WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents
Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Recommended Reading . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
With our market picking up with the economy. Capgemini. analytical prowess. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind.com
IBM. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. BearingPoint.S.000 employees in 48 countries.At a Glance
Accenture at a Glance
Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters.
In the Recruiter’s Words
“From a campus standpoint. McKinsey & Company
Key Differentiating Factors
• Accenture has about 95. It has offices in more than three dozen U. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. economics. • The firm has a strong. young. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. management information systems. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources.. Computer Sciences Corp. and ability to overcome challenges. cities. and innovation-oriented culture. EDS. that’s had ripple effects.”
.accenture. even through liberal arts.
• Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. to manager. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. to senior manager. individuals who don’t work. It was easy but you have to be honest. About 8. “I was asked how you handle team problems. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. to consultant. It focuses you.At a Glance
What Insiders Say
In the interview.600 to 1.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. 2004.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. to associate partner and partner.
Accenture is hiring 30. and then in some cases. people who miscommunicate.
.000 of those positions are in the United States. and of those. 1. New employees move from analyst. depending on their programming or industry experience. into manager roles. and in some cases. because you’re working on a project.”
• Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones.
Accenture does not release compensation data.000 not usually depends on need
Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000–55. a lot depends on work experience $10.000–100.000–100.At a Glance
Estimated Compensation. 2004
Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000 depending on experience depends on need
.000 depends on need
Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus:
Source: WetFeet estimates.000.
• Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm
it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. as one of the few public consulting firms. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95.Overview
Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. and Accenture was no exception. and outsourcing practices. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. For the first few years of this
. 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. technology consulting. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. human resources.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Of course. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. In fact. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. the Internet boom has come and gone. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. one that straddles a multitude of industries. Today. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list.
Meanwhile. up from 2 percent in 2003. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. In the last year. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. for too long. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. The best people. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services).
changed. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off.” for new hires. In the first 6 months of 2004. in particular. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. financial services. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. They continue to buoy earnings.decade. Says one insider. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. in theory. Communications and technology. 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. For its 2004 fiscal year. The firm has “turned the taps back on. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. says an insider.5 percent of total revenue. “In the bad times. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue.” Since mid-2003. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. the industry sectors Accenture serves. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. you get a sense of your internal worth. contracts with government agencies helped.
. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. you’ll never be unstaffed.
an esprit de corp. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job.” says one insider. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. the work is demanding. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. and local get-togethers. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. “There’s a culture of sharing. to help me out. At work. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. But make no mistake. A-types. like cell phones. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. team and industry-specific meetings.With a brighter business outlook. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. that come with being a big multinational firm. “One plus about working here is the
kind of personality traits you can pick up—people here are at the top of their game.” says an insider. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. go-getters. you should be ready to sell yourself. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. Accenture has a youthful collegiate environment in which employees have the energy to work hard as projects intensify as well as the chance to relax with each other and interact socially. As demanding as consulting can be.
. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge.” Due in part to its university recruitment.
To be successful. you’ll be in fairly good hands. The company is committed to training. 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
Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. If you land a job. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors.
. and once you’re ready to move on. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. Competition for jobs is intense.
” for the second year in a row. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue.
. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture.Industry Position
Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS.
ConsultingCentral.20 Largest Consulting Firms. phone: 800-531-0007.com. NH 03458 USA. www. by 2003 Consulting Revenue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
IBM Accenture Deloitte Capgemini CSC BearingPoint Hewlett-Packard McKinsey & Co.
. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. Peterborough. Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide
Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004.
Where MBAs Want to Work
Accenture doesn’t have quite the cache among MBAs that the large strategy firms such as McKinsey and Bain do. But in 2004 it moved up two notches to
number 27, between PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lehman Brothers. The following ranking is a result of Universum’s 2004 survey of MBAs, who ranked the companies where they would most like to work.
Consulting Firms that Ranked in the Top 50
1 4 7 10 11 13 27
McKinsey & Co. IBM Bain & Co. Booz Allen Hamilton Deloitte Boston Consulting Group Accenture
Source: Based on a study by Universum, published in Fortune. Ann Harrington, Fortune, 4/19/2004.
