Deloitte's Maximum Impact Program - A Different Kind of Spring Break

By Anne Rosivach
 
Spring break was about hard work as well as play this year for the eighty-eight students chosen from 1,600 applicants who participated in the fifth annual Maximum Impact: Deloitte's Alternative Spring Break program. Teaming with United Way and Teach for America, Deloitte hosted two spring break programs that enabled top-tier undergraduates who are preparing for a career in accounting to volunteer their time and skills while simultaneously connecting with its professionals. 
 
One of the largest campus recruiters in the nation, Deloitte plans to hire approximately 6,500 full-time employees and interns from 400 US campuses in 2012.
 
Deloitte and Teach for America brought thirty-five college students to Memphis from March 4 to March 8, to tutor local students, offer small group instruction, and speak about the importance of a college education, among other projects. Olympic bobsled Champion Steve Mesler delivered the kick off address to the volunteers in Memphis. Deloitte is a sponsor of the US Olympic Committee.
 
Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek kicked off the second program in Atlanta from March 10 to March 16 by sharing how leadership lessons from the ice rink can translate to the workforce. Fifty-three students joined Deloitte and United Way for volunteer projects in Atlanta.
 
Prior to the event, AccountingWEB spoke with Diane Borhani, national director of campus recruiting at Deloitte, who said, "At Deloitte, finding candidates who will thrive in our organization is a top business objective. Maximum Impact enhances our recruiting efforts by allowing us to build relationships with future leaders well before they graduate. Over 127 volunteers from our previous programs have joined Deloitte as interns and professionals.
 
"Maximum Impact is a tremendous opportunity for students to connect with Deloitte professionals and demonstrate their values to one another. The Deloitte professionals who volunteer will be coming from across the country and will represent all of the different business units. These potential recruits can ask all kinds of questions in an informal environment, an opportunity that is not usually a part of the typical recruiting interview. 
 
"Our volunteer efforts this year will focus on our joint commitment with United Way and Teach for America to improving education. Our volunteers will be working with students to identify a path to higher education and providing tutoring and in-class support. In some cases, they will be helping to repair facilities. 
 
"We believe that the organization has a fundamental responsibility to the community at large, and we should contribute by action as well as through financial contributions. This is a fundamental part of who we are and what we expect of each other – that we will give time as well as resources.
 
"One of the things I respect and appreciate about this generation is their increased interest in service programs. We survey our 2,000 interns every summer, and last year found that one of the top three factors in their decision to accept a job offer was being able to participate in community service opportunities. We can say that, absolutely, you would have that opportunity if you join Deloitte.
 
"The student volunteers will share with their schools, their professors, and their classmates that we are living our brand. We are who we say we are and we are really proud to be associated with this organization," Borhani said.
 
Rachel Fetterman, audit senior assistant at Deloitte, participated in the first Maximum Impact program in 2008. "Maximum Impact was the first time I had the opportunity to closely interact with Deloitte and its people," she said. "We worked with some very experienced builders from Habitat for Humanity, building a house in a small town outside Biloxi, Mississippi. We broke out in groups during the day, but every night we had a dinner followed by a town hall meeting where we shared what had happened that day.
 
"It was an amazing experience. On the first day, when we began work, the house was just a frame, but within four days, it looked like a finished house, with siding, paint, and a roof. The last night, we invited all the people we had worked with, including the builders from Habitat for Humanity, and the family – a mom, dad, and baby – who would live in the house, to a huge dinner," Fetterman recounted.
 
Fetterman compared the Maximum Impact experience with other recruiting events. "I was a sophomore accounting major, but at the time, I really didn't have a strong feeling about which company to join. At recruiting events, it was hard to distinguish one firm from another. The networking events at school were highly structured, and students really outnumbered the professionals.
 
"During the Maximum Impact week, the ratio between students and Deloitte professionals was 2:1 and we could talk easily in a non-structured way. I came to understand the culture of the organization and how I would mesh with it. I saw professionals from across the units work together so seamlessly, and I thought I would fit in; I could see myself working there. I wouldn't feel out of place at Deloitte, people were always quick to come and help me.
 
"That week remains one of my favorite memories, and the feeling of the importance of giving back stays with me," said Fetterman.
 
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