Deloitte pulls from. We loved how one of our clients termed it: “Deloitte owns Duke.” And it goes both ways – Deloitte feeds Fuqua with MBA candidates and on the flip side hires MBAs from Fuqua. It’s a win-win (if you go to Duke!)
Deloitte offers informational sessions at many of these schools – don’t miss them! They are key opportunities for face-time with recruiters and consultants.
Recruiters are given a lot of power at Deloitte. They’re the ones who are primarily responsible for hiring – unlike at MBB firms, where the partners are major decision-makers for hiring and the recruiters are more administrators of the process. Because Deloitte Consulting is so big, recruiters have to be the gatekeepers – otherwise, total chaos would ensue.
Build a relationship early and often with recruiters – at career fairs, conferences, and events. If you know people at Deloitte Consulting, get the inside scoop on which offices are most attractive (read: which offices are hiring). It’s a different process to MBB firms, where they either want you or not, and office location has a slight element of strategy to it but is really secondary.
Networking still plays an important role at Deloitte, but it’s more for gathering information rather than getting the interview. We’ve known people who have been recommended for a position at Deloitte by senior partners – after 2-3 informational sessions and a resume review – but were turned down in a recruiter review, with no partner recourse.
The point here is that your application is everything at Deloitte. Make sure your Deloitte Consulting resume air-tight before sending it off to the eagle eyes of their recruiters. If you need help, we’re here – you can always work with us for the best chance.
Diversity groups at Deloitte are called “Business Resource Groups.” Here’s a list of the main groups offered at Deloitte:
- Ability First & Allies BRG (Ability BRG)
- Armed Forces & Allies BRG
- Asian-American Alliance & Allies BRG (ABRG)
- Black Employee Network & Allies BRG (BEN)
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Employees and Allies (GLOBE and Allies BRG)
- Hispanic/Latino(a) Employee Network & Allies BRG (HNet)
- International Network & Allies BRG (International BRG)
- Women’s Initiative
As with other firms, networking inside these groups is a huge bonus – shared interests/backgrounds are great conversation starters. And an internal recommendation can help you land a Deloitte interview.
DELOITTE CONSULTING RESOURCES
- Interview with a Deloitte S&O consultant
- Getting a pre-MBA internship at Deloitte
- The secret to leveraging Deloitte experience for MBB
- How to land offers at Deloitte from a completely non-technical background
- Why a top undergrad chose Deloitte over PwC and Towers Perrin
- Cover letter advice from a Deloitte consultant
- Salaries at Deloitte
- Deloitte video overview
- The Innovator’s Manifesto
- Pricing and Profitability Management: A Practical Guide for Business Leaders
- Brand Resilience
- The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work
- The Power of Pull
- Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise
- If We Can Put a Man on the Moon… Getting Big Things done in Government
- Deloitte Review
- More Deloitte Books
- Latest Case Studies
- Global blogs
- The Real Deal – Perspectives on life as a Strategy & Operations business analyst at Deloitte Consulting LLP.
- Deloitte Facebook
- Deloitte University Facebook
- Deloitte Google+
- Deloitte LinkedIn
- Deloitte Pinterest
- Deloitte Twitter
- Deloitte YouTube