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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . 1 The Company. 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips.Career Path. . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . .
McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. BearingPoint. EDS.000 employees in 48 countries. • The firm has a strong. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. Computer Sciences Corp.S. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths.accenture.” 1 . Capgemini.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. management information systems. It has offices in more than three dozen U.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. and ability to overcome challenges. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. young. economics. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. cities.. analytical prowess.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. and innovation-oriented culture. With our market picking up with the economy. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. that’s had ripple effects. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. even through liberal arts.com Primary Competitors IBM.
to consultant. 2004.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. and in some cases. “I was asked how you handle team problems.600 to 1. into manager roles. 2 .000 of those positions are in the United States. About 8.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. and then in some cases. It was easy but you have to be honest. 1. and of those. It focuses you. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. New employees move from analyst.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. people who miscommunicate. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. because you’re working on a project.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. to senior manager. to manager. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. depending on their programming or industry experience. individuals who don’t work. to associate partner and partner.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30.
000–100.000.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000–15. Accenture does not release compensation data. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000–55. a lot depends on work experience $10. $40.000 $0–30.000–100.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
and Accenture was no exception. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. technology consulting. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. For the first few years of this 6 . Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. one that straddles a multitude of industries. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. In fact.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. human resources. as one of the few public consulting firms. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. Of course. 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. Today. and outsourcing practices. the Internet boom has come and gone.
and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. the industry sectors Accenture serves.5 percent of total revenue. 7 . you get a sense of your internal worth. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients.” Since mid-2003. The best people. For its 2004 fiscal year. you’ll never be unstaffed. up from 2 percent in 2003. Says one insider. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. In the first 6 months of 2004. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. contracts with government agencies helped. in particular. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. financial services. in theory. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. “In the bad times. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent.” for new hires. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. In the last year. Communications and technology. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. Meanwhile.decade. They continue to buoy earnings. The Company changed. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. for too long. The firm has “turned the taps back on. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. says an insider. 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.
It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. you should be ready to sell yourself. “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. like cell phones. go-getters. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. an esprit de corp. As demanding as consulting can be. and local get-togethers. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. team and industry-specific meetings. The company also commits a ton of resources to training.With a brighter business outlook. the work is demanding.” says one insider. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. that come with being a big multinational firm. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. At work. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. A-types. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. “There’s a culture of sharing. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. to help me out.” says an insider. 8 .” Due in part to its university recruitment. But make no mistake. 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. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate.
9 . just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. Competition for jobs is intense. If you land a job.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. To be successful. you’ll be in fairly good hands. The company is committed to training. and once you’re ready to move on. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how.
” 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. 10 . 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. 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.
com. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. www. Peterborough.ConsultingCentral. 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.20 Largest Consulting Firms. 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. phone: 800-531-0007. 11 . NH 03458 USA.
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
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
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
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 has to compete with Bain. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. For your first few projects. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. Then we work on common components.Strategy and business architecture. putting together the technology architecture. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. chances are you’re not going to stick around. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. as well as finance and performance management. Finally we build out the application. 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.or 4-year mark.” 15 . but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. They often get paid more (after all. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. BCG. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. building programming and business skills along the way. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. and the other big-name. big-dollar firms).” says one insider. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. because once people get to the 3. Booz Allen. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like.
you’re always changing clients. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. But they are really all about networking. they may report every day to that station. Because of the nature of the work. international firm. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site.” or moveable storage containers. These range from the small. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. Moving from job to job. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. just like in an industry job. consisting of two to five members. In 1998. can be a strain. you never get a sense of belonging. who tend to be more mobile. often work out of a laptop and “totes. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. If they’re locally based. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. Some are as informal as dinners out. 16 . Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. compounded by the size of Accenture. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. Strategy consultants and senior managers. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work.” says one insider. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
” On the Job 18 . . soaking everything up. to get on-the-job training. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . After 12 to 18 months. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. selling the firm’s business to new clients. analyzing data line by line. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. Illinois.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. they get staffed with an industry group. . After an initial 2-week training. But at the start. We want them to be learning how we work. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. and ultimately. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. when they might participate in a mock client engagement.” says one insider. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. building models.” said an insider in recruiting. Charles. says one insider.
” 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 . soaking everything up. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. 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. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. valuation. We want them to be learning how we work. competitive analysis. economics. identifying trends. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project.” says one insider. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions.
