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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . 33 Travel . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
economics. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. and ability to overcome challenges. BearingPoint. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint.S.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. Computer Sciences Corp. analytical prowess.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters.com Primary Competitors IBM. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York.” 1 . • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science.accenture.. • The firm has a strong. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. cities. With our market picking up with the economy. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. Capgemini. that’s had ripple effects. management information systems. young. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. EDS.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. and innovation-oriented culture. It has offices in more than three dozen U. even through liberal arts.000 employees in 48 countries.
It was easy but you have to be honest.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. into manager roles. depending on their programming or industry experience.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. individuals who don’t work. because you’re working on a project. 2 . • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. and in some cases. and of those. New employees move from analyst. people who miscommunicate. 1.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones.600 to 1. to senior manager.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position.000 of those positions are in the United States. About 8. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. 2004. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. and then in some cases. to associate partner and partner. to consultant. It focuses you. to manager. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. “I was asked how you handle team problems.
000–100.000–55.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000–100. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38. a lot depends on work experience $10.000–15.000 $0–30. $40. Accenture does not release compensation data.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. and Accenture was no exception. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Of course.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. the Internet boom has come and gone. one that straddles a multitude of industries. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. For the first few years of this 6 . the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. as one of the few public consulting firms. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. human resources. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. technology consulting. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. and outsourcing practices. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. Today. In fact. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. 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.
“In the bad times. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. 7 . Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. Says one insider. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. The Company changed. 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. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. in particular. for too long. up from 2 percent in 2003. Meanwhile. In the first 6 months of 2004. contracts with government agencies helped. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. The firm has “turned the taps back on. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. They continue to buoy earnings. says an insider.5 percent of total revenue. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. Communications and technology.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off.decade.” Since mid-2003. The best people. you’ll never be unstaffed. you get a sense of your internal worth. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. the industry sectors Accenture serves. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. For its 2004 fiscal year. in theory.” for new hires. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. financial services. In the last year.
A-types. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. “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. like cell phones. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. that come with being a big multinational firm. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. But make no mistake.” says one insider. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails.With a brighter business outlook. team and industry-specific meetings. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. the work is demanding.” says an insider. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. to help me out. and local get-togethers. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. 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. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. At work. “There’s a culture of sharing. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. go-getters. As demanding as consulting can be. an esprit de corp. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense.” Due in part to its university recruitment. you should be ready to sell yourself. 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. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. 8 .
The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. and once you’re ready to move on. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. you’ll be in fairly good hands. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. If you land a job. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. Competition for jobs is intense. 9 . To be successful. The company is committed to training.
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.” for the second year in a row. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt. 10 .Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture.
NH 03458 USA. Peterborough. Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide The Company Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004.20 Largest Consulting Firms. phone: 800-531-0007. www.ConsultingCentral. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. 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.com. 11 .
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.
Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. chances are you’re not going to stick around. big-dollar firms). building programming and business skills along the way.” 15 . putting together the technology architecture. BCG. because once people get to the 3. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. 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.Strategy and business architecture. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. strategy has to compete with Bain. Then we work on common components.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project.or 4-year mark. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. For your first few projects.” says one insider. and the other big-name. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. Booz Allen. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. They often get paid more (after all. as well as finance and performance management. Finally we build out the application. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. you’ll probably hop around between service areas.
Moving from job to job. Because of the nature of the work. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. If they’re locally based. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. international firm.” or moveable storage containers. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. In 1998.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work.” says one insider. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. often work out of a laptop and “totes. you never get a sense of belonging. compounded by the size of Accenture. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. Strategy consultants and senior managers. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. These range from the small. can be a strain. you’re always changing clients. consisting of two to five members. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. 16 . One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. who tend to be more mobile. Some are as informal as dinners out. they may report every day to that station.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. just like in an industry job. But they are really all about networking.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP).” said an insider in recruiting. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. Illinois. But at the start. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. After 12 to 18 months. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. . After an initial 2-week training. Charles. says one insider. building models. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility.” says one insider. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. soaking everything up. . when they might participate in a mock client engagement. and ultimately. selling the firm’s business to new clients. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. they get staffed with an industry group.” On the Job 18 . to get on-the-job training. We want them to be learning how we work. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. analyzing data line by line. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis .
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. valuation.” says one insider. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. We want them to be learning how we work. competitive analysis. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. soaking everything up. economics.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. identifying trends.” Here’s a list of typical day-to-day tasks: • Develop key performance metrics • Conduct industry research • Facilitate the flow of work units through their teams • Discuss specific issues with in-house experts 19 . On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business.
3:30 4:00 20 . First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. One page at a time . 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. . the rest of the team. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. We go over what everyone’s working on. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. I’m starved. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. so the team heads out to lunch. I check e-mails I got from the client. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. I dive back into the documentation. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs.• 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. Well. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. where I meet up with my manager. 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. . and I want to make sure I’m on track. no time like the present. I keep working and make the necessary updates. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. and some members of the client firm. Thank goodness. ask questions about the project.
. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. . Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. discuss certain initiatives. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. and Accenture e-mails. 12:15 Time for lunch. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. grabbing something. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . They got the jerseys. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. voice mail. We go over progress to date. Back at my desk. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. make sure we’re on the same page. who are right down the hall. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. We talk and go over the problem. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. Not so fast. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. Time to head out. so I leave earlier than usual. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. But first. This time. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients.
with one big exception: They manage a small team. and it gives them a nice package.” 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. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. MBAs and/or CPAs. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. “After a few years at the firm. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. Says one insider in recruiting. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level.g. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. They combine that with pretty significant work experience.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis.
but not quite. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. It’s a good time to make sure we’re in touch with the client’s needs—and pick some of my colleagues’ smart brains. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. 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. I need refueling. there are a few critters in this system. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 .• 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. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Then I’m back on our proposal. Yep. Time to head out. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. Still. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. so all hands on deck. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. 12:00 Almost there. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch.
I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. . It’s a tricky one. to which I happily agree. I’ve done this twice in past projects. Oh well. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. Yikes. I open up a spreadsheet but then . waiting for the aircon to kick in. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. . This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. One of my teammates. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. I head for the door. a new analyst. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. Not so fast. Even if it’s a quick one. discuss what she’s tried. I sit down with her. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. and give her some advice. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. and we go over the presentation. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers.
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. As you get higher up in the company. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. projects operate in cycles. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine.” Says another insider. but that is expected with the nature of the job. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. teammates.” says one insider. if this doesn’t get done. and individual report work. I have only had to work weekends once. you don’t like to move on to the next change. or clients. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs.” 26 . One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. but nothing too crazy. which I didn’t mind at all). you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. “I have had to work a few nights. you tend to work a few more hours. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. technical problem solving. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. Generally no one likes to delay a project. At the same time.” says one insider. 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.
travel takes it’s toll. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday. “When you’re more junior.” says another. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year.Aside from a busy schedule. For the most part. The Workplace 27 . travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.” says one insider. often for months at a time. Still. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. you’re going to be dedicated to one client.
I want client people on our team.” 28 .” said one insider. it’s at the client site. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. Employees who work at the client site. “If there were changes. But most of the time. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. for instance. “On average.” Says another. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. especially for extended periods. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. where you have a pod of people in the back room. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. I want them to be integrated.” 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. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. “We go to lunch together. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before.” The insider adds. In my projects. Accenture’s culture can vary from one extreme to another depending on the client you are working for and the office in which you reside. As such. go out after work. we aspire to blend in with our clients. It may be a little less true these days. because we actually have offices.
They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. “We have a very strong collaborative culture.” In spite of the youthful. It’s pretty young. As one insider says. “You do get a lot of opportunities. I immediately get answers. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. “At the consultant level. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. The Workplace 29 . so you continually have to prove your worth. you’re out of town. from project to project. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. other firms. especially when together. 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. 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. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. people like going Within an hour. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. out with each other after work. Of course.” And finally. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting.” is the way one insider describes them. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. “Over all. teamwork.” says one insider. and post questions. If I go on the [companywide] portal.
