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  • Accenture at a Glance
  • The Company
  • Overview
  • The Bottom Line
  • Industry Position
  • Organization of the Firm
  • On the Job
  • Analysts
  • Consultants
  • The Workplace
  • Lifestyle and Hours
  • Culture
  • Workplace Diversity
  • Compensation
  • Travel
  • Vacation
  • Training
  • Career Path
  • Insider Scoop
  • Getting Hired
  • The Recruiting Process
  • Interviewing Tips
  • For Your Reference
  • Recommended Reading
  • For Further Study
  • The Numbers
  • Et Cetera


WetFeet Insider Guide
2005 Edition

The WetFeet Research Methodology
You hold in your hands a copy of the best-quality research available for job seekers. We have designed this Insider Guide to save you time doing your job research and to provide highly accurate information written precisely for the needs of the job-seeking public. (We also hope that you’ll enjoy reading it, because, believe it or not, the job search doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck.) Each WetFeet Insider Guide represents hundreds of hours of careful research and writing. We start with a review of the public information available. (Our writers are also experts in reading between the lines.) We augment this information with dozens of in-depth interviews of people who actually work for each company or industry we cover. And, although we keep the identity of the rank-and-file employees anonymous to encourage candor, we also interview the company’s recruiting staff extensively, to make sure that we give you, the reader, accurate information about recruiting, process, compensation, hiring targets, and so on. (WetFeet retains all editorial control of the product.) We also regularly survey our members and customers to learn about their experiences in the recruiting process. Finally, each Insider Guide goes through an editorial review and fact-checking process to make sure that the information and writing live up to our exacting standards before it goes out the door. Are we perfect? No—but we do believe that you’ll find our content to be the highest-quality content of its type available on the Web or in print. (Please see our guarantee below.) We also are eager to hear about your experiences on the recruiting front and your feedback (both positive and negative) about our products and our process. Thank you for your interest.

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Insider Guide

2005 Edition

Helping you make smarter career decisions.

Inc. distributed. Inc. or transmitted in any form or by any means. stored in a retrieval system.WetFeet. This publication is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. CA 94105 Phone: (415) 284-7900 or 1-800-926-4JOB Fax: (415) 284-7910 E-mail: info@wetfeet. . Inc. All rights reserved. without the express written permission of WetFeet. It may not be reproduced. in part or in whole. 609 Mission Street Suite 400 San Francisco.com Website: www.com Accenture ISBN: 1-58207-439-9 Photocopying Is Prohibited Copyright 2004 WetFeet. No copying in any form is permitted.wetfeet.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . .

NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. even through liberal arts. • The firm has a strong. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. economics. and ability to overcome challenges. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. analytical prowess.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters.. management information systems. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York.accenture.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. cities. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. young. BearingPoint. With our market picking up with the economy.com Primary Competitors IBM. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. EDS. Computer Sciences Corp. Capgemini.” 1 . McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. It has offices in more than three dozen U. that’s had ripple effects. and innovation-oriented culture.S.000 employees in 48 countries.

” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. people who miscommunicate. to consultant. and in some cases. into manager roles. 2 . 2004. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. It was easy but you have to be honest.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. because you’re working on a project. and then in some cases.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. to associate partner and partner. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. depending on their programming or industry experience. “I was asked how you handle team problems. individuals who don’t work. New employees move from analyst. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. to senior manager.000 of those positions are in the United States.600 to 1. It focuses you. to manager. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. and of those. About 8. 1.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience.

000.000–55.000–100.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates. $40. a lot depends on work experience $10.000 $0–30.At a Glance Estimated Compensation. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000–15.000–100. Accenture does not release compensation data.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .


The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .

Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. Today. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. one that straddles a multitude of industries. In fact.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Of course. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. and Accenture was no exception. as one of the few public consulting firms. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. human resources. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. the Internet boom has come and gone. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. But there’s one thing that’s stayed the same: The company is still focused on delivering top-notch consulting and technology services to organizations all over the world. and outsourcing practices. For the first few years of this 6 . technology consulting. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture.

operating profits from its government sector made up 14. The firm has “turned the taps back on. For its 2004 fiscal year. Communications and technology. insiders report that the mood has “” Accenture can be a great place to have a career—you’ll have the resources and clout of a huge company behind you—but it’s not for everyone. you’ll never be unstaffed. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. In the first 6 months of 2004. financial services.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. Says one insider. 7 . it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. Meanwhile. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. up from 2 percent in 2003. “In the bad times.” Since mid-2003. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). The Company changed.decade. The best people.5 percent of total revenue. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. the industry sectors Accenture serves. They continue to buoy earnings.” for new hires. you get a sense of your internal worth. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. for too long. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. in theory. In the last year. says an insider. in particular. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. contracts with government agencies helped.

