By Rebecca Beyer
When Frances Symes ’14 left journalism to pursue an MBA at Yale School of Management, she intended to become a consultant. When she arrived, she joined the Consulting Club, but she didn’t feel connected to the work she heard described by guest speakers early in her first semester.
“I kept thinking, ‘I’m in business school; I know it’s important to be thinking about revenues and costs,’” she remembers. “But in my heart of hearts, I was really thinking about the people aspect.”
Then she attended a session led by personnel from Deloitte’s Human Capital practice. Something clicked.
“I felt so fortunate,” she told Amy Kundrat ’21 in an episode of the Career Conversations podcast earlier this year. “I never would have known it was an option otherwise: Here was a place where the way I think and my strengths will be valued.”
Today, Symes is a manager in that same Deloitte department, helping clients recruit talent, implement new technologies, and blend company cultures during mergers and acquisitions.
“Human capital is really helping organizations change,” she says. “Anything you can think of that involves doing things differently at a company has a people component. We are involved in any number of those types of projects.”
Symes describes one engagement in which Deloitte helped automate the “mundane” responsibilities that call center employees disliked about their job.
“The intervention wasn’t about paying them more or looking for a different workforce,” she says. “It was actually about making the job more interesting.”
At Yale, Symes says one of her most meaningful experiences was the student-led Voices series, which she helped create. Each week at the event, students share a personal narrative and then answer questions from audience members.
“I went to every single one,” she says. “I almost see it as another course. Some of my strongest memories are specific stories that people told, real revelations about life.”
Symes advises prospective Yale SOM students to come in with an idea of what they want to get out of business school and then “test” those “hypotheses” while on campus with their classes, extracurricular activities, internships, and peers.
“Sometimes people in business school don’t realize that they have 300 classmates who all had jobs they might be interested in,” she says. “Classmates are your best and most immediate resource in terms of understanding the world of work and what’s out there.”