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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . .
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. It has offices in more than three dozen U..At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. economics. Capgemini. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. analytical prowess. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. cities. BearingPoint. Computer Sciences Corp. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths.000 employees in 48 countries. and ability to overcome challenges. that’s had ripple effects. EDS.” 1 . With our market picking up with the economy.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. even through liberal arts. • The firm has a strong. young. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. and innovation-oriented culture.accenture. management information systems.S.com Primary Competitors IBM.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www.
At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. 2 . 1. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. New employees move from analyst.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. depending on their programming or industry experience. 2004. to manager. people who miscommunicate. into manager roles. and then in some cases. to consultant.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. It was easy but you have to be honest. to senior manager. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. individuals who don’t work.000 of those positions are in the United States. It focuses you.600 to 1. and of those. because you’re working on a project. About 8. and in some cases. to associate partner and partner. “I was asked how you handle team problems.
At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000–100.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000–55.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 . 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000–15.000 $0–30. $40. a lot depends on work experience $10.000–100. Accenture does not release compensation data.000.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
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. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. and outsourcing practices. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. For the first few years of this 6 . as one of the few public consulting firms. one that straddles a multitude of industries. human resources. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. technology consulting. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Of course. and Accenture was no exception. Today. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. the Internet boom has come and gone.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. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. 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.
Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. In the last year. In the first 6 months of 2004. financial services. “In the bad times. in particular. Communications and technology. you’ll never be unstaffed. operating profits from its government sector made up 14.” for new hires. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. The firm has “turned the taps back on. Says one insider. up from 2 percent in 2003. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. 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. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. They continue to buoy earnings. For its 2004 fiscal year. you get a sense of your internal worth. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing.decade. The best people. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). in theory.5 percent of total revenue. The Company changed. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. 7 . Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. the industry sectors Accenture serves.” Since mid-2003. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. contracts with government agencies helped. says an insider. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. for too long. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. Meanwhile.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off.
Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. 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. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. “There’s a culture of sharing.” Due in part to its university recruitment. At work. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. But make no mistake. that come with being a big multinational firm. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. A-types. the work is demanding.With a brighter business outlook. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. team and industry-specific meetings.” says an insider. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. go-getters. As demanding as consulting can be. to help me out. like cell phones. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. “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. 8 . some of the work strains seemed to have eased. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. you should be ready to sell yourself. and local get-togethers.” says one insider. an esprit de corp. and passes on to its employees discounts on services.
The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. you’ll be in fairly good hands. The company is committed to training. To be successful. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. and once you’re ready to move on. Competition for jobs is intense. If you land a job. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. 9 . just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors.
Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. 10 . According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture.” for the second year in a row. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. its 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.
www. Peterborough. 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. 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. phone: 800-531-0007.ConsultingCentral.com.20 Largest Consulting Firms. 11 . Consultants News/Kennedy Information.
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.
the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set.” says one insider. big-dollar firms). they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. strategy has to compete with Bain. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like.Strategy and business architecture.” 15 . “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. building programming and business skills along the way. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. because once people get to the 3. BCG. Finally we build out the application. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. and the other big-name. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. Then we work on common components. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. For your first few projects. putting together the technology 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. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. as well as finance and performance management. Booz Allen. chances are you’re not going to stick around.or 4-year mark. They often get paid more (after all.
” says one insider.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. Moving from job to job. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. These range from the small. can be a strain. consisting of two to five members. international firm. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. If they’re locally based. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. Because of the nature of the work. who tend to be more mobile. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. But they are really all about networking. In 1998. compounded by the size of Accenture. often work out of a laptop and “totes. Some are as informal as dinners out. you’re always changing clients. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants.” or moveable storage containers. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. 16 .Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. Strategy consultants and senior managers. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. you never get a sense of belonging. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. they may report every day to that station. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. just like in an industry job.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
After an initial 2-week training. We want them to be learning how we work.” On the Job 18 .” said an insider in recruiting. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. says one insider.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. But at the start. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. building models. they get staffed with an industry group. .” says one insider. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. soaking everything up. After 12 to 18 months. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. to get on-the-job training. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. analyzing data line by line. Charles. . selling the firm’s business to new clients. and ultimately. Illinois.
