Accenture

WetFeet Insider Guide
2005 Edition

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Insider Guide

Accenture
2005 Edition

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 The Company. . . . 18 Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Industry Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Table of Contents Accenture at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Bottom Line . . . . 25 Lifestyle and Hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Organization of the Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Vacation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Workplace Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Analysts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 For Your Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Career Path. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Et Cetera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Insider Scoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Recommended Reading . . . 56 For Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 . . . . . . 57 The Numbers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 The Recruiting Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interviewing Tips. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Getting Hired. . . . . . . . . . . . .

analytical prowess. young. economics. BearingPoint.. • The firm has a strong.com Primary Competitors IBM. NY 10105 Phone: 917-452-4400 Fax: 917-527-9915 www. It has offices in more than three dozen U. EDS. With our market picking up with the economy. Capgemini. though the center of power is expected to shift slightly toward the Boston area when it’s new CEO takes the helm. management information systems. even through liberal arts.accenture. and ability to overcome challenges. Computer Sciences Corp.At a Glance Accenture at a Glance Headquarters Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda and does not have a fixed headquarters. Accenture’s recruiting function is based in its New York office: 1345 Avenue of the Americas New York.” 1 . that’s had ripple effects. In the Recruiter’s Words “From a campus standpoint.S. ones which you believe demonstrate your interpersonal strengths.000 employees in 48 countries.” “Come to the interview with several substantial and recent stories in mind.” “Hiring has definitely increased from fiscal year 2003. cities. we really look for people with a broad and diverse set of experiences—computer science. and innovation-oriented culture. • Accenture provides everything from hard-core technology support and toplevel strategic advice to outsourcing and human resources. McKinsey & Company Key Differentiating Factors • Accenture has about 95.

2 . and of those. and then in some cases. Hiring Estimates Accenture is hiring 30. 2004. to associate partner and partner. because you’re working on a project. people who miscommunicate. IT employees work as programmers before moving into system analyst positions. It focuses you.000 people worldwide for its fiscal year ending August 31. 1.000 of those positions are in the United States. • Midcareer hires join at almost any level.At a Glance What Insiders Say In the interview. “I was asked how you handle team problems. and in some cases. to manager.” Career Ladder • Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. depending on their programming or industry experience. into manager roles.600 to 1. About 8. It was easy but you have to be honest. Undergrads entering into strategy start as business analysts and may leave to go to business school after 3 or 4 years. to consultant. New employees move from analyst.800 are likely to be new analysts that have just graduated or have a few years of experience.” “It’s very different from working in a traditional position. to senior manager. individuals who don’t work. • Undergrads who join the firm as analysts can generally move to the consultant level in 2 to 3 years.

000–100.000 $0–30.000.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000–15. Accenture does not release compensation data.000–55.000 depending on experience depends on need 3 . a lot depends on work experience $10. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000–100.At a Glance Estimated Compensation. $40.

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The Company • Overview • The Bottom Line • Industry Position • Organization of the Firm The Company 5 .

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. one that straddles a multitude of industries. but it also lays claim to formidable strategy. the Internet boom has come and gone. Formally established in 1989 by a group of partners from the consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world. Accenture began life as Andersen Consulting. as one of the few public consulting firms. in addition to a sizeable percentage of Fortune 500 companies. Scoring massive projects with high-profile organizations is the name of the game at Accenture. the sputtering economy hit consulting companies hard. For the first few years of this 6 . Of course. human resources. In fact. Some things have certainly changed since 1989: Arthur Andersen is no more. it is particularly sensitive to trends in the economy. It made headlines in June 2004 when an alliance led by Accenture won a Homeland Security Department contract worth up to $10 billion. The company’s traditional stronghold is systems integration. the company operated as a group of more than 40 locally owned partnerships in 40-plus countries.000 employees toiling away in 110 offices in 48 countries. Accenture is a consulting behemoth with 95. Today. and Andersen Consulting became Accenture and went public.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. technology consulting. From its establishment until its incorporation in 2001. Accenture also consults to a wide range of governmental and nonprofit organizations. and outsourcing practices. and Accenture was no exception.

the company expects net revenue to rise 15 to 16 percent. Employees worked longer and networked harder to make sure they wouldn’t find themselves “unstaffed. The firm has “turned the taps back on. 7 . up from 2 percent in 2003. in theory. Increased hiring stems directly from a rebound in the economy and. 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. taking over whole IT or human resources functions for clients. says an insider. wouldn’t ever be available for a project because if you’re out there networking.5 percent of total revenue.decade. for too long. it’s helping companies move some of their operations offshore. Outsourcing now contributes nearly 40 percent of total revenue. you get a sense of your internal worth. The Company changed. contracts with government agencies helped. in particular. the industry sectors Accenture serves.” for new hires. For its 2004 fiscal year. In the last year. financial services. you’ll never be unstaffed. operating profits from its government sector made up 14. Accenture has inked outsourcing deals with big firms such as Best Buy and Deutsche Bank. Says one insider. The best people. products (companies ranging from health care to travel services). “In the bad times. it’s increasingly focused on outsourcing. it introduced successive waves of layoffs and slowed down its recruiting efforts. They continue to buoy earnings. and resources are all growing at double-digit rates. When corporations slashed their spending budgets during the downturn.” or without a project and thus more vulnerable to getting laid off.” Since mid-2003. and skilled analysts and consultants again find themselves in demand for projects. In the first 6 months of 2004. Communications and technology. And in keeping with the trend rippling throughout the rest of Corporate America. Meanwhile.

like cell phones. go-getters.” says an insider. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. team and industry-specific meetings. you should be ready to sell yourself. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. “There’s a culture of sharing. A-types. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. and local get-togethers. an esprit de corp. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job.” Due in part to its university recruitment. that come with being a big multinational firm. But make no mistake. It’s also got prestige: Accenture ranked first in its industry in Fortune’s 2004 list of “America’s Most Admired Companies. “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. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. As demanding as consulting can be. 8 .With a brighter business outlook. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. The company also commits a ton of resources to training. some of the work strains seemed to have eased. Accenture tries to keep things from getting too intense. I feel I can pick up the phone even if I’ve never talked to them before. At work. to help me out. the work is demanding.” says one insider. 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.

