This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
WetFeet Insider Guide
The WetFeet Research Methodology
You hold in your hands a copy of the best-quality research available for job seekers. We have designed this Insider Guide to save you time doing your job research and to provide highly accurate information written precisely for the needs of the job-seeking public. (We also hope that you’ll enjoy reading it, because, believe it or not, the job search doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck.) Each WetFeet Insider Guide represents hundreds of hours of careful research and writing. We start with a review of the public information available. (Our writers are also experts in reading between the lines.) We augment this information with dozens of in-depth interviews of people who actually work for each company or industry we cover. And, although we keep the identity of the rank-and-file employees anonymous to encourage candor, we also interview the company’s recruiting staff extensively, to make sure that we give you, the reader, accurate information about recruiting, process, compensation, hiring targets, and so on. (WetFeet retains all editorial control of the product.) We also regularly survey our members and customers to learn about their experiences in the recruiting process. Finally, each Insider Guide goes through an editorial review and fact-checking process to make sure that the information and writing live up to our exacting standards before it goes out the door. Are we perfect? No—but we do believe that you’ll find our content to be the highest-quality content of its type available on the Web or in print. (Please see our guarantee below.) We also are eager to hear about your experiences on the recruiting front and your feedback (both positive and negative) about our products and our process. Thank you for your interest.
The WetFeet Guarantee
You’ve got enough to worry about with your job search. So, if you don’t like this Insider Guide, send it back within 30 days of purchase and we’ll refund your money. Contact us at 1-800-926-4JOB or www.wetfeet.com/about/contactus.asp.
Helping you make smarter career decisions.
in part or in whole.com Accenture ISBN: 1-58207-439-9 Photocopying Is Prohibited Copyright 2004 WetFeet. Inc. It may not be reproduced.com Website: www. 609 Mission Street Suite 400 San Francisco. Inc. without the express written permission of WetFeet.wetfeet. or transmitted in any form or by any means. . Inc. distributed. CA 94105 Phone: (415) 284-7900 or 1-800-926-4JOB Fax: (415) 284-7910 E-mail: info@wetfeet. This publication is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. stored in a retrieval system. All rights reserved. No copying in any form is permitted.WetFeet.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Consultants . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . .
Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths. With our market picking up with the economy. and innovation-oriented culture. analytical prowess. Computer Sciences Corp. cities. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. that’s had ripple effects. EDS. Capgemini. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. management information systems. even through liberal arts. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95. It has offices in more than three dozen U.accenture. and ability to overcome challenges. BearingPoint.S.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind. young. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources.000 employees in 48 countries. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint. economics. • The firm has a strong.” 1 ..com Primary Competitors IBM.
Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. About 8. people who miscommunicate. New employees move from analyst. 2 . and in some cases. to senior manager. It was easy but you have to be honest. because you’re working on a project. into manager roles.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. to consultant. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. “I was asked how you handle team problems. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. to associate partner and partner. 2004.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. It focuses you. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years.600 to 1. to manager. and of those. 1. individuals who don’t work.000 of those positions are in the United States.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience. and then in some cases. depending on their programming or industry experience.
a lot depends on work experience $10.000–15.000–55.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000 $0–30. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38. $40.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000–100.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates. Accenture does not release compensation data.000–100.
The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .
it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. as one of the few public consulting firms. and outsourcing practices. In fact. and Accenture was no exception. 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. human resources. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. the Internet boom has come and gone. one that straddles a multitude of industries. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more.Overview The Company Accenture has made a name for itself as one of the world’s leading management consulting and technology services companies. Accenture’s deep client roster is a veritable who’s who list. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Of course. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. For the first few years of this 6 . The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. technology consulting. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public. Today. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. 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.
it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. For its 2004 fiscal year. 7 . wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn. you’ll never be unstaffed. They continue to buoy earnings. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. contracts with government agencies helped. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts.” Since mid-2003. 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. you get a sense of your internal worth. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent.5 percent of total revenue. up from 2 percent in 2003.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off. financial services. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. In the first 6 months of 2004. in theory. for too long. “In the bad times. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. The best people.decade. 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. Communications and technology. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). says an insider.” for new hires. The Company changed. the industry sectors Accenture serves. In the last year. Meanwhile. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. Says one insider. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. The firm has “turned the taps back on.