” Here’s a list of typical day-to-day tasks: • Develop key performance metrics • Conduct industry research • Facilitate the flow of work units through their teams • Discuss specific issues with in-house experts 19 .Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. economics. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. valuation. 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. soaking everything up. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. We want them to be learning how we work. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. competitive analysis. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry.” says one insider.
Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. no time like the present. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. . One page at a time . I’m starved. ask questions about the project. Well. and I want to make sure I’m on track. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. 3:30 4:00 20 . Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. . I check e-mails I got from the client. and some members of the client firm. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. We go over what everyone’s working on. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. the rest of the team. Thank goodness. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. I keep working and make the necessary updates.• 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. so the team heads out to lunch. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. I dive back into the documentation. where I meet up with my manager.
1:00 Time to meet with the clients. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. They got the jerseys. 12:15 Time for lunch. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. We go over progress to date. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. and Accenture e-mails. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. . Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. .5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. who are right down the hall. discuss certain initiatives. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. But first. This time. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. Time to head out. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. voice mail. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. grabbing something. so I leave earlier than usual. We talk and go over the problem. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. Not so fast. Back at my desk. make sure we’re on the same page.
Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. MBAs and/or CPAs. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. and it gives them a nice package. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis.” says one insider.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm.” 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 .. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants.g. “After a few years at the firm. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people. Says one insider in recruiting. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. with one big exception: They manage a small team.
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. but not quite.• 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. so all hands on deck. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Then I’m back on our proposal. 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. 12:00 Almost there. there are a few critters in this system. Time to head out. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. Yep. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. Still. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. I need refueling. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks.
This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. waiting for the aircon to kick in. and give her some advice. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. I sit down with her. to which I happily agree. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. and we go over the presentation. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. I head for the door. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. a new analyst. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. 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. It’s a tricky one. Not so fast. One of my teammates. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. . Yikes. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. discuss what she’s tried. Oh well. . I open up a spreadsheet but then .A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. Even if it’s a quick one. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. I’ve done this twice in past projects. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch.
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. or clients. As you get higher up in the company. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.” 26 . you tend to work a few more hours. Generally no one likes to delay a project. 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. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you.” Says another insider. but nothing too crazy. but that was told to me ahead of time and it was due to the nature of the project (a week-long assignment in a sunny location. projects operate in cycles. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. I have only had to work weekends once. and individual report work. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. if this doesn’t get done. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. teammates. At the same time. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. technical problem solving. 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. which I didn’t mind at all).” says one insider. “I have had to work a few nights. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms.
travel takes it’s toll. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday. often for months at a time. Still.Aside from a busy schedule. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. The Workplace 27 . 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. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. “When you’re more junior.” says another.
Employees who work at the client site. It may be a little less true these days. it’s at the client site. where you have a pod of people in the back room. As such. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.” said one insider. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations.” The insider adds. In my projects. 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. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. we aspire to blend in with our clients. “If there were changes. I want them to be integrated. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before.” 28 . “We go to lunch together. for instance. because we actually have offices. especially for extended periods. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site.” Two recent events—the downturn in the economy and the transformation of the firm from one owned and run by partners to a publicly owned firm—have left their mark. go out after work.Culture Accenture is a company on the move.” Says another. I want client people on our team. “On average. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. But most of the time. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s.
people like going Within an hour. I immediately get answers.” says one insider. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary.” In spite of the youthful. “Over all. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. As one insider says. “You do get a lot of opportunities. you’re out of town. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. The Workplace 29 . people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. Of course. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees.” And finally. teamwork. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. “We have a very strong collaborative culture.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. “At the consultant level. other firms. 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. If I go on the [companywide] portal. so you continually have to prove your worth. and post questions. 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. from project to project.” is the way one insider describes them. It’s pretty young. out with each other after work. especially when together. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes.
Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . “I report directly to our CEO. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. Once employees start working. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. schedule flexibility for parents.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. and retention of women and minorities. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. career counseling.” In addition. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. Accenture offers internships. In terms of recruiting. and scholarships through INROADS. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. Joe Forehand.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. the firm offers diversity training. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. the National Society of Black Engineers. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. such as recruiting and promotion. recruitment. jobs.
