This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
WetFeet Insider Guide
The WetFeet Research Methodology
You hold in your hands a copy of the best-quality research available for job seekers. We have designed this Insider Guide to save you time doing your job research and to provide highly accurate information written precisely for the needs of the job-seeking public. (We also hope that you’ll enjoy reading it, because, believe it or not, the job search doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck.) Each WetFeet Insider Guide represents hundreds of hours of careful research and writing. We start with a review of the public information available. (Our writers are also experts in reading between the lines.) We augment this information with dozens of in-depth interviews of people who actually work for each company or industry we cover. And, although we keep the identity of the rank-and-file employees anonymous to encourage candor, we also interview the company’s recruiting staff extensively, to make sure that we give you, the reader, accurate information about recruiting, process, compensation, hiring targets, and so on. (WetFeet retains all editorial control of the product.) We also regularly survey our members and customers to learn about their experiences in the recruiting process. Finally, each Insider Guide goes through an editorial review and fact-checking process to make sure that the information and writing live up to our exacting standards before it goes out the door. Are we perfect? No—but we do believe that you’ll find our content to be the highest-quality content of its type available on the Web or in print. (Please see our guarantee below.) We also are eager to hear about your experiences on the recruiting front and your feedback (both positive and negative) about our products and our process. Thank you for your interest.
The WetFeet Guarantee
You’ve got enough to worry about with your job search. So, if you don’t like this Insider Guide, send it back within 30 days of purchase and we’ll refund your money. Contact us at 1-800-926-4JOB or www.wetfeet.com/about/contactus.asp.
Helping you make smarter career decisions.
Inc. Inc. stored in a retrieval system. without the express written permission of WetFeet. distributed.wetfeet.com Website: www. 609 Mission Street Suite 400 San Francisco.com Accenture ISBN: 1-58207-439-9 Photocopying Is Prohibited Copyright 2004 WetFeet. CA 94105 Phone: (415) 284-7900 or 1-800-926-4JOB Fax: (415) 284-7910 E-mail: info@wetfeet. All rights reserved. in part or in whole. .WetFeet. No copying in any form is permitted. or transmitted in any form or by any means. Inc. It may not be reproduced. This publication is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America.
. . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . 47 The Recruiting Process . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York.” 1 .” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. BearingPoint.com Primary Competitors IBM. • The firm has a strong. even through liberal arts.S. and ability to overcome challenges. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www.000 employees in 48 countries. and innovation-oriented culture. It has offices in more than three dozen U. economics.accenture. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. young. Capgemini. that’s had ripple effects. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. management information systems. With our market picking up with the economy. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. EDS. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. analytical prowess. Computer Sciences Corp.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. cities..
Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. About 8. and in some cases.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. depending on their programming or industry experience. into manager roles. New employees move from analyst. 1.000 of those positions are in the United States. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. 2 . to manager. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions.600 to 1. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. 2004. because you’re working on a project. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. It was easy but you have to be honest. and then in some cases.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. to associate partner and partner. people who miscommunicate.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. to consultant.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. It focuses you. and of those. individuals who don’t work. to senior manager. “I was asked how you handle team problems.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview.
000–55.000–100.At a Glance Estimated Compensation. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000 $0–30.000–100.000–15.000. $40.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates. Accenture does not release compensation data.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60. a lot depends on work experience $10.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. as one of the few public consulting firms. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. and Accenture was no exception. Of course. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. For the first few years of this 6 . and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. one that straddles a multitude of industries. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. In fact. 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. and outsourcing practices. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. technology consulting. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. human resources. Today.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. 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. the Internet boom has come and gone.
