Navigating a dynamic career: From consulting roots to tech leadership and startup ventures

Mike Adkins, RSM alum

RSM alumni Culture

I planted roots in Kansas City after attending the University of Kansas, studying finance and accounting in 2008. As many would recall, this was a terrible time to be in finance as the market was nonexistent. So I did what many people in our field did and looked into general consulting. As a new graduate, I started my career at Amdocs, which implemented telecommunications, customer relationship management (CRM) and billing systems. During my time there, I began to upskill my technology abilities and learned how to write code to be sure I stayed stacked on projects.

In 2012, I joined RSM US LLP as the SharePoint lead for the South Central region (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas). The SharePoint group at RSM delivers robust enterprise content management (ECM) solutions to its customers by leveraging proven methodologies and best practices. Over my eight-year span with RSM, I oversaw the Microsoft Cloud practice, Modern Workplace, and was responsible for the development and execution of practice strategy, operations and profitability. What I enjoyed most about this role was working with clients and prospects to envision innovative ways to successfully deploy infrastructure and applications to positively affect security, productivity and automation. One of my favorite things about consulting is every day looks different. Some days you begin a new project while launching another. On other days you're challenged to think critically to figure out a solution to a problem, and that's the nature of what I love to do. Looking back and seeing technology's impact on middle market companies was always a big motivator for me.

In 2020, I left RSM to jump into the startup world, where I could bring my technology and service delivery expertise. Today, I am vice president of sales at WarehouseQuote, where we manage customers' warehousing and distribution networks. Our customers may need several warehouses and, as a mid-market business, which can be difficult to manage. So very akin to RSM's information technology (IT) service offerings, WarehouseQuote does something similar but on the warehousing and distribution side. We've built a tech platform to do this. The experience acquired in my consulting days at RSM is a part of daily conversations, especially because of the lessons I learned. I always appreciated how RSM prepped and enabled their people to have critical conversations to develop an advisory solution. The exposure you get from the front line to the executive level as a consultant working in delivery produces a well-rounded outcome to manage and maintain relationships in business.

Reflecting on my career, I am grateful for the mentors I've had along the way. A common evolution is coming out of school and running as hard as possible to climb the ladder to advance yourself—sometimes feeling like a rat race. If I had a piece of advice for future me’s, I would take a moment and find a mentor and stop being so scared to ask. For every person looking for a mentor, there is probably someone looking for a mentee. As I've matured in my career, there were a lot of great mentors who helped get me here, some from RSM, with whom I still stay connected today. When you get a good mentor family tree going, you start to think, what can I do to give back rather than, what can I get out of it?

Outside of work, I have a family that keeps me occupied—three boys and one girl: seven, six, four and two years old, so it's a very busy house right now. In my free time, I play the guitar and love to travel. This summer, we were looking forward to getting out of the Kansas City (Kansas City, Missouri) heat and heading to Goliath, Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis, to spend some time at my wife's family cabin. Any day I can sit in a lawn chair is always welcome.

Daniel Patino, an RSM Excellence Academy intern, joined us during this interview.

PATINO: Mike, what are the right questions to ask or the right qualities to look for in a mentor?

Mike: If you have a particular problem, that's the easiest way to approach someone. Let's say you're trying to grow in a specific area or have a challenge ahead of you. Asking someone, "Hey, would you mind if I put 20 minutes on your calendar to get your perspective?" Then in these coaching situations, you can better understand the time commitment they have or if they're a good fit as a mentor. Remember, some good managers may not be good mentors. Just because someone is good at managing a business doesn't necessarily mean they can help people grow. A great book to read, "The Science of Persuasion" by Dale Carnegie, gives you some great tools to approach people so they're flattered to help you. It's a book that I wish I read a whole lot earlier!

Want to hear more about Mike’s RSM alum story? Connect with him on LinkedIn. Or, if you’re inspired to find your next role at RSM, explore our openings today.

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