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Ceejay Dawkins, Tax Manager, Deloitte Tax LLP

Ceejay is driven. He was born in Jamaica, came to the U.S. at 13 years old, and joined the military while in high school. By the time he graduated from college, he had been deployed twice. After returning from his second deployment, he got an MBA, then started working as a tax consultant at Deloitte. Seven years later, he’s a tax manager at Deloitte, and wrapping up his second master’s degree.

How does your military experience impact how you approach your current position?

In the military, working together as a team is critical to our mission success. Each person has a defined responsibility that they’re held accountable for. If one person fails, then we all fail as a team. I try to bring those levels of accountability and camaraderie to my Deloitte team and the clients that I serve. Besides that, my leadership skills are directly transferable. As a sergeant, I was relied upon to manage, motivate, delegate, and make key decisions. I still do that at Deloitte!

Do you think there are any misconceptions about your job?

That we only prepare tax returns! I have colleagues who are tax professionals but have never touched a tax return in their entire career. My day-to-day work involves a lot of planning and strategy meetings with clients and other Deloitte teams, and even other accounting firms. As I grow with Deloitte, I hope to get even more involved with building client relationships.

What advice would you give to graduates entering the workplace?

A few things come to mind: One, build your brand. Be known for something. Whether it’s being the first person at work in the morning or being the person that always asks intelligent questions—be known for something. Building that brand, building that solid reputation, will follow you through your career. People will notice that and will want you on their assignments. The second thing is to build your network. I always tell people: Get involved in events taking place in the office, like helping with recruiting, trainings, community service events, intramural teams, etcetera. Have that interaction with your colleagues. First-year associates often have their heads down at their desks, but I’d say instead of emailing someone, go over and talk to them. Face-to-face time is so very crucial. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions! That’s how you learn. Obviously, do your research before asking the question, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What excites you about your future at Deloitte?

The opportunities for growth—for myself and for the organization. We’re hiring a lot of people and we’re getting more and more opportunities to work with different, specialized clients. The pipeline of talent that we’re bringing in gets me excited because I love to mentor new staff and interns. I always say, even if I wasn’t working at Deloitte, I’d be a teacher.

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Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and risk- and financial-advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors with one purpose: to make an impact that matters.

Our employees: We look for leaders across a variety of backgrounds who know how to anticipate, collaborate, innovate, and create opportunity from even the unforeseen obstacle.

Ways in: Multiple internship programs and positions exist in our business areas. The opportunities we offer are as diverse as the professionals we hire.

What makes us unique: Where others don’t see opportunity, we look again and find it. At Deloitte we are always evolving how we work, focusing on the future, and applying new technologies and innovations that can help our clients’ businesses and our own organization to thrive in a fast-moving digital economy. We do this by staying curious, embracing creativity, and collaborating constantly.