Plus. though some areas attract more than others. As far back as 1994. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. the “diversity principle. In general.S. three of its 21 management committee members were female. and dependent life insurance plans. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. At last count. 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. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title.valuing the dynamics between men and women. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. and “the diversity principle in motion. wherever it is legally possible to do so. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. However. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. but it’s very polarized. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. and less in 31 . It’s often in testing and functional design. “There are quite a number of females.” 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. dental. Still.
technology. and advancement of all managerial women.” says one insider. not many women were hired at the same time. “When I was hired in. In September 2003. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women.S. training.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. These women represent all U. promote. 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. and advance women at Accenture. Another says. “Additionally. 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. mentoring/sponsorship. I think that’s just coincidence. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance.S. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. and work-life integration. Catalyst.” In 1995. including women of color. offices). a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.” says a female insider. though. retain. development. Accenture leadership created a U. On my current project. 32 . honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment.S. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig.
we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. 33 . the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels.000. Of course.000 to $100. Accenture does not release this information. getting an additional salary boost when they advance.000 to $55.” says one insider. and work experience.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.000 range. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. educational background. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. depending on office location. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.
strategy consultants. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. and for others. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities.” 34 . can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city. or another big capital city. Consultants in government services.” says an insider. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. whose project work can be as short as a month. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday.m. not surprisingly. this is a perk. “It’s really just luck of the draw. and you’ll often need to travel to get there.C. a trying routine. you’ll be on that project. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time.” The Workplace On the flip side. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. For some.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week.m. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. can find themselves in several cities each year. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. D. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is..
The Workplace 35 . Instead. 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). For instance. 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. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back.
36 . a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. which include both vacation and personal days. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach.Vacation In September 2002. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. Employees who work in outsourcing or the internal business functions at Accenture add on PTO days as they work—18 days for the first 5 years. or sick days. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. Accenture started its PTO. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. personal. then 21 days for the next 5 years. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. While it is not necessarily company practice. or paid time off. As such. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. due to the relatively stable nature of project work.” says one insider. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. From the corporation’s viewpoint. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. program.
In training and thereafter. Charles after a year than right off the chute . As a result. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. and methodology. and speak like an Accenture consultant. . Charles. value creation. relationship building. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. and it now sends new recruits to St. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. they are instructed on how to think. At the entry level. selling. . 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. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . So do other firms.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. also. Illinois. business and technology acumen. act. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. “It makes a lot more sense. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience.” says one insider.
at least). Accenture’s internal information-management system. “Our 2-week training course in St. One insider says.accenture. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. but the trainers are as well. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. regardless of business group or geographical location. The Workplace 38 . Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world.business language.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.com.
entry-level hires. “The whole theory. and midcareer candidates.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. 39 .300) Source: WetFeet research. to associate partner. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. to consultant. 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. in those couple of years. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. 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. if they lack significant prior experience. and finally to partner.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. in strategy). MBAs. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. to senior manager. The further you go on. to manager.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. New employees move from analyst.
The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. they must have technical skills. Depending on needs. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. • Student Leadership Conference.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions.com. typically in the summer before their senior year. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. 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.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. • 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. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. On the strategy side. The Workplace 40 . That is. • Diversity Leadership Weekend.
But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. with just a few years of work experience under your belt.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. “You might be hired in strategy. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. hands-on side of consulting. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. senior manager. from analyst to senior manager. and move up to manager. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. associate partner. “We do it.” says an insider. When we’ve branched out. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. and we need to have it. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project.” says on insider. because we’ve got a lot bigger.” says an insider in recruiting. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. and partner. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . “It didn’t used to be common. but it’s increasingly common.” says another insider. you may still start as an analyst.
” says the insider. or if they have a background in language. In fact.” adds the insider. non-U.valued properly.. Instead.S. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. etc.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. the firm prefers to staff locally. “If the client has a global presence. they have a large project-need outside the United States. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. that would make them particularly valuable. And in the first 6 months of 2004. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously.” 42 . business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. we may deploy consultants.
“We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. Accenture gets good marks for openness. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. especially in strategy. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. in essence. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. results-oriented. and flexibility. generally quite energetic. “High performing. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. It’s fairly young.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. responsiveness. Accenture consultants. before long you’re a partner. and chances are. When things go as they should. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . feeling. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to.” says one insider about the people. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. but not so much time that they burn out. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years.” says the insider.” said one insider. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture.
They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. Or they’re starting to have a family. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. In fact. people leave at the 4-year mark.” The insider continues.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think.” says one insider. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. The next batch. and it becomes a bigger deal being away.it. And the firm. you can usually get what you want. while large. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. sometimes with clients. 44 . These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. “If you’re determined enough. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. 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. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10.
