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WetFeet Insider Guide
The WetFeet Research Methodology
You hold in your hands a copy of the best-quality research available for job seekers. We have designed this Insider Guide to save you time doing your job research and to provide highly accurate information written precisely for the needs of the job-seeking public. (We also hope that you’ll enjoy reading it, because, believe it or not, the job search doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck.) Each WetFeet Insider Guide represents hundreds of hours of careful research and writing. We start with a review of the public information available. (Our writers are also experts in reading between the lines.) We augment this information with dozens of in-depth interviews of people who actually work for each company or industry we cover. And, although we keep the identity of the rank-and-file employees anonymous to encourage candor, we also interview the company’s recruiting staff extensively, to make sure that we give you, the reader, accurate information about recruiting, process, compensation, hiring targets, and so on. (WetFeet retains all editorial control of the product.) We also regularly survey our members and customers to learn about their experiences in the recruiting process. Finally, each Insider Guide goes through an editorial review and fact-checking process to make sure that the information and writing live up to our exacting standards before it goes out the door. Are we perfect? No—but we do believe that you’ll find our content to be the highest-quality content of its type available on the Web or in print. (Please see our guarantee below.) We also are eager to hear about your experiences on the recruiting front and your feedback (both positive and negative) about our products and our process. Thank you for your interest.
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
• Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources.000 employees in 48 countries. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. and innovation-oriented culture.accenture.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. Capgemini. even through liberal arts.” 1 . that’s had ripple effects.com Primary Competitors IBM. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. cities. Computer Sciences Corp. economics. management information systems.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. and ability to overcome challenges. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. analytical prowess. EDS. • The firm has a strong. With our market picking up with the economy.. It has offices in more than three dozen U.S. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. BearingPoint. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. young.
individuals who don’t work.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. “I was asked how you handle team problems.000 of those positions are in the United States. and of those. and then in some cases. It focuses you. people who miscommunicate. into manager roles. and in some cases.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. to consultant.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. It was easy but you have to be honest. depending on their programming or industry experience. to manager. About 8. to senior manager. New employees move from analyst. to associate partner and partner. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. 1. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. because you’re working on a project.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. 2 . 2004.600 to 1.
000–15. $40.000–55.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000–100.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 . 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38. a lot depends on work experience $10.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000.000 $0–30.000–100. Accenture does not release compensation data.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Today. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. human resources. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. one that straddles a multitude of industries. technology consulting. Of course. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. For the first few years of this 6 . as one of the few public consulting firms. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. and outsourcing practices. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. the Internet boom has come and gone. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. 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. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. and Accenture was no exception. In fact. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries.
the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. for too long. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. The best people. says an insider. financial services. In the last year. Communications and technology. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. The Company changed. Says one insider. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. In the first 6 months of 2004.” for new hires. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed.5 percent of total revenue. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. 7 . up from 2 percent in 2003. “In the bad times. you get a sense of your internal worth. They continue to buoy earnings. the industry sectors Accenture serves. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. in particular. For its 2004 fiscal year.” Since mid-2003. 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. Meanwhile. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. you’ll never be unstaffed. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. contracts with government agencies helped. The firm has “turned the taps back on. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). in theory.decade. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing.
The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. At work. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. go-getters. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. the work is demanding.” says one insider. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. As demanding as consulting can be. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. like cell phones. A-types. “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. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. that come with being a big multinational firm. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. 8 .” says an insider. an esprit de corp. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. But make no mistake. to help me out. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. you should be ready to sell yourself.With a brighter business outlook. “There’s a culture of sharing.” Due in part to its university recruitment. 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. team and industry-specific meetings. and local get-togethers. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. The company also commits a ton of resources to training.
candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. If you land a job.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. and once you’re ready to move on. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. 9 . They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. To be successful. you’ll be in fairly good hands. The company is committed to training. Competition for jobs is intense.
10 .” for the second year in a row. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. 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. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture.
Peterborough. Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide The Company Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004.20 Largest Consulting Firms. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. 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.com.ConsultingCentral. www. NH 03458 USA. 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
number 27, between PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lehman Brothers. The following ranking is a result of Universum’s 2004 survey of MBAs, who ranked the companies where they would most like to work.
