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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. and innovation-oriented culture. • The firm has a strong.. young.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. economics. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. It has offices in more than three dozen U.com Primary Competitors IBM. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. Capgemini. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. With our market picking up with the economy. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. Computer Sciences Corp.000 employees in 48 countries.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths.S. cities. analytical prowess. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. EDS. even through liberal arts.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. management information systems. BearingPoint.” 1 . and ability to overcome challenges.accenture. that’s had ripple effects.
” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. About 8. depending on their programming or industry experience. and in some cases. to manager. and then in some cases.600 to 1. It focuses you.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. It was easy but you have to be honest. New employees move from analyst. to associate partner and partner. because you’re working on a project. to consultant.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. people who miscommunicate. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. to senior manager. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level.000 of those positions are in the United States. and of those.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. “I was asked how you handle team problems.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. individuals who don’t work. into manager roles. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. 1. 2004. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. 2 .
At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000.000–100.000–15.000 $0–30.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 . $40. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000–55. Accenture does not release compensation data.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000–100. a lot depends on work experience $10.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion.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. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. and outsourcing practices. as one of the few public consulting firms. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. For the first few years of this 6 .000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. human resources. one that straddles a multitude of industries. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. and Accenture was no exception. 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. Today. In fact. Of course. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. technology consulting. the Internet boom has come and gone. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture.
and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. in particular. financial services. contracts with government agencies helped. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. 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. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. They continue to buoy earnings. Meanwhile. The firm has “turned the taps back on. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn.5 percent of total revenue. you get a sense of your internal worth.” for new hires. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. in theory. “In the bad times. you’ll never be unstaffed. the industry sectors Accenture serves.decade. for too long. For its 2004 fiscal year.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. says an insider. up from 2 percent in 2003.” Since mid-2003. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. The best people. In the first 6 months of 2004. Says one insider. 7 . In the last year. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). The Company changed. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. Communications and technology. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore.
But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. that come with being a big multinational firm.” says an insider. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. 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. an esprit de corp. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. the work is demanding. team and industry-specific meetings.With a brighter business outlook. 8 . Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. As demanding as consulting can be. But make no mistake. “There’s a culture of sharing. go-getters.” says one insider. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. to help me out. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. “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. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. you should be ready to sell yourself. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. A-types. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. At work. like cell phones.” Due in part to its university recruitment. and local get-togethers.
and once you’re ready to move on. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. The company is committed to training. If you land a job. Competition for jobs is intense. 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. To be successful. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. 9 .
its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World.” for the second year in a row. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. 10 . Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block.
com. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. www. NH 03458 USA.20 Largest Consulting Firms. phone: 800-531-0007.ConsultingCentral. 11 . 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. 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.
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.
Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. because once people get to the 3.or 4-year mark. putting together the technology architecture. chances are you’re not going to stick around. Booz Allen.” 15 . the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set.Strategy and business architecture. big-dollar firms). doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. and the other big-name. For your first few projects. Then we work on common components. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization.” says one insider. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. BCG. 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.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. They often get paid more (after all. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. strategy has to compete with Bain. Finally we build out the application. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. as well as finance and performance management. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. building programming and business skills along the way. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project.
Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. they may report every day to that station.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. 16 . Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. Because of the nature of the work. Some are as informal as dinners out. can be a strain. you never get a sense of belonging. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. These range from the small. just like in an industry job.” says one insider. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. But they are really all about networking. In 1998. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. Moving from job to job. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. who tend to be more mobile. international firm. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. often work out of a laptop and “totes. you’re always changing clients. If they’re locally based. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. consisting of two to five members. Strategy consultants and senior managers. compounded by the size of Accenture. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site.” or moveable storage containers.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. After 12 to 18 months. Charles. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges.” said an insider in recruiting. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. analyzing data line by line. soaking everything up. says one insider. But at the start. We want them to be learning how we work. building models. selling the firm’s business to new clients. After an initial 2-week training. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. . when they might participate in a mock client engagement. Illinois. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. and ultimately. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff.” says one insider.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP).” On the Job 18 . they get staffed with an industry group. . “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. to get on-the-job training.
Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. valuation.” 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 . We want them to be learning how we work. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business.” says one insider. but insiders tell us that the first year typically involves the following types of tasks: • Mapping business processes • Gathering and analyzing client data • Developing design parameters for projects • Designing computer modules • Interviewing client management and employees • Writing computer code and configuring software (IT) • Preparing user-training materials • Implementing recommended changes at client site • Developing training models “” We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. competitive analysis. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. soaking everything up. identifying trends. economics. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions.
and some members of the client firm. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. I dive back into the documentation. 3:30 4:00 20 . First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. We go over what everyone’s working on. One page at a time . While I take a few swigs of my coffee. Well.• 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. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. . Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. no time like the present. I’m starved. . I keep working and make the necessary updates. and I want to make sure I’m on track. the rest of the team. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. where I meet up with my manager. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. Thank goodness. I check e-mails I got from the client. ask questions about the project. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. so the team heads out to lunch. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails.
That means walking down to the sandwich shop. . They got the jerseys. who are right down the hall. voice mail. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. Time to head out. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . 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 . Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. This time. Not so fast. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. We talk and go over the problem. But first. . make sure we’re on the same page. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. discuss certain initiatives. and Accenture e-mails. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. so I leave earlier than usual. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. grabbing something. 12:15 Time for lunch. We go over progress to date. Back at my desk. 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 just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave.
MBAs and/or CPAs. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. with one big exception: They manage a small team. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level.” says one insider. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. 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. and it gives them a nice package. “After a few years at the firm.” Typical Responsibilities • Lead project meetings • Monitor and report on project status • Lead presentations • Interview vendors • Supervise analysts • Facilitate brainstorming sessions • Conduct client interviews and workshops • Assess existing technology and future needs 22 . Says one insider in recruiting.g. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e..
but not quite. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. so all hands on deck. 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 check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Time to head out. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. Then I’m back on our proposal. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Yep. Still. I need refueling. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. 12:00 Almost there. there are a few critters in this system. It’s a good time to make sure we’re in touch with the client’s needs—and pick some of my colleagues’ smart brains.• 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. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night.
but I’ve got a laptop in hand. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. One of my teammates. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. Yikes. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. I sit down with her. Oh well. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. . and give her some advice. Not so fast. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. I open up a spreadsheet but then . Even if it’s a quick one. to which I happily agree. and we go over the presentation. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. I head for the door. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. waiting for the aircon to kick in. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . Another colleague comes by with a different problem. a new analyst. discuss what she’s tried. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. 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. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. I’ve done this twice in past projects. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning.
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
“Its sort of like a college class schedule. you don’t like to move on to the next change. I have only had to work weekends once. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. At the same time. if this doesn’t get done. “I have had to work a few nights. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. you tend to work a few more hours. teammates. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. which I didn’t mind at all).” says one insider. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine.” says one insider. or clients. technical problem solving. projects operate in cycles. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. 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. and individual report work. but that is expected with the nature of the job. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. but nothing too crazy.” Says another insider. As you get higher up in the company. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are.” 26 . Generally no one likes to delay a project. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline.
often for months at a time. The Workplace 27 .Aside from a busy schedule. “When you’re more junior. travel takes it’s toll. For the most part. 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. Still. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday.” says another. you’re going to be dedicated to one client.” says one insider.
“If there were changes. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. where you have a pod of people in the back room. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. we aspire to blend in with our clients. because we actually have offices. “We go to lunch together. especially for extended periods. But most of the time. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. In my projects.” said one insider. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. As such.” 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. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. for instance.” Says another. I want client people on our team. “On average. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. 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.Culture Accenture is a company on the move.” 28 . Employees who work at the client site. go out after work. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.” The insider adds. it’s at the client site. I want them to be integrated. It may be a little less true these days.
and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. It’s pretty young. you’re out of town. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. “Over all. I immediately get answers. Of course. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. “We have a very strong collaborative culture.” And finally. “You do get a lot of opportunities. The Workplace 29 . As one insider says.” In spite of the youthful.” is the way one insider describes them. people like going Within an hour. other firms. so you continually have to prove your worth. If I go on the [companywide] portal. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. You’re there because they can’t do something internally.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. 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. teamwork. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group.” says one insider. and post questions. You get off the plane and Accenture has a youthful atmosphere that lends itself you don’t know any easily to making contacts that will last as you move of your colleagues. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. from project to project. out with each other after work. especially when together. “At the consultant level.
“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.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. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. recruitment. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. Joe Forehand. the firm offers diversity training. career counseling. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship.” In addition. Accenture offers internships. such as recruiting and promotion. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. In terms of recruiting. “I report directly to our CEO. and retention of women and minorities. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. jobs. schedule flexibility for parents. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. Once employees start working. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. the National Society of Black Engineers. and scholarships through INROADS. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian.