“One plus about working here is the The Company kind of personality traits you can pick up—people here are at the top of their game. go-getters.” Due in part to its university recruitment. and local get-togethers. to help me out. you should be ready to sell yourself. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. At work. some of the work strains seemed to have eased.” says one insider. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. that come with being a big multinational firm. A-types. “There’s a culture of sharing. But make no mistake. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate.” says an insider. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. Accenture has a youthful collegiate environment in which employees have the energy to work hard as projects intensify as well as the chance to relax with each other and interact socially. 8 .With a brighter business outlook. the work is demanding. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. an esprit de corp. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. As demanding as consulting can be. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. team and industry-specific meetings. like cell phones. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided.

The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. To be successful. Competition for jobs is intense. 9 . If you land a job. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. and once you’re ready to move on. The company is committed to training. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. you’ll be in fairly good hands.

Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt.” for the second year in a row. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. 10 .

Peterborough.ConsultingCentral. www. 11 . NH 03458 USA. by 2003 Consulting Revenue Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Firm IBM Accenture Deloitte Capgemini CSC BearingPoint Hewlett-Packard McKinsey & Co. Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide The Company Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004.com. Consultants News/Kennedy Information.20 Largest Consulting Firms. phone: 800-531-0007.

Where MBAs Want to Work
Accenture doesn’t have quite the cache among MBAs that the large strategy firms such as McKinsey and Bain do. But in 2004 it moved up two notches to

The Company

number 27, between PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lehman Brothers. The following ranking is a result of Universum’s 2004 survey of MBAs, who ranked the companies where they would most like to work.

Consulting Firms that Ranked in the Top 50
1 4 7 10 11 13 27

McKinsey & Co. IBM Bain & Co. Booz Allen Hamilton Deloitte Boston Consulting Group Accenture

Source: Based on a study by Universum, published in Fortune. Ann Harrington, Fortune, 4/19/2004.


Organization of the Firm
The Company

View from the Top
Accenture is a public company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACN. At the top of the organization sits CEO Joe Forehand and the executive committee of partners and officers who report directly to him, followed by numerous steering and operating committees. Though the firm has no fixed geographical headquarters, it has big offices in major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

View from the Middle
Accenture is organized into several partially overlapping industry areas that allow clients to choose from a smorgasbord of integrated consulting services. The company maintains five global operations groups: 1. Financial services 2. Government 3. Communications and high tech 4. Products 5. Resources


Nine service and solutions lines support the global operations groups: 1. Customer relationship management 2. Finance and performance management

The Company

3. Human performance 4. Strategy and business architecture 5. Supply chain management 6. Technology research and innovation 7. Technology solutions 8. Microsoft solutions 9. Outsourcing and infrastructure delivery Accenture’s five operating groups function as umbrella units for 18 separate industry areas and government services. The service lines are then broken down between business consulting or technology and outsourcing. Some of these groups could change by the time you get there; Accenture is continually shifting its organizational structure. That’s not surprising, given that it’s in the business of reorganizing companies and processes. “If we ourselves aren’t changing, that means we’re stagnant, and we’re not a few steps ahead of the client,” explains one insider. The tasks in the various service areas can vary widely. Customer relationship management, supply chain management, technology research, and technology solutions often involve more of the hard-core technology work. Members of the technology groups are more likely to work on-site for extended periods to implement new technology. The human performance group deals largely with the human resources and training issues that arise with technology work.


Strategy and business architecture. big-dollar firms). they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. building programming and business skills along the way. Then we work on common components. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. because once people get to the 3.” 15 . as well as finance and performance management. strategy has to compete with Bain. Strategy The Company and business-architecture consultants work at the highest levels of projects and might come in early on in a project to do trends and industry analysis.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. Finally we build out the application. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. They often get paid more (after all. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. BCG. Booz Allen.” says one insider. For your first few projects. putting together the technology architecture. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. and the other big-name. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. chances are you’re not going to stick around.or 4-year mark. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs.

international firm. they may report every day to that station. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. just like in an industry job. can be a strain.” or moveable storage containers. you never get a sense of belonging. Some are as informal as dinners out. often work out of a laptop and “totes. consisting of two to five members. Strategy consultants and senior managers. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. But they are really all about networking. compounded by the size of Accenture. Moving from job to job. 16 . you’re always changing clients.” says one insider. who tend to be more mobile. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. If they’re locally based. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. Because of the nature of the work. In 1998. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. These range from the small. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big.

