Accenture

WetFeet Insider Guide
2005 Edition

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Insider Guide

Accenture
2005 Edition

Helping you make smarter career decisions.

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

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

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

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

• Midcareer hires join at almost any level.600 to 1. depending on their programming or industry experience.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.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. 1.000 of those positions are in the United States. to senior manager. 2 . 2004. to manager. “I was asked how you handle team problems. because you’re working on a project. people who miscommunicate. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. to consultant. into manager roles. New employees move from analyst. to associate partner and partner. About 8.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. and in some cases. It was easy but you have to be honest. It focuses you. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. and then in some cases. and of those. individuals who don’t work.

$40.000 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. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000–15.000–100. Accenture does not release compensation data.000–100.000.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000 $0–30.000–55. a lot depends on work experience $10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Company

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

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

Firm
McKinsey & Co. IBM Bain & Co. Booz Allen Hamilton Deloitte Boston Consulting Group Accenture

Source: Based on a study by Universum, published in Fortune. Ann Harrington, Fortune, 4/19/2004.

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Organization of the Firm
The Company

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

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

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

The Company

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

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

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

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

On the Job Strategy On the strategy side.” Here’s a list of typical day-to-day tasks: • Develop key performance metrics • Conduct industry research • Facilitate the flow of work units through their teams • Discuss specific issues with in-house experts 19 . 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. economics. We want them to be learning how we work. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions.” says one insider. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. competitive analysis. soaking everything up. valuation. identifying trends. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project.

Thank goodness. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. ask questions about the project. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. I keep working and make the necessary updates. and some members of the client firm. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs.• Assess existing technology • Conduct market research • Develop and maintain client relationships • Perform benchmarking analysis • Analyze current systems and problems • Recommend new approaches • Present findings to team members A Day in the Life of a First-Year Analyst 8:30 On the Job I get into the client site. I dive back into the documentation. and I want to make sure I’m on track. . Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. where I meet up with my manager. Well. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. 3:30 4:00 20 . so the team heads out to lunch. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. I’m starved. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. We go over what everyone’s working on. no time like the present. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. One page at a time . Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. the rest of the team. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. . I check e-mails I got from the client.

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

bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree.” Typical Responsibilities • Lead project meetings • Monitor and report on project status • Lead presentations • Interview vendors • Supervise analysts • Facilitate brainstorming sessions • Conduct client interviews and workshops • Assess existing technology and future needs 22 . Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts.” says one insider. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. “After a few years at the firm.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm.. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. and it gives them a nice package. MBAs and/or CPAs. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. They combine that with pretty significant work experience.g. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. Says one insider in recruiting. with one big exception: They manage a small team.

Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. so all hands on deck. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. Still. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. there are a few critters in this system. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . but not quite. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning.• Develop acceptance criteria • Oversee implementation of technical applications (IT) • Develop and implement financial models • Oversee training applications • Conduct structure analysis A Day in the Life of an IT Consultant 8:30 9:00 Arrive at the site. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. Time to head out. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Yep. 12:00 Almost there. A bunch of folks from my last project are meeting to watch the game at 7:00 and I’ve told them to save me a stool. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. 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 need refueling. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. Then I’m back on our proposal. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project.

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

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

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

you’re going to be dedicated to one client. often for months at a time. 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. For the most part. The Workplace 27 .” says one insider. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year.” says another. Still. “When you’re more junior. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.Aside from a busy schedule.

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

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

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

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

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

” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.000 to $100.” says one insider. and work experience. 33 . getting an additional salary boost when they advance. 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. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. Of course. educational background. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. depending on office location.000 to $55. Accenture does not release this information.000. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.000 range.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. typically in the summer before their senior year. Depending on needs. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. 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. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates.com. they must have technical skills. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. That is. The Workplace 40 . • Student Leadership Conference. except in strategy. • Diversity Leadership Weekend.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. On the strategy side.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Students should visit Accenture at www. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. by submitting a resume. If Accenture does not visit your campus. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs.accenture. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. 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.com.campusconnection.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. They are really an initial screening. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone.” says an insider in recruiting. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. 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. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. technology or process. but excel in this type of environment. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. In general. Focus on the role that you played specifically. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. skills.• 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. In other words. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. and experience. can receive an offer from a partner. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. not what a team did overall. An insider in recruiting advises. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think.” The third round is mostly a formality. and if all goes well. people who miscommunicate?’” says one 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. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. ‘How do you handle team problems. 49 . say insiders. “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. individuals who don’t want to work.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve.

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

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

com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. a strong learning capacity. problem-solving abilities. among other traits. an interest in technology. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically.Interviewing Tips After the first round. 2. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group.accenture. and flexibility. especially those involving conflict: What frustrated you and how did you overcome that frustration? In what areas are you particularly confident and why? What difficulties do you experience on group projects and how Getting Hired do you address those problems? 3. Have the names. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. determination. think about your work and school experiences. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. a willingness to work hard. Reading this guide is a good start. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. To prepare for your interview. 1. dates. and then spend time explaining their significance. Do job searches and read related job 52 . 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. But also visit the company website (www.

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? .How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services.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.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. 4. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. you will have made an impression. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you.

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

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

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

2004.985 4.527 1.580 946.092.451 1.293. 2003 ($) 1.808 950.291.498 1. compared to February 28.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.172.809.516.256.825 7.241 6.470 1-Yr.822 1.895 4.accenture. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .171 720.416.616.145 1.792 Source: www.com. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.

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

For a complete list.com. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. Suite 1400 Irving.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. 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. check out www.accenture.S. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. Large U.

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

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

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