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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . .
. . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . 59 . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
and ability to overcome challenges.com Primary Competitors IBM. analytical prowess.S.000 employees in 48 countries. economics. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York. BearingPoint.accenture. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. young. even through liberal arts.” 1 . ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. With our market picking up with the economy. and innovation-oriented culture. that’s had ripple effects. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. EDS.. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. Computer Sciences Corp. • The firm has a strong. Capgemini. cities. It has offices in more than three dozen U.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. management information systems.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003.
• Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. New employees move from analyst. people who miscommunicate. It focuses you. depending on their programming or industry experience.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. to senior manager. to associate partner and partner.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience.600 to 1. and of those. “I was asked how you handle team problems. into manager roles. to consultant. and then in some cases. 2004. because you’re working on a project. It was easy but you have to be honest. 1.000 of those positions are in the United States. About 8.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. to manager. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. 2 . individuals who don’t work. and in some cases.
000–100. a lot depends on work experience $10.000–100.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000.000–55. Accenture does not release compensation data. $40.000 $0–30.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000–15.000 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.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. 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 Internet boom has come and gone. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. as one of the few public consulting firms. technology consulting. In fact. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. human resources. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. and outsourcing practices. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. For the first few years of this 6 . and Accenture was no exception. Today. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. one that straddles a multitude of industries. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. 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.
When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. “In the bad times. For its 2004 fiscal year. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. The firm has “turned the taps back on. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. for too long.” for new hires. Says one insider. 7 . financial services. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. Communications and technology. They continue to buoy earnings. says an insider. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. up from 2 percent in 2003. contracts with government agencies helped. In the last year. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. In the first 6 months of 2004. The best people. 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. in particular. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). in theory. The Company changed. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank.decade.” Since mid-2003. you get a sense of your internal worth.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. Meanwhile.5 percent of total revenue. the industry sectors Accenture serves. you’ll never be unstaffed.
Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. you should be ready to sell yourself. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. At work.” Due in part to its university recruitment. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation.With a brighter business outlook. to help me out. go-getters. the work is demanding. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. that come with being a big multinational firm. “There’s a culture of sharing. “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. 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. an esprit de corp. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. A-types. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. 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. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job.” says an insider. like cell phones. But make no mistake. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. and local get-togethers. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate.” says one insider. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. As demanding as consulting can be. team and industry-specific meetings. 8 .
The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. To be successful. you’ll be in fairly good hands. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. 9 . The company is committed to training. Competition for jobs is intense. and once you’re ready to move on. If you land a job. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how.
and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture. 10 . According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS.” for the second year in a row. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block.
Consultants News/Kennedy Information. www. 11 . 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.com. 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. NH 03458 USA.ConsultingCentral. phone: 800-531-0007.20 Largest Consulting Firms.
Where MBAs Want to Work
Accenture doesn’t have quite the cache among MBAs that the large strategy firms such as McKinsey and Bain do. But in 2004 it moved up two notches to
number 27, between PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lehman Brothers. The following ranking is a result of Universum’s 2004 survey of MBAs, who ranked the companies where they would most like to work.
Consulting Firms that Ranked in the Top 50
1 4 7 10 11 13 27
McKinsey & Co. IBM Bain & Co. Booz Allen Hamilton Deloitte Boston Consulting Group Accenture
Source: Based on a study by Universum, published in Fortune. Ann Harrington, Fortune, 4/19/2004.
Organization of the Firm
View from the Top
Accenture is a public company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACN. At the top of the organization sits CEO Joe Forehand and the executive committee of partners and officers who report directly to him, followed by numerous steering and operating committees. Though the firm has no fixed geographical headquarters, it has big offices in major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
View from the Middle
Accenture is organized into several partially overlapping industry areas that allow clients to choose from a smorgasbord of integrated consulting services. The company maintains five global operations groups: 1. Financial services 2. Government 3. Communications and high tech 4. Products 5. Resources
Nine service and solutions lines support the global operations groups: 1. Customer relationship management 2. Finance and performance management
3. Human performance 4. Strategy and business architecture 5. Supply chain management 6. Technology research and innovation 7. Technology solutions 8. Microsoft solutions 9. Outsourcing and infrastructure delivery Accenture’s five operating groups function as umbrella units for 18 separate industry areas and government services. The service lines are then broken down between business consulting or technology and outsourcing. Some of these groups could change by the time you get there; Accenture is continually shifting its organizational structure. That’s not surprising, given that it’s in the business of reorganizing companies and processes. “If we ourselves aren’t changing, that means we’re stagnant, and we’re not a few steps ahead of the client,” explains one insider. The tasks in the various service areas can vary widely. Customer relationship management, supply chain management, technology research, and technology solutions often involve more of the hard-core technology work. Members of the technology groups are more likely to work on-site for extended periods to implement new technology. The human performance group deals largely with the human resources and training issues that arise with technology work.
