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Insights from Deloitte: Associate in Financial Advisory Hazel

Book open Reading time: 6 mins

Deloitte understand the importance of diversity and the need to empower and advance women. Through motivational initiatives, mentoring, regular informal meetings and workshops they aim to attract, develop and retain talented women. We caught up with Hazel, an Associate in Financial Advisory - Forensic, to find out more about her experience at Deloitte. 

Can you give an example of how leadership is encouraged?

I tend to lead the daily meeting with our client’s Project Management Office team. This is generally held at the client site which is where I’m based a lot of the time for my current project.

When I first arrive at the office I start prepping for the meeting by sending out an email to my team to find out what issues need to be raised, and I compile a brief agenda. In the meeting itself I go through each agenda point and make notes of the updates. Afterwards, I send a summary of the updates to the senior managers in my team. 

Your five quickfire questions

If I could take the credit for a film it would be… any of the Disney classics; Lion King, Hercules, Mulan. I’m a massive Disney fan.

The advice I would give my younger self is… be confident in yourself. Don’t change who you are or what you believe in to make people like you.

My biggest challenge since joining Deloitte is… learning all the financial crime terminology and acronyms. I’m getting there though.

I love working at Deloitte because…there are so many opportunities available to me, I’ve met some amazing people and I have a pretty great work-life balance.

In 10 years’ time I see myself as…an experienced financial crime professional in a senior position, inspiring young BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) candidates to pursue a career in professional services.

Were you worried about anything before you joined? How has that worked out in reality?

I was worried that I didn’t have enough industry specific experience and would be completely out of my depth. During my gap year and through university I’d worked as a receptionist at an entertainment company, I’d learned about Anti Money Laundering and various other things in that job which is what sparked my interest in financial crime, but I didn’t really have any direct experience.

It was completely fine though. I received a huge amount of support from my coach, manager and team when I joined and soon felt comfortable. I’ve also learnt so much, and very quickly, by getting stuck in to the job and being reassured by senior members of my team that’s OK to make mistakes and ask questions because I’m learning.

Which skills are most useful in your job?

I use Excel every day without fail. I have to update spreadsheets, project trackers and logs. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but it definitely helps if you are proficient with Excel. Having good attention to detail is really important too, I often have to thoroughly check client documents for example.

Since I’ve joined, my note-taking skills have really developed. I take minutes at several meetings and, over time, I’ve become faster at typing them up and capturing the key points.

I really enjoy project management – organising meetings and client calls, liasing with the client directly to handle any day to day issues that come up. I also enjoy the level of teamwork, I never feel that I’m on my own and am constantly learning things from the great minds that I have around me. 

What are your ambitions and how are you being helped to achieve them?

I want to build my technical knowledge over the next couple of years. There are several training sessions that support this which I am working through. I also have weekly meetings with my line manager and a technical director. I’ve already progressed from having minimal financial crime knowledge to feeling that I have a reasonable level of technical knowledge now.

In September this year I am starting my ICA international diploma in Anti-Money Laundering. I’m really excited about studying alongside working; it’ll give me the opportunity to see how what I’m learning works in reality.

What’s special about the people of Deloitte?

I’m surrounded by a team of very talented people, I learn so much from them. There is a lot of diversity in experience and skills too, I love that everyone has a different story – some have a legal background, some are Physicists, and some have always been involved with compliance work and financial crime.

My managers are very supportive and always encourage me to push my boundaries. And there is a great culture of respect and inclusion, I definitely feel like I can bring my true self to work which is really important to me.

Tell us about your business area. What are the best things about it?

There is a significant amount of legislation and regulatory standards in place to safeguard organisations against financial crime risks. We help our clients understand these and remain compliant with everything they need to. This could be in relation to money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption, fraud, weapons proliferation, and much more.

There are amazing opportunities to work with high profile clients, such as global banks, and with very senior members of the Deloitte teams. I love that my job really makes a difference - I enjoy seeing clients make changes based on the feedback and recommendations that we’ve made.

Obviously the work is challenging, but I thrive on that. We work to a lot of tight deadlines, but as a team we make sure we plan tasks ahead of time. I’ve learnt to manage my time well and I know I can ask for support if I need it.

If you love problem solving this is the right place for you.

What else are you involved in at Deloitte, beyond the day job?

I’m a member of the Multicultural Network. They host brilliant events that are great for networking. They offer volunteering opportunities too which enables me to pursue my passion of encouraging greater diversity in the workplace.

Socialising is a big part of the culture here – from project team nights out, to away days, pub quizzes, karaoke nights, bowling, football tournaments; the list goes on. They’re a great way to get to know people on a more personal level.

There are also lots of opportunities to get involved with the community. I had the privilege of teaching a class of year 7 students at a local school about budgeting. I was also part of a CV and interview workshop for young trainees from City Gateway, a London based organisation that helps nurture potential amongst young people, women and families in some of London’s communities most impacted by social and economic inequality.

Where are you based?

I work in the London office. I love being in the city, there are so many things to do. With loads of cafes and bars near the office it’s easy to grab a coffee with a manager or meet up with colleagues after work.

What would you say to persuade a graduate to join Deloitte?

Just do it! You’ll meet amazing people with fascinating stories, learn so much about yourself and your abilities, you’ll be making a difference and, most importantly, you’ll have fun whilst doing it.

Keen to follow in Hazel's footsteps? Find out more about Deloitte and discover live opportunities here.