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. To be successful. If you land a job.The Bottom Line The Company Accenture’s employees are often technically specialized and also educationally diverse. you’ll be in fairly good hands. and once you’re ready to move on. The company is committed to training. just having the Accenture name on your resume will open doors. 9 . candidates should try to demonstrate both team and leadership experiences that combine technical and consulting know-how.

its human performance competency goes head to head with HR consulting firms such as Hewitt.” for the second year in a row. Few consulting firms offer as wide a range of services as Accenture. 10 .Industry Position The Company Accenture is definitely one of the big kids on the consulting block. Accenture ranks second only to IBM in global market share and consulting revenue. Its technology and process groups compete with top technical consulting firms such as IBM and EDS. and its strategy group takes on strategy firms such as McKinsey and Deloitte. According to Consultants News’ 2004 ranking of the “75 Largest Consulting Firms in the World.

11 . Consultants News/Kennedy Information. Peterborough. www.20 Largest Consulting Firms.com. NH 03458 USA. 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. 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.ConsultingCentral. phone: 800-531-0007.

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

The Company

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
Rank
1 4 7 10 11 13 27

Firm
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.

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Organization of the Firm
The Company

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

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Nine service and solutions lines support the global operations groups: 1. Customer relationship management 2. Finance and performance management

The Company

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.

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as well as finance and performance management.” View from the Bottom With Accenture’s senior executives selling the firm’s pricey services on the basis of its highly trained workers. Although some folks like to think of themselves as industry generalists. the firm encourages newcomers to constantly expand their skill set. involve higher level consulting work to determine the client’s business and technology needs. because once people get to the 3. 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. “If you have 3 years of experience in something you don’t really like.or 4-year mark. “New analysts are encouraged to get a lot of different roles. Finally we build out the application. and the other big-name. chances are you’re not going to stick around. Booz Allen. but also handle a wide range of other related duties focusing on business process. where consultants help define the scope and design of the project. Training—gathering training needs to use the system—follows. One employee describes how various service roles overlap on a typical technology project: “First comes requirement analysis. doing the detailed coding and user acceptance testing. BCG. most insiders say it’s preferable and easier to stick within one industry and gain some specialization. putting together the technology architecture. building programming and business skills along the way. big-dollar firms). they’re starting to build up a resume that we use to sell them [to clients]. Employees in these service lines do often join engineering projects. For your first few projects.” 15 . strategy has to compete with Bain. They often get paid more (after all. Then we work on common components.Strategy and business architecture.” says one insider. you’ll probably hop around between service areas.

international firm.” Perhaps mindful of losing touch with its far-flung staff. Strategy consultants and senior managers. followed several managers who are each responsible for a part of the project and supervise two or three teams each of analysts and consultants. you’re always changing clients. But they are really all about networking. to massive mobilization units involving dozens to 100 or more folks from other service areas. consisting of two to five members.” says one insider. paratroop-like squads of the strategy unit. “It’s to feel like you belong to the company. Accenture created market unit–based “communities” of 150 or so employees grouped by their location and industry practice.Consultant teams do most of the work at the client site. compounded by the size of Accenture. Others might be as time-consuming as teaching other consultants about a new programming language. The ostensible purpose might be to hear a presentation by a resources consultant in Dallas. to not get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s a big. Moving from job to job. they may report every day to that station. often work out of a laptop and “totes. who tend to be more mobile. These range from the small. One insider describes the downside of working in consulting this way: “It’s so big. If they’re locally based. you never get a sense of belonging. Accenture has instituted activities that connect consultants outside of work. Because of the nature of the work. just like in an industry job. These communities meet quarterly in most cities to discuss everything from business to personnel issues. Accenture project teams tend to be The Company larger and more bottom-heavy than those of rival consulting firms that do less systems work. Many analysts and consultants will have their own cubicle and workstation at the client site. In 1998. Some are as informal as dinners out.” or moveable storage containers. can be a strain. Many projects have an organizational structure worthy of a small firm: a senior manager or partner responsible for the most high-level client interaction. 16 .

On the Job • Analysts • Consultants On the Job 17 .

” On the Job 18 . selling the firm’s business to new clients. analysts are considered the “pack mules” of the consulting staff.” said an insider in recruiting. to get on-the-job training. Illinois. when they might participate in a mock client engagement. they get staffed with an industry group. and ultimately. . rather than the high-level thinking—this is calculations. says one insider. soaking everything up. We want them to be learning how we work. But at the start. The CAP affords them the chance to develop core skills through plenty of training as well as onthe-job experience. . With more seniority comes increased managerial responsibility. analyzing data line by line.Analysts Analysts at Accenture come into a market unit and the Core Analysts Program (CAP).” says one insider. After an initial 2-week training. After 12 to 18 months. building models. “You’ll do number crunching and heavy analysis . Charles. “We found that having the client experience earlier was very helpful for our new analysts. “We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. they attend another round of training at Accenture’s campus in St. Accenture’s business model revolves around throwing large numbers of people into big projects where they focus on implementation and execution work.

“Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. economics. competitive analysis. soaking everything up.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. but insiders tell us that the first year typically involves the following types of tasks: • Mapping business processes • Gathering and analyzing client data • Developing design parameters for projects • Designing computer modules • Interviewing client management and employees • Writing computer code and configuring software (IT) • Preparing user-training materials • Implementing recommended changes at client site • Developing training models “” We expect all analysts to go in and be information sponges. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side.” says one insider. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. We want them to be learning how we work. identifying trends. That’s not to say sometimes the two don’t bleed into one another.” 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 . valuation. Accenture hires a small number of undergrads into business analyst positions.

Thank goodness. 3:30 4:00 20 . the rest of the team. Well. I dive back into the documentation. 1:00 3:00 Back to the office. Time for a status meeting with the rest of the team. It’s a good way to get to know members of the team who work in different offices. so the team heads out to lunch. 9:00 12:00 It’s the manager’s birthday today. Is this what I should be doing here and here? He was really helpful with feedback. and some members of the client firm. We go over what everyone’s working on. While I take a few swigs of my coffee.• 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 keep working and make the necessary updates. I check e-mails I got from the client. I nab a half-hour with one of the consultants when he gets out of meetings. ask questions about the project. . Open Microsoft Word and figure out where I last left off on the documentation for the system we’re implementing. One page at a time . First I glance to see whether any problems sprouted up overnight. Then I check the requests that piled up earlier in the week. no time like the present. and I want to make sure I’m on track. Gives me a chance to stretch my legs. where I meet up with my manager. I’m starved. Is there anything that’s a must-do today? Finally I sift through my Accenture e-mails. I walk over to another building on the corporate campus. I’ve never done one of these documentation projects before. It’s pretty long— two-thirds to go.

12:15 Time for lunch. That means walking down to the sandwich shop. and eating at a private table in the corner—my workstation. Back at my desk. . . They got the jerseys. and Accenture e-mails. it’s mostly trends analysis and market research. But first. If only I can concentrate on it for a few hours . There are so many! Working with people in different time zones means my inbox really fills up when I’m not here. discuss certain initiatives. grabbing something. 9:00 On the Job 10:30 Back to my desk to tackle my ongoing work for this project. 1:00 Time to meet with the clients. Spend 45 minutes checking client e-mails. working on deliverables—the work we’ll present to the client. But who decided we were the Mariners? A Day in the Life of an Experienced Analyst 8:00 Arrive at client site. who are right down the hall. Now where was I? I’m on track to meet this week’s deadline. My teammates have some questions about a technical aspect of the project they know I’ve handled before. so better take off while the going’s good! 3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 21 . make sure we’re on the same page. I’ll stop by another consultant’s cubicle for an update on our project’s softball team. so I just stay at the other building and work on more detail analysis from his desk. so I leave earlier than usual. We talk and go over the problem. Time to head out. voice mail.5:00 6:00 My manager has a cube in both buildings. I might just have enough time to finish up the presentation before I leave. Not so fast. We go over progress to date. This time. Meet with the internal team to discuss any problems and what we need to get done today. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day.

“After a few years at the firm.g. Says one insider in recruiting. Consultants have many of the same day-to-day tasks as analysts. bringing them a year or two closer to the consultant position than a new analyst with just an undergraduate degree. MBAs and/or CPAs. and it gives them a nice package. with one big exception: They manage a small team.. Many MBAs are also hired as experienced analysts.Consultants After a couple of years with the firm. Also at the consultant and manager levels are those advanced-degree holders On the Job (e. They combine that with pretty significant work experience.” 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. you’d be in a supervisory capacity—you’d be responsible for the output of three to five people. “Typically folks we target are completing degree programs with a strategy emphasis. 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. Accenture’s undergraduate hires can become consultants.

there are a few critters in this system. Still. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. A bunch of folks from my last project are meeting to watch the game at 7:00 and I’ve told them to save me a stool. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this problem. Then I’m back on our proposal. Time to head out. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. I need refueling. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. but not quite. I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. 12:00 Almost there. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . It’s a good time to make sure we’re in touch with the client’s needs—and pick some of my colleagues’ smart brains. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs.• 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. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. Yep. so all hands on deck.

2:15 2:30 3:00 3:05 4:30 6:00 24 . On the Job 2:00 The meeting wraps up and my supervisor and I head back to the other building. Back to my desk and check to see how far I’ve got on my file. has a question about the analysis he’s responsible for. Yikes. . so no time for chitchatting with clients over the coffee maker. Even if it’s a quick one. Oh well. I sit down with her. We present the PowerPoint and answer any questions they have. One of my teammates. How did it get so late? I try to get at least half of this report done. and we go over the presentation. 12:00 We head over to the other building and find the conference room where we’ll meet some of the client managers. so I sit down with him and show him the ropes. and give her some advice. discuss what she’s tried. It’s a tricky one. and we spend an hour trying to untangle it. I open up a spreadsheet but then . a new analyst. waiting for the aircon to kick in.A Day in the Life of a Strategy Consultant 7:30 I’m at my computer. 11:00 Finished! I click through the slides with my supervisor. . to which I happily agree. I’ll have to wrap up this work tonight because my manager wants to see it tomorrow. I head for the door. We usually have a post-mortem on big meetings. I’m back at my desk trying to tackle a bunch of other work that’s piled up. 11:30 She suggests an early lunch. Another colleague comes by with a different problem. I’ve done this twice in past projects. it was going to be quiet evening at the hotel anyway. I need to wrap up a PowerPoint presentation that’s due this morning. but I’ve got a laptop in hand. Not so fast. This time we discuss how the meeting went while we walk.

