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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . .
. . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters.com Primary Competitors IBM. analytical prowess. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. With our market picking up with the economy. even through liberal arts. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. young. and innovation-oriented culture. • The firm has a strong. that’s had ripple effects.” 1 .” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www.. It has offices in more than three dozen U. Capgemini. BearingPoint. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. EDS. management information systems. and ability to overcome challenges. economics.S.accenture.000 employees in 48 countries. Computer Sciences Corp. cities.
It focuses you. 2 . to senior manager. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions.600 to 1.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. to manager. and of those. 2004. New employees move from analyst. people who miscommunicate.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. depending on their programming or industry experience. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. because you’re working on a project. into manager roles. “I was asked how you handle team problems. 1. to consultant. and then in some cases. It was easy but you have to be honest. to associate partner and partner. individuals who don’t work.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview.000 of those positions are in the United States. About 8. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. and in some cases.
000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38. a lot depends on work experience $10.000 $0–30.000.000–100. Accenture does not release compensation data.000–100. $40.000–55.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000–15.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
human resources. one that straddles a multitude of industries. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. Of course. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. technology consulting. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. For the first few years of this 6 . and outsourcing practices. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. the Internet boom has come and gone. Today. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. as one of the few public consulting firms. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. and Accenture was no exception. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. In fact. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. But there’s one thing that’s stayed the same: The company is still focused on delivering top-notch consulting and technology services to organizations all over the world.
For its 2004 fiscal year. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. financial services. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. you get a sense of your internal worth. Meanwhile. says an insider. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. 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.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off.” for new hires. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. In the first 6 months of 2004. The Company changed. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. you’ll never be unstaffed. in theory. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. up from 2 percent in 2003. The best people.” Since mid-2003. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. 7 . in particular.5 percent of total revenue. The firm has “turned the taps back on. Communications and technology.decade. They continue to buoy earnings. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. for too long. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. “In the bad times. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. In the last year. the industry sectors Accenture serves. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. contracts with government agencies helped. Says one insider.
and passes on to its employees discounts on services. At work. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. you should be ready to sell yourself. an esprit de corp. and local get-togethers. “One plus about working here is the The Company kind of personality traits you can pick up—people here are at the top of their game. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided.” Due in part to its university recruitment. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense.With a brighter business outlook. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. But make no mistake. team and industry-specific meetings. the work is demanding. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. 8 . to help me out. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. like cell phones. As demanding as consulting can be. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate.” says one insider. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. go-getters. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails.” says an insider. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. 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. A-types. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. that come with being a big multinational firm. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. “There’s a culture of sharing.
They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. The company is committed to training. If you land a job. To be successful. you’ll be in fairly good hands. 9 . candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. Competition for jobs is intense. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. and once you’re ready to move on.
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. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture.” for the second year in a row. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. 10 .
NH 03458 USA. phone: 800-531-0007. Consultants News/Kennedy Information.ConsultingCentral. www. 11 .20 Largest Consulting Firms. 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. Peterborough.com. 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.
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.
as well as finance and performance management. building programming and business skills along the way. Booz Allen. 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. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. strategy has to compete with Bain. For your first few projects. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. They often get paid more (after all. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. big-dollar firms).” 15 .Strategy and business architecture. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. Then we work on common components. Finally we build out the application. because once people get to the 3. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. and the other big-name.” says one insider. chances are you’re not going to stick around.” 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. BCG. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process.or 4-year mark. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. putting together the technology architecture.
Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. international firm. In 1998.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. Some are as informal as dinners out. Moving from job to job. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. 16 . Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. These range from the small. you never get a sense of belonging. 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. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. often work out of a laptop and “totes. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues.” or moveable storage containers. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. you’re always changing clients.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. If they’re locally based. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. can be a strain. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. just like in an industry job. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. consisting of two to five members.” says one insider. But they are really all about networking. who tend to be more mobile. compounded by the size of Accenture. Strategy consultants and senior managers. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. they may report every day to that station.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
We want them to be learning how we work. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. .” says one insider. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience.” On the Job 18 . Charles. analyzing data line by line. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. After an initial 2-week training. soaking everything up.” said an insider in recruiting. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. But at the start. they get staffed with an industry group. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. says one insider. and ultimately. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. selling the firm’s business to new clients. building models. After 12 to 18 months. to get on-the-job training. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. Illinois. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . .Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP).
