Accenture

WetFeet Insider Guide
2005 Edition

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Insider Guide

Accenture
2005 Edition

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

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

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

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

and of those. people who miscommunicate. because you’re working on a project.600 to 1. to consultant. 2004. 1. “I was asked how you handle team problems. About 8.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. depending on their programming or industry experience. individuals who don’t work.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30.000 of those positions are in the United States. into manager roles. 2 . and then in some cases. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. New employees move from analyst. It was easy but you have to be honest. It focuses you. to senior manager.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. to associate partner and partner.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. and in some cases. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. to manager.

000–100.000–55.000 $0–30. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates. $40.000. a lot depends on work experience $10.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60. Accenture does not release compensation data.000–100.000–15.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .

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

It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. Of course. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. human resources. In fact. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. one that straddles a multitude of industries. and Accenture was no exception. the Internet boom has come and gone. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. For the first few years of this 6 . in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. 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. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. Today. technology consulting. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. as one of the few public consulting firms. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. and outsourcing practices. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting.

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

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

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

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

20 Largest Consulting Firms. 11 . 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. www. Peterborough. by 2003 Consulting Revenue Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Firm IBM Accenture Deloitte Capgemini CSC BearingPoint Hewlett-Packard McKinsey & Co. NH 03458 USA.ConsultingCentral. phone: 800-531-0007.com. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

” 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 . MBAs and/or CPAs. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. 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.g. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants.. with one big exception: They manage a small team.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. and it gives them a nice package.” says one insider. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. Says one insider in recruiting. “After a few years at the firm. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. 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. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts.

I need refueling.• 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. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. 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. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Yep. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. so all hands on deck. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. but not quite. 12:00 Almost there. there are a few critters in this system. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Still. Time to head out. 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 start working on a proposal for one of these features. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels.000. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Accenture does not release this information.” says one insider. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. Of course. educational background.000 range. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. depending on office location. getting an additional salary boost when they advance.000 to $55. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.000 to $100. and work experience. 33 .” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

etc. Instead.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. or if they have a background in language.” adds the insider. In fact.. And in the first 6 months of 2004. we may deploy consultants. that would make them particularly valuable.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. non-U. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. 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.” says the insider.” 42 .valued properly. the firm prefers to staff locally. 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. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. “If the client has a global presence. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

256. 2003 ($) 1. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.985 4.616. 2004.809.895 4.092.451 1.291.145 1.com.241 6.825 7.792 Source: www.498 1.470 1-Yr. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .293.416.172.516.822 1.808 950.580 946.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.accenture. compared to February 28.527 1.171 720.

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

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

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

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

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

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