Meanwhile. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. operating profits from its government sector made up 14.5 percent of total revenue. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. Communications and technology. contracts with government agencies helped. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. The best people. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. 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. you get a sense of your internal worth.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. in particular. says an insider. “In the bad times.decade. in theory. you’ll never be unstaffed. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. financial services. The Company changed. for too long. In the last year. For its 2004 fiscal year. In the first 6 months of 2004. They continue to buoy earnings.” Since mid-2003. insiders report that the mood has “” Accenture can be a great place to have a career—you’ll have the resources and clout of a huge company behind you—but it’s not for everyone. up from 2 percent in 2003. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. 7 . Says one insider. the industry sectors Accenture serves. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking.” for new hires. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). The firm has “turned the taps back on.
some of the work strains seemed to have eased. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. But make no mistake.” says an insider. A-types. to help me out. “There’s a culture of sharing. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. that come with being a big multinational firm. 8 . and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. As demanding as consulting can be. and local get-togethers. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. like cell phones.With a brighter business outlook. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. an esprit de corp. you should be ready to sell yourself. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. go-getters. 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. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together.” Due in part to its university recruitment. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. At work. “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.” says one insider. the work is demanding. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. team and industry-specific meetings.
you’ll be in fairly good hands. If you land a job. 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. and once you’re ready to move on. Competition for jobs is intense. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. To be successful. 9 .
10 .” for the second year in a row. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt.
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. Consultants News/Kennedy Information.ConsultingCentral. phone: 800-531-0007. 11 . Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide The Company Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004.com. www. NH 03458 USA.
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.
you’ll probably hop around between service areas. and the other big-name. They often get paid more (after all. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. building programming and business skills along the way. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. Then we work on common components. BCG. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. because once people get to the 3. For your first few projects. chances are you’re not going to stick around. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects.Strategy and business architecture. Strategy The Company and business-architecture consultants work at the highest levels of projects and might come in early on in a project to do trends and industry analysis. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows.or 4-year mark. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. big-dollar firms). they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. strategy has to compete with Bain. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. Finally we build out the application. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. as well as finance and performance management. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization.” says one insider. putting together the technology architecture. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set.” 15 . Booz Allen.
followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants.” or moveable storage containers. Some are as informal as dinners out.” says one insider. consisting of two to five members. often work out of a laptop and “totes. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. you never get a sense of belonging. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. who tend to be more mobile. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. Moving from job to job. just like in an industry job. In 1998. can be a strain. Because of the nature of the work. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. compounded by the size of Accenture. they may report every day to that station. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. But they are really all about networking. 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. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. Strategy consultants and senior managers. you’re always changing clients. These range from the small. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. If they’re locally based. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. international firm.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
” said an insider in recruiting. . they get staffed with an industry group. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. says one insider.” says one insider.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. Charles. selling the firm’s business to new clients. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. After an initial 2-week training. and ultimately. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. to get on-the-job training. After 12 to 18 months. building models. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. soaking everything up. Illinois. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. We want them to be learning how we work. But at the start. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. . rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. analyzing data line by line.” On the Job 18 .
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. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another.” 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 . identifying trends. competitive analysis. soaking everything up. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. economics.” says one insider. We want them to be learning how we work.
It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. One page at a time . 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. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. the rest of the team. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. . ask questions about the project. 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.• 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. and I want to make sure I’m on track. Thank goodness. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. so the team heads out to lunch. I dive back into the documentation. 3:30 4:00 20 . Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. We go over what everyone’s working on. where I meet up with my manager. Well. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. I keep working and make the necessary updates. no time like the present. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. I’m starved. and some members of the client firm. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week.
and Accenture e-mails. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. They got the jerseys. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . Back at my desk. voice mail. Time to head out. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. We talk and go over the problem. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . This time. . . But first. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. who are right down the hall. We go over progress to date. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. Not so fast. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. grabbing something. discuss certain initiatives. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. make sure we’re on the same page. so I leave earlier than usual.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. 12:15 Time for lunch. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails.
” 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 .g. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree..Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. “After a few years at the firm. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. Says one insider in recruiting. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. with one big exception: They manage a small team. MBAs and/or CPAs. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e.” says one insider. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. and it gives them a nice package.
I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. It’s a good time to make sure we’re in touch with the client’s needs—and pick some of my colleagues’ smart brains. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. there are a few critters in this system. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. 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 the tester to get more information about the bugs. Then I’m back on our proposal. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. Yep. but not quite. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. so all hands on deck. 12:00 Almost there.• 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. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Still. I need refueling. Time to head out.