the work is demanding. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. But make no mistake. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. an esprit de corp.With a brighter business outlook. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. to help me out.” says one insider. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge.” Due in part to its university recruitment. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. As demanding as consulting can be. At work. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. that come with being a big multinational firm. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. 8 . insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. and local get-togethers. “There’s a culture of sharing. team and industry-specific meetings. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. 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 the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. go-getters. “One plus about working here is the The Company kind of personality traits you can pick up—people here are at the top of their game. you should be ready to sell yourself. like cell phones. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. A-types.” says an insider.
you’ll be in fairly good hands. Competition for jobs is intense. They’ve joined the company because they want to get in on the diverse range of professional experiences consulting has to offer. and once you’re ready to move on.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. 9 . To be successful. candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how. If you land a job. The company is committed to training. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors.
Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS.” for the second year in a row. 10 . According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World.Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt.
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. 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. 11 .20 Largest Consulting Firms. Peterborough. phone: 800-531-0007. www.
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.
Then we work on common components. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization.or 4-year mark. BCG. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. They often get paid more (after all. strategy has to compete with Bain. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. because once people get to the 3. big-dollar firms).” says one insider. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. putting together the technology architecture. they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients].” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows.Strategy and business architecture. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. you’ll probably hop around between service areas. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like. building programming and business skills along the way. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. For your first few projects. Finally we build out the application. chances are you’re not going to stick around.” 15 . and the other big-name. as well as finance and performance management. Strategy The Company and business-architecture consultants work at the highest levels of projects and might come in early on in a project to do trends and industry analysis. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. Booz Allen.
often work out of a laptop and “totes. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. you never get a sense of belonging. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work.” or moveable storage containers. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. international firm.” says one insider. These range from the small. Moving from job to job. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. Strategy consultants and senior managers. In 1998. they may report every day to that station. consisting of two to five members. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. compounded by the size of Accenture. Some are as informal as dinners out.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. just like in an industry job. If they’re locally based. who tend to be more mobile. But they are really all about networking. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice. 16 . Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. Because of the nature of the work. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. can be a strain. you’re always changing clients.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff.
On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .
With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. they get staffed with an industry group. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. After 12 to 18 months. soaking everything up. After an initial 2-week training. We want them to be learning how we work. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts.” On the Job 18 . analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. Illinois. to get on-the-job training.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP). But at the start.” said an insider in recruiting. .” says one insider. says one insider. building models. selling the firm’s business to new clients. rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . analyzing data line by line. . and ultimately. Charles.
identifying trends. competitive analysis.” Here’s a list of typical day-to-day tasks: • Develop key performance metrics • Conduct industry research • Facilitate the flow of work units through their teams • Discuss specific issues with in-house experts 19 .” says one insider. 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. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. valuation. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. economics. We want them to be learning how we work. soaking everything up.
• 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. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. where I meet up with my manager. We go over what everyone’s working on. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. I’m starved. so the team heads out to lunch. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. Well. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. the rest of the team. . Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. While I take a few swigs of my coffee. I check e-mails I got from the client. and some members of the client firm. 3:30 4:00 20 . It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go. no time like the present. I dive back into the documentation. ask questions about the project. . One page at a time . Thank goodness. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. I keep working and make the necessary updates. and I want to make sure I’m on track. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before.
But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. and Accenture e-mails. We go over progress to date. discuss certain initiatives. But first. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. We talk and go over the problem. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. so I leave earlier than usual. 12:15 Time for lunch. 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. . it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. make sure we’re on the same page. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. voice mail. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. Not so fast. This time. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. who are right down the hall. . Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. They got the jerseys.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. grabbing something. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. Back at my desk. Time to head out. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 .
MBAs and/or CPAs. with one big exception: They manage a small team. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people.” 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 .. Often MBAs go straight to the firm’s strategy unit. especially those in process and strategy) who are deemed ready to perform at this level. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. Says one insider in recruiting. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. and it gives them a nice package. 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. They combine that with pretty significant work experience. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. “After a few years at the firm.g.” says one insider.
