BC won handedly last night defeating the Northeastern Huskies 7-1 in round one of the Beanpot. This made for a good start to the week. Next Monday we’ll face our arch rivals, BU, as the Eagles vie for their 4th straight Beanpot title. GO BC!
For today, I thought I might address 2 of the primer questions proposed by the career center
1. Describe your career path since graduation.
2. Is there any sort of career preparation (graduate degree; internships, etc.) that is vital to your field?
First – my career path. It’s been a pretty straight line. I mentioned some of this in my previous entry, but I can probably elaborate a bit on my post undergraduate job search which I covered in a bit of detail. I started at Deloitte in 2001, just before 9/11 and before the economy hit bottom so I was incredibly fortunate. I had entered Deloitte with an interest in the Financial Industry, but quickly realized that this space would likely be difficult to break into given the turmoil. Deloitte has an internal staffing process, very similar to the recruting process, where you can seek out project opportunities and interview with project leads to “get staffed” on a project. To not be staffed on a project means that you’re not genereating revenue for the firm and is often refered to as “being on the beach” (for an interesting list of management consulting slang, check out this page). Fortunately in my 8 year career, I havent’ spent much time on the beach. I was quickly staffed on a healthplan insurer project where we were installing Siebel CRM (now Oracle) and have been involved in Deloitte’s Healthplan segment ever since.
Through the years I’ve had the opportunity to work at a number of regional and national plans including:
- Tufts Health Plan
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts (BCBSMA)
- Capital BlueCross
- Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina (BCBSNC)
- Geisinger Healthplan
So while I’ve only been employed by Deloitte consulting, I’ve had the opportunity to work at a number of different companies solving a number of different business issues. This is the primary reason why I chose to enter consulting from the start. Deloitte (and consulting in general) provides quick access to a very broad set of business experiences – all which can help narrow down focus as you progress in your career. See this link for details on the typical Deloitte Business Technology Analyst career progression.
After about 5 years, I began to realize that while I was gaining a lot of hands on systems delivery expereince, there was a missing piece – I needed a better business foundation. As an undergraduate hire I was eligible for Deloitte’s Graduate School Assistance Program (GSAP). Through this program, applicants apply to GSAP by building a case for their pusuit of an advanced degree – typically and MBA or and MS-IT. I was accepted to the program and chose to return to BC CGSOM to pursue my MBA. I went full-time through the 2-year program and had a terrific experience…. Which leads me to:
Part 2 – Is there any sort of career preparation (graduate degree; internships, etc.) that is vital to your field?
I’ll start with the traditional, ever-popular consulting answer, “It depends”. At Deloitte, we have two undergraduate new hire tracks – Business Technology Analyst (BTA) and Business Analyst (BA) – that we recruit for at BC. As an BTA, there is no graduate degree requirement as you progress through the firm. For the BA track, however, it is mandatory to pursue a degree after 3 or 4 years. Besides this requirement within the BA track, there’s very little that would be considered vital. Both tracks hire across a broad breadth of majors. Obviously Information Systems and Computer Science are naturally aligned to the BTA program, but they are not necessary. To be a successful consultant you simply need to be able to logically break down complex problems into pieces that can be tackled in a productive manner. Whether you’ve written a thesis for your History major, have developed testing approaches in a Chemistry class, or solved Dijkstra’s Algorithm in a computer science class; you’ll likely have the foundational skill sets necessary to be a successful consultant. Candidates along the BA track are often Finance, Math, and Operations majors, but again, the core requirement is structured, analytical approaches to problem solving. As I mentioned in my previous post, consulting requires a balance of soft and technical skills so pursuing a well-rounded liberal arts education like Boston College alums are armed with is a terrific first step. Be broad while at school – gain lots of experience in the classroom, working in group setting in extracurricular events, pursue an internship and volunteer to achieve a set of diverse non-academic experiences, and you’ll be well on your way.
One of the best academic experiences I had while at BC was John Gallagher’s TechTrek Experience. John’s class is a week-long sprint through Seattle and Palo Alto where a small group of students meet with BC alumni and senior executives at a number of premier technology companies. Previous hosts have included Starbucks, Facebook, Zynga, eBay, Amazon, Google, Cisco, Tallwood Venture Capital, Apple (MacWorld), and many, many more. Through these visits, students receive a series of Master Classes (to use John’s terminology) on how to execute disruptive technologies, drive innovation, and have fun while doing it. TechTrek is a real-time, hands on realization of the theories and facts you’ve learned in the classroom. If you don’t believe me, check out what other students have to say!