Oh well. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. I’ve done this twice in past projects. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. . I sit down with her. I open up a spreadsheet but then . Not so fast. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. I head for the door.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. waiting for the aircon to kick in. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. It’s a tricky one. 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. Even if it’s a quick one. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. Yikes. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. to which I happily agree. a new analyst. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. and give her some advice. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. . 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . One of my teammates. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. and we go over the presentation. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. discuss what she’s tried.
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
” 26 . “Its sort of like a college class schedule. technical problem solving. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. but nothing too crazy. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. but that is expected with the nature of the job.” says one insider. or clients. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. and individual report work. projects operate in cycles.” Says another insider. 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. “I have had to work a few nights. but that was told to me ahead of time and it was due to the nature of the project (a week-long assignment in a sunny location. I have only had to work weekends once. which I didn’t mind at all). “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. you tend to work a few more hours. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. At the same time. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. Generally no one likes to delay a project. you don’t like to move on to the next change. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. As you get higher up in the company. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. if this doesn’t get done. teammates.
“When you’re more junior. often for months at a time. you’re going to be dedicated to one client.” says one insider. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday.Aside from a busy schedule. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. For the most part.” says another. The Workplace 27 . Still. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. travel takes it’s toll.
one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. “On average. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny.” Two recent events—the downturn in the economy and the transformation of the firm from one owned and run by partners to a publicly owned firm—have left their mark. we aspire to blend in with our clients. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. it’s at the client site. Employees who work at the client site. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly.” Says another. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. go out after work. “If there were changes. In my projects. I want client people on our team. 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. “We go to lunch together.” said one insider. because we actually have offices.” The insider adds. I want them to be integrated. especially for extended periods. As such. for instance. It may be a little less true these days. where you have a pod of people in the back room.Culture Accenture is a company on the move.” 28 . But most of the time. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before.
It’s pretty young. out with each other after work. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. I immediately get answers. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. You’re there because they can’t do something internally.” is the way one insider describes them. you’re out of town. “Over all. As one insider says. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. Of course. people like going Within an hour. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary.” says one insider. 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. other firms. “At the consultant level. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. “You do get a lot of opportunities. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. and post questions. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. from project to project. The Workplace 29 . If I go on the [companywide] portal.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. 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. so you continually have to prove your worth.” And finally.” In spite of the youthful. teamwork. especially when together.
jobs. the firm offers diversity training. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. such as recruiting and promotion.” In addition. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. and scholarships through INROADS. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. In terms of recruiting. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. career counseling. Joe Forehand. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. and retention of women and minorities. Once employees start working. schedule flexibility for parents.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. Accenture offers internships. the National Society of Black Engineers. “I report directly to our CEO. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. recruitment.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives.
Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. and less in 31 . Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. However. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. Still. three of its 21 management committee members were female. In general. wherever it is legally possible to do so.” 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.S. It’s often in testing and functional design. but it’s very polarized. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. and dependent life insurance plans. dental. “There are quite a number of females.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title.valuing the dynamics between men and women. 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. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. Plus. though some areas attract more than others. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. the “diversity principle. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. As far back as 1994. and “the diversity principle in motion. At last count.
Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. I think that’s just coincidence.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. development. 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. promote. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. Accenture leadership created a U. though. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. offices). On my current project.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders.technology. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. “Additionally.S.S.S. training.” In 1995. These women represent all U. “When I was hired in. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. and advance women at Accenture. and work-life integration.” says a female insider. retain. Catalyst. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. and advancement of all managerial women. mentoring/sponsorship. not many women were hired at the same time. including women of color. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. Another says.” says one insider. 32 . regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract.
000. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40.000 to $100. Of course. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.” says one insider. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. 33 .000 range. depending on office location. educational background. and work experience.000 to $55. Accenture does not release this information.
and for others. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week.” The Workplace On the flip side. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. strategy consultants. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources.m.” 34 . and you’ll often need to travel to get there. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. you’ll be on that project. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city.. can find themselves in several cities each year.” says an insider. this is a perk. not surprisingly.m. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. Consultants in government services. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. For some. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. whose project work can be as short as a month.C. or another big capital city. D. a trying routine. “It’s really just luck of the draw. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past.
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. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. For instance. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). The Workplace 35 . 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. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. Instead.
From the corporation’s viewpoint. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. 36 . While it is not necessarily company practice. Accenture started its PTO. 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. which include both vacation and personal days.” says one insider. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days.Vacation In September 2002. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. then 21 days for the next 5 years. or sick days. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. As such. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. personal. program. or paid time off. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations.
So do other firms. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. act. . relationship building. they are instructed on how to think. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. Illinois. and speak like an Accenture consultant. 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. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. and it now sends new recruits to St. In training and thereafter. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. Charles after a year than right off the chute . selling. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . Recently the firm shifted the schedule.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. also. At the entry level. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project.” says one insider. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. 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. “It makes a lot more sense. Charles. and methodology.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. As a result. . value creation.
com.accenture.business language. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. One insider says. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. but the trainers are as well. The Workplace 38 . “Our 2-week training course in St. regardless of business group or geographical location. at least). That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. 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.
to associate partner. MBAs.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. to consultant. entry-level hires. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. in those couple of years. The further you go on. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones.300) Source: WetFeet research. in strategy).Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. to senior manager. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. if they lack significant prior experience. for 2 to 4 years New MBA hires and analysts with at least 2 years’ experience Consultants with 2 to 4 years’ experience Managers with 3 to 4 years’ experience Experienced managers Those elected to firm’s partnership (currently 2.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. New employees move from analyst. to manager. 39 . “The whole theory. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. and finally to partner. and midcareer candidates.
Depending on needs. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. That is. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. On the strategy side.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. they must have technical skills. • Student Leadership Conference. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs.com. typically in the summer before their senior year. except in strategy. The Workplace 40 . in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources.
[and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project.” says an insider in recruiting. and move up to manager. “You might be hired in strategy. associate partner. hands-on side of consulting. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. you may still start as an analyst. and partner. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. When we’ve branched out. because we’ve got a lot bigger.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts).” says another insider.” says on insider. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . but it’s increasingly common. “It didn’t used to be common. senior manager.” says an insider. and we need to have it. “We do it. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. from analyst to senior manager.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational.
valued properly. that would make them particularly valuable. or if they have a background in language. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. we may deploy consultants.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. “If the client has a global presence. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. the firm prefers to staff locally. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. non-U.” 42 .S. In fact. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. etc. Instead. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States.” adds the insider. they have a large project-need outside the United States. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology.” says the insider. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. And in the first 6 months of 2004..
It’s fairly young. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . start a new job every 6 to 12 months. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size.” said one insider. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. Accenture consultants. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. but not so much time that they burn out. “High performing. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. Accenture gets good marks for openness. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. results-oriented. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. responsiveness. before long you’re a partner. especially in strategy.” says one insider about the people. generally quite energetic.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. in essence. and flexibility. When things go as they should. and chances are. feeling.” says the insider.
not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects.it. 44 . you can usually get what you want. 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. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. 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.” says one insider. people leave at the 4-year mark. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs.” The insider continues. The next batch. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. And the firm. In fact. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. while large. 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. Or they’re starting to have a family. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. “If you’re determined enough. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. sometimes with clients.
” Jack-of-All-Trades? The bottom line to working in Accenture’s consulting practice is that you could easily end up with bit parts on a variety of projects. The more projects of a certain type that you do.” says one insider. The client might say. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. you will specialize whether you want to or not. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. the more likely you are to be a master of some. programming. that’s great. “For Accenture. We’re not pure strategy. on a typical deal. and that’s not what they expected. Then on the flip side.” says one insider. But rest assured. or business analysis expertise. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. people who have done organization design. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. 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. ‘If you execute it. either.” The Workplace says one insider. 45 . It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. then they’re testing a system. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. such as outsourcing and offshoring. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. the far right would be pure strategy. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve.