The Workplace • Lifestyle and Hours • Culture • Workplace Diversity • Compensation • Travel The Workplace • Vacation • Training • Career Path • Insider Scoop 25 .

as teams finish stages of the bigger project.” Says another insider. but that was told to me ahead of time and it was due to the nature of the project (a week-long assignment in a sunny location. but nothing too crazy. technical problem solving. which I didn’t mind at all). As you get higher up in the company. There’s not a lot of down time: Insiders are continually responding to demands from managers.Lifestyle and Hours Analysts and consultants should expect an active daily work schedule that gets filled up quickly with meetings. you tend to work a few more hours. Accenture folks often find themselves on deadline.” 26 .” says one insider.” says one insider. Generally no one likes to delay a project. “I have had to work a few nights. you’ll try to squeeze in an hour to concentrate on analysis and documentation projects that may be assigned to you. or clients. When you’re not interacting with the client or fixing bugs. projects operate in cycles. but that is expected with the nature of the job. One insider estimates that consultants spend 20 to 50 percent of the day in meetings. if this doesn’t get done. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. 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. “Its sort of like a college class schedule. “There are some self-enforced and some very hard ones. At the same time. times when you put a little more in and if you pace yourself you should be fine. Regardless of how The Workplace short or long they are. teammates. I have only had to work weekends once. and individual report work. “There are times when things are slow and chugging along.

you’re going to be dedicated to one client. Still. travel is definitely a part of the Accenture lifestyle. “Everyone tells me you get sick of it after a year. The Workplace 27 .” says another. travel takes it’s toll. For the most part. often for months at a time. so it’s not like you’re going to be flying into Chicago on Monday and then Des Moines on Wednesday. “When you’re more junior.” says one insider.Aside from a busy schedule. that means spending the week with the client and a long weekend at home.

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. In my projects.” Two recent events—the downturn in the economy and the transformation of the firm from one owned and run by partners to a publicly owned firm—have left their mark. I want client people on our team. “On average.” The insider adds. one that’s engaged in a wide variety of projects in a bunch of different locations. I want them to be integrated. “We go to lunch together. it’s hard to say if they were due to strictly economic factors or going public and needing to be more investor-friendly. where you have a pod of people in the back room. “Because we’re now a public company and our finances are subject to analyst scrutiny. it’s at the client site.Culture Accenture is a company on the move. “We spend 85 to 95 percent of our time at the client site. But most of the time. especially for extended periods. As such.” 28 . It may be a little less true these days. for instance. because we actually have offices. will find themselves interacting with the client’s culture as much as Accenture’s. go out after work. where we can The Workplace work for clients at an Accenture office.” Says another. “If there were changes. That’s probably very typical except on the large tech projects.” said one insider. we aspire to blend in with our clients. there’s more focus on financials and profit margins than there was before. 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.

You’re there because they can’t do something internally. work-hard/play-hard atmosphere—or maybe because of it—employees respond well to Accenture’s high standards. which require a lot of dedication and self-discipline on the part of the employees. “You do get a lot of opportunities. from project to project. Of course.” In spite of the youthful. people who don’t play well with others are probably not a good fit for consulting.” And finally. out with each other after work. It’s mostly affected by the firm at large. “Over all. and you’re working there’s quite a bit of socializing.Another change that followed the firm’s stock listing has been awarding bonuses. “We have a very strong collaborative culture. especially when together. teamwork. and post questions.” says one insider.” is the way one insider describes them. people like going Within an hour. the people at Accenture seem to genuinely like and respect each other. The Workplace 29 . other firms. 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. you’re out of town. I immediately get answers. so you continually have to prove your worth. As one insider says. It’s pretty young. They and to a somewhat lesser extent by your industry encourage group. “At the consultant level. your bonus is going to be relatively small compared to “” It’s definitely more collegial than some your salary. If I go on the [companywide] portal. 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. Good interpersonal skills and a willingness to help are definitely more common than “me first” attitudes.

This group is instrumental in setting strategic direction and implementing key initiatives.” In addition. career counseling. which speaks volumes to the importance our company places on diversity. Accenture offers internships. and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Accenture offers a sponsorship program in addition to its recruiting program. a group of leadership partners with representation across all segments of the company. That’s not to say that we didn’t have their interest and visibility before. Accenture’s Chief Diversity Officer Kedrick Adkins has created the Diversity Advisory Council. and the company’s diversity unit is pushing to get women and minorities strong sponsors. the National Society of Black Engineers. particularly when it comes to salary increases or promotion discussions. and scholarships through INROADS.” says Adkins in a recent interview in The Black Collegian. jobs. Once employees start working. the firm offers diversity training.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. “I report directly to our CEO. schedule flexibility for parents. recruitment. Sponsors The Workplace work with others on the employee’s behalf. such as recruiting and promotion. and retention of women and minorities. but I spend the vast majority of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities. Some highlights include a 3-hour instructor-led course that demonstrates the importance of appreciating and 30 . In terms of recruiting. Joe Forehand. The diversity program focuses on themes such as mentorship. “We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership.

Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. dental. “There are quite a number of females. and dependent life insurance plans. As far back as 1994.S. wherever it is legally possible to do so. However. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. though some areas attract more than others. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. 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.valuing the dynamics between men and women. and less in 31 . insiders report plenty of women in the workforce.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. It’s often in testing and functional design. three of its 21 management committee members were female. and “the diversity principle in motion. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. but it’s very polarized. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel. At last count. Plus. In general. Still. the “diversity principle.” 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.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace.

more than half of my team members are female and they hold positions at all levels.” That same year it won a Catalyst award for its efforts to include women in its workforce. 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. promote. Another says. development. and advancement of all managerial women.S. These women represent all U. and work-life integration. “Accenture gives great emphasis to providing opportunities for personal growth and advancement for women. including women of color. mentoring/sponsorship. regions and industries and work closely with the firm’s CEO to identify strategies that will attract. In September 2003.technology. “Additionally. Women’s Initiatives team composed of eight women partners and led by Managing Partner Pam Craig. with such options as part-time schedules and job sharing.” In 1995. On my current project. I think that’s just coincidence. The firm works hard to make it possible for working mothers to achieve a worklife balance. and advance women at Accenture.” Accenture’s efforts earned it the praise and notice of outsiders. 32 .S. Some of the programs include local women’s initiatives (31 women’s teams in U. the firm made its debut on Working Mother’s 18th annual “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. “When I was hired in.” says one insider. retain. a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions. offices). Accenture leadership created a U. Catalyst. not many women were hired at the same time. honors innovative approaches with proven results taken by companies attempting to address the recruitment.S. though.” says a female insider. training.

“A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises.000. and work experience.000 range.000 to $100. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research.” says one insider. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. getting an additional salary boost when they advance.000 to $55. depending on office location. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. Accenture does not release this information. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. Of course. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. 33 . we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels. educational background.

D. or another big capital city.” says an insider. can work for years out of their home base—as long as it’s Washington. rather than having short-term demand where you’re bringing in short-term resources. on Monday morning and are at home by Friday at 7:00 p. And not everyone ends up living out of a suitcase 4 days a week. Many return to their home city on Thursday night and then work from their home or a local Accenture office on Friday. To try to lessen the burden of being away from friends and family for days at a time. “We tend to have much larger contracts and that lets you forecast what your demand is. whose project work can be as short as a month. It’s very much timing—if you happen to be available at a time when there’s a big demand for a project that’s in another city. this is a perk.. starting with your skill set and whether you’re in an industry group that’s clustered around certain cities.C. and for others.” 34 .m. and you’ll often need to travel to get there. For some. strategy consultants. the firm follows a “seven to seven” schedule. The downside—you’re still spending three nights away. “The plus is that you’re spending more nights at home than at the apartment. Consultants in government services.Travel Most of Accenture’s work takes place at client sites. you’ll be on that project. Some insiders report that travel has subsided from years past.” The Workplace On the flip side. A lot of factors go into whether you end up in Honolulu or Manhattan. not surprisingly. meaning consultants leave for the client site around 7:00 a. “It’s really just luck of the draw. a trying routine.m. can find themselves in several cities each year.

Accenture also has a program called Flexible Fly-Back. For instance. you can fly anywhere else as long as the ticket is no more than what it would cost to fly home. 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. every other “flyback” (for assignments within the United States this equates to once every 2 weeks). Accenture employees may also fly friends or family members to their engagement locations. This provision is also available on cross-border assignments. which means you do not need to return to your home office every weekend. Instead. The Workplace 35 .

While it is not necessarily company practice. or sick days. Insiders report that the firm strives to maintain a good work-life balance. personal. Analysts and consultants get 25 PTO days. providing employees with greater flexibility than a traditional vacation and sick time bank approach. a consultant can and will reach a point where the work will start to taper off. As such. “Managers are quite aware of the time and effort that you put into a project.Vacation In September 2002. From the corporation’s viewpoint. some of my managers have bought me dinner on nights that we work a little longer. the PTO approach reduces unplanned absences and allows smoother business operations. In terms of being able to actually schedule vacations.” says one insider. then 21 days for the next 5 years. Accenture started its PTO. 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. The firm doesn’t distinguish between vacation. and they never hesitate to appreciate you. 36 . program. whether that means helping employees get home on the weekends or recognizing overtime. or paid time off. scheduling is a fairly straightforward process— The Workplace unlike that of other consulting firms. due to the relatively stable nature of project work.

selling. 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. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. they are instructed on how to think. and methodology. “It makes a lot more sense. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation. So do other firms. relationship building. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. and speak like an Accenture consultant. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. value creation. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. . Illinois. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . . business and technology acumen. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. Charles. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. In training and thereafter. and it now sends new recruits to St. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. At the entry level. As a result. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage.” says one insider. Charles after a year than right off the chute . also. act.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development.

regardless of business group or geographical location.business language. For ongoing training there’s also a 3-day classroom training conducted by the company’s top leadership.accenture. Charles consisted of 180 people from all over the world. One insider says. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning.com. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new skills. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. at least). The Workplace 38 . but the trainers are as well. Accenture’s internal information-management system. Not only are the trainees from all over the world.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. “Our 2-week training course in St. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments.

