Leadership Conference Inspires Student-Athlete Harun Saleh
In a year in which he became the first Rutgers University-Newark student-athlete to win the New Jersey Athletic Conference crown in the hammer throw, rising junior Harun Saleh probably will remember it for another watershed event.
Saleh was among a select group of 422 students chosen from 120 universities to attend the Deloitte National Leadership Conference along with 92 corporate employees in Westlake, Texas, in July. Held at Deloitte University, the prestigious workshop is a major engine used by Deloitte to identify the next generation of leaders by the world-wide accounting giant.
"Before the conference, I wasn't sure where I wanted to work as an auditor," Saleh stated, "or if I wanted to do something else in accounting altogether. After learning more about Deloitte and getting to meet Deloitte professionals from all over the country, I believe that Deloitte would be the best place for me to start my career."
The accounting major applied for the conference through RaiderNet (the Rutgers Career Development Center in Newark) and passed an initial interview on the Rutgers-Newark campus before going through a second screening at Princeton.
In Texas, Saleh participated in workshops to develop team-building as well as interpersonal and negotiating skills. He worked as a member of a 10-person team which competed to find solutions to problems. Attendees learned about auditing practices from senior managers, directors and partners from Deloitte in an environment which fostered networking.
The prize for competing is a possible internship with the corporation following his junior year.
"I expected to meet a lot of students and professionals from around the country and learn about the firm and the auditing profession," Saleh added. "That's exactly what happened. The recruiters did a great job of informing us of what to expect out of this conference. I heard a lot about Deloitte University prior to attending the conference, but it's something that you have to see in person."
"Harun is one of the most dedicated student-athletes I have worked with," said Rutgers-Newark Director of Athletics Mark Griffin who doubles as the throwing events coach for the Scarlet Raiders. "He has a lot on his plate and he still gets the job done. It appears that being goal-oriented and success-driven is what makes him excel – be it as a competitor in college athletics or as a student in the classroom. Harun will be a success at whatever he does because he is not afraid of hard work and is honest with himself."
Saleh, who holds Rutgers-Newark records in the hammer throw outdoors and the weight throw indoors, plans to continue to compete following graduation with participation in the Olympics his ultimate goal. And Deloitte could be an optimal employer for his future plans.
"One thing that stood out was what they call 'Work-Life Fit' where Deloitte offers programs to fit each individual's personal life with their work life," Saleh stated. "This is great for me because I am considering continuing to compete in the hammer throw after college and to try to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.
"I know it will be hard to balance training for the trials while working as an auditor for the biggest accounting firm in the world, but this conference made it clear that Deloitte is really committed to making things like this work. Also, I am already used to balancing these kinds of things out after taking 19 credits this past spring semester while commuting to campus 45 minutes a day, working 20 hours on the weekend and still having a pretty successful season."
Saleh brought something else from his Rutgers-Newark experience to the conference.
"Rutgers-Newark stresses diversity, and this is something that I found to be a focal point at Deloitte as well. Diversity in culture, experiences and backgrounds is one thing that they talked about a lot which would make this firm a great fit for any R-N student because we are the most diverse campus in the world."