“In the best of times. and focus. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. In a word. You really have to work hard to get to know people. networking.” says one insider. energy. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time.” The Workplace 46 . In down times. you may not get projects at all. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. 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. you’ll just get marginal projects. Of course.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. If Accenture does not visit your campus. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone.com. They are really an initial screening. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. Students should visit Accenture at www. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit.accenture. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. 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. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 .” says an insider in recruiting.campusconnection.
“The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. “They basically want to see how you would handle yourself in a Getting Hired consultant-type role where you will be constantly changing projects and team members. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver.• 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. An insider in recruiting advises. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider.” says an insider. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. say insiders. 49 . 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. can receive an offer from a partner. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. skills.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. Focus on the role that you played specifically.” The third round is mostly a formality. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. ‘How do you handle team problems. In other words. and experience. In general. individuals who don’t want to work. but excel in this type of environment. and if all goes well. not what a team did overall. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. technology or process.
“They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. math.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. electrical engineering. “We ask general. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. instructional design. computer information systems. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on.” advises the insider. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. Therefore.” says an Accenture recruiter. liberal arts. management information systems. management information systems. Human performance hires. computer information systems. or business administration. executive leadership. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. though the firm does make exceptions. and business administration. industrial or organizational psychology. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. math. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. computer engineering. economics.” says the insider. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. economics. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. organizational behavior. Getting Hired 50 . for instance.
Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. plus organizational management and economics. For positions other than those in strategy. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. At this level. check with your recruiting center.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. U. and MIT Sloan. MDs. 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. Midcareer Candidates Historically. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Stanford. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. University of Chicago. Accenture recruits at many schools. such as PhDs. Kellogg. In any case.C. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. Wharton. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. Getting Hired 51 . Berkeley. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture.
determination. 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. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. problem-solving abilities. a strong learning capacity. Reading this guide is a good start. a willingness to work hard. among other traits.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. Do your homework about the organization. dates. and then spend time explaining their significance.accenture. 1. and flexibility. Do job searches and read related job 52 .Interviewing Tips After the first round. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. 2. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. Have the names. an interest in technology. But also visit the company website (www. think about your work and school experiences. To prepare for your interview. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically.
you will have made an impression. 4. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you.How much client interaction should I expect? .announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
56 . Source: Joanne Gordon. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. 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. Source: Daniel Lyons. it was a smart move. Risks. 5/26/03. and according to this article. Source: Stan Gibson. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. 2/16/04. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. Forbes. 3/4/02. Forbes. “Sharing Gains. Source: Melanie Warner. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. eWeek 3/15/04. Fortune. in hindsight.
com. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange.com. Geeks & Geezers: How Era.accenture. and recruiting.WetFeet.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. And for help with your case interviews. 57 . co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. Finally.com for more information about a number of consulting firms.kennedyinfo. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. their jobs.WetFeet. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. Visit www. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. which is published by Kennedy Information. also available at www.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. visit ConsultingCentral.com.
293.171 720.825 7.616.241 6.527 1.822 1.256.498 1.291.451 1.985 4.808 950. compared to February 28.com. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.809.172.792 Source: www.416.092.516. 2003 ($) 1. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .accenture. 2004.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.580 946.470 1-Yr.145 1.895 4.
Breene. McGrath. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. If not.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you.com. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. you can submit your resume at www. Chairman and CEO (William D. 2004) Michael G. Timothy S. Key People Joe W. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. James. Forehand.accenture. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Nevertheless. many of them during the off-season. Green. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . CEO designate R. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). Green will become CEO on September 1.
Suite 1400 Irving. For a complete list.S. Large U.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world.com. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. One Market San Francisco. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. check out www. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.accenture.
