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WetFeet Insider Guide
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. 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . .
S. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. • The firm has a strong. even through liberal arts. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. and ability to overcome challenges..” 1 . cities. Computer Sciences Corp. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. With our market picking up with the economy. young. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York.000 employees in 48 countries. management information systems.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. that’s had ripple effects.com Primary Competitors IBM. It has offices in more than three dozen U.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. EDS. and innovation-oriented culture. economics. analytical prowess.accenture. BearingPoint. Capgemini.
2004. 2 . 1.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. About 8. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. and in some cases. depending on their programming or industry experience. and of those. to consultant. to associate partner and partner.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. people who miscommunicate.000 of those positions are in the United States. “I was asked how you handle team problems.600 to 1. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level. into manager roles. New employees move from analyst. individuals who don’t work. to manager. It was easy but you have to be honest.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. to senior manager. It focuses you. and then in some cases.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years. because you’re working on a project.
000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates. a lot depends on work experience $10.000. $40.000–100. Accenture does not release compensation data.000 $0–30.At a Glance Estimated Compensation. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000–55.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000–100.000–15.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. Of course. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. the Internet boom has come and gone. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. and outsourcing practices. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. one that straddles a multitude of industries. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. human resources. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. In fact. 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. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. and Accenture was no exception. as one of the few public consulting firms. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. Today. For the first few years of this 6 . technology consulting.
you get a sense of your internal worth. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). In the last year. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. “In the bad times. for too long. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn.5 percent of total revenue. For its 2004 fiscal year. Communications and technology. The Company changed. 7 .” Since mid-2003. Meanwhile. in theory. you’ll never be unstaffed. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. Says one insider. in particular. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. the industry sectors Accenture serves. operating profits from its government sector made up 14.decade.” for new hires. financial services. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. up from 2 percent in 2003. contracts with government agencies helped. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. In the first 6 months of 2004. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. The firm has “turned the taps back on. The best people. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. They continue to buoy earnings. says an insider. 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. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking.
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. that come with being a big multinational firm.With a brighter business outlook. an esprit de corp. 8 . But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment.” Due in part to its university recruitment. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. you should be ready to sell yourself. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. At work.” says an insider. like cell phones. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job.” says one insider. “There’s a culture of sharing. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. As demanding as consulting can be. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. A-types. the work is demanding. to help me out. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. go-getters. 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. and local get-togethers. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. team and industry-specific meetings. But make no mistake. “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.
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. If you land a job. and once you’re ready to move on. 9 . Competition for jobs is intense.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. The company is committed to training. 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.
Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue.” for the second year in a row. 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.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. 10 . and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World.
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. Peterborough.com. 11 . phone: 800-531-0007.20 Largest Consulting Firms. 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. Consultants News/Kennedy Information. NH 03458 USA. www.ConsultingCentral.
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.
putting together the technology architecture. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. They often get paid more (after all.or 4-year mark.” 15 .Strategy and business architecture. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. BCG. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. strategy has to compete with Bain. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. and the other big-name. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project.” says one insider. 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. as well as finance and performance management. For your first few projects.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. because once people get to the 3. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. Then we work on common components. Finally we build out the application. Booz Allen. building programming and business skills along the way. chances are you’re not going to stick around. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. big-dollar firms).
often work out of a laptop and “totes. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. consisting of two to five members. Moving from job to job. they may report every day to that station. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. can be a strain.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. you’re always changing clients. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants.” says one insider. These range from the small. But they are really all about networking. international firm. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. Because of the nature of the work. If they’re locally based. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. In 1998.” or moveable storage containers. compounded by the size of Accenture. who tend to be more mobile. Some are as informal as dinners out. Strategy consultants and senior managers. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. just like in an industry job. 16 . you never get a sense of belonging. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
“We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. .” said an insider in recruiting. building models. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges.” On the Job 18 . says one insider. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. . After 12 to 18 months. With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. analyzing data line by line. selling the firm’s business to new clients. they get staffed with an industry group. and ultimately. We want them to be learning how we work. Charles. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. But at the start.” says one insider. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. to get on-the-job training. After an initial 2-week training. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . Illinois. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. soaking everything up.
economics.” 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.” says one insider. valuation. competitive analysis. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. identifying trends. 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. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. We want them to be learning how we work.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry.