There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. A bunch of folks from my last project are meeting to watch the game at 7:00 and I’ve told them to save me a stool. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. Still. Then I’m back on our proposal. 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. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. there are a few critters in this system. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks.• 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. Yep. Time to head out. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. 12:00 Almost there. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. but not quite. so all hands on deck. I need refueling. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night.
it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. Not so fast. a new analyst. I head for the door. Oh well. I sit down with her. discuss what she’s tried. Even if it’s a quick one. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. and we go over the presentation. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. It’s a tricky one. . On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. One of my teammates. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. waiting for the aircon to kick in. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. and give her some advice. Yikes.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. . This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk. I’ve done this twice in past projects. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. I open up a spreadsheet but then . 2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . to which I happily agree. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes.
The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .
technical problem solving. teammates. but that is expected with the nature of the job. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers. I have only had to work weekends once. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. but nothing too crazy. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. 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. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. projects operate in cycles. which I didn’t mind at all). Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. and individual report work. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. if this doesn’t get done. At the same time.” says one insider. As you get higher up in the company.” 26 . you tend to work a few more hours. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. you don’t like to move on to the next change. So consultants can expect to work longer hours and even some weekends when a big deadline looms.” says one insider. Generally no one likes to delay a project. or clients. “I have had to work a few nights.” Says another insider. as teams finish stages of the bigger project.
often for months at a time. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle.” says one insider.” says another. Still. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home.Aside from a busy schedule. “When you’re more junior. The Workplace 27 . For the most part. travel takes it’s toll. you’re going to be dedicated to one client. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. 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. But most of the time. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office. In my projects. As such. go out after work. “On average. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects. I want them to be integrated. it’s at the client site. I want client people on our team. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations.” Says another. where you have a pod of people in the back room.” said one insider.” The insider adds. for instance. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site.Culture Accenture is a company on the move.” 28 . because we actually have offices. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. Accenture’s culture can vary from one extreme to another depending on the client you are working for and the office in which you reside. “If there were changes. That has a trickle-down effect—there may be less money for someone to put in a training budget. Employees who work at the client site. we aspire to blend in with our clients. “We go to lunch together. especially for extended periods. It may be a little less true these days. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s.
other firms. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes. “Over all. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees.” is the way one insider describes them.” says one insider. out with each other after work. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. Of course. You’re there because they can’t do something internally. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. 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. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting. so you continually have to prove your worth. The Workplace 29 . you’re out of town. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. from project to project. “At the consultant level. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. If I go on the [companywide] portal.” And finally. especially when together. people like going Within an hour. 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. As one insider says. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. “You do get a lot of opportunities. and post questions. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. It’s pretty young.” In spite of the youthful. I immediately get answers. teamwork.
“We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership.” In addition. Once employees start working. Accenture offers internships. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. recruitment. and retention of women and minorities. the firm offers diversity training. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . In terms of recruiting. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. “I report directly to our CEO. such as recruiting and promotion.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. career counseling. the National Society of Black Engineers. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. 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. and scholarships through INROADS. schedule flexibility for parents. jobs. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives.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. Joe Forehand. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities.
Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. Plus. At last count. 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. dental.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. It’s often in testing and functional design. 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. wherever it is legally possible to do so. As far back as 1994. and less in 31 .valuing the dynamics between men and women. Still. and dependent life insurance plans. “There are quite a number of females.S. three of its 21 management committee members were female. but it’s very polarized. the “diversity principle. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. though some areas attract more than others. and “the diversity principle in motion. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical.” a 1-hour course that underlines that diversity in the workforce is a key company priority and shows how stereotypes can contribute to a nonproductive work environment. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. However. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. In general.
promote. “Additionally.” In 1995.S. and advance women at Accenture. and work-life integration. Another says. These women represent all U. 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. “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. Accenture leadership created a U. On my current project. training. “When I was hired in. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U.technology. mentoring/sponsorship. including women of color. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. not many women were hired at the same time. and advancement of all managerial women. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. development. I think that’s just coincidence. more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels. though. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders.” says a female insider. retain. In September 2003. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. offices). 32 . a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions.S.” says one insider. Catalyst.
educational background. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.000 to $100.000. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels.000 to $55.000 range. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. Of course.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. 33 . Accenture does not release this information. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. and work experience. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools.” says one insider. “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. depending on office location.