On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .

But at the start. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). Charles. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. to get on-the-job training.” says one insider. they get staffed with an industry group. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . We want them to be learning how we work.” On the Job 18 .” said an insider in recruiting. analyzing data line by line. building models. and ultimately. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. soaking everything up. Illinois. . says one insider. After an initial 2-week training. selling the firm’s business to new clients. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. . “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. After 12 to 18 months.

Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. We want them to be learning how we work.” Here’s a list of typical day-to-day tasks: • Develop key performance metrics • Conduct industry research • Facilitate the flow of work units through their teams • Discuss specific issues with in-house experts 19 .Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry.” says one insider. economics. soaking everything up. identifying trends. valuation. competitive analysis. but insiders tell us that the first year typically involves the following types of tasks: • Mapping business processes • Gathering and analyzing client data • Developing design parameters for projects • Designing computer modules • Interviewing client management and employees • Writing computer code and configuring software (IT) • Preparing user-training materials • Implementing recommended changes at client site • Developing training models “” We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another.

While I take a few swigs of my coffee. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. and some members of the client firm. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. no time like the present. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. . so the team heads out to lunch. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. 3:30 4:00 20 . Gives me a chance to stretch my legs.• Assess existing technology • Conduct market research • Develop and maintain client relationships • Perform benchmarking analysis • Analyze current systems and problems • Recommend new approaches • Present findings to team members A Day in the Life of a First-Year Analyst 8:30 On the Job I get into the client site. ask questions about the project. I check e-mails I got from the client. I dive back into the documentation. I’m starved. and I want to make sure I’m on track. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. the rest of the team. Well. Thank goodness. We go over what everyone’s working on. . Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. where I meet up with my manager. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. One page at a time . I keep working and make the necessary updates.

That means walking down to the sandwich shop. grabbing something.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. so I leave earlier than usual. We talk and go over the problem. . working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. They got the jerseys. We go over progress to date. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . This time. voice mail. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. and Accenture e-mails. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. discuss certain initiatives. who are right down the hall. Time to head out. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. Back at my desk. . 12:15 Time for lunch. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. Not so fast. make sure we’re on the same page. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. But first. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day.

Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. MBAs and/or CPAs. and it gives them a nice package. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts.g.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. “After a few years at the firm. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis.” says one insider. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.” Typical Responsibilities • Lead project meetings • Monitor and report on project status • Lead presentations • Interview vendors • Supervise analysts • Facilitate brainstorming sessions • Conduct client interviews and workshops • Assess existing technology and future needs 22 .. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. with one big exception: They manage a small team. Says one insider in recruiting.

Then I’m back on our proposal.• Develop acceptance criteria • Oversee implementation of technical applications (IT) • Develop and implement financial models • Oversee training applications • Conduct structure analysis A Day in the Life of an IT Consultant 8:30 9:00 Arrive at the site. Time to head out. I need refueling. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. but not quite. Still. 12:00 Almost there. It’s a good time to make sure we’re in touch with the client’s needs—and pick some of my colleagues’ smart brains. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . A bunch of folks from my last project are meeting to watch the game at 7:00 and I’ve told them to save me a stool. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Yep. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. so all hands on deck. there are a few critters in this system.

11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. Yikes. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. a new analyst. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. I head for the door. and give her some advice. . so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. Even if it’s a quick one. Not so fast. I sit down with her. I’ve done this twice in past projects. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. It’s a tricky one. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. discuss what she’s tried. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. One of my teammates. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. Oh well. to which I happily agree. I open up a spreadsheet but then . waiting for the aircon to kick in. . This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. and we go over the presentation. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow.

The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .

I have only had to work weekends once. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. but that was told to me ahead of time and it was due to the nature of the project (a week-long assignment in a sunny location.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. projects operate in cycles.” Says another insider. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you.” says one insider. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. which I didn’t mind at all). or clients. and individual report work. technical problem solving. you tend to work a few more hours. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. Generally no one likes to delay a project. As you get higher up in the company. At the same time. teammates. if this doesn’t get done. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. but nothing too crazy. but that is expected with the nature of the job. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along.” says one insider. you don’t like to move on to the next change.” 26 . “I have had to work a few nights. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings.

often for months at a time. The Workplace 27 . “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. Still.Aside from a busy schedule. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.” says another.” says one insider. “When you’re more junior. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. For the most part. travel takes it’s toll.

Accenture’s culture can vary from one extreme to another depending on the client you are working for and the office in which you reside. “On average.” said one insider. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. for instance. “We go to lunch together. I want them to be integrated. where you have a pod of people in the back room. we aspire to blend in with our clients. As such. “If there were changes. Employees who work at the client site. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. In my projects. But most of the time. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget.” The insider adds. it’s at the client site. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects. It may be a little less true these days. I want client people on our team.” Two recent events—the downturn in the economy and the transformation of the firm from one owned and run by partners to a publicly owned firm—have left their mark. go out after work. because we actually have offices. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. especially for extended periods.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site.” 28 .” Says another. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s.

As one insider says.” says one insider. “Over all. especially when together. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. from project to project.” And finally. “We have a very strong collaborative culture.” In spite of the youthful. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. “At the consultant level.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. and post questions. teamwork. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. If I go on the [companywide] portal.” is the way one insider describes them. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. people like going Within an hour. so you continually have to prove your worth. It’s pretty young. you’re out of town. out with each other after work. Of course. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. “You do get a lot of opportunities. The Workplace 29 . other firms. I immediately get answers. Insiders consistently proclaimed the willingness of colleagues in different cities or even countries to respond to a request for help at the drop of a hat. You get off the plane and Accenture has a youthful atmosphere that lends itself you don’t know any easily to making contacts that will last as you move of your colleagues. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group.

a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before.Workplace Diversity Accenture has spent a lot of time trying to recruit and make working conditions amenable to people of color and other minority groups. Once employees start working. and retention of women and minorities. and scholarships through INROADS. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities.” In addition. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. the National Society of Black Engineers. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. schedule flexibility for parents. jobs.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Accenture offers internships. recruitment. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. In terms of recruiting. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. such as recruiting and promotion. Joe Forehand. the firm offers diversity training. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. career counseling. “I report directly to our CEO.

in 2002 (most recent available) women only accounted for a little more than 14 percent of all promotions to partner status globally and 19 percent of all promotions to partner in the United States.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. three of its 21 management committee members were female.valuing the dynamics between men and women. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. Plus. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. and less in 31 . Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. and “the diversity principle in motion.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. the “diversity principle. As far back as 1994. though some areas attract more than others. At last count. and dependent life insurance plans. “There are quite a number of females. wherever it is legally possible to do so. However. It’s often in testing and functional design. dental. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. Still.S. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U.” a 1-hour course that underlines that diversity in the workforce is a key company priority and shows how stereotypes can contribute to a nonproductive work environment. but it’s very polarized. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. In general.

training. These women represent all U. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. 32 .technology.S.” says a female insider. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.” says one insider. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. retain. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. offices).” In 1995. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. and advancement of all managerial women. including women of color. In September 2003. “Additionally. and work-life integration.S. Catalyst.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. Another says. and advance women at Accenture. mentoring/sponsorship. though. Accenture leadership created a U. “When I was hired in. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. development. On my current project. I think that’s just coincidence. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. not many women were hired at the same time. all of my mentors at Accenture have been men—each of whom has shown an enormous interest in providing feedback and helping me achieve my personal goals and The Workplace aspirations.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. promote.S. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment.

000 range. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. 33 . Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. and work experience. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. depending on office location. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. educational background.000 to $55. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.000.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year.000 to $100. Of course. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.” says one insider. Accenture does not release this information.

can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. Consultants in government services. whose project work can be as short as a month. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. not surprisingly. strategy consultants. you’ll be on that project.m. or another big capital city. “It’s really just luck of the draw. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. this is a perk. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city. D. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a.m. For some.” says an insider. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. and for others. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past.C.” The Workplace On the flip side.. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities.” 34 . and you’ll often need to travel to get there. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. a trying routine. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. can find themselves in several cities each year.

Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations. you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. For instance. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). an employee who is headquartered in Los Angeles but working in New York could fly to London for the weekend instead of back to Los Angeles. The Workplace 35 . Instead.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments.

personal.Vacation In September 2002. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. Employees who work in outsourcing or the internal business functions at Accenture add on PTO days as they work—18 days for the first 5 years. or paid time off.” says one insider. While it is not necessarily company practice. which include both vacation and personal days. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. From the corporation’s viewpoint. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. program. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. 36 . providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. As such. then 21 days for the next 5 years. or sick days. Accenture started its PTO. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project.

Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. At the entry level. . business and technology acumen. value creation. Charles after a year than right off the chute . Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. selling. also. relationship building. Charles. they are instructed on how to think. But it also teaches hands-on skills such as programming languages used in the debugging and data analysis that occurs in so many of Accenture’s projects. “It makes a lot more sense. As a result. and methodology. act.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold.” says one insider. Illinois. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. and it now sends new recruits to St. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. So do other firms. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. . people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . In training and thereafter. and speak like an Accenture consultant. Recently the firm shifted the schedule.

so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. at least). The Workplace 38 . Not only are the trainees from all over the world. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. One insider says.com. “Our 2-week training course in St. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. regardless of business group or geographical location.accenture. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. but the trainers are as well.business language. Accenture’s internal information-management system. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange.

300) Source: WetFeet research. to consultant. to senior manager. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. and midcareer candidates. and finally to partner. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. New employees move from analyst. in strategy). Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. if they lack significant prior experience. in those couple of years. 39 . entry-level hires.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. “The whole theory. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. MBAs. The further you go on. for 2 to 4 years New MBA hires and analysts with at least 2 years’ experience Consultants with 2 to 4 years’ experience Managers with 3 to 4 years’ experience Experienced managers Those elected to firm’s partnership (currently 2. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. to associate partner. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. to manager. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts.

Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. Depending on needs. The Workplace 40 . a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities.to 12-week internships for undergraduates.com. except in strategy. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. That is. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. they must have technical skills. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. On the strategy side. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. typically in the summer before their senior year. • Student Leadership Conference. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources.

” says an insider in recruiting. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. and move up to manager. When we’ve branched out.” says an insider.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). “It varies greatly by profile and experience. associate partner. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . with just a few years of work experience under your belt. from analyst to senior manager. hands-on side of consulting. “You might be hired in strategy. “It didn’t used to be common. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. you may still start as an analyst. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. senior manager. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level.” says on insider. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. “We do it. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. and we need to have it. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis.” says another insider. because we’ve got a lot bigger. but it’s increasingly common. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. and partner. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry.

which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. the firm prefers to staff locally. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments.S.valued properly. “If the client has a global presence. etc. And in the first 6 months of 2004. that would make them particularly valuable. In fact.” says the insider.” adds the insider.” 42 . We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. non-U. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world.. we may deploy consultants. Instead. or if they have a background in language. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. they have a large project-need outside the United States.

It’s fairly young. feeling. but not so much time that they burn out. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. and flexibility. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . especially in strategy. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. in essence. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. “High performing. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks.” says one insider about the people. and chances are. Accenture gets good marks for openness. Accenture consultants. generally quite energetic. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. before long you’re a partner. responsiveness. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years.” says the insider. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. results-oriented.” said one insider. When things go as they should. start a new job every 6 to 12 months.

The next batch. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10.it. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. people leave at the 4-year mark. “If you’re determined enough. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. 44 . In fact. And the firm. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. sometimes with clients.” says one insider. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training.” The insider continues. Or they’re starting to have a family. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. you can usually get what you want. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. One insider describes the typical departure points for consultants this way: “A lot of people leave between year 1 and 2—a lot of people who thought travel was fantastic and it wasn’t their cup of tea. while large. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think.

” Jack-of-All-Trades? The bottom line to working in Accenture’s consulting practice is that you could easily end up with bit parts on a variety of projects. We’re not pure strategy. programming. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. either. on a typical deal. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. Then on the flip side. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. then they’re testing a system. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. that’s great. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. the more likely you are to be a master of some.” says one insider. you will specialize whether you want to or not. and that’s not what they expected. ‘If you execute it. But rest assured. the far right would be pure strategy. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function.” The Workplace says one insider.” says one insider. such as outsourcing and offshoring. The more projects of a certain type that you do.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. how about the strategic direction?’” The downside of working on different types of projects means “you’re a jackall-trades and a master of none. 45 . We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. people who have done organization design. or business analysis expertise. The client might say. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. “For Accenture.

energy. You really have to work hard to get to know people. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. In down times. In a word. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. Of course.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. you’ll just get marginal projects. networking. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. you may not get projects at all.” The Workplace 46 . “In the best of times. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients.” says one insider. and focus.

Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .

But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume.accenture. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school.campusconnection.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . The company looks for people who can handle deadlines.com. They are really an initial screening. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. If Accenture does not visit your campus.” says an insider in recruiting. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. Students should visit Accenture at www. by submitting a resume. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients.

and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. but excel in this type of environment. “They basically want to see how you would handle yourself in a Getting Hired consultant-type role where you will be constantly changing projects and team members.• When was a time in your life that you had to meet deadlines? • How do you react to tough situations? The second-round interview lasts 30 to 45 minutes and spends more time on behavioral questions. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. not what a team did overall. In other words.” The third round is mostly a formality. 49 . say insiders. Focus on the role that you played specifically. technology or process. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. In general. skills. and experience. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. ‘How do you handle team problems. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. individuals who don’t want to work. An insider in recruiting advises.” says an insider. your interviewer will be looking for two things: examples from your background—usually school or work experience—that will shed light on how you’ll perform as an Accenture employee. can receive an offer from a partner. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. and if all goes well.

management information systems. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. or business administration. Human performance hires. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. computer information systems. Getting Hired 50 . industrial or organizational psychology. executive leadership.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. computer information systems. economics.” says the insider. math. management information systems. liberal arts. “We ask general. economics. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. Therefore. organizational behavior. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. for instance. and business administration. though the firm does make exceptions. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on.” says an Accenture recruiter. computer engineering.” advises the insider. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. math. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. instructional design. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. electrical engineering.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics.

you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. Getting Hired 51 . U. University of Chicago. Wharton. In any case. such as PhDs. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. Accenture recruits at many schools.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. check with your recruiting center.C. At this level. MDs. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. Kellogg. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. Stanford. plus organizational management and economics. Berkeley. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. For positions other than those in strategy. Experienced candidates generally go through two rounds of interviews—a screening interview followed by a behavioral and skills-assessment interview— but the process is much less set in stone than it is for undergrads and MBAs. and MIT Sloan. Midcareer Candidates Historically. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience.

paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. dates. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. think about your work and school experiences. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. Do your homework about the organization. a strong learning capacity. 1.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. determination. especially those involving conflict: What frustrated you and how did you overcome that frustration? In what areas are you particularly confident and why? What difficulties do you experience on group projects and how Getting Hired do you address those problems? 3. But also visit the company website (www. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. and then spend time explaining their significance. Have the names.Interviewing Tips After the first round. Do job searches and read related job 52 . 2. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. To prepare for your interview. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations.accenture. problem-solving abilities. an interest in technology. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. among other traits. Reading this guide is a good start. a willingness to work hard. and flexibility.

If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .How much client interaction should I expect? . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. you will have made an impression. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. 4. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others.What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? .


For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .

56 . are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. Risks. eWeek 3/15/04. 5/26/03. Fortune. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. 2/16/04. “Sharing Gains. Source: Joanne Gordon. 3/4/02. in hindsight. Accenture Finds Opportunity in Business Transformation Outsourcing” An interview with a senior executive about the burgeoning market for outsourcing and Accenture’s place in it. Source: Melanie Warner. and according to this article. Source: Daniel Lyons. Source: Stan Gibson. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. Forbes. Forbes.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. it was a smart move.

com. Finally. visit ConsultingCentral. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange.com. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. 57 . co-authored by an Accenture associate partner.accenture.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking.WetFeet. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. Visit www. their jobs. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. and recruiting. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. also available at www.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. which is published by Kennedy Information.com. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders.WetFeet. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. And for help with your case interviews. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders.kennedyinfo.

accenture. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.808 950. compared to February 28.985 4.822 1. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .172.256.809.616.580 946.145 1. 2003 ($) Source: www.171 720. 2004.516.895 4.527 1.com.825 7.416.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.470 1-Yr.241 6.451 1.498 1.

2004) Michael G. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. Timothy S. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. Key People Joe W. McGrath. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. Forehand. If not.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you.accenture. Nevertheless.com. CEO designate R. Chairman and CEO (William D. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. you can submit your resume at www. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Green will become CEO on September 1. Green. Breene. many of them during the off-season. James.