It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. the rest of the team. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. and I want to make sure I’m on track. I’m starved. I keep working and make the necessary updates. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. I dive back into the documentation. We go over what everyone’s working on. One page at a time . It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. so the team heads out to lunch. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. no time like the present. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. where I meet up with my manager. and some members of the client firm. .• 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 walk over to another building on the corporate campus. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. 3:30 4:00 20 . Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. Thank goodness. Well. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. ask questions about the project. I check e-mails I got from the client.
1:00 Time to meet with the clients. They got the jerseys. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . so I leave earlier than usual. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. . 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. . it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. and Accenture e-mails. There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. grabbing something. This time. Back at my desk. 12:15 Time for lunch. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. who are right down the hall. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. discuss certain initiatives. Time to head out. But first. make sure we’re on the same page. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. Not so fast. We go over progress to date. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. voice mail. We talk and go over the problem.
. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. MBAs and/or CPAs.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit.g. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. 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 in recruiting. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. “After a few years at the firm. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts. with one big exception: They manage a small team.” says one insider. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.
I need refueling. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . Then I’m back on our proposal. 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. there are a few critters in this system. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. 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. Time to head out. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. but not quite. Still. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. 12:00 Almost there. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. Yep. so all hands on deck. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning.• 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 head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs.
Yikes. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. a new analyst. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. I sit down with her. to which I happily agree. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. It’s a tricky one. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. One of my teammates. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. Not so fast. 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . .A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. 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. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. I’ve done this twice in past projects. I head for the door. and we go over the presentation. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. Oh well. . and give her some advice. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. Even if it’s a quick one. discuss what she’s tried. waiting for the aircon to kick in. 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 .
Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. At the same time. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. projects operate in cycles.” says one insider. you don’t like to move on to the next change. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. as teams finish stages of the bigger project. or clients. if this doesn’t get done. you tend to work a few more hours.” 26 . technical problem solving.” says one insider. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. Generally no one likes to delay a project. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. which I didn’t mind at all). 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. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. I have only had to work weekends once. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. but that is expected with the nature of the job. but nothing too crazy. teammates. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. As you get higher up in the company. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings.” Says another insider. “I have had to work a few nights. and individual report work.
you’re going to be dedicated to one client. “When you’re more junior.Aside from a busy schedule. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.” says one insider. Still.” says another. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home. For the most part. often for months at a time. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. travel takes it’s toll. The Workplace 27 . so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday.
” 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. As such. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget.” The insider adds.” Says another. I want client people on our team. it’s at the client site. I want them to be integrated.” 28 . 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. Employees who work at the client site. 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. In my projects. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. go out after work.” said one insider. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. for instance. where you have a pod of people in the back room. we aspire to blend in with our clients. because we actually have offices. “If there were changes. “We go to lunch together. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. “On average. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. 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. especially for extended periods. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site.
It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. If I go on the [companywide] portal. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees.” And finally. “You do get a lot of opportunities. It’s pretty young. you’re out of town. from project to project.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. 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. You’re there because they can’t do something internally.” In spite of the youthful. and post questions. Of course. The Workplace 29 . “We have a very strong collaborative culture. other firms. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. I immediately get answers. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. people like going Within an hour. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting.” 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. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. “At the consultant level. As one insider says. so you continually have to prove your worth. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. “Over all. teamwork. out with each other after work. especially when together.” says one insider.
particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. recruitment. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. Joe Forehand. In terms of recruiting. and retention of women and minorities. such as recruiting and promotion.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 diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. and scholarships through INROADS. Accenture offers internships.” In addition. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. career counseling. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . “I report directly to our CEO. schedule flexibility for parents. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. jobs. Once employees start working. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. the firm offers diversity training. the National Society of Black Engineers.
personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. three of its 21 management committee members were female. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. “There are quite a number of females. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. Still. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. As far back as 1994. and less in 31 . Plus.” 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. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. but it’s very polarized. 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.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. the “diversity principle. However. dental. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. wherever it is legally possible to do so. It’s often in testing and functional design. though some areas attract more than others. and “the diversity principle in motion. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. and dependent life insurance plans. At last count.S.valuing the dynamics between men and women. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. In general.
Catalyst. 32 . training. not many women were hired at the same time. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. Accenture leadership created a U.S. mentoring/sponsorship. promote.” says one insider.technology. and work-life integration. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing. These women represent all U. Another says. offices). and advancement of all managerial women. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. development. “When I was hired in. In September 2003. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment.S.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. retain. though. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. I think that’s just coincidence. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. 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.” In 1995.S.” says a female insider. including women of color. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. and advance women at Accenture. On my current project. “Additionally.