” 15 . most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. For your first few projects. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. chances are you’re not going to stick around. building programming and business skills along the way. Then we work on common components. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles.Strategy and business architecture. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. They often get paid more (after all. strategy has to compete with Bain.” says one insider. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. 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. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. Finally we build out the application.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. Booz Allen.or 4-year mark. putting together the technology architecture. because once people get to the 3. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. BCG. big-dollar firms). “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. as well as finance and performance management.
” says one insider. international firm. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. often work out of a laptop and “totes.” or moveable storage containers. can be a strain. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. who tend to be more mobile. But they are really all about networking. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. compounded by the size of Accenture. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. Moving from job to job. If they’re locally based. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. In 1998. Strategy consultants and senior managers.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. you’re always changing clients. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. Because of the nature of the work.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. consisting of two to five members. they may report every day to that station. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. Some are as informal as dinners out. just like in an industry job. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. you never get a sense of belonging. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. 16 . These range from the small.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . . soaking everything up. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. But at the start. After an initial 2-week training. says one insider. Illinois. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. . and ultimately. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff.” On the Job 18 . After 12 to 18 months. Charles. they get staffed with an industry group. selling the firm’s business to new clients. We want them to be learning how we work. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. to get on-the-job training.” says one insider. 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. building models. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts.” said an insider in recruiting.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP).
We want them to be learning how we work.” 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 . soaking everything up.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. competitive analysis. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. valuation. economics. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. 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. identifying trends.” says one insider.
I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. ask questions about the project. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. . While I take a few swigs of my coffee. I keep working and make the necessary updates. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. so the team heads out to lunch. the rest of the team. Thank goodness. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. and I want to make sure I’m on track.• Assess existing technology • Conduct market research • Develop and maintain client relationships • Perform benchmarking analysis • Analyze current systems and problems • Recommend new approaches • Present findings to team members A Day in the Life of a First-Year Analyst 8:30 On the Job I get into the client site. I dive back into the documentation. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. 3:30 4:00 20 . Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. Well. We go over what everyone’s working on. and some members of the client firm. I’m starved. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. where I meet up with my manager. One page at a time . no time like the present. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. . I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. 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. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus.
discuss certain initiatives. 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. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. grabbing something. But first. They got the jerseys. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. This time. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . Time to head out. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. We go over progress to date. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. and Accenture e-mails. . Back at my desk. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. 12:15 Time for lunch. who are right down the hall. We talk and go over the problem. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. . But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. Not so fast. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. voice mail. so I leave earlier than usual. 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.
Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit.” 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 . you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.g. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. MBAs and/or CPAs.” says one insider.. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. 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. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. and it gives them a nice package. Says one insider in recruiting. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. “After a few years at the firm. with one big exception: They manage a small team.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level.
Then I’m back on our proposal. but not quite. Still. 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. 12:00 Almost there. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. so all hands on deck. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. there are a few critters in this system. Time to head out. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. Yep. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. I need refueling. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. A bunch of folks from my last project are meeting to watch the game at 7:00 and I’ve told them to save me a stool.• Develop acceptance criteria • Oversee implementation of technical applications (IT) • Develop and implement financial models • Oversee training applications • Conduct structure analysis A Day in the Life of an IT Consultant 8:30 9:00 Arrive at the site. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug.
to which I happily agree. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. and we go over the presentation. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . waiting for the aircon to kick in. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. Yikes. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. and give her some advice. . I’ve done this twice in past projects. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. I sit down with her. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. Not so fast. Oh well. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. It’s a tricky one. Even if it’s a quick one. a new analyst. I head for the door. One of my teammates. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. discuss what she’s tried. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. . Another colleague comes by with a different problem. 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 .
but nothing too crazy. “I have had to work a few nights. but that is expected with the nature of the job. I have only had to work weekends once. As you get higher up in the company. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs.” says one insider. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. teammates. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. you tend to work a few more hours. projects operate in cycles. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. Generally no one likes to delay a project. if this doesn’t get done. but that was told to me ahead of time and it was due to the nature of the project (a week-long assignment in a sunny location. which I didn’t mind at all).” 26 .Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. and individual report work.” Says another insider. technical problem solving. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. you don’t like to move on to the next change. At the same time. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along.” says one insider. or clients. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings.