to senior manager. “The whole theory. to manager. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. and midcareer candidates.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. in strategy). but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience. in those couple of years.300) Source: WetFeet research.Career Path Most undergraduates enter the firm as analysts (or as business analysts.” Accenture Career Path Job Title Analyst (except strategy) Business analyst (strategy only) Consultant Manager Senior manager Associate partner Partner Eligibility Undergrad hires. to associate partner. entry-level hires. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. MBAs. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. to consultant. for 2 to 4 years New MBA hires and analysts with at least 2 years’ experience Consultants with 2 to 4 years’ experience Managers with 3 to 4 years’ experience Experienced managers Those elected to firm’s partnership (currently 2. 39 . New employees move from analyst. and finally to partner. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. if they lack significant prior experience. The further you go on. for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA. is that not only do you get the initial foundation.

• Student Leadership Conference. can generally find opportunities to move straight up the career ladder without investing a small fortune in another degree.to 12-week internships for undergraduates. • Diversity Leadership Weekend.Opportunities for Undergraduates Undergraduates join the CAP as analysts and. Accenture offers a limited number of paid 10. in which students attend a 3-day leadership event led by Monster. Depending on needs. Accenture has a business analyst program for undergraduates. The profile is similar to that of a full-time entry-level analyst. a strong GPA and show involvement in extracurricular activities. except in strategy. On the strategy side. including: • Entry-Level Summer Intern Program. • Accenture’s Commitment to Empower Successful Students Program is a multiyear mentorship program targeting top African-American and HispanicAmerican students at key sources. they must have technical skills. That is. The firm also sponsors several minority internship programs. This program includes a 3-day leadership conference. in which the firm works with identified star candidates from key schools and programs. typically in the summer before their senior year. The Workplace 40 . Students get to network with each other during summer by attending workshops and information sessions.com. in which the firm provides top students who are unable to perform internships with a 3-day leadership conference to learn about Accenture.

“We do it. and we need to have it. associate partner. When we’ve branched out.” says an insider. we’ve needed to hire for a certain expertise.” says on insider. because we’ve got a lot bigger. But consulting or industry experience doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enter as a manager. The trip to the top could take as little as 10 years.” says another insider. Associate partners and partners spend much of the time selling the firm to clients. and move up to manager. “You might be hired in strategy. [and] you’d be focused much more on analysis.” Opportunities for Midcareer Candidates Midcareer hires come into the firm at any level. but it’s increasingly common. Many industry hires occur when Accenture expands and pulls in consultants knowledgeable in a skills area or industry sector. and partner. Insiders report some executives prefer to stay at the senior manager or manager level if they want to stay involved with the operational. hands-on side of consulting. But experienced hires can sometimes have difficulties. senior manager. but it’s usually because there’s a specific skill. with just a few years of work experience under your belt. You wouldn’t be in a role at the tale end. from analyst to senior manager. “It didn’t used to be common. “It varies greatly by profile and experience. you may still start as an analyst. “I’ve heard people say that they have a unique expertise that isn’t The Workplace 41 .Opportunities for MBAs MBAs start as experienced analysts or consultants (some MBAs with little relevant work experience start as new analysts). Often they come from a rival firm or within the industry.” says an insider in recruiting. “You’re involved much more on the early phases of a project.

And in the first 6 months of 2004. “We take interest in these opportunities seriously.valued properly. non-U. Instead. which is only going to happen if your particular skill set is in demand and if you have the requisite language skills. they have a large project-need outside the United States.” says the insider. that would make them particularly valuable.” says one insider in recruiting about overseas The Workplace assignments. etc. we may deploy consultants. But Accenture doesn’t currently offer many opportunities to go abroad. In fact.” 42 . the lion’s share of its hiring for its fiscal year 2004 is taking place outside the United States. “Sometimes we were more interested in the process of doing something rather than the expertise.. “I wouldn’t say it’s the norm.” adds the insider.S. The most common way to do a stint overseas is to be staffed on an international project.” International Opportunities Accenture has offices in 48 countries and is well known around the world. or if they have a background in language. “If the client has a global presence. business accounts made up 54 percent of the firm’s net revenues. We put a lot of emphasis on methodology. the firm prefers to staff locally.

But there’s a silver lining to the kind of work they do: the opportunity to. Accenture employees often embrace the networking possibilities the company provides. and flexibility. responsiveness. “One partner told me the partner lived in periods of 2-year chunks.” says one insider about the people.” said one insider. in essence. Now we’ve turned the taps back on.Insider Scoop What Employees Really Like Neither Burnout nor Rust Sure. even if that means meeting after hours to plan a class and then teach 43 . especially in strategy. results-oriented. Working out of town and flying back for a Friday to Sunday stay in your hometown can take its toll. when we stopped the pipeline for recruiting. “High performing. You keep reevaluating and saying I’ll stay another 2 years. before long you’re a partner. When things go as they should. It’s fairly young. Accenture consultants. can get tired of the meeting/ deadline/meeting routine when projects heat up. although the slowdown in hiring over the last few years took away a little of that Accenture U. start a new job every 6 to 12 months. but not so much time that they burn out. consultants spend enough time on-site to truly know the client’s business and culture. and chances are. Accenture gets good marks for openness. Insiders regularly highlight their colleagues’ positive attributes when describing the atmosphere of the firm. feeling.” says the insider. generally quite energetic. The Workplace People Helping People Though it’s surprising given its size. “We probably had a bit of a demo graphic shift.

