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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . 59 . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. With our market picking up with the economy. even through liberal arts.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. BearingPoint. management information systems.000 employees in 48 countries. and ability to overcome challenges. cities. It has offices in more than three dozen U. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources.com Primary Competitors IBM. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. Capgemini.S. • The firm has a strong. analytical prowess. young. and innovation-oriented culture.accenture. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. that’s had ripple effects. Computer Sciences Corp.” 1 . NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. EDS.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. economics. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm.. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint.
individuals who don’t work. and then in some cases.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. 2004. people who miscommunicate. It was easy but you have to be honest. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. It focuses you. to associate partner and partner.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. into manager roles. depending on their programming or industry experience. to manager. to consultant. and in some cases. 1.600 to 1. because you’re working on a project. New employees move from analyst.000 of those positions are in the United States. to senior manager.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. and of those. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. “I was asked how you handle team problems. About 8. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. 2 .
2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000–100.000. $40.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60. a lot depends on work experience $10.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000 $0–30.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000–55.000–15.000–100. Accenture does not release compensation data.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
For the first few years of this 6 . Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. human resources. 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. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. as one of the few public consulting firms. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. In fact. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. technology 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.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. Today. the Internet boom has come and gone. Of course. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. one that straddles a multitude of industries. and Accenture was no exception. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy.
5 percent of total revenue. Communications and technology. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. up from 2 percent in 2003. in theory. 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. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. says an insider. for too long. The best people. the industry sectors Accenture serves. In the first 6 months of 2004. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. In the last year.” Since mid-2003. The Company changed. For its 2004 fiscal year. 7 .” for new hires. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. you’ll never be unstaffed.decade. financial services. 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 get a sense of your internal worth. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). in particular. Says one insider. The firm has “turned the taps back on. Meanwhile. They continue to buoy earnings. contracts with government agencies helped. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. “In the bad times. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and.
” says one insider. the work is demanding. 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. “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. and local get-togethers. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles.With a brighter business outlook. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. that come with being a big multinational firm. 8 .” Due in part to its university recruitment. But make no mistake.” says an insider. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. go-getters. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. A-types. team and industry-specific meetings. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. you should be ready to sell yourself. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. As demanding as consulting can be. to help me out. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. an esprit de corp. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. “There’s a culture of sharing. At work. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. like cell phones. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment.
If you land a job. The company is committed to training. Competition for jobs is intense. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. 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. 9 . To be successful. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. you’ll be in fairly good hands.
Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture.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. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte.” for the second year in a row. 10 . According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue.
com. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. Peterborough. phone: 800-531-0007.ConsultingCentral.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. 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. NH 03458 USA. 11 . www.
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.
Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows.Strategy and business architecture. building programming and business skills along the way. Booz Allen. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. BCG. 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. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. For your first few projects.or 4-year mark. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. strategy has to compete with Bain. Finally we build out the application.” says one insider. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. and the other big-name. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. big-dollar firms). Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. as well as finance and performance management. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. putting together the technology architecture. chances are you’re not going to stick around. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. They often get paid more (after all.” 15 . Then we work on common components. because once people get to the 3. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process.
” says one insider. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. international firm. 16 . followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. can be a strain. often work out of a laptop and “totes. just like in an industry job. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. Moving from job to job. But they are really all about networking. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. you’re always changing clients. If they’re locally based. who tend to be more mobile. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. compounded by the size of Accenture.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. Because of the nature of the work. These range from the small. Strategy consultants and senior managers. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. you never get a sense of belonging. consisting of two to five members. Some are as informal as dinners out. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. they may report every day to that station. In 1998. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site.” or moveable storage containers. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
“You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. they get staffed with an industry group. analyzing data line by line. building models. selling the firm’s business to new clients. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. to get on-the-job training.” says one insider. But at the start. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. Illinois. Charles. and ultimately. We want them to be learning how we work. After an initial 2-week training.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts.” said an insider in recruiting. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. soaking everything up.” On the Job 18 . rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. says one insider. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. After 12 to 18 months. . The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. . analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff.
“People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another.” says one insider. economics. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side.” 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 . competitive analysis. We want them to be learning how we work. 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. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. identifying trends. valuation. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. soaking everything up.
It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. I keep working and make the necessary updates. the rest of the team. Well. so the team heads out to lunch. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. Thank goodness. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. I check e-mails I got from the client. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. I dive back into the documentation. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. ask questions about the project. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. and some members of the client firm. I’m starved. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. 3:30 4:00 20 . 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. no time like the present. . and I want to make sure I’m on track. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. . I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. We go over what everyone’s working on. where I meet up with my manager. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. One page at a time .• 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.
Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. and Accenture e-mails. . so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. discuss certain initiatives. 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. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. But first. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. We talk and go over the problem. We go over progress to date. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. who are right down the hall. voice mail. Time to head out. Not so fast. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. make sure we’re on the same page. 12:15 Time for lunch.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. grabbing something. They got the jerseys. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. . This time. Back at my desk. so I leave earlier than usual.
“Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. MBAs and/or CPAs. Says one insider in recruiting.” says one insider. with one big exception: They manage a small team. 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 . bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. “After a few years at the firm. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. and it gives them a nice package. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts.g.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm..
I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. Time to head out.• 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. there are a few critters in this system. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. but not quite. 12:00 Almost there. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. I need refueling. Then I’m back on our proposal. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. 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. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. 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. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Still. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . Yep. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. so all hands on deck.
12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. Even if it’s a quick one. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. a new analyst. and we go over the presentation. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. It’s a tricky one. One of my teammates. I head for the door. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. Not so fast. to which I happily agree. waiting for the aircon to kick in. discuss what she’s tried. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. Yikes. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. I’ve done this twice in past projects. . I open up a spreadsheet but then . 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. . I sit down with her. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. Oh well. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. and give her some advice. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 .
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. you tend to work a few more hours. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you.” Says another insider. which I didn’t mind at all). 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.” 26 . “Its sort of like a college class schedule.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. if this doesn’t get done. teammates. or clients. but nothing too crazy. and individual report work. As you get higher up in the company. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. technical problem solving. but that is expected with the nature of the job. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. 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 one insider. At the same time. Generally no one likes to delay a project. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine.” says one insider. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. “I have had to work a few nights. I have only had to work weekends once. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones.
“When you’re more junior. Still. travel takes it’s toll. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday.” says another.” says one insider. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. For the most part. The Workplace 27 . often for months at a time.Aside from a busy schedule. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home.
I want client people on our team. go out after work. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. 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. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. where you have a pod of people in the back room. “If there were changes. But most of the time.” Says another.” 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. In my projects. As such. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. it’s at the client site. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. “On average. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. especially for extended periods. we aspire to blend in with our clients. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects. Employees who work at the client site. for instance. “We go to lunch together. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget.” The insider adds. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site.” 28 . It may be a little less true these days. I want them to be integrated. because we actually have offices.” said one insider.
The Workplace 29 . 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. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. As one insider says. “Over all. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. Of course. It’s pretty young. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. 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. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. “You do get a lot of opportunities. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. and post questions. you’re out of town. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. people like going Within an hour.” In spite of the youthful. teamwork. If I go on the [companywide] portal. “At the consultant level. out with each other after work. especially when together. from project to project. so you continually have to prove your worth. I immediately get answers. other firms. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards.” And finally.” is the way one insider describes them.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses.” says one insider.
and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. such as recruiting and promotion. the firm offers diversity training.” In addition. Joe Forehand. recruitment.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. and retention of women and minorities. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. schedule flexibility for parents. Accenture offers internships. career counseling. the National Society of Black Engineers. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. and scholarships through INROADS. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. In terms of recruiting. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. Once employees start working. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. “I report directly to our CEO. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. jobs.
Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. though some areas attract more than others. In general. However.valuing the dynamics between men and women. and less in 31 . insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. wherever it is legally possible to do so. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Plus. Still. It’s often in testing and functional design. the “diversity principle. and “the diversity principle in motion. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. At last count. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. but it’s very polarized. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. dental. 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. three of its 21 management committee members were female.” 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. and dependent life insurance plans. As far back as 1994. “There are quite a number of females.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002.S.
development.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. and advance women at Accenture. 32 . offices). mentoring/sponsorship. “Additionally. retain.” In 1995. In September 2003.technology. 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. “When I was hired in. Another says. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. 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. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. promote. and advancement of all managerial women. training. Accenture leadership created a U. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract.” says a female insider.S. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. On my current project. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig.S.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. These women represent all U. Catalyst. including women of color.” says one insider. and work-life integration. I think that’s just coincidence. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. not many women were hired at the same time.S. though.
the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. Of course. and work experience. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. depending on office location. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. Accenture does not release this information.000 range.000 to $100.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. educational background.” says one insider.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.000. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels.000 to $55. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. 33 .
can find themselves in several cities each year. and for others. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. you’ll be on that project. this is a perk. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is.m. or another big capital city. Consultants in government services. 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. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week..” 34 . “It’s really just luck of the draw. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. a trying routine. whose project work can be as short as a month. not surprisingly.” The Workplace On the flip side. D.” says an insider. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. strategy consultants.m. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. For some. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment.C. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington.
