Consultant, Deloitte Consulting (Human Capital, Organization & Change)
Grad Year: 2006
Why major in English?
Throughout my life, I knew that I loved writing, but I also knew that I didn’t want to make it into a career. Yet by the middle of my junior year at Michigan, I still hadn’t declared a major. Given that I was determined to graduate in four years, I had to choose – and quickly! At the time, I had a significant number of credits in English, and the credit requirements for the degree would allow me to explore other areas of study. I declared English, and spent the remaining three semesters fulfilling the degree requirements and taking as many business school courses as I possibly could.
Building a career
Following my sophomore year of college, I interned with a non-profit in downtown Detroit called New Center Council, where I worked in marketing and event planning (primarily on their “Comerica CityFest” event). The following summer, I interned in Human Resources and Organizational Development with Handleman Company in Troy, MI. During that time, I continued to work for the Comerica CityFest in a part-time position. After graduating in 2006, I worked with Accenture for two years as an Analyst in their Talent & Organization Performance – HR Transformation group. My projects included large-scale HR transformational projects (which included HR systems, processes, and outsourcing), mainly in a training and change management function. In July 2008, I joined Deloitte Consulting as a Consultant in their Human Capital – Organization & Change group. Currently, I work on projects in various talent strategies and technology adoption. Throughout my consulting career, I have worked for a variety of industries, including travel & transportation, financial services, and manufacturing.
The value of an English degree
My English degree has indeed brought value to my career. A large part of consulting is the ability to write well, and to be able to adapt your writing to a variety of audiences. (For sales proposals, my audience may include executive-level employees; other times I might be writing a message targeted for an hourly warehouse worker with a high-school education.) Currently, I am contributing to a white paper in my practice, and my background in English has enabled me to feel more at ease with writing than others. More often, I find that my overall educational experience at Michigan has contributed most to my career. The ability to work well with others and relate to people from all walks of life is just as important in business as understanding how to solve strategic talent issues and deliver solutions within time and budget constraints. Unfortunately, I will say that I have definitely met my share of people who do not understand the value of a liberal arts degree and the critical thinking skills that Michigan teaches its students.
Advice for those considering a degree in English
If you are considering a degree in English, I would highly encourage you to pursue this area of study. However, do so with a plan to support your English degree with other experiences, and try to begin thinking of your goals for post-graduation so that you can take steps to prepare yourself. This preparation could come in the form of a minor or dual degree, internship, or leadership/involvement in student groups; the bottom line is to have a career goal (or a few!) and be actively working towards it. Know yourself, your strengths, and what you would have to offer a potential employer. If you can’t sell yourself or define what you want in a career, then someone else certainly will not be able to do it for you.
In one of my final consulting interviews, the partner looked me dead in the eye and said, “You studied English; what do you know about consulting?” Whichever career path you find yourself pursuing, be prepared to answer those tough questions and have the experiences to back yourself up.
Related Career FieldsBusiness/Administration, Financial Services, Technology