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Karen’s Journey: From Marketing Student to Data Analyst at Deloitte

The data and technology sector offers a wealth of opportunities, so it’s important to find out what career fits you best by getting inspired by others. So what drives individuals in companies like Deloitte, known for their innovation and diverse work environments? And how do they find their unique way into these roles?

In this interview, we get to know Karen Ren, a Recruitment Data Analyst at Deloitte, as she elaborates on her academic and career story. She shares her experiences that have shaped her career and discusses her role in the field of recruitment data analysis. Get ready for a glimpse into the dynamic world of data and analytics within Deloitte, and discover how her journey might inspire others. 

What did you do before starting at Deloitte?

Marketing has always sparked my interest. As a research-based study at a university can feel very theoretical at times, I found myself searching for more tangible experiences and discovered two student committees where I could let go of all of my creativity. 

During my master’s I joined a student association, and this one was particularly close to my heart, as it involved a lot of my cultural heritage. At this student association, I experienced much more cross-functional teamwork and understood that performing well as a whole is largely dependent on collaborations between teams. This is something I recognized in the domain of marketing as well, as it did not only entail cool designs and creative plans, but concrete data and numbers are also required to prepare for better decision-making.

When I finished my master’s, I enrolled in a digital marketing traineeship where I got a taste of all the disciplines digital marketing had to offer. I realized that one can also use their creativity skills in the realm of data. Analyzing trends in the data and deriving relations between events discovered in the data became something that gave me a lot of energy. 

Eager to learn more about what the field of data had to offer, I came to the realization that wherever the data comes from, it always carries valuable information– and I wanted to use this information to make an impact beyond the scope I had as a trainee at a marketing agency. While marketing will always have a special place in my heart, I ventured out to find a new challenge – and found it at my current role at Deloitte.


How are you experiencing your role so far?

My role is relatively new and therefore quite malleable to my own input. The switch from a SME to a large corporation like Deloitte had me envisioning it being a rather rigid environment to work in as the company has been operating a long time. However, I find my environment to be dynamic and, like the industry, everchanging. While this means that there is a lot of variety in my work, it also requires me to be adaptable.

Being a data analyst in recruitment also means that there are a plethora of data sources that are relevant to me. Not only internal data sources, but also the labor market itself is one large pool of information. I find it very interesting to see changes in our data trends as time progresses and the seasons fluctuate. While there are many opportunities to follow, there should be good reasons to do so. My colleagues are always willing to help in staking out the opportunities and priorities. In this sense, enabling is as important as collaborating.

Projects that I do can involve the creation of a new dashboard, the adjustment of one, or a more insight-focused report. In between the sprints of ongoing projects, I regularly receive requests from colleagues for either insights or for a second opinion. With the large amount of data available, I can definitely say that there are endless possibilities and a lot of curious-minded colleagues that I reach out to.


What is your experience in working for Deloitte?

I had my assumptions that it would be more difficult to create bonds with colleagues at a large corporation as compared to a small local organization. However, as daunting as the large number of people working for the same organization seems, we are all working for the same company and it shows. People come from a wide variety of backgrounds, each having their own passions and knowledge base. People are very willing to share their knowledge to advance not only their development but also to enable each other in their work. Particularly in my position, involved with recruitment and involved with the data and analytics team, I get to be the link between the business and the products we’re building in collaboration with them. Cross-functional collaboration is increasingly encouraged and resources for personal development are superfluous.

Also the way of working is something that I value a lot. You are entrusted with a lot of freedom. At Deloitte, we have the opportunity to choose our preferred working locations. This can be the choice to work from home or from one of the numerous office locations spread throughout the Netherlands.


What did you want to know before you started working as a Recruitment Data Analyst?

Before I started working in my role, I was very set on achieving things that I had set my mind to, following the path in a linear way. My reasoning was very logical – assuming I had finished my education in one track, that one track would be the only way forward.

During my traineeship I learned that my interest in data was more sustainable, but I was rather hesitant on pursuing a data-focused career. One reason being that my educational background was not data-heavy compared to studies in which you learn how to create datahubs and make your own logarithms through coding. Another reason being that despite my numerous research-based projects involving data, I still assumed that this knowledge I had was closely related to the domain of marketing. I still assumed that this knowledge I had was closely related to the domain of marketing. However, as time went on and I gained more experience, I learned that even if you initiated a career in a particular area, the skills that you have learned are multifunctional and not bound by that particular area only. With this in mind, I decided to give it a try.

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