A sitdown with Aleksandra Arsova, a consultant at Deloitte Consulting

07 May 2018 Consultancy.eu 8 min. read

Aleksandra Arsova joined Deloitte Consulting in the Netherlands twelve month ago as a Business Analyst in the firm’s Operational Excellence service line. Consultancy.eu sat down with the Macedonian-origin consultant to understand more about her first year in consulting, how Deloitte is supporting her career progression and why she believes the firm nourishes a great culture. 

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Aleksandra Arsova, 24 years old, born and raised in Macedonia but living in the Netherlands for almost 6 years. After rounding up high school there were two reasons why I wanted to study abroad. Firstly, I had very broad academic interests, such as economics and law, and did not want to confine myself to studying one. After a bit of research, I came across Amsterdam University College that offered an interdisciplinary curriculum, where I later obtained my BA. My interest for macroeconomic policy led me to pursue a MSc in Economics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Next to my professional ambitions, my passion for discovering different cultures and places was a reason more to move to Amsterdam, which is considered a global melting pot of art and culture. 

You joined Deloitte Consulting after a brief spell at another consultancy. What attracted you to Deloitte? And one year down the line, how do you reflect on the move?

What first attracted me to Deloitte is its vast body of eminence that is in circulation – whenever I would be interested in a specific topic on a business or societal level, an article from Deloitte would catch my eye. Another important factor was Deloitte’s presence in almost every industry as a professional service provider – I very much wanted to discover projects in the financial industry as well as the public sector and I figured that here would be the great place to do exactly that. Last but not least, my ideal employer was always one that would help me make a visible social impact throughout my career. Finding out that Deloitte also fosters an active contribution to society through its Impact foundation was a reason more to make my move. 

Aleksandra Arsova, Business Analyst - Deloitte Consulting

You work for the Operational Excellence service line, a team within the Strategy & Operations service area. What kind of engagements have you been involved with so far? And what did your own role look like?

I would say that the focus of Operational Excellence is optimising the way of working for businesses at every level – we take the core business and its strategy as our points of departure and work further to simplify processes by making them more efficient, effective, and innovative. My first role was supporting a restructuring of back office processes at a large Dutch bank. By gaining more experience I took on more responsibilities in my next engagement at the same bank, where together with a team from Deloitte and the client we worked on a project aimed at identifying potentially vulnerable clients. By means of workshops and interviews we created a customised approach and helped the bank in assisting its potentially vulnerable clients in alleviating their debt through a concrete method and action plan. 

At the moment I am busy working for a client in the public sector industry where, together with a small team, by getting client input through workshops, I am responsible for mapping a few processes, advising on potential improvements, and helping the organisation be fully in control of its key processes. 

Working in diverse industries, such as financial services and the public sector, means you are faced with highly complex strategic and organisational challenges. What training and guidance is offered within Deloitte to make sure you serve clients across industries in the best way possible?

Indeed, working on complex projects is exciting but requires constant improvement and an ability to follow a steep learning curve. In this respect, the support I get at Deloitte is a hybrid of support and guidance from my peers and the numerous mandatory and optional trainings that are offered. The trainings vary from industry- to capability-specific. These are always of very high quality and useful for mastering the methodologies we use at Deloitte worldwide. As for the peer support that is continuously there – the culture of knowledge-sharing and helping each other is the one we try to develop and nurture further. 

Diversity has in recent years become a major theme within Deloitte. You are part of Deloitte’s Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Board, which promotes a diverse workforce within Deloitte Netherlands. How does an initiative like this support you in your career at Deloitte?

As mentioned earlier, an ideal employer for me is the one that also enables me exercise the values I stand for. This is why I have recently joined Deloitte’s Cultural Diversity board where our efforts focus on creating an inclusive environment for all races, ethnicities, beliefs, which in turn brings diversity of thought within Deloitte. And the latter is crucial for us to stay at the forefront of innovation and better decision making. For me personally, this means that I am respected and supported to bring my ‘whole-self’ to work and try to reach my full potential. 

Deloitte Consulting is full of talented people who aspire to grow beyond their professional potential

You have a diverse background yourself – originally from Macedonia and an impressive proficiency in eight languages. For an expat, how is working for a Dutch consultancy and its clients? And what international opportunities could Deloitte offer you so you could one day leverage your pan-European profile?

So far I haven’t done a project abroad, but there are nonetheless opportunities for that. Or you get to work for a global client and spend a week in Brazil, for example. A lot of the trainings are also organised on a European or even global level. In fact, during my last training I had the chance to meet colleagues from the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region. With Deloitte Netherlands joining Deloitte North-West Europe as of this year, it is expected that European collaboration and joined projects in Europe will be more common. Next to that, everyone within Deloitte has the opportunity to get a temporary transfer in another Deloitte office which can be anywhere in the world. I am planning on discovering this opportunity more in the course of this year and potentially doing a secondment (maybe in Australia) myself. 

Deloitte Consulting is growing strongly in the Netherlands, with many consultants pointing out the firm’s talent approach and culture as key success factors for high employee satisfaction. How would you describe the culture both within your own service line and beyond?

We definitely grow a dynamic and speak-your-mind culture. Deloitte is full of talented people who aspire to grow beyond their professional potential. In that way, as I am busy with the diversity board, there are colleagues who next to client work dedicate themselves to, for example, the Deloitte Women’s Network or help out in organising many of our recruitment events. Next to that, the flat hierarchy within Deloitte is also very motivating for junior colleagues. Even at a starter level, everyone has the opportunity to sit down and chat with senior colleagues, share an opinion, lay out an argument, and contribute to the end value we bring to the market. And that for me is the ultimate driver in my career. 

Related: interviews with Netherlands-based consultants Ilse Spoelstra (works for BearingPoint) and Esther Splinter (works for Anderson MacGyver).