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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . 5 Overview . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . .
EDS. young.com Primary Competitors IBM. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint.S. With our market picking up with the economy.” 1 . Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York.. that’s had ripple effects. and ability to overcome challenges. It has offices in more than three dozen U. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths.000 employees in 48 countries. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. Capgemini. economics. even through liberal arts. cities. Computer Sciences Corp.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003.accenture. • The firm has a strong. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. and innovation-oriented culture. analytical prowess. BearingPoint. management information systems.
” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. About 8. and in some cases. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. to associate partner and partner. It focuses you. into manager roles. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. 2 . depending on their programming or industry experience. 1.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. to senior manager.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. 2004.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. to manager. people who miscommunicate. It was easy but you have to be honest. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. to consultant. individuals who don’t work. and of those. and then in some cases. because you’re working on a project. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. “I was asked how you handle team problems.600 to 1.000 of those positions are in the United States.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. New employees move from analyst.
000–100. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000–55.000–15.At a Glance Estimated Compensation. $40.000 $0–30.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000–100.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates. Accenture does not release compensation data. a lot depends on work experience $10.000.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
Today. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. the Internet boom has come and gone. 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. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. as one of the few public consulting firms.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. In fact. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. technology consulting. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. human resources. 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. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. For the first few years of this 6 . Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. 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.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. one that straddles a multitude of industries. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. and outsourcing practices. Of course. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more.
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. in theory. up from 2 percent in 2003. financial services. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). The firm has “turned the taps back on. the industry sectors Accenture serves.” for new hires. 7 . it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. In the first 6 months of 2004. Says one insider.5 percent of total revenue. Communications and technology. In the last year. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. says an insider. for too long. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. you’ll never be unstaffed.decade. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. The Company changed. “In the bad times. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. The best people. They continue to buoy earnings. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. in particular. operating profits from its government sector made up 14.” Since mid-2003. you get a sense of your internal worth. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. For its 2004 fiscal year. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. Meanwhile. contracts with government agencies helped.
and passes on to its employees discounts on services. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. and local get-togethers. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. As demanding as consulting can be. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. an esprit de corp. 8 . insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. team and industry-specific meetings. A-types. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing.” says an insider. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. to help me out. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. “There’s a culture of sharing. the work is demanding. that come with being a big multinational firm. 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. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate.” Due in part to its university recruitment. you should be ready to sell yourself.With a brighter business outlook. But make no mistake. like cell phones. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. At work. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. “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. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles.” says one insider. go-getters.
and once you’re ready to move on. If you land a job. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. To be successful. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. you’ll be in fairly good hands.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. The company is committed to training. Competition for jobs is intense. 9 .
and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block.” for the second year in a row. 10 . Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt.
com. Peterborough. 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. 11 . www.ConsultingCentral. NH 03458 USA. phone: 800-531-0007. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide The Company Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004.20 Largest Consulting Firms.
Where MBAs Want to Work
Accenture doesn’t have quite the cache among MBAs that the large strategy firms such as McKinsey and Bain do. But in 2004 it moved up two notches to
number 27, between PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lehman Brothers. The following ranking is a result of Universum’s 2004 survey of MBAs, who ranked the companies where they would most like to work.
Consulting Firms that Ranked in the Top 50
1 4 7 10 11 13 27
McKinsey & Co. IBM Bain & Co. Booz Allen Hamilton Deloitte Boston Consulting Group Accenture
Source: Based on a study by Universum, published in Fortune. Ann Harrington, Fortune, 4/19/2004.
