William Welch Deloitte opened what would become Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (better known as just Deloitte) in 1845 in a small office in London. Thirty-five years later, the company expanded overseas to New York, eventually landing on Wall Street, then adding branches in Chicago and Buenos Aires. Now, Deloitte operates in over 150 countries. Our featured alumna also wants to found her own business someday, and knew she needed to develop her consulting chops at Deloitte. Read on for insights and advice from Abhhinoor Dhull, Wharton MBA ’19 and senior consultant at Deloitte, in this edition of Real Humans: Alumni.
Abhinoor Dhull, Wharton MBA ’19, Senior Consultant at Deloitte
Hometown: Rohtak, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.), Roorkee; Civil Engineering (Class of 2013)
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: The Wharton School (MBA Class of 2019), Major in Business Analytics & Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
I worked for four years at Schlumberger, a leading oilfield service provider. In my first role as program manager, I led operations and field teams in remote oilfield locations across India to provide end-to-end client services. In my second role in business development, I managed five client accounts across North India and Bangladesh (~65% division’s revenue). I consulted with clients daily to diagnose and solve their production problems by introducing cutting-edge technological solutions.
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
I joined Deloitte in August 2019 as a senior consultant in New York to pursue management consulting. Here, I have primarily worked on digital strategy projects so far. Some of my projects include developing a business case for cloud-based biomedical research platforms and assisting life sciences clients across the M&A cycle (e.g. facilitating Day 1 readiness, designing post-merger operating model, etc.).
Why did you choose to attend business school?
Schlumberger equipped me with a deep technical, business and operational understanding of the oil and gas industry. I truly cherished the trust I built with my clients and the direct impact I created. But I wanted to venture outside my niche, and increase the breadth and depth of my impact across industries and geographies.
In the long-run, I wish to start my only consulting business. To do that, I knew I needed a complete management toolkit, including academia and soft-skills, and a strong and supportive network to make this transition. Furthermore, I wanted to apply at the peak of my career and motivation so that I could follow my through with courage and intent.
Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Wharton was my top choice for two reasons – culture and leadership programs. First, I wanted to surround myself with accomplished, collaborative and thoughtful peers with diverse perspectives. The Wharton professors, staff and students were extremely approachable and truly invested in my success.
Second, I wanted to develop a deeper understanding of leadership and teamwork. Being the only woman in my division in India, I was insecure about my leadership style since it was different from what was perceived ‘conventional.’ I wanted to create a personalized plan for my leadership development. Thus, at Wharton, I really benefited from the McNulty Leadership Office: As a Leadership Venture Fellow, I participated and led outdoor leadership expeditions in the Atacama Desert and Patagonia.
I participated in the Executive Coaching & Feedback Program and volunteered as a P3 facilitator to assist my peers to explore their Purpose, Passion, and Principals. These programs allowed me to learn, apply and fine-tune my leadership and teamwork skills which are effective and authentic. I graduated from Wharton with a deeper self-awareness, greater confidence and immense gratitude.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Getting a full-time offer is a grueling task, especially if you are switching careers, but Wharton prepared me at every step. The Career Management Office supported me from the moment I stepped into Huntsman Hall until I stepped out as a graduate. I consulted them while I was deciding my career path, navigating recruiting, and even deciding on my offer.
It touched my heart when they held mock ‘networking’ sessions and panels on ‘how to be successful at consulting’ as they anticipated our anxieties even before we knew or expressed them. Next, the academics: Several times, I have found myself going back to my class notes and directly applying concepts onto my projects at Deloitte. Finally, by joining the Wharton Small Business Development Center as a pro-bono growth strategy consultant for local businesses in Philadelphia, I learned the day-to-day engagement as a consultant. This helped me get a head-start in my consulting career long before I stepped into my internship.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at Deloitte Consulting in New York and decided to come back full-time. Since I was switching careers (and geographies), the internship was extremely crucial in my decision making. During the summer, I supported a life sciences company to create its state-of-the-art operating model. This was uncharted territory wherein I had no prior experience.
However, it was a perfect fit as it allowed me to test my hypotheses about consulting. I acted in the same capacity as my current full-time role wherein I led two (out of three) workstreams and interacted directly with the C-suite. I learned quickly and thrived under my team’s thoughtful feedback. After 10 weeks, I knew exactly what I loved (and didn’t love) about consulting and took an informed decision to come back full-time.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
For my internship, I had offers from two different industries: consulting and technology. I chose Deloitte for its culture and pace of growth. My first-ever conversation with an employer at Wharton was with a Deloitte manager, Ossama Ghazal. Almost three years later, Ossama is now also my mentor and friend. This speaks to the culture of Deloitte, where I found people to be approachable and invested in your success. Also, I wanted to maximize my pace of growth and impact by working on a diversity of projects.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Do the due diligence, internally and externally, to choose my career intently. External due diligence is easy and organic in a business school. But make sure to check-in with yourself periodically and reflect on what exactly motivates you and which career/firm maximizes that.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Stress less, it always works out in the end. While working hard is crucial, being optimistic only helps. Firms want you just as much as you want them. Also, several of my friends bagged meatier offers much later into the recruiting cycle. So, it’s never over until you say its over.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Deloitte has been an active recruiter at Wharton for years now. So, the process was as expected. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find how different each firm is. This revelation reinforced my belief leveraging networking to find a fit is crucial.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Slow down to move fast! Make time to reflect and re-calibrate frequently.The two years go by quickly and you can only do a fraction of the opportunities available. Choose with intent and chart your own path. Your reasons for being here are unique to you, so burdening yourself with comparisons and peer pressures is futile.
What’s the best thing about working for your current employer?
The vast network of practitioners who are truly invested in helping you succeed. During my first month, I spoke with over a hundred Deloitte practitioners, including the CEO. All I did was reach out and say ‘hi.’