WetFeet Insider Guide
2005 Edition

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Insider Guide

2005 Edition

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This publication is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. distributed. . All rights reserved. CA 94105 Phone: (415) 284-7900 or 1-800-926-4JOB Fax: (415) 284-7910 E-mail: info@wetfeet. stored in a retrieval system.wetfeet.WetFeet. or transmitted in any form or by any means. Inc. Inc. Website: www. It may not be reproduced. 609 Mission Street Suite 400 San Francisco. in part or in whole. No copying in any form is Accenture ISBN: 1-58207-439-9 Photocopying Is Prohibited Copyright 2004 WetFeet. without the express written permission of WetFeet.

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

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

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

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

000 depending on experience depends on need 3 .000–15. $40.000 not usually depends on need MBA Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $60.000–100.At a Glance Estimated Compensation.000.000–55. a lot depends on work experience $10.000 depends on need Midcareer Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: Source: WetFeet estimates. 2004 Undergrad Hires Starting salary: Signing bonus: Relocation bonus: $38.000 $0–30. Accenture does not release compensation data.000–100.


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

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

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

With a brighter business outlook. It’s not unusual for local offices or project teams to play softball or have dinner together. But the ability to work well with one’s colleagues is a point of pride at the firm. The atmosphere might get a little stiffer when promotions are being decided. getting a job at Accenture can pose an even greater challenge. But make no mistake. At work. that come with being a big multinational firm. an esprit de corp. 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. “There’s a culture of sharing. “One plus about working here is the The Company kind of personality traits you can pick up—people here are at the top of their game. As demanding as consulting can be. you should be ready to sell yourself. Whether you’re an MBA or undergraduate. 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. and local get-togethers. The company also commits a ton of resources to training.” says an insider. to help me out. and they’ll feel an extensive obligation.” says one insider. go-getters. A-types.” Due in part to its university recruitment. If someone happens to be an expert in Java for instance. Everyone has a career counselor who works as the employee’s advocate when it comes to staffing. and passes on to its employees discounts on services. And the firm attracts the kind of people who like to reach for high hurdles. the work is demanding. It keeps open lines of communication between on-site employees and home-base operations through regular e-mails. insiders report a positive and cooperative environment. People don’t feel the need to put in extra overtime just to keep their job. team and industry-specific meetings. like cell phones. 8 . 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.

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

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

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 & 11 . Consultants News/Kennedy Information. NH 03458 USA.20 Largest Consulting Firms. Mercer SAP T-Systems Booz Allen Hamilton LogicaCMG Atos Origin Oracle Unisys Altran EDS TietoEnator Watson Wyatt Worldwide The Company Source: Excerpted and reprinted with permission of Consultants News June 2004. Peterborough. www.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
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
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


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.


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

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

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

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

We want them to be learning how we work. competitive analysis.” says one insider.” 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 . identifying trends. soaking everything up.Typical Responsibilities Duties vary depending on the project. “People on strategy spend more time analyzing the industry. On the Job Strategy On the strategy side. “Traditional consultants deal with processes from an operational standpoint—how they run the business. 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. economics. valuation. 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.

