Accenture

Having built its global reputation in just over two decades, Accenture is one of the world's leading consultancies. Since rebranding in 2001, the firm has expanded its staff to over 220,000 across 200+ offices worldwide.

Pros

  • Generous time off policy
  • Promotes women within the firm
  • Interesting and variable work with a culture of rewarding successes
  • Lots of training courses, some in Chicago

Cons

  • Up or out promotion policy
  • Long hours and periods away from home make the work/life balance difficult

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Accenture is one of the world's leading consultancies, having built its global reputation in just over two decades. The firm was established in 1989 as Anderson Consulting, before rebranding at the beginning of 2001, as Accenture. Accenture now has offices in over 200 cities across 120 countries, and employs a staggering 220,000+ people. The firm's operations are divided into three regions: the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA – with the majority of the firm’s revenue coming from the latter. The firm looks to China for future growth, and has already helped some of the state-owned businesses there with modernisation – including the Bank of China and four major telecom companies. Another area of growth is India, where Accenture’s approach to recruitment is progressive. They have policies for combating discrimination and harassment, and encourage female employment with options such as day care and home offices. More Accenture employees work in India than any other country; there the firm now has offices in six cities, and employs 35,000 people.

In the early days, technology consulting and business integration were the firm's main focus. Today, Accenture specialises in management consulting, technology services and outsourcing. Over half of the firm’s revenue still comes from traditional consulting, though the firm’s outsourcing and technological practices have undergone the most growth and change in recent years. Most recently, the firm has been ranked No.1 on the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals’ Global Outsourcing 100 list, marking the fourth consecutive year the firm has topped this ranking as the world’s best.

Accenture works with businesses as well as governments to help improve their performance. In the US, the firm has won some heavyweight federal contracts, including a standout deal with the US Navy – quite a feat given the competition of Booz & Co and McKinsey. Despite strong competition in technology, with the likes of IBM lurking, Accenture is thriving. The firm’s strong relationship with Microsoft certainly helps; in fact, so close is the firm’s relationship that, at one point, there were rumours of Microsoft buying Accenture.

The firm helps its clients to increase their revenue, make the services they provide more efficient and expand into new markets. Accenture's success is demonstrated by its repeat custom – 97 of its largest 100 clients have been with the firm for at least five years, and over three quarters for over a decade.

Accenture actively participates in community work all over the globe. The firm's altruistic projects include helping an HIV clinic in South Africa, providing web site development to teachers in Brazil, and assisting with school improvements in Philadelphia. The firm is also lauded for its initiatives in supporting and promoting its female members of staff.

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With the firm recruiting from the top academic institutions in Europe, landing a place at Accenture is no mean feat. There are positions available in both the firm’s consulting and technology solutions departments, but whichever route you take the process is structured and recruiters are formal and direct. This doesn’t mean the interviewers are impolite, just that they perhaps eschew some of the niceties employed by other consultancies.

 

The Hiring Process

The first step is a standard online application followed by a situational judgment test to be completed online.Should you be successful, you’ll hear back from the firm usually within 5 to 10 working days after completing the form. Now brace yourself for three rounds of assessments.

First up is a 45-minute phone interview with either a member of the recruitment team or a manager. Focussing on communication, presentation and decision making skills, expect the usual ‘tell me a time...’ posers. The interviewer will expect you to draw on the entire breadth of your experience from university, work experience and extra-curricular activities. Expect competency questions on the times you’ve demonstrated leadership, worked successfully in teams, dealt with pressure, and taken initiative. Prepare a strong answer as to why you want to join Accenture over other management consultancies, and be sure to research the firm’s competitors and recent cases. Furthermore, make sure you’re up-to-date with the industry developments as a wholeto demonstrate your commercial awareness. Be prepared for a mini case study – in strategy, communications, high tech, supply chain or customer relationship management – which is designed to test your critical thinking and problemsolving skills. If you’re specifically interested in strategy consulting, feel free to express your interest at this stage – although your suitability won’t be assessed until the second round assessment centre.

Make it over the first hurdle and you’ll be faced with a half-day group assessment. The high quality of candidates makes this stage particularly challenging, with the assessment covering both market sizing and business acumen problems. So speak up, talk with authority and smile! The assessment half-day comprises:

  • One-to-one case study: Candidates are given 20 minutes to review some information about a company’s business and technology problems. An interviewer will then discuss the scenario with the candidate, pressing them on the steps they would recommend to resolve these issues.
     
  • Group exercise: After being split into groups, candidates are asked to discuss the same case study and prioritise the issues. Though don’t expect to be given the same information as the other members of your group!
     
  • Document review exercise: Approximately 15 pages to read, and only 15 minutes to review – this exercise is tough. Under this tight time pressure, candidates are required to highlight errors, such as poor spelling, grammar, indentation etc.
     
  • Innovation task: Candidates break off into groups once more for this exercise. Based on a case study, each group member is expected to contribute at least one idea to help solve the problem. For instance, one past case study challenged candidates to come up with innovative and creative methods to ease overcrowding on the London Underground.
     
  • One-to-one interview: Focussing on your career interests and personality, the interview will be held by a manager or member of the graduate recruiting team. The interviewer will be looking to glean whether you would represent a good cultural fit with Accenture, and if so, where you’d best be best placed at the firm.


After these assessments, candidates will sit through a manager presentation and analyst question and answer session – neither of which is assessed.

Strategy and SITE (Strategic IT Effectiveness) candidates may face a further two interviews held by managers. The first session will further probe your career focus and motivation; the second will most likely be centred around a case study and test your communication skills and approach to problem solving. These interviews have a more technical leaning, and are oriented to gauge the candidate’s logic and capacity to prioritise.

No matter which consulting route you choose, you won’t have to wait too long to learn your fate. Accenture’s website advises its applicants they can expect to hear back by email within 10 working days of the interview.

 

Internships

For those interested in internships and summer schemes, these are available for final-year students, and applications are accepted online between September and January. As always, work experience would boost your chances of landing a full-time role, so apply early to avoid missing out!

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Stats

Employer Type: Public Company
No. of Employees: 220,000+
No. of offices: 200+

Salary

Junior Analyst: £30,000 - £33,000 (Approx.)
Senior Analyst: £34,000 - £40,000 (Approx.)
Consultant: £40,000 - £58,000 (Approx.)

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Locations

London Offices:
20 Old Bailey
London EC4M 7AN
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7844 4000
www.accenture.com

1 Plantation Place
30 Fenchurch Street
London EC3M 3BD
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7844 4000

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