Browsed by
Tag: Finance

Executives on Campus: Doug Lattner, Former Deloitte CEO

Executives on Campus: Doug Lattner, Former Deloitte CEO

University of Dallas students often hear about the importance of critical thinking. At a meeting on March 28, Doug Lattner (MBA ’73), former CEO of consulting firm Deloitte, told the university’s Accounting and Finance Society how to leverage a those critical thinking skills into a career as a consultant.

“What consultants do is help businesses solve complex challenges,” he said. “But good ideas aren’t enough. Those ideas have to executable.” That’s where critical thinking comes in. According to Lattner, consultants work with clients to drive positive change within the client’s organization by assisting with things like financial strategy or mergers and acquisitions. Consultants transfer their knowledge to their clients, and businesses value the objectivity that consultants bring to the table.

According to Lattner, consulting companies like Deloitte have changed their hiring process over the years. “When I started out,” he said. “I went straight from undergrad to graduate school and then was hired by a consulting firm.” Now, according to Lattner, consulting firms would prefer that an undergraduate gain work experience before pursuing an MBA. “This way, you can draw on your experience during your MBA program to give more relevance to what you’re learning,” he said.

When hiring entry-level consultants, Lattner said that firms like Deloitte are looking for a number of things: strong academic performance, the ability to think critically about a problem, and a combination of qualitative and quantitative skills. “If you’ve focused mostly on accounting, take a business strategy class. If you have been focusing on strategy, make sure to include technology classes as well,” he said. As far as personality traits, Lattner said that once a consultant gets that entry-level position, the firm will be looking to promote those who are hardworking and diligent. “They want someone who is always driving the ball,” he said. “That’s how you’ll get noticed.”

Lattner explained that as consultants move up the ranks at Deloitte, they gain experience in various practice fields that might interest them, in the same way a college freshman might experiment with different classes to settle on a major. “In the beginning, you may dabble in technology, energy, telecom or healthcare,” he said. “It’s important to find an area that interests you and in which you can share your skill set.” But as consultants move into management roles, they become subject-matter experts in their practice areas. For example, Lattner said that Deloitte has nurses and physicians consulting in their healthcare practice segment. “Imagine the credibility they could bring to a healthcare client,” he said.

Lattner went on to describe a consultant’s typical work week. “Consultants spend four days per week at the client’s site, then come back to the office on the fifth day,” he said. But Lattner emphasized that a consultant’s number one job is to meet the expectations of the client. “That means consulting is not an 8 to 5 job.”

But although consulting can be a demanding career, Lattner has found it to be rewarding as well. “If you want to be in a cube all day, don’t be a consultant,” he said. “But if you want to travel and gain experience across a variety of cultures, consulting can give you that.”

The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information, click here.

Honing Leadership Skills: Joe Blute

Honing Leadership Skills: Joe Blute

joe_bluteJoe Blute, a 2012 graduate of the University of Dallas with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, credits the University of Dallas’ Office of Personal Career Development with helping him build the relationships necessary to secure a permanent position after graduation. “Working with the OPCD helped me get the internship which led to my career with GE Capital,” said Blute, who is now part of GE Capital’s highly- selective leadership training cohort, Financial Management Program. As part of this program, Joe has rotated through several positions around the country, learning the ins-and-outs of the company’s internal operations. Blute says that his Chemistry degree from UD, though not typical for a finance professional, helped him develop the critical and analytical mindset that has helped in excel in the business world. “I honed leadership skills at UD as well,” Blute said. “I mentored younger students while I was in the Chemistry department, a practice which I have carried on by mentoring the newer analysts at GE Capital.”

For more information about career choices, visit the University of Dallas Office of Personal Career Development.

President and CEO of OrgSync Speaks to Global Entrepreneurship Class

President and CEO of OrgSync Speaks to Global Entrepreneurship Class

As a young investment banker fresh out of college, Eric Fortenberry sat across the table from a couple of similarly young entrepreneurs who had just sold their startup company for a tidy sum. “When I saw those sizable checks being handed over, I realized I was on the wrong side of the table,” said Fortenberry, the founder and CEO of OrgSync, an online platform that connects higher education students with on-campus organizations.

Speaking to Dr. Greg Bell’s Global Entrepreneurship class at the University of Dallas on October 7, 2014, Fortenberry related his experiences as an entrepreneur, beginning with his involvement as a student at the University of Texas in Austin. “As the treasurer and then the president of the UT’s Investor Association, I learned a lot about running an organization and how to be a leader,” he said. His time with this club also made him aware of a real need on a campus as large as UT’s—organizations were using disparate and often disorderly means to connect with their members. After a friend showed him an early-stage software platform that could easily address this need, Eric realized it could be the entrepreneurship opportunity he had been looking for. “I saw that other organizations had the same problem connecting that I had. You can do all the research and surveys in the world, but sometimes you can identify the need for a product from your own experience,” said Fortenberry.

Fortenberry decided early on that he would fund OrgSync with the “bootstrap method;” that is, he would raise the initial funds to run the company from family and friends instead of from outside investors like venture capitalists. “This was a tough way to go,” he said. “I didn’t pay myself for two years, but, in the end, I was able to maintain control of the company and make decisions that allowed us to grow revenue and eventually become profitable.”

While waiting for profitability to come, Fortenberry couldn’t afford to pay high salaries to OrgSync’s sales team or developers so he turned to his father, also an entrepreneur, to help him develop a stock option plan for employees. “Giving stock options creates employees who are invested in the success of the company. You can’t pay someone enough to have a real passion about what you are doing. They have to believe in it as much as you do,” he said. Using what he called an “eat what you kill” sales approach, wherein each salesperson’s compensation was based solely on the number of contracts he or she signed, Fortenberry was able to expand OrgSync’s network of participating universities and increase revenue that he could, in turn, use to expand the company.

Fortenberry said that one key to his success is the business model he chose for OrgSync—software as service, a model in which there are no direct costs to add a new customer. “If you’re making computers, projectors, tables, whatever—there are direct costs to adding customers. But in a software as service subscription model, you not only get your money up front, you can create incremental growth that keeps piling up without any direct costs. It’s a cash cow,” he said.

Fortenberry said the most important lesson he has learned from his experience as a young entrepreneur is: “You can’t boil the ocean. Trust me, I’ve tried and I’ve yet to figure out how.” He went on to explain that entrepreneurs must find a niche and fill it really, really well. “I turned away the twelfth largest company in the world because they wanted us to do something that was outside of our core business strategy. I want to focus on what matters now.” Another thing Fortenberry does to stay focused is to write down the top three things he needs to accomplish for the day. If he finds himself drifting, he goes back to that list to make sure he is tackling only the highest priorities. “I make lots and lots of lists,” he said. “Because any project can be broken down into small steps.”

Fortenberry’s final piece of advice to students was to stay focused on execution. “Don’t be afraid to tell someone your idea, because chances are they won’t have the desire or ability to execute it properly. Good ideas are a dime a dozen, but it is in the execution of those ideas is where people usually fail,” he said.

Eric Fortenberry founded OrgSync in 2007 and serves as President and CEO. Since its inception, OrgSync has established partnerships with 400+ colleges and universities and over 3 million users around the world. Eric has been named to Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 List of the World’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs and has received awards at the White House and the United Nations for being named to the Empact 100 List, which showcases the Best Companies Started and Run by Young Entrepreneurs, for three consecutive years. OrgSync has also been recognized multiple times as a Best Place to Work and has won several other awards for its company culture, rapid growth, and innovative technology solutions.

For more information about University of Dallas events, click here.