” Watch Out! Know What You’re Getting Into Contrary to what some MBAs might think. and it becomes a bigger deal being away. you can usually get what you want. 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. These people tend to leave because the headhunters drive them crazy. The next batch. “The next big area are people who leave between year 7 and year 10. people leave at the 4-year mark. and insiders report that a lot of people are attracted to the firm because of its tech reputation. Managers and partners are reportedly approachable on projects. 44 . new analysts often don’t realize the scope of activities that Accenture consultants engage in.” The insider continues. isn’t inflexible when it comes to individual needs.it. sometimes with clients. if you’re persistent and not too much of a pain.” says one insider. And the firm. Accenture’s strong suit has traditionally been systems integration. 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. while large. and it’s a great place to learn about a variety of industries and get quality training. In fact. “If you’re determined enough. not everyone would give up his left tooth to get a strategy consulting job. Or they’re starting to have a family. 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. They seem ready to spend a little of their personal time helping unknown colleagues.

people who have done organization design.” 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. such as outsourcing and offshoring. the far right would be pure strategy. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. then they’re testing a system. or business analysis expertise. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry. But rest assured. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing.” says one insider.” The Workplace says one insider. “For Accenture. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. on a typical deal. you will specialize whether you want to or not. and that’s not what they expected. programming. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. We’re not pure strategy. Then on the flip side. The client might say. the more likely you are to be a master of some.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. 45 . The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. that’s great. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve. either. ‘If you execute it.” says one insider. how about the strategic direction?’” The downside of working on different types of projects means “you’re a jackall-trades and a master of none. The more projects of a certain type that you do.

and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. 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. Of course.” The Workplace 46 . networking. you may not get projects at all. and focus. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. “In the best of times.” says one insider. 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. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. you’ll just get marginal projects. In a word. In down times. energy.

Getting Hired • The Recruiting Process • Interviewing Tips Getting Hired 47 .

campusconnection. But don’t be surprised if the manager throws some behavioral questions out at this stage. can you make it come alive? • Why consulting? • Why Accenture? • What group within the firm are you interested in? Why? 48 . Getting Hired Some questions you may be asked: • I’ve seen your resume. students are encouraged to apply through the company website.” says an insider in recruiting. The company looks for people who can handle deadlines. work with colleagues in an office and act professionally with clients. Local Accenture offices send out representatives from those groups to conduct marketing and interviewing at the selected schools in their areas.accenture.The Recruiting Process Accenture has a fairly focused recruiting strategy.com. If Accenture does not visit your campus. 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. “We go through a fairly involved assessment process. The site also lists the locations currently hiring entry-level analysts. They are really an initial screening. Students should visit Accenture at www. lasting from 15 to 20 minutes. 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. Accenture also accepts applications from students at schools at which it doesn’t recruit. First-round interviews with Accenture take place on campus or by phone.

There’s more of an art to giving knockout answers to behavioral questions than one might think. Candidates meet with more Accenture executives. Focus on the role that you played specifically. “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. 49 .• 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.” A typical question in the first or second round might be: “Tell me about a complex problem you had to solve. say insiders. ‘How do you handle team problems. and if all goes well. people who miscommunicate?’” says one insider. “The manager wanted to know more about which group I was interested in. not what a team did overall.” says an insider. individuals who don’t want to work. and experience. but excel in this type of environment. can receive an offer from a partner. technology or process. skills. your interviewer will be looking for two things: examples from your background—usually school or work experience—that will shed light on how you’ll perform as an Accenture employee. An insider in recruiting advises. “Be prepared to walk through stories in detail. In general. He gave me a lot more detailed questions. and evidence of how you operate as a problem solver. like “” Be honest—some setbacks often lead to other great examples of how someone handled them self. In other words. and walk me through your thinking as you solved it.” The third round is mostly a formality. They want to make sure that you can not only survive.

The various tech-oriented service lines hire folks with degrees in things like computer science.” advises the insider. liberal arts. and business with an organizational development or human resources concentration. “We ask general. economics. management information systems. open-ended questions that ask a recruit to describe a situation from his or her recent past.“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. organizational behavior. knowing that people often handle things similarly when faced with like situations.” The process for interviewing strategy candidates is much like that for candidates in the service lines. economics. but with one exception: Strategy candidates are also asked to analyze and describe their thought processes related to case studies. industrial or organizational psychology. math.” says the insider. executive leadership. Solutions operations hires generally have degrees in industrial engineering. math. computer engineering. electrical engineering.” says an Accenture recruiter. Therefore. computer information systems. Don’t be afraid to give examples of leadership qualities the firm prides itself on. Human performance hires. for instance. instructional design. though the firm does make exceptions. we are trying to understand what a recruit did. Each service line at Accenture draws people from distinct educational backgrounds. or business administration. management information systems. “We believe in the premise that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. Getting Hired 50 . computer information systems. are likely to have degrees in areas such as organizational design. and business administration.