In general. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. “There are quite a number of females. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. Still. At last count. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. though some areas attract more than others. but it’s very polarized. However. 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. 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. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. wherever it is legally possible to do so. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. dental. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade.S. It’s often in testing and functional design. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. Plus.” 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. and dependent life insurance plans. and less in 31 . personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. and “the diversity principle in motion.valuing the dynamics between men and women.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. three of its 21 management committee members were female. the “diversity principle. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management.
32 . the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. mentoring/sponsorship. I think that’s just coincidence. and advance women at Accenture. and advancement of all managerial women. not many women were hired at the same time. offices). 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. In September 2003. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. 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. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders.” says a female insider. Catalyst. development. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract.S. and work-life integration. “When I was hired in.S. “Additionally. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. Another says.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. though. These women represent all U.” In 1995.” says one insider. Accenture leadership created a U. including women of color. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels.technology.S. retain. On my current project. promote. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. training.
the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels.000. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. and work experience.” says one insider. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. educational background. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40.000 range. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. Accenture does not release this information. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. depending on office location. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. Of course.000 to $100. 33 .000 to $55.
A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. D.m. and you’ll often need to travel to get there.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. “It’s really just luck of the draw. a trying routine. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. For some. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away.m. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city.C. this is a perk. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. you’ll be on that project.” 34 . or another big capital city. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week.” The Workplace On the flip side. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. and for others. can find themselves in several cities each year. not surprisingly.. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. Consultants in government services. strategy consultants. whose project work can be as short as a month.” says an insider. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources.
Instead.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. an employee who is headquartered in Los Angeles but working in New York could fly to London for the weekend instead of back to Los Angeles. For instance. you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. The Workplace 35 . Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks).
As such. Accenture started its PTO. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. program. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime.” says one insider. 36 . Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. From the corporation’s viewpoint. or paid time off. or sick days. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. then 21 days for the next 5 years. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. which include both vacation and personal days. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation.Vacation In September 2002. While it is not necessarily company practice. personal. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. 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.
employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. 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. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . . “It makes a lot more sense. As a result.” says one insider. act. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. Charles after a year than right off the chute . and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. At the entry level. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. Illinois. So do other firms. also. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. relationship building. and speak like an Accenture consultant. selling. and it now sends new recruits to St. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. In training and thereafter. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. . they are instructed on how to think. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. business and technology acumen. Charles. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. value creation. and methodology.
” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership. but the trainers are as well. Accenture’s internal information-management system. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. The Workplace 38 . “Our 2-week training course in St. regardless of business group or geographical location. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.business language.accenture. at least). One insider says.com.
entry-level hires.” 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. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. New employees move from analyst. and midcareer candidates. 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. 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.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. The further you go on. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. in strategy). to manager. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. to consultant. and finally to partner.300) Source: WetFeet research. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. “The whole theory. to associate partner. if they lack significant prior experience. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. MBAs. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. to senior manager. 39 .
Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. • 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. • Student Leadership Conference. On the strategy side. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. they must have technical skills. The Workplace 40 . in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. typically in the summer before their senior year.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. except in strategy. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. Depending on needs. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. That is.com. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst.
“I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . “It varies greatly by profile and experience.” says on insider.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. associate partner. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. and move up to manager.” says an insider. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. from analyst to senior manager. you may still start as an analyst. “You might be hired in strategy. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. “It didn’t used to be common. senior manager. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. because we’ve got a lot bigger. and we need to have it. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. When we’ve branched out. “We do it. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational.” says an insider in recruiting. and partner. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. but it’s increasingly common. hands-on side of consulting. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager.” says another insider.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.
that would make them particularly valuable. or if they have a background in language.” adds the insider. “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. Instead. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues.” says the insider. non-U. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. “If the client has a global presence. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. And in the first 6 months of 2004. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. the firm prefers to staff locally.valued properly. In fact.” 42 .. etc.S.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. we may deploy consultants.
before long you’re a partner. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. in essence. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. responsiveness. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. Accenture gets good marks for openness. When things go as they should. 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. and flexibility. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. generally quite energetic. feeling.” said one insider. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. especially in strategy. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll.” says one insider about the people. “High performing. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. results-oriented. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . It’s fairly young. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size.” says the insider. and chances are. Accenture consultants.
and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. The next batch. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. you can usually get what you want. And the firm. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. while large. sometimes with clients.” says one insider. Or they’re starting to have a family. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. In fact. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10.it.” The insider continues. 44 . and it becomes a bigger deal being away.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. people leave at the 4-year mark. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. “If you’re determined enough. 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.