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. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past. can find themselves in several cities each year. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule.” says an insider. and for others. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. strategy consultants. D. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. 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. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. this is a perk. “It’s really just luck of the draw. Consultants in government services. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities.” 34 .Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. For some. whose project work can be as short as a month. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. a trying routine. not surprisingly.m. you’ll be on that project. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week.C. or another big capital city. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p.” The Workplace On the flip side. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time.m. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away.
The Workplace 35 . you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. For instance. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). Instead. Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations. an employee who is headquartered in Los Angeles but working in New York could fly to London for the weekend instead of back to Los Angeles. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend.Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back.
While it is not necessarily company practice. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project. program. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. then 21 days for the next 5 years. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. As such. due to the relatively stable nature of project work. 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. or sick days. which include both vacation and personal days. Employees who work in outsourcing or the internal business functions at Accenture add on PTO days as they work—18 days for the first 5 years.” says one insider. Accenture started its PTO.Vacation In September 2002. personal. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. or paid time off. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. 36 . whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. From the corporation’s viewpoint.
“I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. and methodology. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . business and technology acumen. relationship building. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. act.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. At the entry level. Charles. In training and thereafter. . Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. So do other firms. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. “It makes a lot more sense. Illinois. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. . selling.” says one insider. 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. they are instructed on how to think. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. also. Charles after a year than right off the chute . value creation. As a result. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. and speak like an Accenture consultant. and it now sends new recruits to St. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work.
That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills.business language. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning.accenture. Not only are the trainees from all over the world. One insider says. at least). “Our 2-week training course in St. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. regardless of business group or geographical location. Accenture’s internal information-management system. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. The Workplace 38 .” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange.com. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership. but the trainers are as well.
New employees move from analyst. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. MBAs. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. The further you go on. is that not only do you get the initial foundation. and finally to partner.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. and midcareer candidates. to senior manager. in those couple of years. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. to associate partner. to consultant. to manager. 39 . “The whole theory. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. if they lack significant prior experience.300) Source: WetFeet research. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. in strategy). entry-level hires. 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.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts.
Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. On the strategy side. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs.to 12-week internships for undergraduates.com. except in strategy. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. • Diversity Leadership Weekend. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. Depending on needs. That is. The Workplace 40 . 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. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. typically in the summer before their senior year. • Student Leadership Conference. they must have technical skills. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst.
” says another insider. you may still start as an analyst. from analyst to senior manager. because we’ve got a lot bigger. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 . When we’ve branched out. but it’s increasingly common. “We do it. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. associate partner. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. and we need to have it.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry. senior manager. hands-on side of consulting.” says on insider.” says an insider. “You might be hired in strategy. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis.” says an insider in recruiting. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. and partner. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. and move up to manager. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. “It didn’t used to be common.Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts).
they have a large project-need outside the United States.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. we may deploy consultants. Instead.S.” 42 . And in the first 6 months of 2004. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise. non-U. the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. that would make them particularly valuable. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills.” says the insider. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project.valued properly. In fact. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm. the firm prefers to staff locally. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. or if they have a background in language. etc..” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world.” adds the insider. “If the client has a global presence. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology.
when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. results-oriented. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years.” said one insider. generally quite energetic. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. and flexibility. but not so much time that they burn out.” says the insider.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. It’s fairly young. especially in strategy. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. 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. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. before long you’re a partner. Accenture consultants. “High performing. But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. feeling. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . and chances are. responsiveness. Accenture gets good marks for openness. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. in essence. When things go as they should.” says one insider about the people.
while large.it. Or they’re starting to have a family.” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs. These people are leaving for a combination of getting very good The Workplace roles. because they know they’ll get that service back some day. And the firm. sometimes with clients. people leave at the 4-year mark. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. In fact. The next batch. 44 . and it becomes a bigger deal being away.” The insider continues.” says one insider. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in. Opportunity Knocks Accenture is a great name to have on your resume. 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. you can usually get what you want. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. “If you’re determined enough. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.
45 . We’re not pure strategy. “For Accenture. you will specialize whether you want to or not. ‘If you execute it. on a typical deal. The client might say. that’s great. the far right would be pure strategy. The more projects of a certain type that you do. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. the more likely you are to be a master of some.” 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. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. and that’s not what they expected.” The Workplace says one insider. or business analysis expertise. people who have done organization design. either. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. then they’re testing a system. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. But rest assured. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. programming.” says one insider. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. 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. Then on the flip side. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. such as outsourcing and offshoring.
