When Peter Hill joined Deloitte's Manchester office as a risk consultant in September 2011, he didn't expect to be jetting off to Chicago to deliver a project for a multinational client a little over a year later. But, thanks to earning responsibility early on at Deloitte, that's exactly what he did.
After studying Mathematics and Finance at the University of Manchester, Peter applied to Deloitte's Enterprise Risk Services (ERS) practice, which helps large and small organisations reduce the risk they face in carrying out financial, operational and technological business processes. Peter works in the Controls team, where he focuses on operational risk management. Here, he tells us more about what his job involves, and why he enjoys it...
What attracted you to a career in risk consulting?
I was introduced to the Big Four firms while at university and attended a few careers events and skills workshops organised by them. Risk consulting appealed to me because it's fast-paced and the role is client-facing. The emphasis in risk consulting is on interacting with our clients and working with them to improve their businesses, which I found interesting and exciting.
Why did you decide to apply to Deloitte?
I applied to Deloitte because ERS works with a huge variety of clients, from charities and public sector organisations to FTSE 100 companies and multinational corporations. The firm also offers excellent training and support, and it's a global business with opportunities to work and travel internationally, which really appealed to me.
What does your current role involve?
At the beginning of a project, we visit the client to discuss their business processes, the risks they're facing and the controls in place to mitigate those risks.
We then put together a testing programme and perform an internal audit of the controls. If we find weaknesses in the controls, we discuss our findings with the client and make recommendations on how the controls should be improved.
We return to the client after a fixed period to check that the recommendations have been implemented and that they have improved the performance of the business.
Can you tell us about an interesting project you've worked on recently?
I recently workeon a project to deliver a review of internal business processes for a global metal storage company, which involved travelling to Chicago and visiting two of the client's warehouses in the US.
Metal is extremely valuable, and the objective of the project was to ensure that every piece of metal could be accounted for when being transferred, unloaded and stored in the warehouse.
The client has sites in Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East, so my team in Manchester worked with Deloitte offices across four continents to deliver the project. We'll repeat the reviews every quarter for the next three years.
What has your role on the project involved so far?
First, the nature of the work meant I had to be trained and certified in operating mobile elevated working platforms. This involved a theory and practical test - fortunately, I performed better than I did in my first driving test!
Then, I liaised with my client and the Deloitte office in Chicago to organise the project. I was under pressure to complete two reviews - one in Indiana and one in Illinois - in five days, so I had to carefully plan the logistics to ensure the work would be delivered on time.
I then travelled to Chicago and spent some time getting to know the warehouse managers and building a relationship with them before performing the review. It involved a stock count of all of the pieces of metal and assessing the internal process of metal entering and leaving the warehouse, and the system of recording it. Everything could be accounted for, so I was able to give the client assurance that the business processes were working efficiently.
Who did you work with on the project?
My manager in Manchester briefed me about the project initially and explained what was expected of me, then I was responsible for delivering the work. At Deloitte, you're encouraged to be independent, but there's a very supportive network around you so my manager was just a phone call away if I needed help.
I performed the review with a colleague from Deloitte's office in Chicago, and we worked very well together. We chatted on Skype before I went out there, and we've stayed in touch since completing the project. Deloitte is very diverse, but across the world everyone is personable, hardworking and very good at their jobs.
What did you learn from this project?
I learnt that my first year at Deloitte has made me capable of organising and carrying out an international business trip. The training here is excellent, so I've become competent at my job very quickly and have the confidence to take on more responsibility.
When I joined Deloitte I couldn't imagine going to Chicago to deliver a project by myself, but travelling across the world and leading projects is very common among graduates in ERS.
What did you enjoy most about the project?
Seeing the skyline as I was driving into Chicago! I'm from a small seaside town near Middlesbrough, so being in a big American city was very exciting. I also found it interesting to see the cultural differences between the US and the UK, and even between the two states of Illinois and Indiana - it was a completely different world!
What kind of students should apply to work in ERS?
In ERS people come from a variety of degree disciplines. It doesn't matter what you've studied, because Deloitte will teach you the technical skills you need to do your job. But there are several key characteristics you need in ERS. You should have an appetite for learning and always try to better your achievements, and you should have strong social skills to network with your colleagues and clients.