The Workplace 35 . you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). Instead. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. 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. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. For instance.
or paid time off. or sick days. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. then 21 days for the next 5 years. which include both vacation and personal days. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. personal. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. Accenture started its PTO. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. From the corporation’s viewpoint.” says one insider. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. 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. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. 36 . As such.Vacation In September 2002. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. While it is not necessarily company practice. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. program. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach.
Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. As a result. and methodology. also. Charles after a year than right off the chute . employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. In training and thereafter. . act.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. So do other firms. . At the entry level. and it now sends new recruits to St.” says one insider. they are instructed on how to think. relationship building. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. 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. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. Charles. business and technology acumen. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. and speak like an Accenture consultant. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . “It makes a lot more sense. selling. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. value creation. Illinois. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St.
at least). Accenture’s internal information-management system.business language. but the trainers are as well. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership. The Workplace 38 . “Our 2-week training course in St. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange.accenture. regardless of business group or geographical location. One insider says.com. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.
Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. New employees move from analyst.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. to manager. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. entry-level hires. MBAs. to senior manager. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. in those couple of years.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. and finally to partner. and midcareer candidates. in strategy). to associate partner. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. The further you go on. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. 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. to consultant. if they lack significant prior experience. 39 . “The whole theory.300) Source: WetFeet research.
Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. That is.com. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. except in strategy. Depending on needs. they must have technical skills. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. typically in the summer before their senior year. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. The Workplace 40 . The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. • Student Leadership Conference. On the strategy side. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates.
” says an insider in recruiting.” says on insider. “We do it. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. you may still start as an analyst. from analyst to senior manager. and partner. “It didn’t used to be common.” says an insider. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. associate partner. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. “You might be hired in strategy.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level.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. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager.” says another insider. but it’s increasingly common. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. When we’ve branched out. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. hands-on side of consulting. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. because we’ve got a lot bigger. senior manager. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . and we need to have it. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. and move up to manager. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational.
“We take interest in these opportunities seriously. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. etc. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. In fact.” adds the insider. we may deploy consultants. non-U. that would make them particularly valuable. or if they have a background in language. Instead.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments..” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. the firm prefers to staff locally. “If the client has a global presence.S. And in the first 6 months of 2004. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States.” says the insider. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. they have a large project-need outside the United States. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project.valued properly.” 42 .
” says one insider about the people. generally quite energetic. in essence. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. Accenture consultants. responsiveness. and chances are. When things go as they should. before long you’re a partner. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. Accenture gets good marks for openness.” said one insider. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. and flexibility. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. especially in strategy.” says the insider. results-oriented. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. It’s fairly young. feeling. “High performing. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. but not so much time that they burn out. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 .
sometimes with clients. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. Or they’re starting to have a family. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. In fact.it. And the firm.” says one insider. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. “If you’re determined enough. 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. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.” The insider continues. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. The next batch. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. 44 . people leave at the 4-year mark. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. you can usually get what you want. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration.
and that’s not what they expected. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. people who have done organization design. that’s great. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. We’re not pure strategy.” 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. on a typical deal. Then on the flip side. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. programming.” The Workplace says one insider. the far right would be pure strategy.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. then they’re testing a system. you will specialize whether you want to or not. the more likely you are to be a master of some. 45 . The client might say. or business analysis expertise.” says one insider. either. 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. The more projects of a certain type that you do.” says one insider. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. such as outsourcing and offshoring. But rest assured. ‘If you execute it.
Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. networking. “In the best of times. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. you may not get projects at all. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. energy. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. In a word. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends.” says one insider. You really have to work hard to get to know people. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. you’ll just get marginal projects. In down times. and focus. Of course.” The Workplace 46 .
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. If Accenture does not visit your campus. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. 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. by submitting a resume. Students should visit Accenture at www. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 .accenture. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process.” says an insider in recruiting. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school.com. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. They are really an initial screening.campusconnection.
There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. 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. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. An insider in recruiting advises. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. and experience.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. Focus on the role that you played specifically. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. can receive an offer from a partner. individuals who don’t want to work. and if all goes well. technology or process.” The third round is mostly a formality. “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. 49 . “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. In general.” says an insider. not what a team did overall. ‘How do you handle team problems. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. but excel in this type of environment.• 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. skills. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. In other words. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. say insiders.
Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. electrical engineering. Getting Hired 50 . open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. management information systems. we are trying to understand what a recruit did.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. management information systems. though the firm does make exceptions. for instance. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. math. computer engineering. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. math. industrial or organizational psychology. executive leadership. instructional design. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. computer information systems. organizational behavior. economics. Therefore.” says an Accenture recruiter. economics.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. computer information systems.” says the insider. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. or business administration. and business administration. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. Human performance hires. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. “We ask general.” advises the insider. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. liberal arts.
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 JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. Getting Hired 51 . Wharton. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. For positions other than those in strategy. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. University of Chicago. check with your recruiting center. such as PhDs. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Berkeley. MDs. At this level. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. Kellogg. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. and MIT Sloan. Accenture recruits at many schools. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. plus organizational management and economics.C. Midcareer Candidates Historically. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. Stanford. In any case. U.
They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. Do your homework about the organization. dates. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. among other traits. Do job searches and read related job 52 . a strong learning capacity. To prepare for your interview. and then spend time explaining their significance. determination. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. Have the names.accenture. 1. and flexibility. think about your work and school experiences.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. problem-solving abilities. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture.Interviewing Tips After the first round. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. 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. Reading this guide is a good start. But also visit the company website (www. an interest in technology. 2.
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? .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 are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. 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.How much client interaction should I expect? . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. 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.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
5/26/03. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. and according to this article. Source: Melanie Warner. 56 . Source: Joanne Gordon. Source: Stan Gibson. 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. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. eWeek 3/15/04. Source: Daniel Lyons. 2/16/04. it was a smart move. Fortune. Risks. 3/4/02. in hindsight. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. Forbes. Forbes. “Sharing Gains.
com. which is published by Kennedy Information. 57 . co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. also available at www. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. Finally. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. visit ConsultingCentral. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. their jobs.com. and recruiting.kennedyinfo. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. And for help with your case interviews.com or the Kennedy Information website at www.WetFeet.com. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders.WetFeet.accenture. Visit www.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www.
2003 ($) 1.580 946.470 1-Yr. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .808 950.com.092.293.792 Source: www.145 1.accenture.527 1. 2004.498 1.291.451 1.172.416.895 4.825 7.241 6. compared to February 28.171 720.516.616. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.256.822 1.809.985 4.
com. many of them during the off-season. Nevertheless.accenture. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. James.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. McGrath. CEO designate R. If not. Green. Key People Joe W. Green will become CEO on September 1. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Chairman and CEO (William D. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Timothy S. 2004) Michael G. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. Breene. Forehand. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. you can submit your resume at www.
accenture. For a complete list.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. One Market San Francisco. Suite 1400 Irving.S. check out www. Large U. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 .com. 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.
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 .
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com). consulting services. had a case of wet feet. the successful mail-order company. Web-based recruiting technologies. we needed products like the WetFeet Insider Guides to help us through the research and interviewing game. And he did. Our team members. WetFeet’s services include two award-winning websites (WetFeet. and add thousands of dollars to their compensation packages. one day. who come from diverse backgrounds.L. and our exclusive research studies. Bean. The quality of our work and knowledge of the job-seeking world have also allowed us to develop an extensive corporate and university membership. share a passion about the job-search process and a commitment to delivering the highest quality products and customer service. we do the work for you and present our results in an informative. At WetFeet. Today. And that’s exactly what we’re doing at WetFeet. avoid illfated career decisions. WetFeet Insider Guides provide you with inside information for a successful job search. The lesson we took from the Bean case? Lots of people get wet feet.com and InternshipPrograms. his shoes leaked. and entertaining way. the company. such as the annual WetFeet Student Recruitment Survey. Bean. was born . But they didn’t exist. . Think of us as your own private research company whose primary mission is to assist you in making more informed career decisions. all because a man who had wet feet decided to make boots. WetFeet serves more than a million job candidates each month by helping them nail their interviews. and they lined up to buy their own pairs of Bean boots. And he told his friends. While exploring our next career moves. credible. WetFeet was founded in 1994 by Stanford MBAs Gary Alpert and Steve Pollock. Every time he went hunting in the Maine woods.L. So. . In addition. and manage their careers. “So. but entrepreneurs make boots. . he decided to make a better hunting shoe. So we started writing. And L. and he returned with soaked feet. 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. About Our Name One of the most frequent questions we receive is. and very literally. Leon Leonwood Bean got his start because he quite simply.Who We Are WetFeet is the trusted destination for job seekers to research companies and industries.
no-holds-barred Insider Guides. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. • How the firm is organized. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. Accenture is the place to be. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture. and training. culture.WetFeet. travel. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. Hiring is competitive and once in. including the lifestyle and hours.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. you’ll be expected to work hard. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants.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. compensation. www. 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. from top to bottom. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition.
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