Accenture

WetFeet Insider Guide
2005 Edition

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Insider Guide

Accenture
2005 Edition

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

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

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

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

600 to 1. It was easy but you have to be honest. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. 2 . New employees move from analyst. “I was asked how you handle team problems. to manager. About 8. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. It focuses you. 2004. depending on their programming or industry experience. because you’re working on a project. to consultant. into manager roles. to associate partner and partner. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. and of those.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. people who miscommunicate.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. and in some cases.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. to senior manager.000 of those positions are in the United States. 1. individuals who don’t work. and then in some cases.

000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000–15.000. Accenture does not release compensation data. $40.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60. a lot depends on work experience $10.000–55.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000–100.000 $0–30.000–100. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.

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

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

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

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

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

According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. 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.” for the second year in a row. 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. 10 .

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

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

The Company

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

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

Firm
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.

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Organization of the Firm
The Company

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

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

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

The Company

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

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

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

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

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

“Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. soaking everything up.” 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 . identifying trends. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side.” says one insider. We want them to be learning how we work. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. 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. competitive analysis. valuation. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. economics.

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

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

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

A bunch of folks from my last project are meeting to watch the game at 7:00 and I’ve told them to save me a stool. I need refueling. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. 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. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . Still. Time to head out. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. I start working on a proposal for one of these features.• 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. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. so all hands on deck. 12:00 Almost there. Yep. but not quite. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. there are a few critters in this system. 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. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. Then I’m back on our proposal. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

33 .Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. Accenture does not release this information.000 to $55. depending on office location. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. Of course. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.000 to $100.000. educational background. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels.” says one insider. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.000 range. and work experience. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

such as outsourcing and offshoring. But rest assured. the more likely you are to be a master of some. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. ‘If you execute it. The more projects of a certain type that you do. the far right would be pure strategy. and that’s not what they expected. The client might say. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. then they’re testing a system. Then on the flip side. 45 . 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. that’s great. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. programming.” The Workplace says one insider. either. you will specialize whether you want to or not. on a typical deal. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. We’re not pure strategy.” says one insider. “For Accenture. or business analysis expertise. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas.” 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. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business.” says one insider. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. people who have done organization design. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function.

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

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

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

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

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

Kellogg. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Accenture recruits at many schools. Getting Hired 51 . Wharton. and MIT Sloan. 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. Berkeley. University of Chicago. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. In any case. Midcareer Candidates Historically. 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. plus organizational management and economics. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. U. check with your recruiting center. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture.C. MDs. Stanford.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. such as PhDs. For positions other than those in strategy. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. At this level. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people.

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

announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others.What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? . 4.How much client interaction should I expect? .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 . you will have made an impression. If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. 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. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .

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

Source: Joanne Gordon. it was a smart move. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. Fortune.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. 2/16/04. 3/4/02. Forbes. Source: Stan Gibson. 5/26/03. “Sharing Gains. Risks. and according to this article. 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. 56 . in hindsight. Forbes. 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. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. Source: Melanie Warner. eWeek 3/15/04. Source: Daniel Lyons.

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

241 6.616.293. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .470 1-Yr.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.accenture. 2004.822 1.580 946.145 1.com.256.172.416.895 4.809.527 1.516.291.092.825 7.792 Source: www. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.451 1. 2003 ($) 1.171 720.498 1. compared to February 28.808 950.985 4.

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

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

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 .

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.P. Morgan Chase & Company Lehman Brothers McKinsey & Company Merrill Lynch Morgan Stanley 25 Top Consulting Firms Top 20 Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Firms Top 25 Financial Services Firm . Doctors & Lawyers Industries & Careers for MBAs Industries & Careers for Undergrads COMPANY GUIDES Accenture Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group Booz Allen Hamilton Citigroup’s Corporate & Investment Bank Credit Suisse First Boston Deloitte Consulting Goldman Sachs Group J.

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

• What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition. from top to bottom. no-holds-barred Insider Guides. www. Accenture is the place to be. compensation.com . Hiring is competitive and once in. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. you’ll be expected to work hard.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. including the lifestyle and hours. culture. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants. • How the firm is organized. 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. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. 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. travel. and training.WetFeet.

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