000 range.” says one insider.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. depending on office location.000. 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. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start.000 to $55. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. and work experience. Accenture does not release this information. educational background. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. Of course.000 to $100. 33 .” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.
and for others. For some. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. “It’s really just luck of the draw. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is.” 34 . or another big capital city. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. not surprisingly. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. whose project work can be as short as a month. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city.C. this is a perk. you’ll be on that project. D. Consultants in government services. strategy consultants. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. a trying routine. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time..m. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. can find themselves in several cities each year.” says an insider.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites.m. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away.” The Workplace On the flip side.
The Workplace 35 . every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks).Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. 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. For instance. Instead. an employee who is headquartered in Los Angeles but working in New York could fly to London for the weekend instead of back to Los Angeles. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend.
From the corporation’s viewpoint. or paid time off. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime.” says one insider. then 21 days for the next 5 years. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. Accenture started its PTO.Vacation In September 2002. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. While it is not necessarily company practice. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. personal. program. 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. 36 . scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. As such. or sick days. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. which include both vacation and personal days. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. due to the relatively stable nature of project work.
” says one insider. . Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. and methodology. So do other firms. At the entry level. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . and it now sends new recruits to St. Charles. relationship building. business and technology acumen. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. In training and thereafter. they are instructed on how to think. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. 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. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. As a result. Illinois. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. and speak like an Accenture consultant. Charles after a year than right off the chute . Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. . A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. act. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. “It makes a lot more sense. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. also. selling. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. value creation.
business language. “Our 2-week training course in St. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.com.accenture. Accenture’s internal information-management system. but the trainers are as well. at least). so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. One insider says. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. regardless of business group or geographical location. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. The Workplace 38 . Not only are the trainees from all over the world.
The further you go on. 39 . but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. in strategy). 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. and finally to partner. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. to associate partner. MBAs. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. to senior manager.300) Source: WetFeet research. New employees move from analyst. in those couple of years. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. if they lack significant prior experience. entry-level hires. and midcareer candidates.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. the more valuable you are if you have something unique.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. “The whole theory.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. to consultant. to manager. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones.
That is. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. they must have technical skills. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. On the strategy side. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. Depending on needs. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. except in strategy. typically in the summer before their senior year. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. • 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. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture. The Workplace 40 .com. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities.
But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. because we’ve got a lot bigger.” says on insider.” says an insider. When we’ve branched out. and move up to manager. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. from analyst to senior manager. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. “We do it.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). you may still start as an analyst.” says an insider in recruiting. associate partner. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis. “You might be hired in strategy. “It didn’t used to be common. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . with just a few years of work experience under your belt. hands-on side of consulting. and we need to have it. but it’s increasingly common. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. and partner. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational.” says another insider. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. senior manager. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties.
” says the insider. or if they have a background in language. And in the first 6 months of 2004. they have a large project-need outside the United States. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise..S.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. that would make them particularly valuable. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. the firm prefers to staff locally. we may deploy consultants.valued properly. Instead.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. In fact. “If the client has a global presence. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously.” adds the insider. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. etc. non-U. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad.” 42 .
Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure.” says one insider about the people. responsiveness. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. and flexibility. results-oriented. feeling. 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. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. Accenture gets good marks for openness. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. in essence. and chances are. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. It’s fairly young.” says the insider. Accenture consultants. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. “High performing. When things go as they should. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. generally quite energetic. especially in strategy. before long you’re a partner. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. Now we’ve turned the taps back on.” said one insider.
” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. you can usually get what you want. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. people leave at the 4-year mark. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. while large. people who want to take advantage of the fact that we invest a lot in their training. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. 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. “If you’re determined enough. And the firm. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.it. The next batch.” says one insider. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. 44 . and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. Or they’re starting to have a family. In fact. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects.” The insider continues. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. sometimes with clients. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. “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. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain.
people who have done organization design. The client might say. We’re not pure strategy. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. you will specialize whether you want to or not.” The Workplace says one insider. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. that’s great. programming. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. the far right would be pure strategy. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. ‘If you execute it. and that’s not what they expected. “For Accenture. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. such as outsourcing and offshoring. 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. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. But rest assured.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. on a typical deal. either. Then on the flip side.” 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. 45 . or business analysis expertise. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. then they’re testing a system. the more likely you are to be a master of some. The more projects of a certain type that you do. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve.” says one insider.” says one insider.
