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WetFeet Insider Guide
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All rights reserved. without the express written permission of WetFeet. This publication is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America.com Accenture ISBN: 1-58207-439-9 Photocopying Is Prohibited Copyright 2004 WetFeet.wetfeet.com Website: www. . CA 94105 Phone: (415) 284-7900 or 1-800-926-4JOB Fax: (415) 284-7910 E-mail: info@wetfeet. stored in a retrieval system. or transmitted in any form or by any means. Inc. distributed. in part or in whole. It may not be reproduced.WetFeet. 609 Mission Street Suite 400 San Francisco. Inc. Inc. No copying in any form is permitted.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
even through liberal arts. analytical prowess.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. young. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. • The firm has a strong. and innovation-oriented culture.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. cities.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. EDS. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. It has offices in more than three dozen U. With our market picking up with the economy. Capgemini. economics. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. Computer Sciences Corp.” 1 .accenture. management information systems.000 employees in 48 countries. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. and ability to overcome challenges.com Primary Competitors IBM. that’s had ripple effects.. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science.S. BearingPoint.
to consultant. to senior manager. 1. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. depending on their programming or industry experience. and of those. individuals who don’t work. people who miscommunicate. because you’re working on a project. to manager. to associate partner and partner. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. About 8.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. 2004.600 to 1. and in some cases. It focuses you. 2 . New employees move from analyst. into manager roles. It was easy but you have to be honest. “I was asked how you handle team problems. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years.000 of those positions are in the United States. and then in some cases. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years.
Accenture does not release compensation data.000–100. a lot depends on work experience $10.000.000 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. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38. $40.000–55.000 $0–30.000–100.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000–15.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. as one of the few public consulting firms. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. For the first few years of this 6 . technology consulting. human resources. In fact. Of course. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. and Accenture was no exception. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. and outsourcing practices.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. the Internet boom has come and gone. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. Today. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. one that straddles a multitude of industries. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. 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. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard.
Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. in particular. contracts with government agencies helped. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and.” for new hires. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. The firm has “turned the taps back on. financial services. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). the industry sectors Accenture serves. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. for too long. up from 2 percent in 2003. insiders report that the mood has “” Accenture can be a great place to have a career—you’ll have the resources and clout of a huge company behind you—but it’s not for everyone. The Company changed. you’ll never be unstaffed. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients.5 percent of total revenue. Meanwhile. in theory. In the first 6 months of 2004. says an insider. The best people. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. For its 2004 fiscal year. Communications and technology. They continue to buoy earnings. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts.” Since mid-2003. “In the bad times. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. 7 . Says one insider. you get a sense of your internal worth.decade. In the last year.
People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. “There’s a culture of sharing. But make no mistake. go-getters. to help me out. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. like cell phones. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. As demanding as consulting can be. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. an esprit de corp. some of the work strains seemed to have eased.With a brighter business outlook. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. the work is demanding. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. that come with being a big multinational firm. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. At work. and local get-togethers. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. A-types. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together.” says one insider. 8 .” says an insider. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. 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. team and industry-specific meetings.” Due in part to its university recruitment. “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. you should be ready to sell yourself.
Competition for jobs is intense. To be successful. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. If you land a job. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. The company is committed to training. and once you’re ready to move on. 9 . you’ll be in fairly good hands.
its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. 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. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture. 10 .Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block.” for the second year in a row.
NH 03458 USA. phone: 800-531-0007. 11 . www.ConsultingCentral.20 Largest Consulting Firms. Peterborough. Consultants News/Kennedy Information.com. Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide The Company Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004. by 2003 Consulting Revenue Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Firm IBM Accenture Deloitte Capgemini CSC BearingPoint Hewlett-Packard McKinsey & Co.
Where MBAs Want to Work
Accenture doesn’t have quite the cache among MBAs that the large strategy firms such as McKinsey and Bain do. But in 2004 it moved up two notches to
number 27, between PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lehman Brothers. The following ranking is a result of Universum’s 2004 survey of MBAs, who ranked the companies where they would most like to work.