Large U. Suite 1400 Irving. check out www. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200. One Market San Francisco.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section.accenture.com. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 .S. For a complete list.

WETFEET’S INSIDER GUIDE SERIES JOB SEARCH GUIDES Getting Your Ideal Internship Job Hunting A to Z: Landing the Job You Want Killer Consulting Resumes Killer Investment Banking Resumes Killer Resumes & Cover Letters Negotiating Your Salary & Perks Networking Works! INTERVIEW GUIDES Ace Your Case: Consulting Interviews Ace Your Case II: 15 More Consulting Cases Ace Your Case III: Practice Makes Perfect Ace Your Case IV: The Latest & Greatest Ace Your Case V: Even More Practice Cases Ace Your Interview! Beat the Street: Investment Banking Interviews Beat the Street II: Investment Banking Interview Practice Guide CAREER & INDUSTRY GUIDES Careers in Accounting Careers in Advertising & Public Relations Careers in Asset Management & Retail Brokerage Careers in Biotech & Pharmaceuticals Careers in Brand Management Careers in Consumer Products Careers in Entertainment & Sports Careers in Human Resources .

Morgan Chase & Company Lehman Brothers McKinsey & Company Merrill Lynch Morgan Stanley 25 Top Consulting Firms Top 20 Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Firms Top 25 Financial Services Firm . Doctors & Lawyers Industries & Careers for MBAs Industries & Careers for Undergrads COMPANY GUIDES Accenture Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group Booz Allen Hamilton Citigroup’s Corporate & Investment Bank Credit Suisse First Boston Deloitte Consulting Goldman Sachs Group J.P.Careers in Information Technology Careers in Investment Banking Careers in Management Consulting Careers in Manufacturing Careers in Marketing & Market Research Careers in Nonprofits & Government Careers in Real Estate Careers in Supply Chain Management Careers in Venture Capital Consulting for PhDs.

L. credible. consulting services. what’s the story behind your name?” The short story is that the inspiration for our name comes from a popular business school case study about L. While exploring our next career moves. he decided to make a better hunting shoe. The quality of our work and knowledge of the job-seeking world have also allowed us to develop an extensive corporate and university membership. At WetFeet. such as the annual WetFeet Student Recruitment Survey. the successful mail-order company. was born . we do the work for you and present our results in an informative. share a passion about the job-search process and a commitment to delivering the highest quality products and customer service.com and InternshipPrograms. but entrepreneurs make boots. “So. who come from diverse backgrounds. WetFeet’s services include two award-winning websites (WetFeet. WetFeet serves more than a million job candidates each month by helping them nail their interviews. and very literally. the company. Bean. had a case of wet feet. and manage their careers.Who We Are WetFeet is the trusted destination for job seekers to research companies and industries. and they lined up to buy their own pairs of Bean boots. one day. WetFeet Insider Guides provide you with inside information for a successful job search. avoid illfated career decisions. About Our Name One of the most frequent questions we receive is. and add thousands of dollars to their compensation packages. . Think of us as your own private research company whose primary mission is to assist you in making more informed career decisions. And he did. And L.com). But they didn’t exist. . Our team members. his shoes leaked. we needed products like the WetFeet Insider Guides to help us through the research and interviewing game. WetFeet was founded in 1994 by Stanford MBAs Gary Alpert and Steve Pollock. The lesson we took from the Bean case? Lots of people get wet feet. and entertaining way. And he told his friends. In addition. all because a man who had wet feet decided to make boots. Every time he went hunting in the Maine woods. Leon Leonwood Bean got his start because he quite simply. Web-based recruiting technologies. Bean. . So we started writing. Today.L. So. And that’s exactly what we’re doing at WetFeet. and our exclusive research studies. and he returned with soaked feet.

Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition. culture. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. www. including the lifestyle and hours. Hiring is competitive and once in.Careers/Job Search Looking for a top-notch consulting and technology services firm with a youthful culture and a high-end client roster? You’ll find that and more at Accenture.WetFeet. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. from top to bottom. compensation. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture. you’ll be expected to work hard. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies.com . Insiders say that having the Accenture name on your resume opens countless doors later on and that they have the distinct pleasure of working with the best minds in the business. no-holds-barred Insider Guides. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants. WetFeet’s investigative writers get behind the annual reports and corporate PR to tell the real story of what it’s like to work at specific companies and in different industries. travel. • How the firm is organized. and training. Accenture is the place to be. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture.

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