The summer vacations are over, the laptops are back in the bags and the academic year has officially begun. Justus Ykema (24) and Sjoerd van Velzen (24) both know what it's like to combine working at Deloitte with studying, and they got together to share their experiences. Sjoerd is currently writing his thesis in Econometrics for his master’s degree in Business Analytics & Quantitative Marketing within the Responsible Data & Analytics team and Justus has just finished working as a working student and started as a full-timer within the Benefit & Pension Advisory team.

1. Why work and study at the same time?

Justus: ‘I wanted to do something engaging during my final year of study and was looking for a place to work as a working student during my second master’s degree. When I was searching, it turned out that my cousin knew someone at Deloitte and so the connection was immediately made.' Sjoerd: ‘A lot of people worked at Deloitte in my network, and I always heard good stories from them. I am currently writing my thesis on the effects of missing values in datasets, how to deal with this in different situations and what the effects are on the final analyses you want to perform.’

Justus - The team is very friendly and because of this, it’s a fun and close-knit team.

2. Are studying and working easy to combine?

Justus: ‘Combining it with my studies went very well. I worked two days a week and I liked the freedom I was given. I could alternate working at home and working in the office, but if my timetable changed or I had exams, I could always move things around.’ Sjoerd: ‘Deloitte is very flexible with the working hours. I occasionally had other obligations in the afternoon. Then I made sure to reschedule meetings and planned to catch up on those hours later in the afternoon which was no problem at all.’

3. What kind of guidance did you receive from Deloitte?

Justus: ‘I always received guidance from my team, when necessary. My coach guided me in finding my place within the team, asked me how things were going, whether I had too little or too much to do. This enabled me to try everything and made me want to continue working at Deloitte.’ Sjoerd: ‘Besides the flexibility from Deloitte, I really like that my coach and I have regular contact. We discuss how my thesis is going and we look at the plans for the upcoming months.’

Sjoerd - In the beginning of your career, you can learn a lot in a short amount of time at Deloitte.

4. What does your day at work look like?

Justus: ‘I worked a lot with Consultants and Senior Consultants on often relatively short-term projects. I worked (online) via Teams or at the office and this way, I could collaborate on doing the calculations or preparing the presentations. I did quantitative analysis and forecasting, providing support and advice in areas such as the new pension law and pension accounting. Additionally, I supported the audit and mergers & acquisition colleagues in the field of pension together with my team. I also really enjoy doing this because they are different tasks that BPA (Benefits & Pension Advisory) supports with.’

Sjoerd: ‘Besides writing my thesis, I also had meetings with someone from Deloitte who works at a large pension investment company, about how companies deal with missing values. That was relevant for me, because in my dissertation, I focus on the business aspect of missing values and not just the academic aspect. Everyone is just a Teams message away. I like to work from home a lot, but I also love being at the office (especially in Rotterdam). The excellent facilities and great atmosphere make it perfect for me to work on my thesis.’

5. Are you really part of the team?

Justus: ‘The team is very friendly and is a small team with 20 colleagues. Because of this, it’s a fun and a close-knit team. In February, I went on a trip for winter sports along with the team. It was great fun and it also ensured that I established a good bond with everyone.’ Sjoerd: ‘The atmosphere at Deloitte is very pleasant. In the first few weeks, when you don't know anyone yet, you can easily talk to someone at the coffee corner. Apart from their age, you don't really notice from the conversations whether someone is a partner, working student or a manager because it's very amicable.’

To wrap up: why work at Deloitte?

Justus: ‘Deloitte is a wonderful place to get a glimpse of where you might end up later. You get to constantly develop yourself and in a large organization, there are different departments you can join, so you can always find something you like. I was also told that I was free to join another service line for a project if I wished. I felt at home, but that kind of freedom does show the kind of opportunities Deloitte offers to working students.' Sjoerd: ‘Deloitte is obviously a big company because it’s multidisciplinary and you have a lot of experts in all specific areas around you. Here, especially at the beginning of your career, you can learn a lot in a short amount of time. The work environment is also very relaxed, less formal, and less hierarchical.’

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