Organization of the Firm
View from the Top
Accenture is a public company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACN. At the top of the organization sits CEO Joe Forehand and the executive committee of partners and officers who report directly to him, followed by numerous steering and operating committees. Though the firm has no fixed geographical headquarters, it has big offices in major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
View from the Middle
Accenture is organized into several partially overlapping industry areas that allow clients to choose from a smorgasbord of integrated consulting services. The company maintains five global operations groups: 1. Financial services 2. Government 3. Communications and high tech 4. Products 5. Resources
Nine service and solutions lines support the global operations groups: 1. Customer relationship management 2. Finance and performance management
3. Human performance 4. Strategy and business architecture 5. Supply chain management 6. Technology research and innovation 7. Technology solutions 8. Microsoft solutions 9. Outsourcing and infrastructure delivery Accenture’s five operating groups function as umbrella units for 18 separate industry areas and government services. The service lines are then broken down between business consulting or technology and outsourcing. Some of these groups could change by the time you get there; Accenture is continually shifting its organizational structure. That’s not surprising, given that it’s in the business of reorganizing companies and processes. “If we ourselves aren’t changing, that means we’re stagnant, and we’re not a few steps ahead of the client,” explains one insider. The tasks in the various service areas can vary widely. Customer relationship management, supply chain management, technology research, and technology solutions often involve more of the hard-core technology work. Members of the technology groups are more likely to work on-site for extended periods to implement new technology. The human performance group deals largely with the human resources and training issues that arise with technology work.
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. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. Booz Allen. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. BCG.” says one insider. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. Finally we build out the application. For your first few projects. big-dollar firms). “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. chances are you’re not going to stick around. and the other big-name. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows.”
. 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. as well as finance and performance management.or 4-year mark. building programming and business skills along the way. They often get paid more (after all.”
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. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. putting together the technology architecture. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. strategy has to compete with Bain. because once people get to the 3.Strategy and business architecture. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. Then we work on common components.
“It’s to feel like you belong to the company. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. consisting of two to five members. Because of the nature of the work. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big.” or moveable storage containers. compounded by the size of Accenture. In 1998.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff.
. just like in an industry job. Moving from job to job. Some are as informal as dinners out. Accenture project teams tend to be
larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. But they are really all about networking. can be a strain. who tend to be more mobile.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. These range from the small. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction.” says one insider. If they’re locally based. 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. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. often work out of a laptop and “totes. you never get a sense of belonging. they may report every day to that station. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. international firm. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit.
On the Job
• Analysts • Consultants
On the Job
Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. We want them to be learning how we work. After 12 to 18 months.” says one insider. Charles. But at the start. . The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. and ultimately. Illinois. analyzing data line by line. they get staffed with an industry group. building models. selling the firm’s business to new clients. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . to get on-the-job training. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. soaking everything up. . rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. says one insider. After an initial 2-week training. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility.”
On the Job
.” said an insider in recruiting. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts.Analysts
Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP).
“People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. 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. economics. 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. identifying trends.” says one insider. We want them to be learning how we work. soaking everything up.
On the Job
On the strategy side.Typical Responsibilities
Duties vary depending on the project. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. valuation. competitive analysis.” 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
I check e-mails I got from the client. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. We go over what everyone’s working on. no time like the present. the rest of the team. so the team heads out to lunch.
. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. I’m starved. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing.
12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. I dive back into the documentation. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. One page at a time . Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. ask questions about the project. Thank goodness. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. Well. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. where I meet up with my manager. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. I keep working and make the necessary updates. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus.• 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
On the Job
I get into the client site. and I want to make sure I’m on track. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. and some members of the client firm. . .
who are right down the hall. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. so better take off while the going’s good!
. grabbing something. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. Time to head out. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . so I leave earlier than usual. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. They got the jerseys. But first. make sure we’re on the same page. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. Not so fast. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. This time. We talk and go over the problem. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team.
On the Job
10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. and Accenture e-mails. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. 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. . . We go over progress to date. But who decided we were the Mariners?
A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst
8:00 Arrive at client site.5:00 6:00
My manager has a cube in both buildings. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. voice mail. discuss certain initiatives. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. 12:15 Time for lunch.
Says one insider in recruiting. with one big exception: They manage a small team. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. and it gives them a nice package. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders
On the Job
(e. “After a few years at the firm. MBAs and/or CPAs.. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts.g.”
• 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
.” says one insider. 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.
I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. I need refueling. but not quite. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. Still. so all hands on deck. Yep. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night.
4:00 5:00 6:30
. 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. Then I’m back on our proposal. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. 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.• 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. 12:00 Almost there. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them?
On the Job
10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. there are a few critters in this system. Time to head out. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. trying to distill what people want and what we can do.
I head for the door. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. to which I happily agree.
. I sit down with her. . I open up a spreadsheet but then . I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. One of my teammates. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. Yikes. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for.