Once employees start working. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. schedule flexibility for parents. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council.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. the National Society of Black Engineers. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. such as recruiting and promotion. In terms of recruiting. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. and scholarships through INROADS. Joe Forehand. “I report directly to our CEO. recruitment. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities.” In addition. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. the firm offers diversity training. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . Accenture offers internships. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. jobs. career counseling. and retention of women and minorities. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
As far back as 1994. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. the “diversity principle.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. At last count. wherever it is legally possible to do so. three of its 21 management committee members were female. However. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children 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. 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. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade.” a 1-hour course that underlines that diversity in the workforce is a key company priority and shows how stereotypes can contribute to a nonproductive work environment. and less in 31 . Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U.S. dental.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. and “the diversity principle in motion. Plus. In general. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. “There are quite a number of females. Still. 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. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. and dependent life insurance plans. It’s often in testing and functional design. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. though some areas attract more than others.
promote. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.S. On my current project.” says one insider. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. including women of color.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. not many women were hired at the same time. I think that’s just coincidence. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. retain. offices).technology. Another says.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. “When I was hired in. and advance women at Accenture. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. training. mentoring/sponsorship.S. and work-life integration.S. “Additionally. 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. though.” In 1995.” says a female insider. development. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. 32 . In September 2003. and advancement of all managerial women. Catalyst. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. Accenture leadership created a U. These women represent all U. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance.
Accenture does not release this information.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.000.000 range. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. depending on office location.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. educational background.000 to $55. getting an additional salary boost when they advance.” says one insider. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. 33 .000 to $100. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Of course. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. and work experience.
or another big capital city.m. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources.” 34 . the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington.. a trying routine. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities.C. and for others. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. you’ll be on that project. For some.m. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. “It’s really just luck of the draw. not surprisingly. D. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is.” says an insider. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday.” The Workplace On the flip side. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. strategy consultants. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. Consultants in government services. can find themselves in several cities each year. whose project work can be as short as a month. 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. this is a perk.
which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. Instead. The Workplace 35 . you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. For instance. an employee who is headquartered in Los Angeles but working in New York could fly to London for the weekend instead of back to Los Angeles. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks).
Accenture started its PTO. or sick days. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. personal. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. As such. due to the relatively stable nature of project work.” says one insider. which include both vacation and personal days. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. then 21 days for the next 5 years. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. or paid time off. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. 36 . program. While it is not necessarily company practice.Vacation In September 2002. 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. From the corporation’s viewpoint.
and speak like an Accenture consultant. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. Charles. act. . Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. value creation. Charles after a year than right off the chute . and it now sends new recruits to St. . The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St.” says one insider. At the entry level. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. In training and thereafter. they are instructed on how to think. 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. So do other firms. business and technology acumen. “It makes a lot more sense. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. As a result.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. relationship building. and methodology. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Illinois. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. selling. also.
business language. “Our 2-week training course in St. One insider says. The Workplace 38 . at least). regardless of business group or geographical location. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world.com. but the trainers are as well. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange.accenture. Accenture’s internal information-management system.
39 . entry-level hires.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. to senior manager. if they lack significant prior experience. to associate partner. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. The further you go on. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. and finally to partner.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. and midcareer candidates. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. to consultant. 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 manager. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. MBAs. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. in strategy).” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. in those couple of years. “The whole theory.300) Source: WetFeet research. New employees move from analyst.
to 12-week internships for undergraduates. Depending on needs. except in strategy. On the strategy side. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. • Student Leadership Conference. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. The Workplace 40 .Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. That is. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. they must have technical skills. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. typically in the summer before their senior year. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10.com. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources.
“You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. “You might be hired in strategy. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. “It didn’t used to be common. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). because we’ve got a lot bigger.” says on insider. and we need to have it.” says another insider. senior manager. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. but it’s increasingly common. and partner. associate partner. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. you may still start as an analyst. and move up to manager. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. from analyst to senior manager. When we’ve branched out. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry.” 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.” says an insider. “We do it.
which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. In fact. non-U. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. or if they have a background in language.valued properly. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. they have a large project-need outside the United States. And in the first 6 months of 2004. etc.S. “If the client has a global presence. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously.” 42 . “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. the firm prefers to staff locally.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. Instead..” adds the insider. that would make them particularly valuable.” says the insider. we may deploy consultants. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues.
generally quite energetic. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. and chances are. results-oriented. “High performing. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. 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.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. Accenture consultants. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 .” said one insider. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. When things go as they should. It’s fairly young. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. but not so much time that they burn out. Now we’ve turned the taps back on.” says one insider about the people.” says the insider. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. Accenture gets good marks for openness. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. feeling. in essence. especially in strategy. before long you’re a partner. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. and flexibility. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. responsiveness. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks.
people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. And the firm. 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. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. In fact. Or they’re starting to have a family. The next batch. 44 . and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. while large. 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. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. you can usually get what you want. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. sometimes with clients. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. “If you’re determined enough.” says one insider. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.it.” The insider continues. people leave at the 4-year mark. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume.