Consulting Firms that Ranked in the Top 50
1 4 7 10 11 13 27
McKinsey & Co. IBM Bain & Co. Booz Allen Hamilton Deloitte Boston Consulting Group Accenture
Source: Based on a study by Universum, published in Fortune. Ann Harrington, Fortune, 4/19/2004.
Organization of the Firm
View from the Top
Accenture is a public company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACN. At the top of the organization sits CEO Joe Forehand and the executive committee of partners and officers who report directly to him, followed by numerous steering and operating committees. Though the firm has no fixed geographical headquarters, it has big offices in major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
View from the Middle
Accenture is organized into several partially overlapping industry areas that allow clients to choose from a smorgasbord of integrated consulting services. The company maintains five global operations groups: 1. Financial services 2. Government 3. Communications and high tech 4. Products 5. Resources
Nine service and solutions lines support the global operations groups: 1. Customer relationship management 2. Finance and performance management
3. Human performance 4. Strategy and business architecture 5. Supply chain management 6. Technology research and innovation 7. Technology solutions 8. Microsoft solutions 9. Outsourcing and infrastructure delivery Accenture’s five operating groups function as umbrella units for 18 separate industry areas and government services. The service lines are then broken down between business consulting or technology and outsourcing. Some of these groups could change by the time you get there; Accenture is continually shifting its organizational structure. That’s not surprising, given that it’s in the business of reorganizing companies and processes. “If we ourselves aren’t changing, that means we’re stagnant, and we’re not a few steps ahead of the client,” explains one insider. The tasks in the various service areas can vary widely. Customer relationship management, supply chain management, technology research, and technology solutions often involve more of the hard-core technology work. Members of the technology groups are more likely to work on-site for extended periods to implement new technology. The human performance group deals largely with the human resources and training issues that arise with technology work.
BCG. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. Then we work on common components. because once people get to the 3. and the other big-name.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project.or 4-year mark. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. chances are you’re not going to stick around. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing.Strategy and business architecture.” says one insider. putting together the technology architecture. Strategy The Company and business-architecture consultants work at the highest levels of projects and might come in early on in a project to do trends and industry analysis. as well as finance and performance management. big-dollar firms). They often get paid more (after all. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. building programming and business skills along the way. Finally we build out the application. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis.” 15 . Booz Allen. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. For your first few projects. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. strategy has to compete with Bain. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs.
you never get a sense of belonging.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. often work out of a laptop and “totes. who tend to be more mobile. If they’re locally based. can be a strain. Because of the nature of the work. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. consisting of two to five members. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. Moving from job to job. international firm. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice.” says one insider. But they are really all about networking. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. Strategy consultants and senior managers. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. These range from the small.” or moveable storage containers. just like in an industry job. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. compounded by the size of Accenture. they may report every day to that station. Some are as informal as dinners out. In 1998. you’re always changing clients. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. 16 . One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. analyzing data line by line. Charles. . when they might participate in a mock client engagement. selling the firm’s business to new clients. After 12 to 18 months.” says one insider. says one insider. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. building models. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . Illinois. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. soaking everything up.” said an insider in recruiting. and ultimately. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. . With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). they get staffed with an industry group. After an initial 2-week training. to get on-the-job training. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience.” On the Job 18 . But at the start. We want them to be learning how we work.
valuation.” says one insider. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry.” 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 . “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. competitive analysis. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. economics. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. identifying trends. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. We want them to be learning how we work. but insiders tell us that the first year typically involves the following types of tasks: • Mapping business processes • Gathering and analyzing client data • Developing design parameters for projects • Designing computer modules • Interviewing client management and employees • Writing computer code and configuring software (IT) • Preparing user-training materials • Implementing recommended changes at client site • Developing training models “” We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. soaking everything up.
the rest of the team. ask questions about the project. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. I’m starved. . where I meet up with my manager. I check e-mails I got from the client. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. and some members of the client firm. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. We go over what everyone’s working on. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. Thank goodness. One page at a time .• Assess existing technology • Conduct market research • Develop and maintain client relationships • Perform benchmarking analysis • Analyze current systems and problems • Recommend new approaches • Present findings to team members A Day in the Life of a First-Year Analyst 8:30 On the Job I get into the client site. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. so the team heads out to lunch. 3:30 4:00 20 . Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. Well. and I want to make sure I’m on track. . I keep working and make the necessary updates. I dive back into the documentation. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. no time like the present.
. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. Not so fast. Time to head out. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. Back at my desk. 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. discuss certain initiatives. and Accenture e-mails. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. voice mail. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . But first. They got the jerseys. make sure we’re on the same page. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . We talk and go over the problem. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. This time. We go over progress to date. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. 12:15 Time for lunch.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. . grabbing something. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. so I leave earlier than usual. who are right down the hall. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team.
Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis.” 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 . Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. and it gives them a nice package. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. “After a few years at the firm. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. Says one insider in recruiting. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. with one big exception: They manage a small team. MBAs and/or CPAs. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants..” says one insider. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.g.
I start working on a proposal for one of these features. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. so all hands on deck. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . 12:00 Almost there. Then I’m back on our proposal. Still. there are a few critters in this system. Time to head out. 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. 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. Yep. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. 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. but not quite. 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 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. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug.
Another colleague comes by with a different problem. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. I’ve done this twice in past projects.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. waiting for the aircon to kick in. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. and we go over the presentation. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. Yikes. a new analyst. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. I head for the door. and give her some advice. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. to which I happily agree. It’s a tricky one. I open up a spreadsheet but then . I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. . On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. discuss what she’s tried. Not so fast. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. One of my teammates. I sit down with her. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . Even if it’s a quick one. Oh well. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. . Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file.
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. projects operate in cycles. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers.” says one insider. but that is expected with the nature of the job. Generally no one likes to delay a project. if this doesn’t get done. you tend to work a few more hours.” 26 . Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. 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. I have only had to work weekends once. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. “I have had to work a few nights. teammates. and individual report work. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. As you get higher up in the company. or clients. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. At the same time. you don’t like to move on to the next change. but nothing too crazy. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings.” Says another insider. technical problem solving. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. “Its sort of like a college class schedule.” says one insider. which I didn’t mind at all). Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are.
travel takes it’s toll. “When you’re more junior. Still. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.” says one insider. For the most part.” says another. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year.Aside from a busy schedule. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday. The Workplace 27 . often for months at a time. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home.
where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. I want them to be integrated.” 28 . it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. “We go to lunch together. go out after work. because we actually have offices. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before.” said one insider. where you have a pod of people in the back room. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.” The insider adds. “On average. we aspire to blend in with our clients. As such. I want client people on our team.” Says another. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. Employees who work at the client site.Culture Accenture is a company on the move.” 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 spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. “If there were changes. it’s at the client site. In my projects. But most of the time. for instance. especially for extended periods. 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. It may be a little less true these days.
out with each other after work. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. The Workplace 29 .” In spite of the youthful. and post questions. Of course. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. 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. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. so you continually have to prove your worth. As one insider says. You’re there because they can’t do something internally.” And finally. from project to project. teamwork. people like going Within an hour. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. other firms. 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. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. If I go on the [companywide] portal. I immediately get answers. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. “We have a very strong collaborative culture.” is the way one insider describes them.” says one insider. “You do get a lot of opportunities. “Over all. you’re out of town. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. It’s pretty young. especially when together. “At the consultant level.
Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian.Workplace Diversity Accenture has spent a lot of time trying to recruit and make working conditions amenable to people of color and other minority groups.” In addition. such as recruiting and promotion. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. the National Society of Black Engineers. schedule flexibility for parents. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. Once employees start working. In terms of recruiting. and retention of women and minorities. recruitment. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. career counseling. “I report directly to our CEO. Joe Forehand. jobs. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. Accenture offers internships. and scholarships through INROADS. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. the firm offers diversity training. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity.
However. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. the “diversity principle. “There are quite a number of females. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management.S. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. wherever it is legally possible to do so. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. It’s often in testing and functional design.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. and dependent life insurance plans. Plus. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce.” 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. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. As far back as 1994.valuing the dynamics between men and women. dental. Still. and less in 31 . three of its 21 management committee members were female. but it’s very polarized.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. 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. and “the diversity principle in motion. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. though some areas attract more than others. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. At last count.
” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders.S.S. offices). and work-life integration. Another says. development. promote. and advance women at Accenture. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. mentoring/sponsorship. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. retain. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. “Additionally. and advancement of all managerial women.” says one insider. though. training.S. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment.” In 1995. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U.” says a female insider.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. 32 . “When I was hired in. including women of color. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. 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. Catalyst. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. In September 2003. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. not many women were hired at the same time. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. Accenture leadership created a U.technology. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. I think that’s just coincidence. On my current project. These women represent all U.
000 range. depending on office location. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. and work experience. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.000 to $100.” says one insider. 33 .000 to $55. Of course.000. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. educational background. Accenture does not release this information. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.
“It’s really just luck of the draw. a trying routine.C. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment.m. strategy consultants.” The Workplace On the flip side.m.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past.” says an insider. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. whose project work can be as short as a month. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources.” 34 . and for others. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. or another big capital city. this is a perk. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. you’ll be on that project. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. can find themselves in several cities each year. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. For some. Consultants in government services. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city. not surprisingly. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule.. D.
Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations. Instead. The Workplace 35 . you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. 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.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks).
From the corporation’s viewpoint. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. While it is not necessarily company practice. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. As such. 36 . due to the relatively stable nature of project work. Accenture started its PTO. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. program.Vacation In September 2002. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. or sick days. which include both vacation and personal days. Employees who work in outsourcing or the internal business functions at Accenture add on PTO days as they work—18 days for the first 5 years.” says one insider. personal. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. then 21 days for the next 5 years. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. or paid time off. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms.
Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development.” says one insider. Charles after a year than right off the chute . people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . selling. relationship building. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. and methodology. business and technology acumen. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. . and it now sends new recruits to St. . they are instructed on how to think. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. As a result. also. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Illinois. 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. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. value creation. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. So do other firms. Charles. At the entry level. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. and speak like an Accenture consultant. act. “It makes a lot more sense. In training and thereafter. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage.
Not only are the trainees from all over the world. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills.business language. One insider says. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership. Accenture’s internal information-management system. regardless of business group or geographical location. “Our 2-week training course in St. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory.accenture.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. at least). The Workplace 38 . Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world.com. but the trainers are as well.
Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. 39 . to consultant. New employees move from analyst. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group.300) Source: WetFeet research. and midcareer candidates. “The whole theory.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. to senior manager. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. entry-level hires. and finally to partner. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. The further you go on. MBAs. to associate partner. in strategy). if they lack significant prior experience. 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.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. in those couple of years. to manager.
in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. they must have technical skills.com. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. typically in the summer before their senior year.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. The Workplace 40 . Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. Depending on needs. • Student Leadership Conference. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. That is. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. except in strategy. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. On the strategy side.
When we’ve branched out. you may still start as an analyst. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project.” says an insider in recruiting. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. “It didn’t used to be common. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. because we’ve got a lot bigger.” says on insider. from analyst to senior manager. and we need to have it.” says an insider. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years.” says another insider. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 .Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. senior manager. but it’s increasingly common. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. associate partner. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. “We do it. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. hands-on side of consulting. “You might be hired in strategy. and partner. and move up to manager. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational.
But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad.S. etc. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. that would make them particularly valuable.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. the firm prefers to staff locally.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world.” adds the insider. Instead. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. they have a large project-need outside the United States.” 42 . non-U. “If the client has a global presence. we may deploy consultants. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills.valued properly. or if they have a background in language. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously.. And in the first 6 months of 2004. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. In fact.” says the insider. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States.
“We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. feeling. When things go as they should. It’s fairly young. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . Accenture consultants. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture.” says the insider. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. generally quite energetic. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. and chances are. but not so much time that they burn out. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. responsiveness. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. before long you’re a partner. results-oriented. Accenture gets good marks for openness.” says one insider about the people.” said one insider. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. and flexibility.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. in essence. especially in strategy. “High performing.