Organization of the Firm
View from the Top
Accenture is a public company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACN. At the top of the organization sits CEO Joe Forehand and the executive committee of partners and officers who report directly to him, followed by numerous steering and operating committees. Though the firm has no fixed geographical headquarters, it has big offices in major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
View from the Middle
Accenture is organized into several partially overlapping industry areas that allow clients to choose from a smorgasbord of integrated consulting services. The company maintains five global operations groups: 1. Financial services 2. Government 3. Communications and high tech 4. Products 5. Resources
Nine service and solutions lines support the global operations groups: 1. Customer relationship management 2. Finance and performance management
3. Human performance 4. Strategy and business architecture 5. Supply chain management 6. Technology research and innovation 7. Technology solutions 8. Microsoft solutions 9. Outsourcing and infrastructure delivery Accenture’s five operating groups function as umbrella units for 18 separate industry areas and government services. The service lines are then broken down between business consulting or technology and outsourcing. Some of these groups could change by the time you get there; Accenture is continually shifting its organizational structure. That’s not surprising, given that it’s in the business of reorganizing companies and processes. “If we ourselves aren’t changing, that means we’re stagnant, and we’re not a few steps ahead of the client,” explains one insider. The tasks in the various service areas can vary widely. Customer relationship management, supply chain management, technology research, and technology solutions often involve more of the hard-core technology work. Members of the technology groups are more likely to work on-site for extended periods to implement new technology. The human performance group deals largely with the human resources and training issues that arise with technology work.
Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. 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. Booz Allen. putting together the technology architecture. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. building programming and business skills along the way. big-dollar firms).” says one insider.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers.Strategy and business architecture. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. as well as finance and performance management. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. Then we work on common components. Finally we build out the application. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. BCG.” 15 . Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. and the other big-name.or 4-year mark. They often get paid more (after all. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. strategy has to compete with Bain. 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. chances are you’re not going to stick around.
In 1998. Moving from job to job. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. 16 . paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. consisting of two to five members. can be a strain. who tend to be more mobile. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. Because of the nature of the work. If they’re locally based. they may report every day to that station. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. international firm.” or moveable storage containers. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. These range from the small. But they are really all about networking. Some are as informal as dinners out. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. Strategy consultants and senior managers. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. compounded by the size of Accenture. you’re always changing clients. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues.” says one insider. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. you never get a sense of belonging. just like in an industry job. often work out of a laptop and “totes. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. But at the start. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. We want them to be learning how we work.” On the Job 18 . selling the firm’s business to new clients.” said an insider in recruiting. soaking everything up. . they get staffed with an industry group. After 12 to 18 months. Charles. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis .” says one insider. building models. analyzing data line by line. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. After an initial 2-week training. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. and ultimately. . says one insider. to get on-the-job training. Illinois.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts.
” says one insider. soaking everything up.” 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 . On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. competitive analysis. economics. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. 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. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. We want them to be learning how we work. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. identifying trends.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. valuation.
Thank goodness. We go over what everyone’s working on. so the team heads out to lunch. I check e-mails I got from the client. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. Well. 3:30 4:00 20 . no time like the present. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. I dive back into the documentation. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. . One page at a time . Time for a status meeting with 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. and I want to make sure I’m on track. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. the rest of the team. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing.• Assess existing technology • Conduct market research • Develop and maintain client relationships • Perform benchmarking analysis • Analyze current systems and problems • Recommend new approaches • Present findings to team members A Day in the Life of a First-Year Analyst 8:30 On the Job I get into the client site. . I keep working and make the necessary updates. and some members of the client firm. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. where I meet up with my manager. I’m starved. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight.
They got the jerseys. Back at my desk. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. . grabbing something. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. and Accenture e-mails. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. This time. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. discuss certain initiatives. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. voice mail. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. We talk and go over the problem. We go over progress to date. Time to head out. But first. Not so fast. so I leave earlier than usual. who are right down the hall. 12:15 Time for lunch. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . make sure we’re on the same page. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. .5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site.
Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. MBAs and/or CPAs. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. Says one insider in recruiting. and it gives them a nice package.” says one insider.g. “After a few years at the firm. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm.” Typical Responsibilities • Lead project meetings • Monitor and report on project status • Lead presentations • Interview vendors • Supervise analysts • Facilitate brainstorming sessions • Conduct client interviews and workshops • Assess existing technology and future needs 22 . with one big exception: They manage a small team. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis..
