Growing organically with your career at Deloitte. Piotr Tokarczyk, a Managing Consultant, chats about the ample career growth opportunities that Deloitte provides it’s employees.
By Katie Platt
poly-E-fair Project Manager
March 1, 2022
By Katie Platt
poly-E-fair Project Manager
March 1, 2022
Piotr Tokarczyk graduated from ETH in 2015 with a PhD in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Since graduating, he has worked as a consultant in the re-insurance industry. He joined Deloitte in 2018 in the “Enterprise, Technology & Performance” consulting sub-team with a focus on financial services. After joining as a senior consultant, he was promoted to manager in 2020.
Piotr, what led to your career shift from geoscience to finance consulting?
Sometimes, after studying, people still don’t know exactly what type of career they want. I did not have a clear plan in my head as soon as I graduated. However, I knew I did not feel passionate about staying within academia and decided to move into industry, but I questioned “Where should I start?”. After working for a university for so many years, I did not know much about industrial careers. A scientific career is not for everyone and the idea that ‘switching to a business career is a waste of skills’ is a false impression. I didn’t lose anything by making the switch, I’m leveraging the things I learned during university and am building on top of that base with additional skills. Ultimately, I decided to consider consulting as it seemed like a great opportunity to learn a variety of skills very quickly, working for a wide range of companies on different projects. In my job, I still use many of the core quantitative skills I learned in university, including mathematics, analytics, and coding, and I have easily transferred them between fields. Despite changing fields and becoming a manager, I do not regret the area of study I chose. For example, I would not choose to switch to business or management; I am happy with the training and skills that I gained.
“A scientific career is not for everyone and the idea that ‘switching to a business career is a waste of skills’ is a false impression.”
If you could go back to university, what would you focus on more?
I would focus more on communication, team play, presentation…the soft skills. These skills are highly important in business, especially in consulting. The PhD and consulting worlds are completely different. In university you are typically alone or part of a small team, focusing on theory and planning experiments. In consulting you work every day with lots of people, so these soft skills become highly important. A great way to bridge the gap between these two worlds is to get involved in more student associations and initiatives. During my ETH studies, I was a leader in Telejob (a non-profit organization that aims to connect students and employers, and today, it acts as the lead organizer of poly-E-fair). Telejob was my first direct connection with some sort of business, and I was able to meet people in different environments and fields that I have kept as contacts for years to come. It’s a good exercise, because in the student association you are still in a safe environment, you are allowed to fail more, it’s still real but it’s more controlled so you can test the boundaries and learn what can be accomplished.
Why choose Deloitte?
- The brand. There is no denying Deloitte has a good reputation as one of the big four. They have a worldwide presence which automatically guarantees interesting clients, projects, and exposure to the full spectrum of industries in Switzerland.
- The number of employees. You get to network with interesting and ambitious people from diverse backgrounds. If you have a problem, for sure there will be a person who has already done something similar who you can ask for help.
- Rewarding and challenging. You get pushed out of your comfort zone and learn things very quickly in this field. Within months you get to see the results and growth within yourself.
What does a typical day at work look like?
I am currently working on a large IT project for an international insurance company based in the USA. I am the team lead of around 10 people and an SAP solution architect. The client is changing their current system and it is my team’s job to create clever solutions regarding how to best incorporate current processes into this new system. As a manager, it is also my job to ensure that our team is working efficiently and delivering good work. This project is a huge part of my day, but on top of project work I also have other initiatives to take care of, such as acquisition of new clients, working on internal prototypes, and working on proposals for clients. Personally, one of my passions lies in sustainability so I would like to move internally towards this topic, and this will require an extra investment of my time. If you want to help develop yourself, the business, and Deloitte in general you have the power to do so. Consultants have two jobs…the client job and the Deloitte job…it’s a balance you must learn to maintain.
What is the culture at Deloitte?
It’s a very empowering and growth-oriented company. You are given a lot of freedom to develop yourself. Deloitte is not like other companies where your responsibilities are tightly bound and defined. If you have a clever idea that you want to develop within Deloitte and it makes good business sense, then you are free to go forward with it. Of course, this requires an extra investment of your time, but if it is something you are passionate about, whether it is in your job description or not, you can explore it and move around internally, and the company will support you in this venture.
Deloitte’s teams are very interdisciplinary, with a range of different profiles. Consulting is a people business; the major asset of every consulting firm is the brainpower. We don’t have equipment, sure we have our laptops and our office, but mostly we have people. My colleagues and I are very open with each other, as a feedback culture is encouraged at Deloitte. This means you receive both positive and constructive feedback, helping you identify areas where you can grow and learn. This creates a very honest and healthy environment where you feel you can truly be yourself.
“We don’t have equipment, sure we have our laptops and our office, but mostly we have people.”
How does Deloitte help enable career success?
The typical path of a consultant is entering as a junior consultant, becoming a senior consultant, and as you grow together with your responsibilities and your project work, you begin operating at a higher level, triggering a promotion to the manager position. It’s very organic growth. Becoming a manager helped me grow as I learned how to read and interact with different people and how to efficiently run a team. It also taught me how to be proactive about what moves to take next on a project, rather than waiting for instructions from above.
This growth, however, is very dependent on you as an individual and your career goals. Consulting is a business where you have to be very proactive and learn to be the manager of your own career, nobody will take you by the hand and guide you. You must decide on your goals, climb the ladder as quickly as possible or focus on gradual internal progress. You have the power to choose and Deloitte has ample people and resources to support you on the way. For example, Deloitte provides many learning opportunities, including an online portal with classes, training sessions with coaches, and bootcamps on a variety of topics. However, you will not be forced to take part in these things, you do it because you want to do it. The opportunities are always there, you just need to reach and grab them.
How does Deloitte “Make an impact that matters”?
Of course Deloitte wants to drive growth within their employees, but they also have a bigger goal for the whole country. Deloitte wants to be a driver in the progress towards sustainability, with the ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. A big part of Deloitte’s impact is helping their clients transform their business to be more sustainable. With so many huge clients, Deloitte is in a position to positively influence progress in the whole professional services sector and create a value to make the industry better. Deloitte can help companies learn how to gather data about their carbon footprint and make sustainable transitions. The topic of sustainability is close to my heart and sustainability is not limited only to the sustainability team, we try to chat with clients about sustainability even if the client has approached us for a completely different project topic. If these goals are to be met, there is a need for a very proactive approach. Our clients get better, the whole sector gets better, the whole country gets better, that’s how I see our part in driving the progress.
“Our clients get better, the whole sector gets better, the whole country gets better, that’s how I see our part in driving the progress.”
Five words to describe your love for Deloitte?
Growth, independence, sense of purpose.
At Deloitte, I feel I am doing something that makes an impact, and I see a path forward to continue to develop myself. I enjoy chats like this about work and life in general – life is not only work! If students have any questions, I encourage them to find me on LinkedIn. It’s a very individual path we each take, but I hope my advice might help.