Millennial Interview #1: Consulting in Paris

Today’s interview is with Jamie Schroeder, a Consultant with Deloitte Consulting.

Hey, Jamie! Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us today.

My pleasure!

To kick things off… Can you tell me a bit about your job?

Sure! I am a Consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Deloitte has a variety of different “practice areas,” but I work in the Strategy & Operations practice. On the strategy side, we advise clients on developing strategic objectives and strategic plans, and on the operations side, we help our clients to improve efficiency of what they’re already doing.

That sounds interesting. Can you give us an example of the type of project that you work on?

In addition to working in Strategy & Operations, I am also aligned to the Federal practice, which means that I work primarily with clients in the federal government. I’ve worked for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to name a few.

Our project with the FDA was actually very interesting. Our client wanted to improve the way that the FDA assesses public health risks. We conducted about 50 interviews and helped them develop a more data-driven approach that has ultimately proven to be more effective and efficient.

I also work with non-Federal clients. One good example was a pro bono project with Share our Strength, a non-profit whose mission is to end childhood hunger. We created an online tool for school administrators to learn about the federally funded school food programs available to them.

Wow! It seems like you’ve done some really impactful work, but I understand that recently you had the opportunity to do a very different type of project. Can you tell me about it?

Yes! I recently had the opportunity to relocate to Paris for 9 weeks to help launch Deloitte’s Client Experience Lab for the EMEA region. Basically, the Client Experience Lab is an environment where we invite clients to collaborate on innovative solutions to complex business problems.

How did the opportunity come about? Was it difficult to accept?

In consulting, a lot of times opportunities come down to timing. In this case, the timing was perfect. I have also been fluent in French from a young age, which was a prerequisite for this role.

But the decision to accept was easy! It had always been a goal of mine to use my French in a professional setting, and I had always kept the possibility of working for Deloitte France in the back of my mind. So when the opportunity came along, I jumped on it.

Can you tell me about the experience? What sticks out in your mind?

Honestly, there isn’t any one experience that jumps out. What I really enjoyed was the day-to-day experience and the total cultural immersion. Daily trips to the bakery, grabbing coffee with my French colleagues, and becoming a member of the every-day office team were highlights for me.

Now that you’re back stateside… As you reflect on the experience, what did you learn?

Actually, my biggest takeaways were all things that I learned about myself. By nature, I am a very outgoing, welcoming, unassuming, and curious person. Before going to France, I hadn’t really valued these qualities because they weren’t as noticeable as “hard skills,” like financial modeling.

In the end, though, these qualities really helped me connect with my colleagues. They perceived me as flexible and interested in their culture, which had a huge impact on my performance. I was able to get our project up and running quickly and bring all of the people together to accomplish our goals.

All in all, it was a really empowering experience that has helped me understand my values and who I am as a professional and a leader. Since I’ve been back, I have been much more confident in my abilities.

That’s great! Has the experience changed your relationship with Deloitte?

It definitely has. I’m very fortunate to work at a company that invests heavily in its employees’ professional development and has the ability to provide unique opportunities, like living and working in Paris.

Now that I’m back, I’m working with my managers and mentors to find a project that will help me to continue to support my professional development. I’ll keep you posted!

Please do. It was great to hear your perspective, and I wish you the best of luck!

Thanks. You, too!