Yep. 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. It’s a good time to make sure we’re in touch with the client’s needs—and pick some of my colleagues’ smart brains. I need refueling. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. but not quite. there are a few critters in this system. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Time to head out. so all hands on deck.• 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. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. Then I’m back on our proposal. 12:00 Almost there. Still. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. trying to distill what people want and what we can do.
11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. . waiting for the aircon to kick in. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. and give her some advice. Oh well. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. 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. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. a new analyst. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. One of my teammates. I open up a spreadsheet but then . and we go over the presentation. I head for the door. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. Not so fast. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. Another colleague comes by with a different problem.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. . I sit down with her. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. Even if it’s a quick one. Yikes. I’ve done this twice in past projects. to which I happily agree. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. discuss what she’s tried. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes.
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
technical problem solving. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. you tend to work a few more hours. and individual report work. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones.” says one insider. if this doesn’t get done. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. Generally no one likes to delay a project. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. which I didn’t mind at all). “I have had to work a few nights. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. you don’t like to move on to the next change. At the same time. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine.” Says another insider.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. As you get higher up in the company. I have only had to work weekends once.” says one insider.” 26 . There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. but that is expected with the nature of the job. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. teammates. or clients. projects operate in cycles. 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. but nothing too crazy. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you.
often for months at a time. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. travel takes it’s toll. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday.Aside from a busy schedule.” says one insider. For the most part. The Workplace 27 . that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year.” says another. Still. “When you’re more junior.
That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. 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. As such.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. Employees who work at the client site. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. In my projects. But most of the time.” 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. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. It may be a little less true these days. where you have a pod of people in the back room. we aspire to blend in with our clients. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. for instance. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. I want client people on our team. it’s at the client site. especially for extended periods. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects. because we actually have offices. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. “On average.” 28 .” said one insider. “We go to lunch together. I want them to be integrated. go out after work. “If there were changes.” Says another.” The insider adds.
you’re out of town. so you continually have to prove your worth. It’s pretty young. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. “You do get a lot of opportunities. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. I immediately get answers. Of course. teamwork. As one insider says.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. and post questions. 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. other firms. “At the consultant level. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. out with each other after work. “Over all. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. 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. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group.” In spite of the youthful.” is the way one insider describes them. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes.” says one insider. especially when together. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. from project to project. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. If I go on the [companywide] portal.” And finally. The Workplace 29 . work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. 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.
and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. career counseling. recruitment. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. and scholarships through INROADS.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. the National Society of Black Engineers. and retention of women and minorities.” In addition. Once employees start working. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. Joe Forehand. jobs. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. such as recruiting and promotion. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. “I report directly to our CEO. the firm offers diversity training.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. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. In terms of recruiting. schedule flexibility for parents.
Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. and “the diversity principle in motion. Still.valuing the dynamics between men and women. wherever it is legally possible to do so. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. but it’s very polarized. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. and less in 31 . and dependent life insurance plans. At last count.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. 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. dental.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. the “diversity principle. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. though some areas attract more than others.” 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. As far back as 1994. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. However. Plus. It’s often in testing and functional design. In general.S. three of its 21 management committee members were female. 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. “There are quite a number of females.
The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. not many women were hired at the same time. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. Another says. retain. and advancement of all managerial women.technology.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. and advance women at Accenture. including women of color. Accenture leadership created a U.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders.” In 1995. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. development. offices). Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. 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. and work-life integration. In September 2003. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.S. “Additionally.” says one insider. “When I was hired in. though.S. promote. 32 . I think that’s just coincidence. On my current project. mentoring/sponsorship.” says a female insider. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing.S. Catalyst. These women represent all U. training. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women.
000. Of course. educational background.000 range. and work experience. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.000 to $55.000 to $100. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.” says one insider. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Accenture does not release this information.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. 33 . depending on office location. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. getting an additional salary boost when they advance.
