Leila Dawson


Leila Dawson ‘20

Title: Strategy Analyst  

Employer: Deloitte Consulting LLP  

Major: Economics / International Relations

What do you enjoy the most about your position?

I enjoy how varied my work is and that there are pathways to explore almost any industry at my firm. It excites me how in just one year, an analyst could work in technology, healthcare, and finance. As someone with a wide array of interests and a strong desire to hone a variety of skillsets, consulting feels like the ideal environment to gain exposure to different industries, colleagues, clients and business solutions.

What is a typical day like in your position?

One of my favorite parts about consulting is that no two days are the same. There is always a different challenge we're helping our clients to solve, and even when business problems are similar to others in the past, the approach to solving them will likely depend on the specific team, organization, and industry.

A normal day as a strategy analyst typically includes kicking off the day with an internal team meeting, having a few client calls, blocking off working time to develop deliverables independently or with my team, and having a working session or two at the end of the day to collaborate on internal initiatives.

How did you find your current position?

Deloitte had been at the top of my full-time application list since my junior year. I applied to my current position during the fall recruiting season of my senior year through Careers4Terps and interviewed in the business school's career center.

Which undergraduate experiences did you find most helpful in preparing you for your current position?

While in undergrad, I had a variety of jobs, internships, and on-campus leadership roles. The positions and experiences that prepared me the most for my role as a strategy analyst include running my own franchise of a house painting company with College Works Painting, the Global Fellows program, waitressing, serving as an RA through Resident Life, and interning on Capitol Hill. 

How has your coursework helped you in your current position (i.e. quantitative skills, research techniques, communication skills)?

I switched my major quite a few times while at UMD, taking classes in psychology, English, and economics to name a few. The diverse coursework I was exposed to helped prepare me for my current position in that through my academic journey, I was able to hone the ability to teach myself how to learn different types of information and in doing so developed strong written/verbal skills applicable to variety of academic spaces. 

What advice do you have for students trying to find jobs or internships in your field?

Never underestimate the power of getting the interview question "tell me about yourself". Early in my college career, I'd go into interviews hoping to be asked certain 'tell me about a time when…' questions so that I could highlight particular experiences that made me fit for the role. I would often leave interviews realizing there were anecdotes and skillsets I never got to speak to because I was never prompted with a specific question. I eventually began using my answer to the common opening question 'tell me about yourself' as method of hitting the highlights of my academic and professional experience, strategically threading them together in a way that succinctly told the story of why I was an ideal candidate for the role.

Any other advice?

Interviewing for internships and full-time roles in college while also figuring out what you want to do in life after graduation can be super stressful. I encourage students to remember that your professional career is long and there is plenty of time both during and after college to land the job that's right for you. Everyone is on a journey and it's important to embrace the uniqueness of your own, trusting you'll end up where you're suppose to so long as you follow your interests, work hard, and develop genuine relationships along the way.