Consulting Firms that Ranked in the Top 50
1 4 7 10 11 13 27
McKinsey & Co. IBM Bain & Co. Booz Allen Hamilton Deloitte Boston Consulting Group Accenture
Source: Based on a study by Universum, published in Fortune. Ann Harrington, Fortune, 4/19/2004.
Organization of the Firm
View from the Top
Accenture is a public company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACN. At the top of the organization sits CEO Joe Forehand and the executive committee of partners and officers who report directly to him, followed by numerous steering and operating committees. Though the firm has no fixed geographical headquarters, it has big offices in major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
View from the Middle
Accenture is organized into several partially overlapping industry areas that allow clients to choose from a smorgasbord of integrated consulting services. The company maintains five global operations groups: 1. Financial services 2. Government 3. Communications and high tech 4. Products 5. Resources
Nine service and solutions lines support the global operations groups: 1. Customer relationship management 2. Finance and performance management
3. Human performance 4. Strategy and business architecture 5. Supply chain management 6. Technology research and innovation 7. Technology solutions 8. Microsoft solutions 9. Outsourcing and infrastructure delivery Accenture’s five operating groups function as umbrella units for 18 separate industry areas and government services. The service lines are then broken down between business consulting or technology and outsourcing. Some of these groups could change by the time you get there; Accenture is continually shifting its organizational structure. That’s not surprising, given that it’s in the business of reorganizing companies and processes. “If we ourselves aren’t changing, that means we’re stagnant, and we’re not a few steps ahead of the client,” explains one insider. The tasks in the various service areas can vary widely. Customer relationship management, supply chain management, technology research, and technology solutions often involve more of the hard-core technology work. Members of the technology groups are more likely to work on-site for extended periods to implement new technology. The human performance group deals largely with the human resources and training issues that arise with technology work.
” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. because once people get to the 3. building programming and business skills along the way. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like.” says one insider. Then we work on common components. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing.Strategy and business architecture. BCG. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. Finally we build out the application. Booz Allen. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. They often get paid more (after all. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. as well as finance and performance management. 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. and the other big-name. putting together the technology architecture. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. strategy has to compete with Bain. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. big-dollar firms). Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. chances are you’re not going to stick around. For your first few projects.or 4-year mark.” 15 . they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects.
who tend to be more mobile. consisting of two to five members. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. just like in an industry job.” or moveable storage containers. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. Some are as informal as dinners out. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. Moving from job to job.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. you’re always changing clients. But they are really all about networking. In 1998. 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. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. they may report every day to that station.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. 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. If they’re locally based. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. international firm. can be a strain. compounded by the size of Accenture. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. you never get a sense of belonging. Strategy consultants and senior managers.” says one insider. Because of the nature of the work. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. 16 .
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
After an initial 2-week training. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. selling the firm’s business to new clients.” says one insider. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. and ultimately. Illinois. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. We want them to be learning how we work.” On the Job 18 . says one insider. . when they might participate in a mock client engagement. . analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. analyzing data line by line. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . Charles. After 12 to 18 months. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. building models. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. they get staffed with an industry group. to get on-the-job training.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). soaking everything up. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St.” said an insider in recruiting. But at the start.
That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. identifying trends. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. valuation. We want them to be learning how we work.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. 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.” 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 . economics. competitive analysis. soaking everything up. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions.” says one insider. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry.
the rest of the team. and I want to make sure I’m on track. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. ask questions about the project. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. Well. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. I dive back into the documentation. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go.• 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. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. I check e-mails I got from the client. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. . We go over what everyone’s working on. and some members of the client firm. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. Thank goodness. 3:30 4:00 20 . where I meet up with my manager. so the team heads out to lunch. no time like the present. . I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. I’m starved. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. I keep working and make the necessary updates. One page at a time .
Back at my desk. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . who are right down the hall. grabbing something. Not so fast. so I leave earlier than usual. . it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. 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. Time to head out. . They got the jerseys. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. and Accenture e-mails. We talk and go over the problem. This time. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours .5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. 12:15 Time for lunch. discuss certain initiatives. But first. make sure we’re on the same page. voice mail. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site.
