Social Impact MBA

Powering business by empowering people

By Max Pearlstein ’01

The consulting firm Deloitte has a motto for its human capital division: “Business led, people driven.” Human capital refers to the talents, competencies and intellect of an organization’s workforce. It values employees because of the unique combination of knowledge and skills they each bring to the company, and in recognizing that they can take their value with them if they leave, it focuses on workers’ well-being.

Meeting business objectives while cultivating employee motivation and fulfillment can be a difficult needle to thread. In her role as an analyst with Deloitte’s human capital division, Nicole McCauley, MBA’16, advises clients in the federal government on people-focused programs and projects, like stakeholder engagement, communications and change management efforts, which can often take a delicate approach, especially in complex environments.

Since joining Deloitte shortly after graduating from Heller, she has worked with large-scale organizations including the United States Postal Service and the Department of Defense. As an analyst, she spends much of her time learning to anticipate various client needs and filling gaps on project teams wherever assistance is required.

McCauley credits the Heller MBA program’s Team Consulting Project experience as great preparation for the multifaceted role. “I'm very confident interacting with clients, meeting tight deadlines and working with a diverse set of colleagues to provide high quality work,” she says. “Heller also gave me a grounding in how to ‘manage up’ and steer difficult conversations.”

Those are useful skills for anyone, McCauley stresses, but they are critical for consultants who often work with more senior clients. In her work with the United States Postal Service, for example, she helped lead communications efforts around a large technology adoption process. She created a series of executive briefings, PowerPoint decks and other creative materials for high-level administrators.

“Consulting with a large corporation was not something I ever anticipated doing, but my Heller MBA gave me an excellent platform to start with,” she says.

The MBA program also contributed to her personal development—which would make any human capital champion proud. As McCauley explains, “Heller taught me to be bold in my thinking and ideas, giving me the confidence to push for change in the workplace as much as in my personal life.”