The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. The client might say. such as outsourcing and offshoring.” The Workplace says one insider. and that’s not what they expected. then they’re testing a system. on a typical deal. that’s great.” 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. But rest assured. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. 45 .“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. programming. We’re not pure strategy. how about the strategic direction?’” The downside of working on different types of projects means “you’re a jackall-trades and a master of none.” says one insider. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. you will specialize whether you want to or not. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. the more likely you are to be a master of some. “For Accenture. or business analysis expertise. The more projects of a certain type that you do. Then on the flip side. people who have done organization design.” says one insider. the far right would be pure strategy. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. ‘If you execute it. either. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system.
” The Workplace 46 . “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along.” says one insider. “In the best of times. networking. you’ll just get marginal projects. Of course. you may not get projects at all. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. In down times. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. In a word. You really have to work hard to get to know people. energy. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. and focus.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 .” says an insider in recruiting.com. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. 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. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone.accenture. Students should visit Accenture at www. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. If Accenture does not visit your campus. by submitting a resume.campusconnection. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. They are really an initial screening.
In general. In other words. say insiders. technology or process. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. 49 . Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. An insider in recruiting advises. individuals who don’t want to work.” says an insider.• 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. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. skills. not what a team did overall. “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.” 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. 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. but excel in this type of environment. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. and experience. and if all goes well.” The third round is mostly a formality. Focus on the role that you played specifically. can receive an offer from a partner. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. 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. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver.
“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. Getting Hired 50 . “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. instructional design. for instance. economics. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. electrical engineering. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. Therefore. executive leadership.” says the insider. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. computer engineering. or business administration. though the firm does make exceptions. management information systems. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. “We ask general. management information systems. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. liberal arts. organizational behavior.” says an Accenture recruiter. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. math. math. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. Human performance hires.” advises the insider. computer information systems. and business administration. computer information systems. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. industrial or organizational psychology. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. economics.
In any case. MDs.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. Midcareer Candidates Historically. University of Chicago. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. Stanford. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. For positions other than those in strategy. Kellogg. U. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. check with your recruiting center. such as PhDs. Wharton. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. Getting Hired 51 . These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. plus organizational management and economics. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. At this level. Berkeley. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. 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.C. and MIT Sloan. Accenture recruits at many schools. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs.
among other traits. Do your homework about the organization. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group.accenture. and then spend time explaining their significance. determination. 1. dates.Interviewing Tips After the first round. an interest in technology. To prepare for your interview. and flexibility. Reading this guide is a good start. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. a willingness to work hard. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. 2. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. problem-solving abilities. think about your work and school experiences. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. a strong learning capacity. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. Have the names. Do job searches and read related job 52 . But also visit the company website (www. 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.
announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services.How much client interaction should I expect? .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. you will have made an impression. 4. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
Fortune. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. and according to this article. 56 . “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. 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. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. Forbes. 2/16/04. Source: Joanne Gordon.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. it was a smart move. Risks. Source: Stan Gibson. Forbes. Source: Melanie Warner. in hindsight. “Sharing Gains. 5/26/03. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. Source: Daniel Lyons. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. eWeek 3/15/04. 3/4/02.
com.WetFeet.com. And for help with your case interviews. 57 . Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. also available at www. Visit www. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. visit ConsultingCentral.WetFeet. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange.accenture. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. Finally. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. and recruiting. which is published by Kennedy Information.kennedyinfo.com. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. their jobs.com or the Kennedy Information website at www.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www.
809.822 1.171 720.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.470 1-Yr.092. 2004. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.241 6.498 1.580 946.516.293. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 . compared to February 28. 2003 ($) 1.808 950.985 4.145 1.com.825 7.172.792 Source: www.527 1.accenture.416.291.451 1.616.256.895 4.
you can submit your resume at www. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D.com. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). James. many of them during the off-season. If not. CEO designate R. Chairman and CEO (William D. Breene. McGrath. Nevertheless. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A.accenture. Key People Joe W. Green. 2004) Michael G. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. Timothy S. Green will become CEO on September 1. Forehand.
TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . One Market San Francisco. Suite 1400 Irving.com. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. Large U. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200.S.accenture. check out www. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. For a complete list.
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