A Dancer Tries the Deloitte Thing

Fall quarter of a business economics student's senior year is probably the most stressful and hectic one of college. That's when that dreadful "R" word begins. Recruitment.

Investment banks. Accounting firms. Consulting firms. It's as if all of Corporate America is recruiting simultaneously, and all targeting the same applicant pool. Even though I've never thought about being in that sector of our economy I felt pressured to join the band wagon, to find that stable six-figured salaried job, and to get that group-paid health insurance. I applied to only two firms and miraculously received two interviews (It must have been my work as a Disney 365 host that convinced them to interview me).

I wish it was as easy as going into the firm and charming them with a smile. Unfortunately, it requires much more preparation. I studied cases in every spare moment I had. I drew and redrew hundreds of frameworks. I practiced estimating the used-car market countless times. My life became consumed by the ominous case interview, and the more I prepared the less ready I felt.

My first interview was with Bain & Co., arguably THE best consulting firm. With my Banana Republic suit on and my brown (yes brown, I was trying to stay away from boring black) folio in hand, I nervously stumbled through my first interview for a full-time position. It went well, or so I thought. I did not receive a second round. Disappointing, but expected.

My next interview was with Deloitte. I actually went through their case competition with some friends earlier in the quarter and placed second out of about eight other groups, so I had a feeling my chances were better here. The first round went very well, and I got a final round interview, The "Blitz", with the firm out in New York.

The "Blitz" Round is an intense two-day interview process. The first night is a dinner with your interviewers and the second day is six hours of interviews and case studies. It is meant for the interviewee to better understand if Deloitte is a right fit for him or her. I was just excited to be in NYC!

My interviewers were great, and the whole "Talent and Organization" division seemed wonderful. I really connected with one interviewer who was also a dancer, and my case interviewer said that my case answer was the best he had seen all day. I nailed it. I knew I did.

What ended up tipping the scales against my favor was my passion NOT for consulting. I remember my interviewer saying to me, "Im not sure you will like it here. You have so much going for you in the dance world. Are you willing to give that all up to spend 80 hours a week in a cubicle?". I whipped something up on the spot to answer her question, but her comment really got me thinking. I'm really not ready to give up dancing yet. Those three months when I was dancing the least were in some ways the most painful. I hated seeing my fellow dancers creating and producing art while I was stuck in front of my laptop, looking up strategies to improve some company's efficiency in distribution. I literally ached when I watched youtube videos of classes and performances I couldn't take or be a part of.

I did not receive an offer from Deloitte, but a conversation with my interviewer after the decisions were sent out made me feel confident about what happened. She assured me that while I might have been a top candidate in the applicant pool, consulting wasn't a right fit for me. At least not now.

And here's the thing. I thought I could muster enough enthusiasm for the job during the interviews to be given an offer. But that is precisely why I was not offered the job. I was putting on a poor performance, and it was evident to myself and the interviewer. I did not show love for the work or the company.

I should never be struggling to convince myself that I want a job. When I find something that I want to do and know that I'll be good at, I won't have to put on a charade. And who knows? Maybe I'll be a consultant for Deloitte somewhere down the line. Perhaps in a few years after the dance bug has left me. But for now, I don't believe I've reached that point yet.

So went my experience with Deloitte.