11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. but I’ve got a laptop in hand.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant
7:30 I’m at my computer. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. Oh well. waiting for the aircon to kick in. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. a new analyst.
On the Job
The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. discuss what she’s tried. It’s a tricky one. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. . so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. Even if it’s a quick one. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. Not so fast. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. and give her some advice. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. and we go over the presentation. I’ve done this twice in past projects.
• Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel
• Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop
or clients. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. teammates. which I didn’t mind at all). One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. Regardless of how
short or long they are. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. “I have had to work a few nights. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. At the same time. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. and individual report work. you don’t like to move on to the next change. technical problem solving. As you get higher up in the company. I have only had to work weekends once. but nothing too crazy. Generally no one likes to delay a project.Lifestyle and Hours
Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. 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. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.” says one insider. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along.” says one insider. you tend to work a few more hours. if this doesn’t get done. 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. projects operate in cycles. “Its sort of like a college class schedule.” Says another insider.”
“Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. often for months at a time. “When you’re more junior. Still. For the most part. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.
.” says another. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. 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. travel takes it’s toll. you’re going to be dedicated to one client.
“Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. Accenture’s culture can vary from one extreme to another depending on the client you are working for and the office in which you reside.Culture
Accenture is a company on the move. I want them to be integrated. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. because we actually have offices. especially for extended periods. for instance. But most of the time. Employees who work at the client site. As such. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site.” 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. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. “If there were changes. “On average. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.” said one insider. I want client people on our team. go out after work.”
. where you have a pod of people in the back room. “We go to lunch together. In my projects. where we can
work for clients at an Accenture office. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget.” The insider adds.” Says another. It may be a little less true these days. it’s at the client site.
” In spite of the youthful. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. It’s pretty young. so you continually have to prove your worth. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. “You do get a lot of opportunities. 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. Of course.
. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. I immediately get answers. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to
It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. from project to project.
you’re out of town.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. As one insider says. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. “Over all. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. people like going Within an hour. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees.” says one insider.” And finally. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. 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.” is the way one insider describes them. and post questions. teamwork. “At the consultant level. other firms. especially when together. out with each other after work. If I go on the [companywide] portal.
but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. jobs. the firm offers diversity training. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and
. In terms of recruiting. career counseling. such as recruiting and promotion. Sponsors
work with others on the employee’s behalf. “I report directly to our CEO. and retention of women and minorities. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. Accenture offers internships. recruitment. Joe Forehand. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. and scholarships through INROADS. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship.” In addition.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. schedule flexibility for parents. Once employees start working. the National Society of Black Engineers.
In general. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. “There are quite a number of females.” a 1-hour course that underlines that diversity in the workforce is a key company priority and shows how stereotypes can contribute to a nonproductive work environment. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. though some areas attract more than others. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title.S. and “the diversity principle in motion. dental. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. the “diversity principle. 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. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. wherever it is legally possible to do so. and dependent life insurance plans. Plus. and less in
.valuing the dynamics between men and women. but it’s very polarized. It’s often in testing and functional design. However. As far back as 1994. three of its 21 management committee members were female. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. At last count.
Opportunities for Women
Like the consulting industry as a whole.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. Still.
a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels.technology. and advancement of all managerial women.S.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. “When I was hired in. and advance women at Accenture. development. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. Accenture leadership created a U. and work-life integration.
. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. Another says. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. mentoring/sponsorship.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. training. promote. In September 2003. I think that’s just coincidence. Catalyst.” In 1995.S. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. 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
aspirations. On my current project. retain. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U.S. including women of color.” says one insider. “Additionally. offices). the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. though. These women represent all U. not many women were hired at the same time.” says a female insider.
Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises.000 to $55. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. and work experience.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.
. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Accenture does not release this information. educational background. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.000 to $100. we’ll bring those people in at a manager
level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start.000. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40.” says one insider.000 range. Of course. depending on office location.
For some. or another big capital city.” says an insider.. 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. not surprisingly. D. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities.”
.m. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. a trying routine.”
On the flip side.Travel
Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites.C. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. Consultants in government services. this is a perk. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. and for others. strategy consultants. 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. “It’s really just luck of the draw. you’ll be on that project. whose project work can be as short as a month. can find themselves in several cities each year. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington.m. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away.
This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.
. you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. Instead. For instance. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). 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.
whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. program. personal. or paid time off. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer.