“If you’re determined enough. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.it. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. And the firm. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. sometimes with clients. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. people leave at the 4-year mark. you can usually get what you want.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy.” says one insider. 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 it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. 44 . and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. In fact. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. while large. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. Or they’re starting to have a family.” The insider continues. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. The next batch. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job.
you will specialize whether you want to or not. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. either. or business analysis expertise. then they’re testing a system. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation.” says one insider. We’re not pure strategy. 45 . and that’s not what they expected. the far right would be pure strategy. the more likely you are to be a master of some. The client might say. programming.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. “For Accenture. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. people who have done organization design.” The Workplace says one insider. Then on the flip side. ‘If you execute it.” 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 more projects of a certain type that you do.” says one insider. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. 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. 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. But rest assured. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. that’s great. such as outsourcing and offshoring. 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. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing.
acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. You really have to work hard to get to know people.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. “In the best of times. In down times. you may not get projects at all. and focus.” The Workplace 46 . Of course.” says one insider. In a word. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. you’ll just get marginal projects. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. networking. energy. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. They are really an initial screening. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. If Accenture does not visit your campus. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. by submitting a resume.” says an insider in recruiting. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. Students should visit Accenture at www. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts.com. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. 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. students are encouraged to apply through the company website.campusconnection.accenture. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 .
“They basically want to see how you would handle yourself in a Getting Hired consultant-type role where you will be constantly changing projects and team members. 49 .• 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. Focus on the role that you played specifically.” The third round is mostly a formality. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. but excel in this type of environment.” 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. ‘How do you handle team problems. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. An insider in recruiting advises. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. skills. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. In general. not what a team did overall. In other words. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. can receive an offer from a partner. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. say insiders. individuals who don’t want to work. technology or process. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. and experience. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. and if all goes well.
Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. and business administration. computer information systems. economics. executive leadership. management information systems. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. or business administration. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. industrial or organizational psychology.” says the insider. math. electrical engineering. 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. Human performance hires. math. economics. computer engineering. “We ask general. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past.” says an Accenture recruiter. though the firm does make exceptions. liberal arts. management information systems. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. Getting Hired 50 . Therefore.” advises the insider. computer information systems. for instance. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. instructional design. organizational behavior.
Midcareer Candidates Historically. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. plus organizational management and economics. Getting Hired 51 . At this level. Berkeley. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. In any case. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. such as PhDs. 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.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. and MIT Sloan. U. 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. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. MDs. check with your recruiting center. University of Chicago. Wharton. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs.C. Stanford. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. Kellogg. For positions other than those in strategy. Accenture recruits at many schools.
Have the names. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. 1.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. Do your homework about the organization. a willingness to work hard. among other traits. But also visit the company website (www. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. and then spend time explaining their significance.Interviewing Tips After the first round. To prepare for your interview. and flexibility. 2. Reading this guide is a good start. an interest in technology. dates. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. Do job searches and read related job 52 . problem-solving abilities. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. 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.accenture. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. think about your work and school experiences. a strong learning capacity. determination.
announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . The following are a few questions to help get you started: . You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others.How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. 4.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. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? . you will have made an impression. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
“A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. eWeek 3/15/04. 3/4/02. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. 56 . “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. 2/16/04. and according to this article. Risks.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. Forbes. Source: Melanie Warner. Fortune. Source: Daniel Lyons. Source: Joanne Gordon. “Sharing Gains. 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. in hindsight. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. Source: Stan Gibson. 5/26/03. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. it was a smart move. Forbes.
and recruiting.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. which is published by Kennedy Information. Visit www.com.kennedyinfo.accenture.WetFeet. Finally. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. 57 . And for help with your case interviews. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News.com.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders.com. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. also available at www. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner.WetFeet. their jobs. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. visit ConsultingCentral.
171 720.616.985 4.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.822 1.792 Source: www.516.825 7. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.145 1.172.809.470 1-Yr.256.580 946.527 1. 2004.416. 2003 ($) 1.com.451 1.241 6. compared to February 28.808 950. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .293.895 4.accenture.498 1.092.291.
you can submit your resume at www. If not.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. many of them during the off-season. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. Forehand.com. Key People Joe W.accenture. Nevertheless. Chairman and CEO (William D. McGrath. James. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Green will become CEO on September 1. 2004) Michael G. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. CEO designate R. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). Breene. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. Timothy S. Green.
accenture. Suite 1400 Irving. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. check out www. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200. One Market San Francisco.S. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 .For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard.com. For a complete list. Large U. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.
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from top to bottom. compensation. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. no-holds-barred Insider Guides. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition. • How the firm is organized. you’ll be expected to work hard. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. travel. culture. 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. Hiring is competitive and once in. www.com .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. 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.WetFeet. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. including the lifestyle and hours. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants. and training. Accenture is the place to be.