UK: A Day In The Life Of… Kent Mackenzie

Last Updated: 31 August 2016
Article by Kent Mackenzie

In this instalment of "a day in the life of..." we speak to Kent Mackenzie, a Director in Deloitte's Risk Advisory practice. There may not be such a thing as a "typical" day in his life with the Firm, but most mornings start with some time with the kids and a good cup of tea...

Here is a day in his life:

I start the day...

... Around 5:45. I'm usually woken up by one, or both, of my children jumping up and down on the bed! Begrudgingly, I get up, head down the stairs to watch some TV with the kids over a bowl of Shreddies, and make a cup of tea for my wife and I. My family are my number one priority, so I make a point of spending time with them every morning before I start my day – even if it's as simple as watching some Peppa Pig for 30 or 40 minutes or joining them at the breakfast table. The Blackberry goes on shortly afterwards and I have a flick through my emails. My commute is mercifully short – if I leave my home at 7:30, I'm usually in for 8:00.

My typical day...

... doesn't really exist! It's completely varied depending on what projects are underway and what the priorities are that week. Generally, my role covers two incredibly exciting topics and big growth areas for the Firm: I run our Risk Analytics Practice and in the last year have taken on the development of our FinTech business in Scotland. For years I've had a really keen interest in the changing face of data and technology in Financial Services so it's a real honour to be helping clients in both fields, and working on some really exciting initiatives across the Firm...

Things are varied and exciting...

... I've said that I don't really have a typical day – and that's true – but I'll take one recent example to illustrate my point. After starting the day in the usual fashion, I indulged in a second breakfast of the morning with James Varga from miiCard (minus the Shreddies!). We talked about the industry, his company's progress and a couple of specific opportunities we are working with clients on to help them improve account opening processes – he has an amazing 'forward-thinking company' and is a great and inspiring CEO. From there, it was down to Melville Street for a two-hour meeting with Scottish Financial Enterprise's FinTech Working Group. We spent the latter part of the morning discussing the opportunity for Scotland to truly emerge as a FinTech centre – like London, Dublin, Singapore, New York and a range of others have done. Importantly, we are all very 'action-oriented' so watch this space! – There's a huge opportunity here across Scotland's FS sector...

After that, it was time to jump in a taxi over to the Gyle for a four-hour session with a client undergoing a huge change programme. The project is massive, looking at all aspects of the business – from its structure and governance, through to data flows and customer journeys. My role is to help them define what the future model for the business might look like, and the steps they can take to get there.

I then travelled back to the office for a team meeting, in which we analysed how we're shaping up to tackle the year ahead. We've grown from a team of seven last year to 15 now, with a range of experience and from all over the world...each one an absolute superstar.

The day finished up with an hour-long team discussion on how a client could make the most of blockchain, the latest financial technology making waves around its potential to really disrupt banking. After this, we caught up with some of our American colleagues over the phone to talk about a project we are working on for a big banking client in New York. We also spoke about our preparations for a workshop session we will run for them 'in the fall'!

There's a lot to do, but I love the diversity, the energy from the team, the opportunities that exist, and the support the Firm gives you to be really entrepreneurial.

My working day tends to end...

Around 1800... I try to finish up at a reasonable hour to spend time with my family. On the day I've chosen to describe, I was greeted by six hyper children in the house joining my daughter, Martha, for a birthday tea (two years-old!!). It was a lovely sunny evening so after some cake I helped my four-year-old son, Elliot, learn to ride his bike and then settled down to watch some of the highlights from the day's action at Wimbledon.

Life is busy, but it's exciting, and coming home to a fantastic and fun family helps me unwind and switch-off.

My career began...

... with a series of data jobs. In fact, one of my first roles was monitoring cash machines to see when they needed re-filled – all that required was a list of reports, a ruler and a highlighter! Things have moved on a bit since then... I started with Deloitte in 2006 and spent four years in the Risk Advisory team, but in 2010 I decided to move into industry, spending two years with Lloyds Banking Group and then another two with TSB. Although I knew I wanted to move back into an Advisory Firm at some point, I wanted to experience and feel how the industry was responding post-2008. I loved my time with LBG and TSB but in early 2014 I re-joined Deloitte.

One of the best things about Deloitte is it's a business full of entrepreneurs and, when I expressed an interest in getting us more involved in FinTech, I was told, quite simply, to "go for it" – the Firm is fairly unique in that respect and really supports people and their ideas to thrive.

The best part of my job...

... has got to be the variety: not only in terms of who you speak to, but whom you work with. I mentioned miiCard, an incredibly entrepreneurial company – their set of challenges are so different to the large organisation I mentioned currently going through a change programme - in equal measure I love helping and working with both. You get to work with so many different, smart people on a wide variety of projects.

One of my favourite parts of my job is also getting to develop and grow the team: I'm really passionate about helping people to succeed, I've had many amazing mentors and leaders over the years and believe in the principle that everyone is awesome with the right support and guidance – a huge part of my job as a leader is to provide this.

And the worst part of my job is...

... in a word: PowerPoint. There's a lot of it – usually in the form of long presentations. I like to cut to the chase and, as a general rule, tell my team that, no matter how complex a subject is, it can be captured in three slides. Anything more than that and people are switching off...

We have a huge opportunity...

... in FinTech – that's why I'm so passionate about it. In 10 years' time Financial Services will look radically different. We have such a huge opportunity to play a role helping our clients address the disruption the industry is facing, and develop new technologies and solutions from the knowledge base we have at our disposal. I also think we have an important responsibility and role to play across the wider industry helping guide and nurture new talent, and support UK-wide initiatives.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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