WETFEET’S INSIDER GUIDE SERIES JOB SEARCH GUIDES Getting Your Ideal Internship Job Hunting A to Z: Landing the Job You Want Killer Consulting Resumes Killer Investment Banking Resumes Killer Resumes & Cover Letters Negotiating Your Salary & Perks Networking Works! INTERVIEW GUIDES Ace Your Case: Consulting Interviews Ace Your Case II: 15 More Consulting Cases Ace Your Case III: Practice Makes Perfect Ace Your Case IV: The Latest & Greatest Ace Your Case V: Even More Practice Cases Ace Your Interview! Beat the Street: Investment Banking Interviews Beat the Street II: Investment Banking Interview Practice Guide CAREER & INDUSTRY GUIDES Careers in Accounting Careers in Advertising & Public Relations Careers in Asset Management & Retail Brokerage Careers in Biotech & Pharmaceuticals Careers in Brand Management Careers in Consumer Products Careers in Entertainment & Sports Careers in Human Resources .
P. Doctors & Lawyers Industries & Careers for MBAs Industries & Careers for Undergrads COMPANY GUIDES Accenture Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group Booz Allen Hamilton Citigroup’s Corporate & Investment Bank Credit Suisse First Boston Deloitte Consulting Goldman Sachs Group J.Careers in Information Technology Careers in Investment Banking Careers in Management Consulting Careers in Manufacturing Careers in Marketing & Market Research Careers in Nonprofits & Government Careers in Real Estate Careers in Supply Chain Management Careers in Venture Capital Consulting for PhDs. Morgan Chase & Company Lehman Brothers McKinsey & Company Merrill Lynch Morgan Stanley 25 Top Consulting Firms Top 20 Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Firms Top 25 Financial Services Firm .
and our exclusive research studies. avoid illfated career decisions. The lesson we took from the Bean case? Lots of people get wet feet. So we started writing. And L. WetFeet was founded in 1994 by Stanford MBAs Gary Alpert and Steve Pollock. WetFeet serves more than a million job candidates each month by helping them nail their interviews. Every time he went hunting in the Maine woods. and they lined up to buy their own pairs of Bean boots. was born .com). Bean. But they didn’t exist. And that’s exactly what we’re doing at WetFeet. and he returned with soaked feet. one day. . and very literally. and add thousands of dollars to their compensation packages. Bean. he decided to make a better hunting shoe. WetFeet’s services include two award-winning websites (WetFeet. About Our Name One of the most frequent questions we receive is.Who We Are WetFeet is the trusted destination for job seekers to research companies and industries. the successful mail-order company. we needed products like the WetFeet Insider Guides to help us through the research and interviewing game. The quality of our work and knowledge of the job-seeking world have also allowed us to develop an extensive corporate and university membership. So. WetFeet Insider Guides provide you with inside information for a successful job search. Web-based recruiting technologies.L. Leon Leonwood Bean got his start because he quite simply. credible. who come from diverse backgrounds. all because a man who had wet feet decided to make boots. share a passion about the job-search process and a commitment to delivering the highest quality products and customer service. and manage their careers. “So.com and InternshipPrograms. Our team members. consulting services. but entrepreneurs make boots. we do the work for you and present our results in an informative. At WetFeet. what’s the story behind your name?” The short story is that the inspiration for our name comes from a popular business school case study about L. and entertaining way. In addition. And he did. the company. Today. While exploring our next career moves. Think of us as your own private research company whose primary mission is to assist you in making more informed career decisions. had a case of wet feet.L. . his shoes leaked. And he told his friends. such as the annual WetFeet Student Recruitment Survey. .
• How the firm is organized. WetFeet’s investigative writers get behind the annual reports and corporate PR to tell the real story of what it’s like to work at speciﬁc companies and in different industries. www. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition.WetFeet. travel. no-holds-barred Insider Guides. and training. you’ll be expected to work hard. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. including the lifestyle and hours. culture. Hiring is competitive and once in. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible.com . Accenture is the place to be. from top to bottom. compensation. Insiders say that having the Accenture name on your resume opens countless doors later on and that they have the distinct pleasure of working with the best minds in the business. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants.Careers/Job Search Looking for a top-notch consulting and technology services firm with a youthful culture and a high-end client roster? You’ll find that and more at Accenture.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.