In down times. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. You really have to work hard to get to know people. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. networking. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings. 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 really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. energy. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. Of course.” says one insider.” The Workplace 46 . and focus. you’ll just get marginal projects. you may not get projects at all. In a word. “In the best of times.
Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .
work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. Students should visit Accenture at www. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas.campusconnection.” says an insider in recruiting. students are encouraged to apply through the company website. by submitting a resume. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes.com. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. Recruitment areas are determined separately by industry needs.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . Accenture targets schools and applicants who fit those needs as well as those who fit its goals for retaining a diverse workforce. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts.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. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone. They are really an initial screening. If Accenture does not visit your campus. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines.
49 .” The third round is mostly a formality. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. They want to make sure that you can not only survive.• 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. In other words. and if all goes well.” says an insider. There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. technology or process. and experience. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. skills. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. can receive an offer from a partner. “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. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it. not what a team did overall. Focus on the role that you played specifically. ‘How do you handle team problems. An insider in recruiting advises. individuals who don’t want to work. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. say insiders.” 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. In general. 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.
math. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. “They are looking for people who are very driven and who take charge of a situation when necessary. though the firm does make exceptions. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. economics. or business administration. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past. Human performance hires. The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science. industrial or organizational psychology. liberal arts. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. math. and business administration. Therefore. Getting Hired 50 . electrical engineering. computer engineering.” says an Accenture recruiter. computer information systems. “We ask general.“I would suggest that you pick a few examples out of your life where you have demonstrated these characteristics. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. executive leadership.” advises the insider. economics. “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. instructional design. for instance. computer information systems. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds.” says the insider. management information systems. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. management information systems.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. organizational behavior.
Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people. For positions other than those in strategy. and MIT Sloan. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. Stanford. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. University of Chicago. In any case. MDs. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. If you don’t have a contact in the firm. Getting Hired 51 . Berkeley. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Midcareer Candidates Historically. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. plus organizational management and economics. Kellogg. 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. check with your recruiting center. Experienced candidates generally go through two rounds of interviews—a screening interview followed by a behavioral and skills-assessment interview— but the process is much less set in stone than it is for undergrads and MBAs.C. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. such as PhDs. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. At this level. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. Wharton. U. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. Accenture recruits at many schools.
among other traits. think about your work and school experiences. a strong learning capacity. problem-solving abilities. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. determination. an interest in technology. Have the names. 2. But also visit the company website (www. and flexibility. Reading this guide is a good start.accenture. 1. 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. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. a willingness to work hard. To prepare for your interview. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically.Interviewing Tips After the first round. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. Do your homework about the organization. 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. Do job searches and read related job 52 . and then spend time explaining their significance. dates.
not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query.How much client interaction should I expect? . The following are a few questions to help get you started: . If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? . 4. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? .announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language. you will have made an impression.What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee.How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 .
For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .
Fortune. 3/4/02.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises. Source: Melanie Warner. Source: Daniel Lyons. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. in hindsight. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. Forbes. and according to this article. Source: Joanne Gordon. Risks. 56 . 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. eWeek 3/15/04. “Sharing Gains. Source: Stan Gibson. 5/26/03. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. it was a smart move. 2/16/04. Forbes. Accenture may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of those changes.
com.WetFeet. Visit www. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner.kennedyinfo. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea. Geeks & Geezers: How Era.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change.com for more information about a number of consulting firms.WetFeet. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications. visit ConsultingCentral. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. and recruiting. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange.com. which is published by Kennedy Information. also available at www. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. 57 .com. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant.accenture. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. their jobs. And for help with your case interviews. Finally.com or the Kennedy Information website at www.
compared to February 28. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .527 1.416.616.451 1.171 720.580 946.825 7. 2004.256.291. 2003 ($) 1.809.172.516.985 4.accenture. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.822 1.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.808 950.792 Source: www.498 1.241 6.com.293.145 1.470 1-Yr.895 4.092.
Nevertheless. you can submit your resume at www.accenture. Green. Chairman and CEO (William D. If not. Breene.com. Forehand. James. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website). If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. CEO designate R. Timothy S. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. 2004) Michael G. many of them during the off-season.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. Green will become CEO on September 1. McGrath. Key People Joe W.
com.For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. Suite 1400 Irving. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section. One Market San Francisco. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard. For a complete list.accenture. check out www. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . Large U.S.