“For Accenture.” The Workplace says one insider. the more likely you are to be a master of some. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. programming. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. 45 . “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. The client might say. 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. or business analysis expertise. But rest assured. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry.” says one insider. you will specialize whether you want to or not. on a typical deal. the far right would be pure strategy. 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. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. and that’s not what they expected. people who have done organization design.” 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 biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. Then on the flip side. The more projects of a certain type that you do.” says one insider. either. such as outsourcing and offshoring. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. ‘If you execute it. We’re not pure strategy. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. then they’re testing a system. that’s great.
But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. In down times. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. energy. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. networking.” The Workplace 46 . acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. and focus. In a word.” says one insider. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. you may not get projects at all. You really have to work hard to get to know people. “In the best of times. Of course. you’ll just get marginal projects.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. Students should visit Accenture at www. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. If Accenture does not visit your campus. students are encouraged to apply through the company website.accenture. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. They are really an initial screening. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 .” says an insider in recruiting.com. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients.campusconnection. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school. by submitting a resume.
In other words. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. Focus on the role that you played specifically. 49 . “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. In general. “They basically want to see how you would handle yourself in a Getting Hired consultant-type role where you will be constantly changing projects and team members. and experience. not what a team did overall. skills. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it.” The third round is mostly a formality. technology or process. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. individuals who don’t want to work. An insider in recruiting advises. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. but excel in this type of environment. 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. can receive an offer from a partner. ‘How do you handle team problems. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. and if all goes well.• 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.” says an insider. say insiders.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve.
electrical engineering.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. and business administration.” advises the insider. though the firm does make exceptions. Therefore. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. economics. “We ask general. math. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. computer engineering. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. executive leadership. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. liberal arts. Getting Hired 50 . Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. computer information systems. instructional design. economics.” says an Accenture recruiter. computer information systems. industrial or organizational psychology. math. organizational behavior. management information systems. management information systems.” says the insider. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. Human performance hires. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. for instance. or business administration. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design.
Stanford. such as PhDs. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. Berkeley. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience.C. plus organizational management and economics. and MIT Sloan. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. Midcareer Candidates Historically.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. U. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. At this level. In any case. MDs. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. Wharton. check with your recruiting center. Accenture recruits at many schools. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. 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. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. University of Chicago. Getting Hired 51 . Kellogg. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. 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. For positions other than those in strategy.
recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. Do your homework about the organization. To prepare for your interview. 2. problem-solving abilities. determination. Do job searches and read related job 52 . Have the names. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. a strong learning capacity. 1. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. and flexibility.Interviewing Tips After the first round. among other traits. an interest in technology. dates.accenture. But also visit the company website (www. 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. and then spend time explaining their significance. a willingness to work hard. 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. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. Reading this guide is a good start.
How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. you will have made an impression.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. 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.How much client interaction should I expect? .What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. 4. 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? .
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
Forbes. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. Source: Joanne Gordon. Risks. 5/26/03. Fortune. Forbes. it was a smart move. “Sharing Gains. 3/4/02. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. and according to this article. Source: Stan Gibson. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. 2/16/04. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. eWeek 3/15/04. “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.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. 56 . Source: Melanie Warner. Source: Daniel Lyons. in hindsight.
co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. visit ConsultingCentral. Geeks & Geezers: How Era.com.com. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www.kennedyinfo. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. Visit www. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking.WetFeet. their jobs. Finally.accenture. also available at www.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange.com. 57 .com or the Kennedy Information website at www. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books.WetFeet. and recruiting. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. And for help with your case interviews. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. which is published by Kennedy Information.
809.092.825 7.895 4.416.145 1.792 Source: www. 2004.985 4.580 946. 2003 ($) 1.291.616. compared to February 28.241 6.822 1.172.256.171 720.com.293.451 1.498 1.470 1-Yr.accenture. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.527 1.516. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.808 950.
you can submit your resume at www. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D.com. Green. Green will become CEO on September 1. Nevertheless. 2004) Michael G.accenture. Breene. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Timothy S. James. many of them during the off-season. McGrath. Key People Joe W. If not. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. CEO designate R. Forehand. Chairman and CEO (William D.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website).
For a complete list. Large U.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200.com. Suite 1400 Irving.S. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. One Market San Francisco. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . check out www. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard.accenture. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section.
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