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. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants.” Typical Responsibilities • Lead project meetings • Monitor and report on project status • Lead presentations • Interview vendors • Supervise analysts • Facilitate brainstorming sessions • Conduct client interviews and workshops • Assess existing technology and future needs 22 .” says one insider. “After a few years at the firm. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. and it gives them a nice package. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis..Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. Says one insider in recruiting. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. with one big exception: They manage a small team. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts.g. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. MBAs and/or CPAs.
so all hands on deck. Time to head out. 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. 12:00 Almost there. there are a few critters in this system. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. 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. but not quite. Then I’m back on our proposal. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem.• 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. 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. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . trying to distill what people want and what we can do. Yep. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. Still. I need refueling.
I’ve done this twice in past projects. Oh well. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. and give her some advice. Yikes. 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. to which I happily agree. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. discuss what she’s tried. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. Not so fast. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. waiting for the aircon to kick in. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. One of my teammates. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . Even if it’s a quick one. I sit down with her. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. I head for the door. and we go over the presentation. . so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. a new analyst. It’s a tricky one. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. . it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. I open up a spreadsheet but then .
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
” says one insider. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. At the same time. As you get higher up in the company. and individual report work. which I didn’t mind at all).” Says another insider. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. Generally no one likes to delay a project. projects operate in cycles. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. but nothing too crazy. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. but that is expected with the nature of the job. I have only had to work weekends once. 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. teammates.” says one insider. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. or clients. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. “I have had to work a few nights. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.” 26 . you tend to work a few more hours.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. technical problem solving. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. you don’t like to move on to the next change. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. if this doesn’t get done. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along.
” says one insider. The Workplace 27 . often for months at a time. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday.” says another. For the most part. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home.Aside from a busy schedule. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. travel takes it’s toll. “When you’re more junior. Still. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.
go out after work. I want them to be integrated. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. “If there were changes. As such.” Two recent events—the downturn in the economy and the transformation of the firm from one owned and run by partners to a publicly owned firm—have left their mark. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.” Says another.” The insider adds. “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.” 28 . it’s at the client site. we aspire to blend in with our clients. because we actually have offices. for instance. Employees who work at the client site. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly.” said one insider. “On average. “We go to lunch together. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. It may be a little less true these days. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. where you have a pod of people in the back room. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. especially for extended periods. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. But most of the time. I want client people on our team. In my projects.
and post questions. teamwork. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. people like going Within an hour. It’s pretty young. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. As one insider says. so you continually have to prove your worth. You get off the plane and Accenture has a youthful atmosphere that lends itself you don’t know any easily to making contacts that will last as you move of your colleagues. The Workplace 29 . from project to project. “Over all. If I go on the [companywide] portal.” And finally.” In spite of the youthful. “You do get a lot of opportunities.” says one insider. I immediately get answers. 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. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. especially when together. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting.” is the way one insider describes them. out with each other after work. Of course. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. “At the consultant level. other firms. you’re out of town.
Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. Joe Forehand. and retention of women and minorities.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. Once employees start working. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. Accenture offers internships. the National Society of Black Engineers. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. jobs. “I report directly to our CEO.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. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. recruitment. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. In terms of recruiting. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. career counseling. the firm offers diversity training. such as recruiting and promotion. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . and scholarships through INROADS.” In addition.
and dependent life insurance plans. At last count. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians.valuing the dynamics between men and women. but it’s very polarized.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. In general. three of its 21 management committee members were female. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. and less in 31 . Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. wherever it is legally possible to do so. Plus. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. However. Still. though some areas attract more than others. dental. It’s often in testing and functional design. and “the diversity principle in motion. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. the “diversity principle. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. As far back as 1994.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. 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.S. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical.” 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. “There are quite a number of females. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title.
Accenture leadership created a U. “Additionally.technology. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. and advance women at Accenture. Catalyst. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.S.S. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. In September 2003. I think that’s just coincidence. though. 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. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. promote. and work-life integration. training.” In 1995.S.” says one insider. offices). regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. development. On my current project. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. 32 . and advancement of all managerial women. including women of color. not many women were hired at the same time. Another says. These women represent all U.” says a female insider. mentoring/sponsorship. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. retain.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. “When I was hired in. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women.
000. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. 33 .” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start.000 to $100.000 range. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. Accenture does not release this information. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year.” says one insider. Of course. and work experience. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. educational background. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. 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. depending on office location. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels.
Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday.” 34 . rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington.C. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. whose project work can be as short as a month. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. a trying routine.” The Workplace On the flip side. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away.. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. For some. this is a perk.” says an insider. you’ll be on that project.m. strategy consultants. or another big capital city. Consultants in government services.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. can find themselves in several cities each year.m. and for others. “It’s really just luck of the draw. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. D. not surprisingly. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past.
The Workplace 35 . every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. Instead. 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. 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. For instance.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.
In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. From the corporation’s viewpoint. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. While it is not necessarily company practice. or paid time off. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. then 21 days for the next 5 years. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. Accenture started its PTO. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. which include both vacation and personal days. 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.” says one insider. program. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. personal.Vacation In September 2002. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. 36 . some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. As such. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. or sick days.
relationship building.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. Charles. At the entry level. selling. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . . and it now sends new recruits to St. also. “It makes a lot more sense. and methodology. value creation. and speak like an Accenture consultant. As a result. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. they are instructed on how to think. So do other firms. act. 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. Charles after a year than right off the chute . Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. 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. Illinois. . it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. In training and thereafter.” says one insider. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. business and technology acumen. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture.
so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. One insider says.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange.accenture. but the trainers are as well. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.com. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. Accenture’s internal information-management system. “Our 2-week training course in St. at least). Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. regardless of business group or geographical location. Not only are the trainees from all over the world.business language. The Workplace 38 .
” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. “The whole theory. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. 39 .” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. and finally to partner. MBAs. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. to senior manager. to associate partner. in those couple of years. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA.300) Source: WetFeet research. if they lack significant prior experience. entry-level hires. to consultant. New employees move from analyst. to manager. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. and midcareer candidates. for 2 to 4 years New MBA hires and analysts with at least 2 years’ experience Consultants with 2 to 4 years’ experience Managers with 3 to 4 years’ experience Experienced managers Those elected to firm’s partnership (currently 2. The further you go on. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. in strategy). the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. is that not only do you get the initial foundation.
Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree.com. except in strategy. they must have technical skills.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. Depending on needs. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. The Workplace 40 . This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. • Student Leadership Conference. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. That is.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. On the strategy side. typically in the summer before their senior year. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture.
because we’ve got a lot bigger. but it’s increasingly common. and partner.” says an insider in recruiting. hands-on side of consulting. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. senior manager. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . associate partner. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. and we need to have it.” says another insider. “It didn’t used to be common.” says on insider.” says an insider. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. and move up to manager. When we’ve branched out. 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. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. “You might be hired in strategy. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. from analyst to senior manager. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise.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. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. you may still start as an analyst. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. “We do it.
or if they have a background in language. Instead. we may deploy consultants.” 42 . which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. the firm prefers to staff locally. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. 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.” says the insider.. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise.S. they have a large project-need outside the United States.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. that would make them particularly valuable.valued properly. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. And in the first 6 months of 2004.” adds the insider. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. non-U. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. “If the client has a global presence. In fact. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad.
The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. responsiveness. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. Now we’ve turned the taps back on.” said one insider. When things go as they should. and chances are.” says one insider about the people. Accenture consultants. It’s fairly young. in essence. but not so much time that they burn out. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. results-oriented. start a new job every 6 to 12 months.” says the insider.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. feeling. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. generally quite energetic. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. and flexibility. Accenture gets good marks for openness. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. especially in strategy. “High performing. before long you’re a partner. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture.
In fact. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. and it becomes a bigger deal being away.it. “If you’re determined enough. Or they’re starting to have a family.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. people leave at the 4-year mark. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration.” The insider continues. The next batch. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. And the firm. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. 44 . and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. sometimes with clients. 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. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. while large. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. because they know they’ll get that service back some day.” says one insider. you can usually get what you want. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.