Of course.” says one insider. “You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along.” The Workplace 46 . But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. In down times. energy. In a word. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. and focus. You really have to work hard to get to know people.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. you may not get projects at all. you’ll just get marginal projects. “In the best of times. networking.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone.accenture. The company advises would-be candidates to speak first with their campus career center to learn whether there’s a liaison at their school. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage.com. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines.” says an insider in recruiting. They are really an initial screening. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients.campusconnection. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. Students should visit Accenture at www. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. If Accenture does not visit your campus. by submitting a resume. Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy.
“The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. Focus on the role that you played specifically. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. 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. technology or process.” The third round is mostly a formality. say insiders. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. An insider in recruiting advises. “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. ‘How do you handle team problems.• When was a time in your life that you had to meet deadlines? • How do you react to tough situations? The second-round interview lasts 30 to 45 minutes and spends more time on behavioral questions. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. In other words. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. not what a team did overall.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. and if all goes well. 49 . and experience. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. They want to make sure that you can not only survive. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. individuals who don’t want to work. can receive an offer from a partner. In general.” says an insider. skills. but excel in this type of environment. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives.
management information systems. Therefore. “We ask general. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. math. though the firm does make exceptions. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. executive leadership. industrial or organizational psychology. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering.” says an Accenture recruiter. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. economics. and business administration. computer information systems. Getting Hired 50 . liberal arts. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. instructional design. math. Human performance hires. computer engineering.” advises the insider. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. or business administration. economics. management information systems. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations. computer information systems.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. for instance. electrical engineering. organizational behavior.” says the insider. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design.
Accenture recruits at many schools. plus organizational management and economics. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. check with your recruiting center. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. In any case. Getting Hired 51 . MDs. At this level. U. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs.C. University of Chicago. Midcareer Candidates Historically. Kellogg. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. For positions other than those in strategy. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. Berkeley. Wharton. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. and MIT Sloan. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Stanford. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. 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. such as PhDs.
accenture. 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. To prepare for your interview. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. Have the names. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. determination. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. a strong learning capacity. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations. and then spend time explaining their significance. 2. dates. an interest in technology. 1. Do your homework about the organization.Interviewing Tips After the first round. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. a willingness to work hard. Reading this guide is a good start. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically. problem-solving abilities.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. think about your work and school experiences. Do job searches and read related job 52 . and flexibility. But also visit the company website (www. among other traits.
If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. you will have made an impression.announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services. 4.How much client interaction should I expect? .What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . The following are a few questions to help get you started: . not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others.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 .
Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. Fortune. 2/16/04. 5/26/03. 56 . 3/4/02.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. Source: Stan Gibson. Source: Melanie Warner. Source: Daniel Lyons. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. 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. it was a smart move. and according to this article. eWeek 3/15/04. Forbes. Forbes. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. “Sharing Gains. Risks. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. Source: Joanne Gordon.
WetFeet. Finally. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner.WetFeet. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. Visit www. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. visit ConsultingCentral. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.com for more information about a number of consulting firms.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. And for help with your case interviews. 57 . a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange.accenture. to which three Accenture professionals contributed.kennedyinfo.com. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant. and recruiting. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. their jobs. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders.com. which is published by Kennedy Information. also available at www. Geeks & Geezers: How Era.com.
2004.580 946.825 7.470 1-Yr.985 4.809.241 6.516. compared to February 28. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.808 950.092.145 1.172.451 1.293.895 4.527 1.416. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .792 Source: www.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.822 1. 2003 ($) 1.498 1.accenture.256.616.171 720.291.com.
many of them during the off-season. Forehand. Green. If not. Chief Strategy Officer 59 .For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. your chances of getting a position will be tougher.com. McGrath. Green will become CEO on September 1. Nevertheless. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Key People Joe W. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. 2004) Michael G. Breene. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). James. CEO designate R.accenture. Timothy S. you can submit your resume at www. Chairman and CEO (William D. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States.
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. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago.com. check out www. One Market San Francisco.accenture.S. For a complete list. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. Large U. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . Suite 1400 Irving.
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no-holds-barred Insider Guides. you’ll be expected to work hard.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. and training. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. travel. Hiring is competitive and once in. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. 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. including the lifestyle and hours. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition. compensation. Accenture is the place to be. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. • Detailed information about the workplace at Accenture.WetFeet. • How the firm is organized.com . www. from top to bottom. 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. culture.