I check e-mails I got from the client. I’m starved. the rest of the team. so the team heads out to lunch. no time like the present. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. . and some members of the client firm. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. . Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. We go over what everyone’s working on. ask questions about the project. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. One page at a time . Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. I dive back into the documentation. Thank goodness. Well. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback.• 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. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. where I meet up with my manager. I keep working and make the necessary updates. and I want to make sure I’m on track. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. 3:30 4:00 20 .
so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. who are right down the hall.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. and Accenture e-mails. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. discuss certain initiatives. Not so fast. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. Back at my desk. . I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. . If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . That means walking down to the sandwich shop. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. so I leave earlier than usual. 12:15 Time for lunch. grabbing something. But first. Time to head out. We talk and go over the problem. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. make sure we’re on the same page. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. voice mail. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. We go over progress to date. They got the jerseys. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. This time.
Says one insider in recruiting. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. They combine that with pretty significant work experience.g. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. with one big exception: They manage a small team. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. “After a few years at the firm. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis.” 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 . and it gives them a nice package.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm.” says one insider. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. MBAs and/or CPAs. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts.
so all hands on deck. 12:00 Almost there. Then I’m back on our proposal. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. I need refueling. there are a few critters in this system. Yep. 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. 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. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. but not quite. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. Still. Time to head out. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch.• 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. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning.
has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. Yikes. and we go over the presentation. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. One of my teammates. and give her some advice. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. Even if it’s a quick one. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. I head for the door. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. Not so fast. I sit down with her. discuss what she’s tried. I’ve done this twice in past projects. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. a new analyst. . It’s a tricky one. waiting for the aircon to kick in. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. I open up a spreadsheet but then . but I’ve got a laptop in hand.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . to which I happily agree. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. . I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. Oh well.
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
but nothing too crazy. Generally no one likes to delay a project. you tend to work a few more hours. I have only had to work weekends once. and individual report work. which I didn’t mind at all). times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine.” says one insider.” 26 .Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. At the same time. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. but that is expected with the nature of the job. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline.” says one insider. you don’t like to move on to the next change. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. projects operate in cycles.” Says another insider. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. technical problem solving. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. As you get higher up in the company. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. teammates. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. “I have had to work a few nights. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. if this doesn’t get done. 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. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. or clients.
” says one insider.Aside from a busy schedule. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year.” says another. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. For the most part. The Workplace 27 . often for months at a time. “When you’re more junior. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday. travel takes it’s toll. Still.
it’s at the client site. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. especially for extended periods. for instance.” said one insider. 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. “On average. Employees who work at the client site. go out after work. As such. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. because we actually have offices. It may be a little less true these days. “We go to lunch together. we aspire to blend in with our clients. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations.” Says another. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget.” The insider adds. In my projects. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. where you have a pod of people in the back room.” 28 . “If there were changes. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. I want them to be integrated. 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. But most of the time.
They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. 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.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. As one insider says. “At the consultant level. so you continually have to prove your worth. teamwork. I immediately get answers. The Workplace 29 . It’s pretty young. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. “You do get a lot of opportunities. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. people like going Within an hour. “Over all. If I go on the [companywide] portal.” says one insider. out with each other after work. 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. and post questions. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. other firms. You’re there because they can’t do something internally.” In spite of the youthful. especially when together. from project to project.” is the way one insider describes them. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. Of course. you’re out of town.” And finally. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other.
This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company.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. schedule flexibility for parents. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. “I report directly to our CEO. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Accenture offers internships.” In addition. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . Once employees start working. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. In terms of recruiting. jobs. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. and scholarships through INROADS. such as recruiting and promotion. Joe Forehand. and retention of women and minorities. the firm offers diversity training. the National Society of Black Engineers. recruitment. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. career counseling. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before.
As far back as 1994. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. wherever it is legally possible to do so. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. Plus. “There are quite a number of females. At last count. However.S. It’s often in testing and functional design. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace.” 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. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel.valuing the dynamics between men and women. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. 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. and “the diversity principle in motion. Still. and dependent life insurance plans.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. dental. and less in 31 . the “diversity principle. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. though some areas attract more than others. In general. but it’s very polarized. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. three of its 21 management committee members were female. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole.