45 . We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. programming. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. people who have done organization design. Then on the flip side. We’re not pure strategy. and that’s not what they expected. the more likely you are to be a master of some. you will specialize whether you want to or not. on a typical deal.” says one insider. then they’re testing a system. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. either. that’s great. But rest assured. The client might say. ‘If you execute it. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry.” 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. “For Accenture.” says one insider. the far right would be pure strategy. or business analysis expertise. such as outsourcing and offshoring. The more projects of a certain type that you do.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. 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.” The Workplace says one insider. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with.
and focus.” The Workplace 46 . you’ll just get marginal projects. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. You really have to work hard to get to know people. Of course. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. networking. “In the best of times. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1.” says one insider. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. energy. In down times. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. you may not get projects at all. In a word.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
by submitting a resume. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines.com.accenture. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. If Accenture does not visit your campus.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. They are really an initial screening.” says an insider in recruiting. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. Students should visit Accenture at www. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school.campusconnection. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. 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.
49 . Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. not what a team did overall. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. Focus on the role that you played specifically. but excel in this type of environment. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. and experience. An insider in recruiting advises. technology or process.• 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. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. In other words. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. say insiders.” says an insider.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. ‘How do you handle team problems. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. individuals who don’t want to work. In general.” The third round is mostly a formality. “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. can receive an offer from a partner. skills. 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. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. and if all goes well.
Therefore. “We ask general. we are trying to understand what a recruit did.” advises the insider. and business administration. or business administration. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. industrial or organizational psychology. though the firm does make exceptions. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. electrical engineering.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. instructional design. computer information systems. management information systems. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. economics.” says an Accenture recruiter. math. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. computer information systems. economics. computer engineering. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. for instance. 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. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration.” says the insider. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. Human performance hires.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. management information systems. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. liberal arts. executive leadership. Getting Hired 50 . math. organizational behavior.
and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. Experienced candidates generally go through two rounds of interviews—a screening interview followed by a behavioral and skills-assessment interview— but the process is much less set in stone than it is for undergrads and MBAs. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. check with your recruiting center. and MIT Sloan. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Accenture recruits at many schools. If you don’t have a contact in the firm.C. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. U. At this level. Stanford. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. plus organizational management and economics. MDs. For positions other than those in strategy. Midcareer Candidates Historically. University of Chicago. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. In any case. Berkeley. Kellogg. such as PhDs. Wharton. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. Getting Hired 51 .
Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. problem-solving abilities. a strong learning capacity. think about your work and school experiences. dates. a willingness to work hard. determination. 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. To prepare for your interview. 1. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. Reading this guide is a good start. and flexibility.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. Do your homework about the organization. Have the names.accenture. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. 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.Interviewing Tips After the first round. among other traits. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. 2. and then spend time explaining their significance. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. Do job searches and read related job 52 . an interest in technology. But also visit the company website (www.
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.How much client interaction should I expect? . You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services. 4. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. The following are a few questions to help get you started: . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. you will have made an impression. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? .announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
Risks. eWeek 3/15/04. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. Source: Daniel Lyons. Forbes. 3/4/02. Fortune. “Sharing Gains. 2/16/04. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. it was a smart move. in hindsight. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. and according to this article.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. 5/26/03. Forbes. Source: Melanie Warner. Source: Stan Gibson. 56 . Source: Joanne Gordon. 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.
Finally. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. which is published by Kennedy Information.accenture. Visit www. visit ConsultingCentral. Geeks & Geezers: How Era.WetFeet.com.com.com.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. 57 . A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. and recruiting. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. also available at www. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. their jobs.kennedyinfo. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. And for help with your case interviews.WetFeet. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea.com or the Kennedy Information website at www.
092. 2003 ($) 1.accenture.895 4.com.171 720.416.498 1.985 4. 2004.616.241 6.809.293.527 1.145 1. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.792 Source: www.451 1.825 7. compared to February 28.516.580 946.291. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .808 950.256.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.822 1.470 1-Yr.172.
If not. Nevertheless. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Timothy S. Forehand. McGrath. you can submit your resume at www. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Green. many of them during the off-season. James. Breene.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you.com. Key People Joe W. CEO designate R.accenture. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. Green will become CEO on September 1. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Chairman and CEO (William D. 2004) Michael G. 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).
For a complete list. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. One Market San Francisco. Suite 1400 Irving. Large U. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 .accenture.com. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard.S. 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. check out www.
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