” Here’s a list of typical day-to-day tasks: • Develop key performance metrics • Conduct industry research • Facilitate the flow of work units through their teams • Discuss specific issues with in-house experts 19 . soaking everything up. economics. 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. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side.” says one insider.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. valuation. but insiders tell us that the first year typically involves the following types of tasks: • Mapping business processes • Gathering and analyzing client data • Developing design parameters for projects • Designing computer modules • Interviewing client management and employees • Writing computer code and configuring software (IT) • Preparing user-training materials • Implementing recommended changes at client site • Developing training models “” We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. competitive analysis. identifying trends. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. We want them to be learning how we work.
I dive back into the documentation. One page at a time . It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. where I meet up with my manager. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. 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. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. and I want to make sure I’m on track. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. the rest of the team. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. Thank goodness. I’m starved. . no time like the present. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. 3:30 4:00 20 . We go over what everyone’s working on. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. Well. so the team heads out to lunch. . and some members of the client firm. ask questions about the project. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. I keep working and make the necessary updates.• Assess existing technology • Conduct market research • Develop and maintain client relationships • Perform benchmarking analysis • Analyze current systems and problems • Recommend new approaches • Present findings to team members A Day in the Life of a First-Year Analyst 8:30 On the Job I get into the client site. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs.
who are right down the hall. grabbing something. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. This time. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. But first. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. Back at my desk. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. 12:15 Time for lunch. They got the jerseys. and Accenture e-mails. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. discuss certain initiatives. Time to head out. Not so fast. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. make sure we’re on the same page. We talk and go over the problem. . I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. We go over progress to date. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. . so I leave earlier than usual. voice mail.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client.
” Typical Responsibilities • Lead project meetings • Monitor and report on project status • Lead presentations • Interview vendors • Supervise analysts • Facilitate brainstorming sessions • Conduct client interviews and workshops • Assess existing technology and future needs 22 . Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants.” says one insider. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. MBAs and/or CPAs.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. “After a few years at the firm. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. with one big exception: They manage a small team. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. Says one insider in recruiting.g. and it gives them a nice package. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts.
I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. Then I’m back on our proposal. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . 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. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. 12:00 Almost there. Time to head out. Still. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. there are a few critters in this system. but not quite. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. 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. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. Yep. so all hands on deck. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. I need refueling. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch.• Develop acceptance criteria • Oversee implementation of technical applications (IT) • Develop and implement financial models • Oversee training applications • Conduct structure analysis A Day in the Life of an IT Consultant 8:30 9:00 Arrive at the site.
. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. discuss what she’s tried. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . and give her some advice. It’s a tricky one. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. Oh well. I head for the door. I open up a spreadsheet but then . I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. Not so fast. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. I’ve done this twice in past projects. and we go over the presentation. Even if it’s a quick one. Yikes. One of my teammates. a new analyst.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. . to which I happily agree. I sit down with her. waiting for the aircon to kick in. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. 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 .
which I didn’t mind at all). you tend to work a few more hours. but nothing too crazy. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. projects operate in cycles. if this doesn’t get done. but that is expected with the nature of the job.” Says another insider. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. and individual report work. “I have had to work a few nights. technical problem solving. Generally no one likes to delay a project.” says one insider. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. As you get higher up in the company.” 26 . So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. or clients. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. I have only had to work weekends once. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. teammates. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. 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. you don’t like to move on to the next change. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine.” says one insider. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. At the same time.
For the most part. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. Still.” says one insider. often for months at a time.” says another. 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. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. The Workplace 27 . travel takes it’s toll.Aside from a busy schedule. “When you’re more junior.
one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. As such. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. It may be a little less true these days.” Says another. In my projects. it’s at the client site. for instance. where you have a pod of people in the back room. because we actually have offices. Employees who work at the client site.” 28 . it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. I want them to be integrated. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. 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. “On average. “We go to lunch together.” said one insider. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. especially for extended periods. go out after work. But most of the time.Culture Accenture is a company on the move.” The insider adds.” 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. I want client people on our team. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. “If there were changes. we aspire to blend in with our clients.
“We have a very strong collaborative culture. from project to project. 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. The Workplace 29 . and post questions. out with each other after work.” And finally.” says one insider. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. teamwork. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. If I go on the [companywide] portal. Of course.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. other firms. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. 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. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. people like going Within an hour. so you continually have to prove your worth. especially when together. “Over all. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. It’s pretty young.” is the way one insider describes them.” In spite of the youthful. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. “You do get a lot of opportunities. I immediately get answers. 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. you’re out of town. “At the consultant level. As one insider says.
and scholarships through INROADS. Accenture offers internships.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. Joe Forehand. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. jobs. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. 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. “I report directly to our CEO. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. the firm offers diversity training.” In addition. Once employees start working.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. such as recruiting and promotion. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. schedule flexibility for parents. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. the National Society of Black Engineers. In terms of recruiting. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. career counseling. recruitment. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. and retention of women and minorities.