Accenture leadership created a U. offices). a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions.technology. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. development. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. “Additionally. training. and work-life integration. and advance women at Accenture.” In 1995.” says one insider. In September 2003. retain. mentoring/sponsorship. including women of color. and advancement of all managerial women.” says a female insider. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women.S. though. These women represent all U. promote. Another says.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. 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. 32 . Catalyst.S.S. On my current project. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. I think that’s just coincidence. “When I was hired in. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. not many women were hired at the same time. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract.
getting an additional salary boost when they advance. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.000 to $100.000 to $55. depending on office location. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40.000. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. Of course. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels.” says one insider. 33 . and work experience. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. Accenture does not release this information. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. educational background.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.000 range. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year.
can find themselves in several cities each year.” The Workplace On the flip side. For some.. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time.” says an insider. and you’ll often need to travel to get there.m. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. a trying routine. “It’s really just luck of the draw. strategy consultants. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. 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. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. not surprisingly. or another big capital city. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. this is a perk.m. Consultants in government services. whose project work can be as short as a month. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away.C.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. and for others.” 34 . “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. you’ll be on that project. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment.
you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. 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. Instead. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). For instance. The Workplace 35 . This provision is also available on cross-border assignments.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.
Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. or paid time off. personal. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. then 21 days for the next 5 years. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. While it is not necessarily company practice.” says one insider.Vacation In September 2002. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. 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. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. 36 . From the corporation’s viewpoint. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. Accenture started its PTO. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. which include both vacation and personal days. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. As such. program. or sick days. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days.
” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. selling. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. . act. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . 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. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. relationship building. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. and methodology. As a result. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. Charles after a year than right off the chute . Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. In training and thereafter. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership.” says one insider. they are instructed on how to think. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. also. value creation. . “It makes a lot more sense. Illinois. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. and it now sends new recruits to St. and speak like an Accenture consultant. business and technology acumen. Charles. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. So do other firms. At the entry level.
so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. but the trainers are as well.com. One insider says. “Our 2-week training course in St. Accenture’s internal information-management system. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.accenture. at least). which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.business language. The Workplace 38 . regardless of business group or geographical location.
The further you go on.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. New employees move from analyst. 39 . the more valuable you are if you have something unique. and midcareer candidates. in those couple of years. 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.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. MBAs. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. to associate partner. to consultant. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. to senior manager. entry-level hires. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. in strategy). “The whole theory. and finally to partner.300) Source: WetFeet research. if they lack significant prior experience. to manager. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates.
Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. they must have technical skills. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. except in strategy. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. The Workplace 40 . in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture.com. On the strategy side. Depending on needs. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. • Student Leadership Conference. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. That is.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. typically in the summer before their senior year. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities.
but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. senior manager.” says on insider. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. from analyst to senior manager. “We do it. and we need to have it.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). “It didn’t used to be common.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. “You might be hired in strategy. When we’ve branched out.” says another insider. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. “It varies greatly by profile and experience.” says an insider in recruiting. because we’ve got a lot bigger. but it’s increasingly common. and move up to manager.” says an insider. and partner. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. associate partner. hands-on side of consulting. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. you may still start as an analyst.
etc. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. the firm prefers to staff locally. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. we may deploy consultants. 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. that would make them particularly valuable. or if they have a background in language. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. In fact.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments.S.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world.” adds the insider. And in the first 6 months of 2004. Instead.. they have a large project-need outside the United States. non-U.” says the insider.” 42 . “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm.valued properly. “If the client has a global presence. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad.
You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. and flexibility. responsiveness. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. but not so much time that they burn out. “High performing. before long you’re a partner. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. Accenture consultants. especially in strategy. Accenture gets good marks for openness.” says the insider. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks.” says one insider about the people.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. When things go as they should. generally quite energetic. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. feeling. It’s fairly young. results-oriented.” said one insider. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. in essence. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. and chances are.
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. people leave at the 4-year mark.it. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. In fact. while large. The next batch. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. And the firm. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. “If you’re determined enough. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. sometimes with clients. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. because they know they’ll get that service back some day.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think.” says one insider. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. Or they’re starting to have a family.” The insider continues. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. 44 . Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. you can usually get what you want.
or business analysis expertise.” 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. “For Accenture. such as outsourcing and offshoring. programming. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. 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. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. on a typical deal. then they’re testing a system. you will specialize whether you want to or not. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. and that’s not what they expected.” says one insider. the more likely you are to be a master of some. ‘If you execute it. 45 . It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. The more projects of a certain type that you do. either.” says one insider. We’re not pure strategy. that’s great. people who have done organization design. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. Then on the flip side. The client might say. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas.” The Workplace says one insider. the far right would be pure strategy. But rest assured.
Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1.” says one insider. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. and focus. networking. In a word. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. you’ll just get marginal projects. Of course. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along.” The Workplace 46 . “In the best of times. energy. You really have to work hard to get to know people. you may not get projects at all. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. In down times. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines.campusconnection. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. Students should visit Accenture at www. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce.com. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. by submitting a resume. They are really an initial screening. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy.” says an insider in recruiting. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. students are encouraged to apply through the company website.accenture. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. If Accenture does not visit your campus. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume.
and if all goes well. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. and experience. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. He gave me a lot more detailed questions.” The third round is mostly a formality. not what a team did overall. In general. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives.” says an insider. technology or process. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. skills.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. but excel in this type of environment. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. Focus on the role that you played specifically. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. “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. say insiders. individuals who don’t want to work. ‘How do you handle team problems. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. 49 . can receive an offer from a partner. In other words. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. An insider in recruiting advises. 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.• 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.
The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science.” advises the insider. math. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. instructional design. Getting Hired 50 . math. and business administration. management information systems. electrical engineering. Human performance hires. though the firm does make exceptions. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance.” says an Accenture recruiter. management information systems. “We ask general. economics. computer information systems. computer information systems. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. industrial or organizational psychology. computer engineering. executive leadership. organizational behavior. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. liberal arts.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. Therefore.” says the insider. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. economics. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. for instance. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. or business administration.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics.
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. In any case. check with your recruiting center. Kellogg. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Wharton. Getting Hired 51 . U. and MIT Sloan. Berkeley. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. University of Chicago. Stanford. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. If you don’t have a contact in the firm.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. At this level. plus organizational management and economics. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. For positions other than those in strategy. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture.C. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. MDs. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. Accenture recruits at many schools. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. Midcareer Candidates Historically. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. such as PhDs.
Reading this guide is a good start. and then spend time explaining their significance. think about your work and school experiences. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. Do job searches and read related job 52 . 1. a strong learning capacity.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture.accenture.Interviewing Tips After the first round. and flexibility. determination. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. Have the names. Do your homework about the organization. To prepare for your interview. 2. But also visit the company website (www. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. problem-solving abilities. among other traits. an interest in technology. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. dates. a willingness to work hard. 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.
How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. you will have made an impression. 4. If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you.What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services.How much client interaction should I expect? . and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
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. 5/26/03. Risks. Source: Joanne Gordon. 2/16/04. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. Forbes. and according to this article. Source: Stan Gibson. Source: Daniel Lyons. “Sharing Gains. 3/4/02. Source: Melanie Warner. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. eWeek 3/15/04. it was a smart move. Fortune. Forbes. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. in hindsight. 56 .For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients.
Finally.WetFeet. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. also available at www.com. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books.accenture.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. Visit www.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. 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 for more information about a number of consulting firms.kennedyinfo. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series.WetFeet. 57 . For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. and recruiting. And for help with your case interviews. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. visit ConsultingCentral. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News.com.com. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. their jobs. which is published by Kennedy Information. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.
Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .498 1.580 946.792 Source: www.895 4.171 720.145 1.809.616.172. compared to February 28.825 7.241 6.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.291.516.256.092. 2004. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.accenture.527 1.com.451 1. 2003 ($) 1.416.293.808 950.822 1.470 1-Yr.985 4.
For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you.accenture. Forehand. If not. McGrath. you can submit your resume at www. Nevertheless. Green will become CEO on September 1.com. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. many of them during the off-season. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). Timothy S. Breene. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. 2004) Michael G. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. James. Key People Joe W. Green. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. CEO designate R. Chairman and CEO (William D.
TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 .For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. Large U. check out www.accenture. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard.com.S. For a complete list. One Market San Francisco. Suite 1400 Irving. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section.
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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. 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 .
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from top to bottom. and training. culture. Accenture is the place to be. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview.com . you’ll be expected to work hard. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. Hiring is competitive and once in. • How the firm is organized. travel. including the lifestyle and hours.WetFeet. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition. no-holds-barred Insider Guides.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’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. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture. www. compensation. 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.
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