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

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

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

I check back with the client to make sure everything’s OK with that earlier problem. trying to distill what people want and what we can do. There! Now I can shift my attention to new development and new features we’re considering for this project. so all hands on deck. I start working on a proposal for one of these features. Check my e-mail to see if tests found any bugs over night. Still. 12:00 Almost there. Then I’m back on our proposal. 4:00 5:00 6:30 23 . Yep. there are a few critters in this system. Time to head out. but not quite. 1:00 3:00 Work out the last kinks. It’s a good time to make sure we’re in touch with the client’s needs—and pick some of my colleagues’ smart brains. Meet with the tester to get more information about the bugs. I head for the elevator bank and grab a sandwich at the coffee shop downstairs. I need refueling. What’s the impact? By when do we need to resolve them? On the Job 10:00 It’s a high-priority bug. Meet with clients and other Accenture consultants about some of the new features we’re planning.• Develop acceptance criteria • Oversee implementation of technical applications (IT) • Develop and implement financial models • Oversee training applications • Conduct structure analysis A Day in the Life of an IT Consultant 8:30 9:00 Arrive at the site. I shove aside my other work and focus on clearing up this 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. I read over any Accenture e-mails I might have glossed over while I munch through my lunch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As far back as 1994. personnel in same-sex relationships under its medical. dental. It’s often in testing and functional design. insiders report plenty of women in the workforce. Children of same-sex domestic partners can be covered under the same rules as those for children of married personnel.” a 1-hour course that underlines that diversity in the workforce is a key company priority and shows how stereotypes can contribute to a nonproductive work environment. 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. At last count. Among the seven networking groups that comprise its Local Office Diversity Program is one for gay and lesbians. the number of women in top positions at Accenture has steadily increased over the past decade.8 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2002. and “the diversity principle in motion. Accenture has relatively low female representation among its very senior management.S. In general. The percentage of female senior-level executives rose from 5. though some areas attract more than others. Plus. and less in 31 . Accenture extends domestic partner benefits to U. The plans and their benefits are the same as those available to spouses of married personnel.” a group workshop on recognizing inappropriate behaviors related to differences in the workplace. but it’s very polarized. Accenture was named one of the “100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians” in the Ed Mickens book of the same title. and dependent life insurance plans. Opportunities for Women The Workplace Like the consulting industry as a whole. the “diversity principle. three of its 21 management committee members were female. Still. “There are quite a number of females. However.valuing the dynamics between men and women. wherever it is legally possible to do so.

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

Accenture does not release this information. 33 . Of course. “Typically when we hire off the higher-ranking MBA schools. depending on office location.000 to $100. the rebound is trickling down to even new hire levels.” Note: Compensation numbers are based on WetFeet research. and insiders report raises are anywhere from 10 to 20 percent a year. Though the weak economy brought back salaries for both MBAs and undergraduates to preboom levels. “A lot of the MBA programs are people who have pretty good experience—4 or 5 years experience in some fields.” says one insider. we’ll bring those people in at a manager The Workplace level with the expectation that they’ll be a senior manager fairly soon.000.000 range.000 to $55. getting an additional salary boost when they advance. and work experience.Compensation Accenture has been known to pay well and to offer significant raises. MBAs and other advanced-degree holders entering the strategy practice should start from $60. Undergraduate hires can expect to start in the $40. educational background. many MBAs move to the level of manager a few years after they start.

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

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

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

and methodology. Insiders report that Accenture analysts are often recruited by competitors in part because of the thorough training they receive at Accenture. followed by 2 weeks of guidance on skills necessary for interacting with a client and working on the project. A key component is a 2-week visit to the Accenture facility in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles after a year than right off the chute . . selling. act. “It makes a lot more sense.Training Accenture provides technical and managerial skills development. business and technology acumen. it’s expensive for the firm to do it at the front end. value creation. Most analysts start with a week’s orientation.” says one insider. So do other firms. relationship building. employees in the consulting workforce can expect at least 300 hours of core training during their first 5 years. Illinois. The training enables consultants to build a common corporate culture. As a result. Recently the firm shifted the schedule. At the entry level. But it also teaches hands-on skills such as programming languages used in the debugging and data analysis that occurs in so many of Accenture’s projects. In training and thereafter.” But Accenture won’t throw you into a big project cold. and it now sends new recruits to St. they are instructed on how to think. people in Accenture all use a uniform 37 . also. Training helps consultants develop critical skills such as leadership. Charles. Charles once they have several months of on-the-job experience. Analysts used to attend classes at the corporate campus shortly after they started work. . and the firm sees it as a competitive advantage. “I would have been able to get a The Workplace lot more experience from St. and speak like an Accenture consultant. Accenture’s internal information-management system. One insider says. which enables them to tap into mountains of data from all of the firm’s consulting assignments. The Workplace 38 . Not only are the trainees from all over the world. That’s a common way that Accenture employees learn new language. so cross-group (or transnational) communication poses no problem (in theory. at least). “Our 2-week training course in St. 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.” New consultants also learn how to use the Knowledge xChange. but the trainers are as well. Accenture is increasingly offering training in an online format called myLearning. regardless of business group or geographical location.