If you don’t have a contact in the firm. MBAs Accenture hires a lot of MBAs—as well as other advanced-degree holders. but human performance is probably the group most receptive to English majors and the like. 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. For positions other than those in strategy. prepare to show how your specific technical or industry skills and knowledge match Accenture’s needs. Midcareer Candidates Historically. Accenture recruits at many schools. These hires include some who have worked in industry and some who have worked for other consulting firms. plus organizational management and economics. Accenture recruits for strategy at such top MBA schools as Harvard. Kellogg. MDs. University of Chicago. U. check with your recruiting center. In any case.Undergraduates Accenture hires the bulk of entry-level undergrads from computer science or engineering programs. you’ll want to think long and hard about how to show that you’re a good fit in Accenture’s famously strong culture. Berkeley. and JDs—and looks to programs far and wide to help fill its staffing needs. Wharton. such as PhDs. the best bet is to contact the recruiting director at the office of your choice. Compensation levels vary according to location and the candidate’s experience. Getting Hired 51 . Stanford. Students from “softer” disciplines can get jobs at Accenture. and MIT Sloan. Accenture has hired a substantial number of experienced people.C. At this level.

Have the names. They’re looking for well-rounded types with strong communication skills. paying special attention to times when you worked as part of a group. a strong learning capacity. an interest in technology. among other traits. Reading this guide is a good start. 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. problem-solving abilities. Insiders tell us that a big part of Accenture’s behavioral interviewing technique is to ask how you felt about particular situations.Interviewing Tips After the first round. But also visit the company website (www.com) and look at the “Careers” section thoroughly. recruiters use the behavioral interviewing technique to seek out personality types that will fit well in the firm’s culture. 2. determination. To prepare for your interview. dates. and flexibility. Do job searches and read related job 52 . Do your homework about the organization. Try to take every relevant piece of experience you have and demonstrate how that experience has directed you toward consulting and Accenture specifically.accenture. and then spend time explaining their significance. which exists mainly to screen out candidates whose resumes or personalities obviously don’t fit with Accenture. 1. think about your work and school experiences. and numbers for these experiences at your fingertips so you can mention them quickly. a willingness to work hard. Be prepared to discuss your feelings and emotional responses to work experiences.

This is your chance to interview the company as it interviews you.What are the specific expectations you would have of me as a new employee. If you can get the interviewer to try to sell the company to you rather than vice versa. not to mention have a compelling rationale for choosing one service line over the others. The following are a few questions to help get you started: .announcements to familiarize yourself with the Accenture language.What would you say are the benefits of having so many different industry and service lines in one company? .How much client interaction should I expect? .How much leeway would I have in determining which industry or client I will work for? Getting Hired 53 . 4. and how will Accenture help me meet those expectations? . you will have made an impression. Recruiters are always impressed by an educated query. You’ll definitely want to know the structure of the firm and the differences between the services.

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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. Source: Melanie Warner. are pressuring firms like Accenture to tie fees to results. Fortune. 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. 5/26/03. and according to this article. 56 . in hindsight. Forbes. 3/4/02. it was a smart move. Source: Daniel Lyons. “A Rose by Any Other Name” A good discussion of the wisdom of Andersen Consulting changing its name. Source: Joanne Gordon.For Your Reference Recommended Reading “Skin in the Game” Corporate clients. Forbes. eWeek 3/15/04. 2/16/04. “Sharing Gains. Risks. Source: Stan Gibson. “The Incredible Shrinking Consultant” The consulting industry may be changing. wary of expensive consulting projects that don’t live up to promises.

A general resource for information about the consulting industry is Consultants News. Geeks & Geezers: How Era.accenture. visit ConsultingCentral. Finally. to which three Accenture professionals contributed. their jobs.com. check out the best-selling Ace Your Case series. Making Markets: How Firms can Design and Profit from Online Auctions and Exchange. a book that gives insight on when to pursue an idea.com. and The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow’s Leaders. And for help with your case interviews.WetFeet.For Your Reference For Further Study Spend some time looking at Accenture’s website at www. Visit www. co-authored by a senior research fellow at the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. Check out What’s the Big Idea? Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking. which is published by Kennedy Information. For more information about this and other Kennedy publications.com. Accenture consultants have written or contributed to a wide array of books. 57 .WetFeet. Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. For a taste of what you might be dealing with as a consultant.kennedyinfo. also available at www.com for more information about a number of consulting firms. and recruiting.com or the Kennedy Information website at www. co-authored by an Accenture associate partner.

com. 2003 ($) 1.470 1-Yr.822 1.516.809.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.241 6.416.accenture.092.825 7.498 1.451 1.256.580 946.291.293. 2004.895 4. Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .985 4.145 1.527 1. compared to February 28.172.792 Source: www.616.808 950. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1.171 720.

Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. Key People Joe W. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. your chances of getting a position will be tougher. McGrath. you can submit your resume at www. 2004) Michael G.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. CEO designate R. Timothy S. Breene. James.accenture. If you’re a midcareer candidate interested in working in the United States. many of them during the off-season. Chairman and CEO (William D. It’s best to contact the recruiting coordinator at your office of choice (check the Accenture website).com. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Green will become CEO on September 1. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. If not. Green. Nevertheless. Forehand.

For Your Reference Major Offices Accenture has hundreds of offices around the world. CA 94105 Phone: 415-537-5000 Fax: 415-537-5037 Dallas 5221 North O’Connor Boulevard.accenture. offices include: Chicago 161 North Clark Street Chicago. IL 60601 Phone: 312-693-0161 Fax: 312-693-0507 San Francisco Spear Street Tower Suite 4200.com. TX 75039 Phone: 469-665-0000 Fax: 469-665-2000 60 . Large U. Suite 1400 Irving. For a complete list. Also refer to the New York address listed in the Accenture at a Glance section.S. One Market San Francisco. check out www.

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