. or sick days. While it is not necessarily company practice.” says one insider. which include both vacation and personal days. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. As such. From the corporation’s viewpoint. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process—
unlike that of other consulting firms. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. then 21 days for the next 5 years. Accenture started its PTO. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. Employees who work in outsourcing or the internal business functions at Accenture add on PTO days as they work—18 days for the first 5 years. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation.Vacation
In September 2002. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days.
Charles after a year than right off the chute . At the entry level. . and speak like an Accenture consultant. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. and methodology. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. selling. also. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. people in Accenture all use a uniform
. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. they are instructed on how to think. value creation. As a result. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. and it now sends new recruits to St. So do other firms. “It makes a lot more sense. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. business and technology acumen. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. Illinois. In training and thereafter.Training
Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development.” says one insider. . Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Charles. “I would have been able to get a
lot more experience from St. act.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. relationship building. 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.
“Our 2-week training course in St.
. regardless of business group or geographical location. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.com.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. at least). 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. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning.accenture.business language. Accenture’s internal information-management system. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. One insider says. but the trainers are as well. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world.
Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts.300)
Source: WetFeet research. and midcareer candidates. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. in strategy). if they lack significant prior experience.Career Path
Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. in those couple of years.
. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. entry-level hires. to manager. “The whole theory. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. MBAs.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. to associate partner. to senior manager. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA.”
Accenture Career Path
Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner
Undergrad hires. and finally to partner. the expectation is that you’ve aligned
with an industry group and specialty group. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. 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. to consultant. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. The further you go on. New employees move from analyst.
Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10.com. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. they must have technical skills. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. except in strategy. That is. typically in the summer before their senior year.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. • Diversity Leadership Weekend.Opportunities for Undergraduates
Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. • Student Leadership Conference.
. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. On the strategy side. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. Depending on needs.
[and] you’d be focused much more on analysis.” says an insider in recruiting. senior manager. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. and partner. “It varies greatly by profile and experience.Opportunities for MBAs
MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. and move up to manager.” says on insider. but it’s increasingly common.” says another insider. When we’ve branched out. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. you may still start as an analyst. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. “We do it. “It didn’t used to be common. because we’ve got a lot bigger. and we need to have it. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector.” says an insider. associate partner. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t
. from analyst to senior manager.”
Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates
Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. hands-on side of consulting. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. “You might be hired in strategy.
” says one insider in recruiting about overseas
assignments. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills.”
Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. they have a large project-need outside the United States. non-U.S. “If the client has a global presence. we may deploy consultants. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology.. In fact. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. the firm prefers to staff locally.” adds the insider. And in the first 6 months of 2004.valued properly. Instead. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. or if they have a background in language.” says the insider. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. that would make them particularly valuable. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. etc. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm.
responsiveness. especially in strategy. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. Accenture consultants. but not so much time that they burn out. before long you’re a partner. feeling. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. and flexibility. It’s fairly young. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. Accenture gets good marks for openness. generally quite energetic. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach
. and chances are. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift.” says the insider. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. in essence.” said one insider. When things go as they should. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. “High performing.
People Helping People
Though it’s surprising given its size. results-oriented.Insider Scoop
What Employees Really Like
Neither Burnout nor Rust
Sure.” says one insider about the people. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture.
and it becomes a bigger deal being away. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training.”
Know What You’re Getting Into
Contrary to what some MBAs might think. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. “If you’re determined enough. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. Or they’re starting to have a family. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. The next batch.
Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. sometimes with clients. while large. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training.” says one insider. you can usually get what you want. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. people leave at the 4-year mark. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs.
. And the firm. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.it. In fact. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good
roles.” The insider continues. One insider describes the typical departure points for consultants this way: “A lot of people leave between year 1 and 2—a lot of people who thought travel was fantastic and it wasn’t their cup of tea. because they know they’ll get that service back some day.
you will specialize whether you want to or not. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function.”
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.
says one insider. then they’re testing a system. or business analysis expertise. The more projects of a certain type that you do. the more likely you are to be a master of some. The client might say. But rest assured. and that’s not what they expected.” says one insider. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. “For Accenture. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. either.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. the far right would be pure strategy. such as outsourcing and offshoring. on a typical deal. that’s great. Then on the flip side. 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. people who have done organization design.” says one insider. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. We’re not pure strategy. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. programming. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. ‘If you execute it.
and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join.” says one insider. “In the best of times. Of course.”
. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. In down times. and focus. networking. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. In a word. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. you may not get projects at all.Get Out and Mingle
Almost from day 1. you’ll just get marginal projects. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. energy. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. You really have to work hard to get to know people.