for 1½ to 3 years Undergrad or MBA.” says one insider about the Core Analysts Program. entry-level hires. The further you go on. Most MBAs enter the strategy service line as consultants or experienced analysts. New employees move from analyst. to consultant. “After you’ve been with the firm for a few years. MBAs. 39 .” 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. in those couple of years. but it’s like a blank check to jump around with clients and get a broader experience.300) Source: WetFeet research. The chart below shows the opportunities for applicants in each of the three main categories: undergraduates. the more valuable you are if you have something unique. in strategy). is that not only do you get the initial foundation. Accenture employees follow a defined career path with set milestones. to senior manager. 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. to manager. and midcareer candidates. “The whole theory. and finally to partner. to associate partner. the expectation is that you’ve aligned The Workplace with an industry group and specialty group.

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

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

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

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

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

The more projects of a certain type that you do. the business consultant says we’ll implement the technology or we’ll outsource the function. 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. then they’re testing a system. you will specialize whether you want to or not. Managers typically staff their projects with analysts and consultants who have particular industry.” 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. or business analysis expertise. ‘If you execute it. The client might say. The possibility for different types of project work seems only likely to expand as the firm builds out newer areas. “If you look at the firm like a bell curve.” The Workplace says one insider. Then on the flip side. from writing training scripts to proofing user manuals to helping screw in large computer systems. that’s great. We’re not pure strategy.” says one insider. people who have done organization design.” says one insider. “For Accenture. either. the more likely you are to be a master of some. We can do strategy and technology and outsourcing. the far right would be pure strategy. “Sometimes they think they’re going to do lots of technology and want to know why we aren’t building a system. and that’s not what they expected. programming. It often depends on who they’ve interviewed with. But rest assured. and partners sell clients packages of services—from high-level strategic thinking to nuts-andbolts system installation. such as outsourcing and offshoring. on a typical deal.“The biggest misconception that new people have is around the technology parts of the business. 45 .

“You really don’t want to tempt fate by just plodding along. Of course. energy. you may not get projects at all. In a word. and focus.” says one insider. you’ll just get marginal projects.” The Workplace 46 . networking.Get Out and Mingle Almost from day 1. You really have to work hard to get to know people. and working to make sure they’ll be staffed on a good project when the current one ends. In down times. and anyone who might work on a project you’d want to join. Accenture analysts and consultants have two jobs: working on a project for clients. client work takes up the bulk of consultants’ time. “In the best of times. But insiders say it’s important to keep in touch with colleagues from past projects. acquaintances met at local industry gatherings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


For Your Reference For Your Reference • Recommended Reading • For Further Study • The Numbers • Et Cetera 55 .

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

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

895 4.172. 2003: Accenture Revenue Operating Group Communication & high tech Financial services Government Products Resources Other Total 2004 ($) 1. compared to February 28.For Your Reference The Numbers Revenue (in thousands) for the 6-month period ending February 29.808 950.470 1-Yr.985 4.580 Change (%) 12 10 31 10 15 14 11 58 .241 6.516. 2003 ($) 1.416.822 1.527 1.145 720.825 7. 2004.792 Source: www.451 1.498 1.256.616.293.291.809.

Timothy S. Nevertheless. Forehand. Chief Financial Officer Stephan A. Chairman and CEO (William D. McGrath. Chief Operating Officer—Capabilities William D. many of them during the off-season. 2004) Michael G. Chief Operating Officer—Client Services. CEO designate R. If not. James. Green. Chief Strategy Officer 59 . Green will become CEO on September 1. you can submit your resume at www.For Your Reference Et Cetera Recruiting Contacts Accenture is probably coming soon to a school near you. take heart: The firm is hiring lots of people. Key People Joe your chances of getting a position will be tougher. 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.

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

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