For some. strategy consultants.” The Workplace On the flip side. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. or another big capital city. a trying routine. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. this is a perk. you’ll be on that project. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. “It’s really just luck of the draw.m. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. Consultants in government services. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. 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.” 34 .C. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. not surprisingly.” says an insider. and for others..m. can find themselves in several cities each year. D. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. whose project work can be as short as a month.
an employee who is headquartered in Los Angeles but working in New York could fly to London for the weekend instead of back to Los Angeles.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. The Workplace 35 . This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). 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. For instance. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.
due to the relatively stable nature of project work. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. 36 . In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. then 21 days for the next 5 years. While it is not necessarily company practice. which include both vacation and personal days. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. program. or paid time off. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. personal. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. Accenture started its PTO. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. 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. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. From the corporation’s viewpoint.Vacation In September 2002. As such. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime.” says one insider. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. or sick days.
people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. relationship building. 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. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. In training and thereafter. Charles after a year than right off the chute . also. At the entry level. and methodology. “It makes a lot more sense. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. act. and speak like an Accenture consultant.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. . Charles. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. So do other firms.” says one insider. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. As a result. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. they are instructed on how to think. and it now sends new recruits to St. . Illinois. selling. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. 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. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. value creation.
com. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. but the trainers are as well. “Our 2-week training course in St. The Workplace 38 . That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. regardless of business group or geographical location. at least). One insider says.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. Accenture’s internal information-management system.business language.accenture. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.
Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. in strategy). if they lack significant prior experience. to senior manager. entry-level hires. to manager.300) Source: WetFeet research. MBAs. 39 . and midcareer candidates. The further you go on. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. to consultant. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. “The whole theory. in those couple of years. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. and finally to partner. is that not only do you get the initial foundation.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. New employees move from analyst.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. 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 expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. to associate partner.
The Workplace 40 . Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. except in strategy. • Student Leadership Conference. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. On the strategy side. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. typically in the summer before their senior year.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. they must have technical skills. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. That is. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources.com. Depending on needs.
[and] you’d be focused much more on analysis.” says on insider. and we need to have it. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. because we’ve got a lot bigger. “You might be hired in strategy. “We do it. hands-on side of consulting. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. but it’s increasingly common. and move up to manager. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill.” says an insider. associate partner.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. and partner. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. “It didn’t used to be common.” says an insider in recruiting. from analyst to senior manager. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 .” says another insider. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. senior manager. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. When we’ve branched out. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. you may still start as an analyst.
And in the first 6 months of 2004. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. “If the client has a global presence.” says the insider. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. they have a large project-need outside the United States.” 42 . the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States.. etc. or if they have a background in language.valued properly.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. that would make them particularly valuable. Instead.” adds the insider. non-U. we may deploy consultants. the firm prefers to staff locally.S. In fact. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills.
Now we’ve turned the taps back on. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. especially in strategy. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. It’s fairly young. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. Accenture gets good marks for openness.” says the insider. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. When things go as they should. “High performing. start a new job every 6 to 12 months.” said one insider. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. in essence. and chances are.” says one insider about the people. responsiveness. but not so much time that they burn out.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. before long you’re a partner. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. Accenture consultants. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. feeling. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. and flexibility. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. results-oriented. generally quite energetic.
These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. Or they’re starting to have a family. you can usually get what you want. 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. The next batch. “If you’re determined enough. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their 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. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. and it becomes a bigger deal being away.” The insider continues. In fact.it. 44 . because they know they’ll get that service back some day. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. while large. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.” says one insider. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. sometimes with clients. people leave at the 4-year mark. And the firm.
you will specialize whether you want to or not. the more likely you are to be a master of some. people who have done organization design. programming. or business analysis expertise. We’re not pure strategy. 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. Then on the flip side. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. that’s great. on a typical deal. 45 .” The Workplace says one insider. But rest assured. The client might say. either. such as outsourcing and offshoring. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. 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. then they’re testing a system. ‘If you execute it. the far right would be pure strategy. and that’s not what they expected. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with.” says one insider. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. “For Accenture.” Jack-of-All-Trades? The bottom line to working in Accenture’s consulting practice is that you could easily end up with bit parts on a variety of projects. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing.” says one insider. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry.