“For Accenture. programming. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with.” says one insider. such as outsourcing and offshoring. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function.” 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. The client might say. the more likely you are to be a master of some. ‘If you execute it. that’s great. Then on the flip side. 45 .” says one insider. you will specialize whether you want to or not. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. then they’re testing a system. But rest assured. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. the far right would be pure strategy. on a typical deal. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. 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 Workplace says one insider. people who have done organization design. either. and that’s not what they expected. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. We’re not pure strategy. The more projects of a certain type that you do. or business analysis expertise.
energy. “In the best of times. you’ll just get marginal projects. Of course. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. In down times. networking. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. In a word. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends.” The Workplace 46 . But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. and focus. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. You really have to work hard to get to know people.” says one insider. you may not get projects at all.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. 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.campusconnection. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school. by submitting a resume.” says an insider in recruiting. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients.com. Students should visit Accenture at www. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. If Accenture does not visit your campus. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. They are really an initial screening. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process.accenture. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes.
can receive an offer from a partner. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. 49 . say insiders. Focus on the role that you played specifically. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. and if all goes well. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. ‘How do you handle team problems. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail.” says an insider. and experience.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. but excel in this type of environment. 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. not what a team did overall. skills.” The third round is mostly a formality. 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. In other words. “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. In general. individuals who don’t want to work. technology or process.
“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. management information systems. “We ask general. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. Getting Hired 50 . computer information systems. and business administration. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. for instance. liberal arts.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. or business administration. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. industrial or organizational psychology. computer engineering. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. math. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies.” says the insider. computer information systems. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. economics. organizational behavior. economics. executive leadership. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on.” says an Accenture recruiter.” advises the insider. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. Human performance hires. though the firm does make exceptions. instructional design. management information systems. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. Therefore. electrical engineering. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. math.
For positions other than those in strategy. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. check with your recruiting center. In any case. 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. such as PhDs. MDs. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Accenture recruits at many schools. Kellogg. Berkeley. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. U. Wharton. Stanford. University of Chicago. and MIT Sloan. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. plus organizational management and economics. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. At this level. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people.C. Getting Hired 51 . MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Midcareer Candidates Historically.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. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms.
Reading this guide is a good start. among other traits. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. and then spend time explaining their significance. think about your work and school experiences. a strong learning capacity. Do your homework about the organization. 1. To prepare for your interview. problem-solving abilities. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. determination. a willingness to work hard.Interviewing Tips After the first round. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. and flexibility. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills.accenture. 2. Do job searches and read related job 52 .com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. But also visit the company website (www. 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. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. Have the names. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. dates. an interest in technology.
4. you will have made an impression.How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . The following are a few questions to help get you started: . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.How much client interaction should I expect? . This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services. If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
it was a smart move. Source: Joanne Gordon. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. Source: Daniel Lyons. Accenture Finds Opportunity in Business Transformation Outsourcing” An interview with a senior executive about the burgeoning market for outsourcing and Accenture’s place in it. 5/26/03. Forbes. Source: Stan Gibson. 3/4/02. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. 56 . Risks. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. and according to this article. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. “Sharing Gains. Source: Melanie Warner. eWeek 3/15/04. 2/16/04. Forbes. in hindsight. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. Fortune.
For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange.kennedyinfo.com. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. And for help with your case interviews. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. visit ConsultingCentral.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. Visit www.WetFeet. to which three Accenture professionals contributed.com. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. also available at www. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea.com. which is published by Kennedy Information. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.accenture. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. and recruiting.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. Finally.WetFeet. 57 . their jobs.
293.825 7.145 1.291.527 1.580 946.470 1-Yr.792 Source: www.822 1.256.451 1.895 4.416.com.172.092.616.808 950. compared to February 28.809.985 4.accenture. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.516. 2004.171 720.498 1.241 6. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 . 2003 ($) 1.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.
Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Timothy S. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D.com. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. McGrath. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). Nevertheless. Breene. If not. Forehand. Chairman and CEO (William D. Green. many of them during the off-season. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people.accenture. CEO designate R. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. James. Key People Joe W. you can submit your resume at www. 2004) Michael G. Green will become CEO on September 1.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you.
check out www.com. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.S. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. Large U. Suite 1400 Irving. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200.accenture. For a complete list. One Market San Francisco. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 .
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