travel takes it’s toll.Aside from a busy schedule. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday. For the most part. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. The Workplace 27 . that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. often for months at a time.” says another. “When you’re more junior. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. Still.” says one insider.
there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. “If there were changes.” The insider adds. where you have a pod of people in the back room. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office.” said one insider. As such. it’s at the client site. especially for extended periods. I want them to be integrated. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. I want client people on our team. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. 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.” 28 . Employees who work at the client site. 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. “On average. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. But most of the time. we aspire to blend in with our clients. go out after work.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. for instance. In my projects.” 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. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. because we actually have offices.” Says another. “We go to lunch together.
“We have a very strong collaborative culture. you’re out of town. out with each other after work. Of course. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. other firms. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. “At the consultant level. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. “You do get a lot of opportunities. from project to project.” says one insider.” In spite of the youthful. If I go on the [companywide] portal. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. “Over all. so you continually have to prove your worth. The Workplace 29 . work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. 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. I immediately get answers. It’s pretty young.” And finally. As one insider says. You’re there because they can’t do something internally.” is the way one insider describes them. 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. and post questions. especially when together. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. people like going Within an hour. teamwork.
“We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. and scholarships through INROADS. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. the National Society of Black Engineers. “I report directly to our CEO. career counseling.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. Accenture offers internships. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. schedule flexibility for parents. Once employees start working. such as recruiting and promotion. In terms of recruiting. the firm offers diversity training. Joe Forehand. jobs.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. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. and retention of women and minorities. recruitment. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives.” In addition. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company.
Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title.valuing the dynamics between men and women. dental. but it’s very polarized. and less in 31 .S. Plus. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel.” 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. the “diversity principle. and “the diversity principle in motion. At last count. It’s often in testing and functional design. and dependent life insurance plans.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. “There are quite a number of females. In general. wherever it is legally possible to do so. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. though some areas attract more than others. three of its 21 management committee members were female. However. 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 percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. As far back as 1994. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace.
The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. and work-life integration. training.” says one insider. retain.S. I think that’s just coincidence. “Additionally. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. and advancement of all managerial women. mentoring/sponsorship.” In 1995. “When I was hired in. Another says. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. and advance women at Accenture.S. 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.S. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. 32 . development. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. offices). the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. These women represent all U. not many women were hired at the same time. On my current project. Catalyst. In September 2003.technology.” says a female insider.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. promote. though. Accenture leadership created a U.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. including women of color.
getting an additional salary boost when they advance. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60.” says one insider. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. and work experience.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. 33 .000. depending on office location. educational background. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. Accenture does not release this information.000 range. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40.000 to $55. Of course. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.000 to $100. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.
a trying routine.m. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. Consultants in government services. For some. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington..m. not surprisingly. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. can find themselves in several cities each year. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. “It’s really just luck of the draw.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. strategy consultants. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. this is a perk. 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. D.” says an insider. whose project work can be as short as a month. and for others. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. you’ll be on that project. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. or another big capital city. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time.” 34 . meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past.C.” The Workplace On the flip side. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is.
every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). an employee who is headquartered in Los Angeles but working in New York could fly to London for the weekend instead of back to Los Angeles. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. 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. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. For instance.
Accenture started its PTO. 36 . Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. personal. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. From the corporation’s viewpoint. or paid time off. then 21 days for the next 5 years. or sick days. which include both vacation and personal days. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. program. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations.” says one insider. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. 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. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. As such. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. While it is not necessarily company practice.Vacation In September 2002.
Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. Charles after a year than right off the chute . The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. selling. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. Illinois. they are instructed on how to think.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. At the entry level. relationship building. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. So do other firms.” says one insider. and it now sends new recruits to St. business and technology acumen. “It makes a lot more sense. . 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. In training and thereafter. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. also. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . and speak like an Accenture consultant. act. and methodology. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. As a result. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. value creation. . Charles.
” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange.business language. “Our 2-week training course in St. but the trainers are as well.accenture. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. The Workplace 38 . Accenture’s internal information-management system. regardless of business group or geographical location. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. One insider says. at least). Not only are the trainees from all over the world. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.com. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world.