“There are quite a number of females. Plus. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. In general. As far back as 1994. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. It’s often in testing and functional design.valuing the dynamics between men and women. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. 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. and dependent life insurance plans. but it’s very polarized.S. three of its 21 management committee members were female. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. However. dental. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. and less in 31 . the “diversity principle. Still. At last count. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. wherever it is legally possible to do so. though some areas attract more than others.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade.” 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 “the diversity principle in motion.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002.
Another says.S. promote.technology. Catalyst. I think that’s just coincidence. offices). though.” In 1995. “Additionally. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. training. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing.S.” says a female insider. development. In September 2003. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. and work-life integration. mentoring/sponsorship. and advancement of all managerial women. including women of color. Accenture leadership created a U. These women represent all U. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. 32 . 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. not many women were hired at the same time. “When I was hired in.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce.S. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. and advance women at Accenture. retain.” says one insider. On my current project.
“A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.000 to $55.” says one insider. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. Accenture does not release this information. and work experience. Of course. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year.000 range.000 to $100. depending on office location. educational background. 33 .” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.000.
and for others. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. strategy consultants. For some. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. D. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan.m. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. not surprisingly. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. 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.” 34 . whose project work can be as short as a month. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities.” says an insider. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. you’ll be on that project. and you’ll often need to travel to get there.” The Workplace On the flip side. or another big capital city. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. Consultants in government services. can find themselves in several cities each year. “It’s really just luck of the draw. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. this is a perk. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is..m. a trying routine.
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. Instead. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. For instance.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. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). The Workplace 35 . Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.
” says one insider. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. or sick days. As such. then 21 days for the next 5 years.Vacation In September 2002. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. While it is not necessarily company practice. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. 36 . or paid time off. program. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. Accenture started its PTO. personal. 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. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. which include both vacation and personal days. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. From the corporation’s viewpoint.
” says one insider. At the entry level. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. . Illinois. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. 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. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. and speak like an Accenture consultant. selling. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . Charles. value creation. business and technology acumen. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. relationship building. As a result. and it now sends new recruits to St. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. In training and thereafter. also. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. “It makes a lot more sense. So do other firms. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. and methodology.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. 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. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Charles after a year than right off the chute . act. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. .
com. Accenture’s internal information-management system.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. regardless of business group or geographical location. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. One insider says. The Workplace 38 . so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory.business language. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. at least).accenture. but the trainers are as well. “Our 2-week training course in St.
to manager. if they lack significant prior experience. and finally to partner. for 2 to 4 years New MBA hires and analysts with at least 2 years’ experience Consultants with 2 to 4 years’ experience Managers with 3 to 4 years’ experience Experienced managers Those elected to firm’s partnership (currently 2. The further you go on. to associate partner. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. “The whole theory. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. 39 . the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. to consultant.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. MBAs. in those couple of years. is that not only do you get the initial foundation.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. and midcareer candidates. in strategy). Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. to senior manager. entry-level hires. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. New employees move from analyst.300) Source: WetFeet research.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires.
Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. The Workplace 40 . • 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. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. typically in the summer before their senior year. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs.com. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. • Student Leadership Conference. That is. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. Depending on needs. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. On the strategy side. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. they must have technical skills. except in strategy.
But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill.” says an insider. because we’ve got a lot bigger.” says on insider. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. “We do it. When we’ve branched out. but it’s increasingly common.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts).” says an insider in recruiting. and we need to have it. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. senior manager. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. you may still start as an analyst. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. and move up to manager. and partner. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise.” says another insider. from analyst to senior manager. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. associate partner. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. “You might be hired in strategy. “It didn’t used to be common. hands-on side of consulting.
the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology..” says the insider. we may deploy consultants. “If the client has a global presence. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. non-U. they have a large project-need outside the United States. that would make them particularly valuable. Instead. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. In fact. or if they have a background in language. the firm prefers to staff locally.S. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm.valued properly. etc. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. And in the first 6 months of 2004.” adds the insider.” 42 .
and chances are. feeling. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks.” says one insider about the people. generally quite energetic. especially in strategy. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. responsiveness. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. Accenture consultants. and flexibility. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. “High performing. When things go as they should. before long you’re a partner. Accenture gets good marks for openness. results-oriented. in essence. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. but not so much time that they burn out. Now we’ve turned the taps back on.” says the insider.” said one insider. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. It’s fairly young. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm.