• The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips
campusconnection. If Accenture does not visit your campus. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process.” says an insider in recruiting.accenture. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs.
Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. Students should visit Accenture at www.The Recruiting Process
Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why?
. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage.com. by submitting a resume. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school. They are really an initial screening.
technology or process. Focus on the role that you played specifically. not what a team did overall. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in.• When was a time in your life that you had to meet deadlines? • How do you react to tough situations? The second-round interview lasts 30 to 45 minutes and spends more time on behavioral questions.” says an insider. and if all goes well.
. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. can receive an offer from a partner.
‘How do you handle team problems. say insiders. An insider in recruiting advises. “They basically want to see how you would handle yourself in a
consultant-type role where you will be constantly changing projects and team members. individuals who don’t want to work. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. In other words. In general. like
Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. and experience. but excel in this type of environment. skills.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. 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.” The third round is mostly a formality.
Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. industrial or organizational psychology. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. though the firm does make exceptions. for instance. Therefore. management information systems. electrical engineering. computer information systems.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines.” says the insider. and business administration. computer information systems.
. computer engineering. executive leadership. “We ask general. math.” says an Accenture recruiter.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. economics. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. liberal arts. management information systems.” advises the insider. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. organizational behavior. or business administration. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. math. economics. instructional design. Human performance hires. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration.
prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. such as PhDs. Accenture recruits at many schools. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. MDs. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. check with your recruiting center. Stanford. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. Kellogg. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. Berkeley.Undergraduates
Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. and MIT Sloan.C. In any case. plus organizational management and economics. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. Wharton. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice.
Historically. 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. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. For positions other than those in strategy. U.
Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. University of Chicago. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture.
. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. At this level.
Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. an interest in technology. think about your work and school experiences. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. To prepare for your interview. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. dates. 1. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. and then spend time explaining their significance.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. Do job searches and read related job
After the first round. problem-solving abilities. Reading this guide is a good start. determination. Have the names. a willingness to work hard. a strong learning capacity. Do your homework about the organization. and flexibility. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture.accenture. among other traits. 2. 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
do you address those problems? 3. But also visit the company website (www. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture.
The following are a few questions to help get you started: . If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa.How much client interaction should I expect? .What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for?
. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. 4. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you.What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. you will have made an impression.
For Your Reference
For Your Reference
• Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera
Source: Stan Gibson. Risks. in hindsight. Fortune.
Source: Melanie Warner.
“A Rose by Any Other Name”
A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name.For Your Reference
“Skin in the Game”
Corporate clients. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. 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.
“The Incredible Shrinking Consultant”
The consulting industry may be changing.
Source: Daniel Lyons. 2/16/04. and according to this article. it was a smart move. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. 5/26/03. eWeek 3/15/04.
Source: Joanne Gordon. 3/4/02. Forbes.
com. And for help with your case interviews. also available at www. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books.WetFeet. Finally.com. and recruiting. which is published by Kennedy Information. Visit www. their jobs.
.For Your Reference
For Further Study
Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders.accenture. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner.WetFeet.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. visit ConsultingCentral. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders.com. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. Geeks & Geezers: How Era.kennedyinfo.
com.145 1. compared to February 28.291.accenture.792
Source: www.241 6.808 950.616.470
1-Yr.809.895 4.172.985 4.580 946.293.527 1.451 1.For Your Reference
Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.256. 2004.
1.825 7. 2003:
Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total
1.822 1. Change (%)
12 10 31 10 15 14 11
.516.092.498 1.416.171 720.
If not. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. James.For Your Reference
Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. Green.accenture. Chief Strategy Officer
. Timothy S. 2004) Michael G. Forehand. McGrath.com. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States.
Joe W. Chairman and CEO (William D. you can submit your resume at www. CEO designate R. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Green will become CEO on September 1. Nevertheless. Breene. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. many of them during the off-season. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D.
One Market San Francisco. For a complete list. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.S.com. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. check out www. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200. Large U. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000
. Suite 1400 Irving.accenture.For Your Reference
Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world.
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. “So. and he returned with soaked feet. the company. WetFeet serves more than a million job candidates each month by helping them nail their interviews. and manage their careers.com).L. and entertaining way. Think of us as your own private research company whose primary mission is to assist you in making more informed career decisions. And he told his friends. he decided to make a better hunting shoe. but entrepreneurs make boots. and very literally. his shoes leaked. Leon Leonwood Bean got his start because he quite simply. Web-based recruiting technologies. But they didn’t exist.
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