WETFEET’S INSIDER GUIDE SERIES JOB SEARCH GUIDES Getting Your Ideal Internship Job Hunting A to Z: Landing the Job You Want Killer Consulting Resumes Killer Investment Banking Resumes Killer Resumes & Cover Letters Negotiating Your Salary & Perks Networking Works! INTERVIEW GUIDES Ace Your Case: Consulting Interviews Ace Your Case II: 15 More Consulting Cases Ace Your Case III: Practice Makes Perfect Ace Your Case IV: The Latest & Greatest Ace Your Case V: Even More Practice Cases Ace Your Interview! Beat the Street: Investment Banking Interviews Beat the Street II: Investment Banking Interview Practice Guide CAREER & INDUSTRY GUIDES Careers in Accounting Careers in Advertising & Public Relations Careers in Asset Management & Retail Brokerage Careers in Biotech & Pharmaceuticals Careers in Brand Management Careers in Consumer Products Careers in Entertainment & Sports Careers in Human Resources .
Morgan Chase & Company Lehman Brothers McKinsey & Company Merrill Lynch Morgan Stanley 25 Top Consulting Firms Top 20 Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Firms Top 25 Financial Services Firm .P. Doctors & Lawyers Industries & Careers for MBAs Industries & Careers for Undergrads COMPANY GUIDES Accenture Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group Booz Allen Hamilton Citigroup’s Corporate & Investment Bank Credit Suisse First Boston Deloitte Consulting Goldman Sachs Group J.Careers in Information Technology Careers in Investment Banking Careers in Management Consulting Careers in Manufacturing Careers in Marketing & Market Research Careers in Nonprofits & Government Careers in Real Estate Careers in Supply Chain Management Careers in Venture Capital Consulting for PhDs.
Bean. And that’s exactly what we’re doing at WetFeet. he decided to make a better hunting shoe. Every time he went hunting in the Maine woods. Bean. . and entertaining way. And he did. was born . So we started writing. Today. and very literally. all because a man who had wet feet decided to make boots. consulting services. we needed products like the WetFeet Insider Guides to help us through the research and interviewing game. And he told his friends. But they didn’t exist. the company. his shoes leaked. and he returned with soaked feet. and our exclusive research studies. About Our Name One of the most frequent questions we receive is.Who We Are WetFeet is the trusted destination for job seekers to research companies and industries. 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. credible. While exploring our next career moves.L. At WetFeet. who come from diverse backgrounds.com and InternshipPrograms. Think of us as your own private research company whose primary mission is to assist you in making more informed career decisions. Leon Leonwood Bean got his start because he quite simply. . WetFeet serves more than a million job candidates each month by helping them nail their interviews. 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. but entrepreneurs make boots. had a case of wet feet. such as the annual WetFeet Student Recruitment Survey. Web-based recruiting technologies. WetFeet Insider Guides provide you with inside information for a successful job search. the successful mail-order company. avoid illfated career decisions. . The lesson we took from the Bean case? Lots of people get wet feet. In addition. And L. Our team members. we do the work for you and present our results in an informative. and manage their careers. “So. and they lined up to buy their own pairs of Bean boots. WetFeet’s services include two award-winning websites (WetFeet.com). share a passion about the job-search process and a commitment to delivering the highest quality products and customer service.L. So. and add thousands of dollars to their compensation packages. one day.
including the lifestyle and hours. but if you aspire to be involved in massive projects for the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies. www. Turn to this WetFeet Insider Guide to learn • How Accenture stacks up against the competition. • How the firm is organized. • What the recruiting process entails and what recruiters are looking for • Tips from Accenture insiders for acing the interview. travel. compensation. no-holds-barred Insider Guides.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. culture. • What the typical responsibilities are and what day-to-day life is like for analysts and consultants.com . and training.WetFeet. • Detailed information about the workplace 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. you’ll be expected to work hard. Hiring is competitive and once in. 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. from top to bottom. • What employees love most and like least about working at Accenture. WetFeet has earned a strong reputation among college graduates and career professionals for its series of highly credible. Accenture is the place to be.