300) Source: WetFeet research. to manager. MBAs. if they lack significant prior experience. New employees move from analyst.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. 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. 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 whole theory. 39 . The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. to associate partner. and midcareer candidates. in strategy). but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. to consultant. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. 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. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. in those couple of years. to senior manager. and finally to partner.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. entry-level hires.
Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. typically in the summer before their senior year. On the strategy side. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10.com. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. except in strategy. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. • Student Leadership Conference. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. they must have technical skills. The Workplace 40 . Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. Depending on needs. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. That is.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and.
Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. “It didn’t used to be common. and move up to manager. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. hands-on side of consulting. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. from analyst to senior manager. associate partner.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. and we need to have it. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. but it’s increasingly common. you may still start as an analyst. “We do it. When we’ve branched out. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. and partner.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. because we’ve got a lot bigger. senior manager. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years.” says an insider in recruiting.” says on insider. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties.” says an insider. “You might be hired in strategy.” says another insider. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 .
which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. And in the first 6 months of 2004.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. the firm prefers to staff locally. Instead.S.” 42 . we may deploy consultants. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously.. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. or if they have a background in language. that would make them particularly valuable. In fact. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States.valued properly. etc. non-U. “If the client has a global presence.” says the insider. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. they have a large project-need outside the United States.” adds the insider. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise.
The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. and flexibility. results-oriented. generally quite energetic. responsiveness.” says the insider. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. When things go as they should. Accenture gets good marks for openness. 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. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years.” says one insider about the people. Accenture consultants. It’s fairly young. feeling.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. especially in strategy. before long you’re a partner. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. “High performing. and chances are. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. but not so much time that they burn out. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up.” said one insider. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. Now we’ve turned the taps back on. in essence. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture.
Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. 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. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. 44 . and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. “If you’re determined enough. while large. people leave at the 4-year mark. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. sometimes with clients. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume.” The insider continues. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. because they know they’ll get that service back some day.it. Or they’re starting to have a family. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training.” says one insider. In fact. And the firm. you can usually get what you want.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. The next batch.
you will specialize whether you want to or not. the far right would be pure strategy. either.” Jack-of-All-Trades? The bottom line to working in Accenture’s consulting practice is that you could easily end up with bit parts on a variety of projects. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. and that’s not what they expected. “For Accenture. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. such as outsourcing and offshoring. We’re not pure strategy. programming. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation.” The Workplace says one insider. 45 . the more likely you are to be a master of some. Then on the flip side. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. The client might say. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. The more projects of a certain type that you do. But rest assured.” says one insider. people who have done organization design. then they’re testing a system. on a typical deal. 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 biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. that’s great. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. or business analysis expertise. ‘If you execute it.
But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. energy. networking. you’ll just get marginal projects. In a word. and focus.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. “In the best of times. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. In down times.” says one insider. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. you may not get projects at all. Of course.” The Workplace 46 . You really have to work hard to get to know people. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . Students should visit Accenture at www. If Accenture does not visit your campus.accenture. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes.” says an insider in recruiting. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy.campusconnection. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. 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 site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. by submitting a resume. They are really an initial screening. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce.com.
and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. not what a team did overall. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives.” says an insider. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. can receive an offer from a partner. ‘How do you handle team problems.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. but excel in this type of environment. skills. “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. In other words.• When was a time in your life that you had to meet deadlines? • How do you react to tough situations? The second-round interview lasts 30 to 45 minutes and spends more time on behavioral questions. An insider in recruiting advises. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. 49 . There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. say insiders. Focus on the role that you played specifically. In general. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. individuals who don’t want to work. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. and experience. technology or process. and if all goes well. 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. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. They want to make sure that you can not only survive.” The third round is mostly a formality. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self.
computer engineering. executive leadership. economics. math. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. computer information systems. and business administration. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. Getting Hired 50 .” says the insider. liberal arts.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. math. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. or business administration. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. though the firm does make exceptions. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. instructional design. economics. computer information systems. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. electrical engineering. industrial or organizational psychology. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. management information systems. “We ask general. for instance. Human performance hires.” advises the insider. Therefore. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. management information systems. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past.” says an Accenture recruiter. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. organizational behavior.
For positions other than those in strategy. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Berkeley. U. 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. Kellogg. Midcareer Candidates Historically. such as PhDs. At this level. plus organizational management and economics.C. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. University of Chicago. Stanford. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. In any case. MDs. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. check with your recruiting center. Getting Hired 51 . and MIT Sloan. Wharton. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. Accenture recruits at many schools. 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.
accenture. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. But also visit the company website (www. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. determination. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. and then spend time explaining their significance.Interviewing Tips After the first round. To prepare for your interview. Do your homework about the organization. a strong learning capacity. dates. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. 2. and flexibility. Do job searches and read related job 52 . 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. Reading this guide is a good start. Have the names. problem-solving abilities. among other traits. 1. an interest in technology. think about your work and school experiences. a willingness to work hard.
Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.How much client interaction should I expect? . 4.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . you will have made an impression. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? . You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. 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 .What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee.
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
“The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. 2/16/04. and according to this article. Source: Daniel Lyons. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. 56 . eWeek 3/15/04. Source: Joanne Gordon. 5/26/03. in hindsight. 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. Forbes. Forbes. Source: Stan Gibson. it was a smart move. Fortune. Risks. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. Source: Melanie Warner. “Sharing Gains. 3/4/02.
also available at www. visit ConsultingCentral.WetFeet.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. And for help with your case interviews. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. 57 . co-authored by an Accenture associate partner. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications.kennedyinfo. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. Finally. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. and recruiting. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. Visit www.com. Geeks & Geezers: How Era. which is published by Kennedy Information.com.WetFeet. their jobs. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books.accenture.com.
com. compared to February 28.822 1.580 946.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29. 2003 ($) 1.256.451 1.092.809. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.416.825 7.985 4.498 1.293.171 720.291. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 . 2004.145 1.241 6.516.808 950.792 Source: www.470 1-Yr.616.172.527 1.895 4.accenture.
Nevertheless. Green.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. Forehand. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Green will become CEO on September 1.accenture. CEO designate R. Breene. Chairman and CEO (William D. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. 2004) Michael G. McGrath. many of them during the off-season. James. Key People Joe W. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. your chances of getting a position will be tougher.com. If not. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. Timothy S. you can submit your resume at www.
accenture.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. Suite 1400 Irving. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200.com. check out www. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . Large U.S. For a complete list. One Market San Francisco.
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The lesson we took from the Bean case? Lots of people get wet feet. Every time he went hunting in the Maine woods. was born . So we started writing. In addition. About Our Name One of the most frequent questions we receive is. and manage their careers. consulting services. avoid illfated career decisions.Who We Are WetFeet is the trusted destination for job seekers to research companies and industries. WetFeet serves more than a million job candidates each month by helping them nail their interviews. . . WetFeet’s services include two award-winning websites (WetFeet. . While exploring our next career moves. And that’s exactly what we’re doing at WetFeet.com and InternshipPrograms.com). So. “So.L. Leon Leonwood Bean got his start because he quite simply. And he did. and he returned with soaked feet. but entrepreneurs make boots. what’s the story behind your name?” The short story is that the inspiration for our name comes from a popular business school case study about L. all because a man who had wet feet decided to make boots. And he told his friends. his shoes leaked. we needed products like the WetFeet Insider Guides to help us through the research and interviewing game. and our exclusive research studies. the successful mail-order company. WetFeet Insider Guides provide you with inside information for a successful job search. the company. had a case of wet feet. Bean. and they lined up to buy their own pairs of Bean boots. The quality of our work and knowledge of the job-seeking world have also allowed us to develop an extensive corporate and university membership. WetFeet was founded in 1994 by Stanford MBAs Gary Alpert and Steve Pollock. who come from diverse backgrounds. one day. Web-based recruiting technologies.L. and very literally. At WetFeet. credible. such as the annual WetFeet Student Recruitment Survey. But they didn’t exist. Today. And L. we do the work for you and present our results in an informative. he decided to make a better hunting shoe. and entertaining way. Bean. and add thousands of dollars to their compensation packages. share a passion about the job-search process and a commitment to delivering the highest quality products and customer service. Think of us as your own private research company whose primary mission is to assist you in making more informed career decisions. Our team members.
no-holds-barred Insider Guides. Accenture is the place to be. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture. including the lifestyle and hours. and training.com .Careers/Job Search Looking for a top-notch consulting and technology services firm with a youthful culture and a high-end client roster? You’ll find that and more at Accenture. www. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. you’ll be expected to work hard. compensation. travel. from top to bottom. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants. Hiring is competitive and once in.WetFeet. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. Insiders say that having the Accenture name on your resume opens countless doors later on and that they have the distinct pleasure of working with the best minds in the business. WetFeet’s investigative writers get behind the annual reports and corporate PR to tell the real story of what it’s like to work at speciﬁc companies and in different industries. • How the firm is organized. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. culture.