Sam Yearsley is a Digital Team Lead and Ventures Scout at Deloitte UK.
Sam is a team lead for the development of digital products, with a particular focus on cloud and data products. He began his career at Deloitte, starting out as a business analyst before moving on to his current role. Sam also holds the role of Ventures Scout for Deloitte UK, part of a large team responsible for identifying the most promising UK startups to help shape the Deloitte UK partnerships and acquisitions pipeline.
Today we caught up with him on his career success to date.
Q. How did your time at University prepare you for your current role?
SY: Although studying History at Cardiff University doesn’t sound particularly useful for going into consulting and technology, I have learnt fairly quickly that there are multiple skills I built during university that help me in my day to day role at Deloitte.
Firstly, History required me to be pretty self-motivated with my learning on a daily basis. With no text books to guide my learning, I had to show initiative to go find the best reading materials at the library or online. I have subsequently used this initiative to go find new opportunities at Deloitte, like the Ventures Scout role I currently hold, as well as finding online courses in programming and cloud computing to continue developing my tech skills.
Secondly, I think University in general required me to be organised in order to play hockey, be successful in my degree, and retain some level of social life. More specifically and more importantly for my current role, I learnt how to prioritise my tasks on a daily basis within the context of my long-term goals. This led me to start using tools like trello to track my objectives and key results, and I have continued to use this on a day to day basis in my current role, where prioritisation is probably the single most important skill.
Q. Do you think that there are enough materials out there to educate a young adult on your role?
SY: I have learnt from my own experience and the experience of my friends that graduates often leave university with a poor understanding of what interests them and a lack of clarity on what roles exist that meet those interests. This means graduates often go through a pretty painful iterative process of learning what interests them and what doesn’t. This process is fine and unavoidable to a certain extent, but I certainly believe there is a huge opportunity to help ease the pain graduates go through by providing better resources at university.
In terms of the consulting and technology industry more specifically, I don’t think there is an industry more miss-understood right now. This, coupled with the fact that it is one of the fastest evolving industries, makes it incredibly hard for graduates to gain a true understanding on the roles and career paths that are available to them. I for one had no idea how much of the work that Deloitte did was actually building and delivering technologies for our clients, not just providing strategy and thought leadership.
Whilst using resources like websites can provide some clarity on this, when considering a company as large as Deloitte offering the breadth and variety of services that it does, it can become difficult to understand from a web-page what we offer. One of the most effective ways to understand better how we operate and the opportunities that exist is to reach out to people who work there. I was pleasantly surprised to experience how friendly and approachable people in the industry were when I was an undergraduate, and I believe this sense of wanting to help others break into the industry has subsequently worn off on me as well.
Q. What advice would you offer a young adult looking to work at Deloitte?
SY: Deloitte is first and foremost a technology company, so my biggest piece of advice is to teach yourself a technology skill. It could be anything from a programming language to a cloud provider certification. This will give you relevant understanding and skills in your potential new role, but it also shows a willingness and ability to learn. In a world where skills are becoming redundant every two years, the ability to learn is arguably far more important than the skills or experience you have at that point in time.
Secondly, get in touch with people who work in the industry or at Deloitte by leveraging connections you already have. When you prepare properly for these coffees/calls, you gain valuable understanding in what Deloitte or a consultancy are looking for in candidates, what challenges they are currently facing, and what trends they are currently experiencing. All this improves your chances of standing out through the application process.
Q. What’s the best thing about your job?
SY: As cliché as it sounds, Deloitte recognises that they would be nowhere without their people, and this is reflected in their focus on learning and development. They have invested heavily in me and it has given me the opportunity to learn and develop new skills that I would not have had the chance to do elsewhere. Secondly, the culture at Deloitte is an important differentiator to other companies of its size. When I say culture, most people think ping pong tables, dogs in the office and free beers at lunchtime on a Friday, but this isn’t what I mean. When I say culture, I mean Deloitte rewarding people for excellent work with more responsibility first and foremost, and the rest following after like remuneration. This has allowed me to feel trusted and supported in my role with my client and given me the confidence to take on more managerial responsibilities. Both these things are attributes of a company I think graduates should look for when applying for new jobs.
Q. What’s your proudest professional accomplishment so far?
SY: Without a doubt my proudest accomplishment so far is the first time I led a development team to build and deliver a product to market, allowing me to see the tangible value we had delivered as a team.
Q. What is your favourite lunchtime spot and why?
SY: Down on South Bank by the river!
Finally, we would like to thank Sam for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us today, if you would like to hear more on opportunities that Tencil has to offer – feel free to reach out to Joel.Williams@tencil.co.uk