not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.it. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. Or they’re starting to have a family. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. The next batch. sometimes with clients.” says one insider. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. while large. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. In fact. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. And the firm. 44 . new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. 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. you can usually get what you want. people leave at the 4-year mark.” The insider continues. One insider describes the typical departure points for consultants this way: “A lot of people leave between year 1 and 2—a lot of people who thought travel was fantastic and it wasn’t their cup of tea. “If you’re determined enough.
you will specialize whether you want to or not. that’s great. The more projects of a certain type that you do. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. the far right would be pure strategy. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. But rest assured. We’re not pure strategy.” The Workplace says one insider.” says one insider. The client might say. on a typical deal. or business analysis expertise. Then on the flip side. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. either. people who have done organization design. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. programming. ‘If you execute it. and that’s not what they expected. 45 . such as outsourcing and offshoring. “For Accenture. 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.” says one insider. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. the more likely you are to be a master of some. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. then they’re testing a system. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve.” 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.
“In the best of times. you may not get projects at all. In a word. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. and focus. You really have to work hard to get to know people.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. networking.” says one insider. In down times. you’ll just get marginal projects. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. Of course. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along.” The Workplace 46 . energy. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process.com. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 .accenture. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. They are really an initial screening.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. If Accenture does not visit your campus. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. by submitting a resume. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs.” says an insider in recruiting. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school.campusconnection. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. Students should visit Accenture at www. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts.
In general.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver.• 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. say insiders. “They basically want to see how you would handle yourself in a Getting Hired consultant-type role where you will be constantly changing projects and team members. individuals who don’t want to work. not what a team did overall. 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.” says an insider. Focus on the role that you played specifically. 49 . people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. In other words. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. An insider in recruiting advises. and experience. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. can receive an offer from a partner. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. technology or process. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it.” The third round is mostly a formality. but excel in this type of environment. and if all goes well. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. skills. ‘How do you handle team problems.
though the firm does make exceptions. management information systems. “We ask general. computer information systems. math.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. organizational behavior. economics. or business administration. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. instructional design. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. math. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering.” says the insider. computer information systems. Getting Hired 50 . knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. computer engineering. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. electrical engineering. for instance. liberal arts. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary.” says an Accenture recruiter. executive leadership. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies.” advises the insider. Therefore. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. economics. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. and business administration. industrial or organizational psychology. Human performance hires. management information systems.
Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. U. For positions other than those in strategy. Accenture recruits at many schools. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. At this level. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. check with your recruiting center. 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. Berkeley. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. such as PhDs. In any case. Wharton. 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. University of Chicago. Getting Hired 51 . and MIT Sloan. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs.C. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. plus organizational management and economics. Kellogg. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. Midcareer Candidates Historically. Stanford. MDs.
Have the names.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. an interest in technology. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. 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. Do job searches and read related job 52 . To prepare for your interview. a strong learning capacity. But also visit the company website (www. and then spend time explaining their significance. Reading this guide is a good start. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. think about your work and school experiences. 2.accenture.Interviewing Tips After the first round. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. dates. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. 1. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. determination. among other traits. problem-solving abilities. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. a willingness to work hard. Do your homework about the organization. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. and flexibility.
What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services.How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . 4. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .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? . not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. you will have made an impression.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
“Sharing Gains. 2/16/04. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. Source: Melanie Warner. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. in hindsight. Source: Stan Gibson. Risks. Source: Daniel Lyons. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. Forbes. Forbes. Source: Joanne Gordon. 56 . “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. 5/26/03.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. it was a smart move. 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. 3/4/02. Fortune. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. eWeek 3/15/04. and according to this article.
Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series.WetFeet. Visit www. their jobs.com.accenture. which is published by Kennedy Information. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications.WetFeet.com. 57 . Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. also available at www.com. visit ConsultingCentral.kennedyinfo. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. Finally. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. And for help with your case interviews.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. and recruiting.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders.
822 1.com.616.580 946.291.172. 2004.416.293.809.808 950.527 1.145 1. 2003 ($) 1.451 1.092. compared to February 28.516.256.241 6.825 7.470 1-Yr.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.498 1.985 4.792 Source: www. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .895 4.accenture.171 720. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.
Chief Strategy Officer 59 . 2004) Michael G.accenture. If not. McGrath. CEO designate R. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. Chairman and CEO (William D. many of them during the off-season. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Key People Joe W.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you.com. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Green. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. Timothy S. James. Breene. Forehand. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. Green will become CEO on September 1. Nevertheless. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). you can submit your resume at www.
Suite 1400 Irving.accenture. check out www. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.com.S. Large U. For a complete list.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. One Market San Francisco. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 .
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