and focus.” The Workplace 46 . Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. you’ll just get marginal projects. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. networking. Of course. energy.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. you may not get projects at all. You really have to work hard to get to know people. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. “In the best of times.” says one insider. In down times. In a word.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
“We go through a fairly involved assessment process. They are really an initial screening.com. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school.accenture. by submitting a resume. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. If Accenture does not visit your campus. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines.campusconnection. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas.” says an insider in recruiting. Students should visit Accenture at www. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit.
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. “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. 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. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. 49 . and experience. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in.” The third round is mostly a formality. ‘How do you handle team problems.• 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. can receive an offer from a partner. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. individuals who don’t want to work. say insiders. Focus on the role that you played specifically. In other words. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider.” says an insider. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. In general. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. not what a team did overall. and if all goes well. skills. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. technology or process. but excel in this type of environment.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. An insider in recruiting advises.
for instance. instructional design. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. organizational behavior. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. liberal arts. Getting Hired 50 . math. economics. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration.” advises the insider. management information systems. and business administration. Human performance hires. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. “We ask general.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. or business administration. computer information systems. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. Therefore. though the firm does make exceptions. electrical engineering. computer engineering. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. computer information systems.” says the insider. economics. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. math.” says an Accenture recruiter. industrial or organizational psychology. management information systems. executive leadership.
but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. plus organizational management and economics. such as PhDs. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Getting Hired 51 . At this level. 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. and MIT Sloan. University of Chicago. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. Midcareer Candidates Historically.C. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. check with your recruiting center. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. In any case. For positions other than those in strategy. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. Berkeley.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. MDs. Stanford. Wharton. Kellogg. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Accenture recruits at many schools. 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.
1. among other traits. a strong learning capacity. Have the names. 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. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. Do job searches and read related job 52 . think about your work and school experiences. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. and flexibility. a willingness to work hard. determination. and then spend time explaining their significance. dates. To prepare for your interview. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences.Interviewing Tips After the first round. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. Reading this guide is a good start. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. problem-solving abilities. But also visit the company website (www. 2.accenture. Do your homework about the organization. an interest in technology.
The following are a few questions to help get you started: . 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.How much client interaction should I expect? . and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. 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 . If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. 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? .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. 4. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
Risks. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. Forbes. 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. “Sharing Gains. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. 5/26/03. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. and according to this article. in hindsight. eWeek 3/15/04. Source: Melanie Warner. Fortune. it was a smart move. Forbes. Source: Stan Gibson. Source: Daniel Lyons. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. 56 . Source: Joanne Gordon. 2/16/04. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. 3/4/02.
Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books.com or the Kennedy Information website at www.accenture. And for help with your case interviews. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. Visit www. which is published by Kennedy Information. also available at www. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. and recruiting.kennedyinfo. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. 57 . Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders.com. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking.WetFeet.WetFeet. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner.com for more information about a number of consulting firms.com.com. visit ConsultingCentral. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. Finally. their jobs.
616.822 1.293. 2004.516.451 1.172.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.895 4.498 1.985 4.291.825 7.792 Source: www.092.241 6.accenture. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.com. compared to February 28.416.145 1.256.527 1. 2003 ($) 1.809.808 950.171 720.580 946. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .470 1-Yr.
accenture. James. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Key People Joe W. 2004) Michael G. Breene. many of them during the off-season. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). If not. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Chairman and CEO (William D. McGrath. you can submit your resume at www.com. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Green. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. Nevertheless. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. Green will become CEO on September 1.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. Forehand. CEO designate R. Timothy S.
S.com. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . One Market San Francisco. check out www. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. Large U. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.accenture. For a complete list. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. Suite 1400 Irving.
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