If you know anything about consulting, you have probably heard of a firm called Accenture. The company is the largest consulting firm in the world, employing over 425,000 people across 120 countries. It should be no surprise that Accenture offers a world class experience and are some of the most sought after jobs in the world.
In this article, we conduct a deep dive into Accenture Consulting and how you can land an offer at the firm.
Click to jump to section:
- About Accenture
- Accenture Digital & Accenture Interactive: What Are They?
- Accenture Culture
- Benefits of Working at Accenture
- Other Considerations
- How to Land an Offer at Accenture
- Accenture Internships
- Top Office Locations and Why
Accenture was founded in the 1950s as a division of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The division was eventually spun off into its own entity and has experienced tremendous growth since then. In 2017, Accenture generated a whopping $35B in revenue and is now a publicly traded company.
Accenture is known for its diverse range of service offerings and has five main practice areas. These include: strategy, management, digital, technology, and operations consulting. The firm is consistently ranked as one of the top firms in the world. Fortune Magazine ranked it 60th in their latest “100 Best Companies to Work For” issue.
Accenture Digital & Accenture Interactive: What Are They?
Accenture Digital is one of the largest end-to-end providers of digital transformation capabilities in the world. The practice focuses on helping businesses, organizations, and governments redefine how they serve connected customers and operate their connected enterprises. Accenture Digital offers integrated digital business and technology services to deliver tangible results at every phase of the digital journey. Accenture offers complete services that span customer experience, connected products and systems and intelligent analytics.
Within Accenture Digital lies Accenture Interactive, which the firm describes as “The Experience Agency”. It’s part creative agency, part consultancy, designed to empower marketers to own experience from start to finish. The practice focuses on providing services in design & innovation, marketing, commerce, and content.
Accenture is known for its outstanding culture. Below are some of the notable reasons why.
Inclusion and Diversity
Accenture takes pride in its inclusive and diverse culture, and an incredible 51% of its workforce are minorities. The firm celebrates International Day of Persons with Disability, and sponsors the Queer Screens Mardi Gras Film Festival. The firm also has active women’s affinity groups and provides endless training opportunities throughout their Accenture careers.
Accenture offers employees flexible working conditions throughout their Accenture careers. The firm provides job-sharing, part-time work, work from home, and even a “flex-time schedule,” which is when employees can vary their start and finish times to complete standard work hours in less than 5 days.
Strides Towards Work Life Balance
Accenture consultants are known for working hard, and long hours often come with an Accenture career. However, the firm offers a wide range of opportunities for employees to take time off. These options include personal studies, graduation leaves, as well as long- or short-term career breaks. The firm definitely is an advocate for the “work hard, play hard” mentality.
Your professional life will always be easier with the right mentors and guidance, and boy does Accenture provides mentorship programs. Accenture consultants are provided with a mentor on day one, and you never outgrow the need for one no matter your level. Leveraging the opportunity to learn from a mentor is one of the best ways to fast track your Accenture career.
A Focus on Giving Back
One of Accenture’s core values is to serve clients, develop people, and give back to the community. Accenture’s Skills to Succeed program encompasses a dedicated environmental strategy, addresses skill shortages, and involves donations to charitable causes. Accenture also recognizes people who go above and beyond to enact change in the world with its Corporate Citizenship Volunteer Awards.
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Benefits of Working at Accenture
Accenture careers come with a multitude of benefits. See below for some of the most important ones.
Tons of Learning
One of the most important benefits of working at a top consulting firm like Accenture is the amount of personal and professional growth that comes from working with the world’s top companies. Accenture consultants work on some of the world’s toughest problems, and they usually need to be solved within a relatively short period of time. In addition, you’ll be exposed to top level management during the project, providing an opportunity to learn from seasoned industry veterans.
Excellent Exit Opportunities
Even with all the benefits of an Accenture career, you may eventually want to leave the firm to pursue something different. If that turns out to be the case, having Accenture on your resume will help you receive interviews with companies in almost any field. The company enjoys an extremely strong international brand that you can be confident will carry you far.
Broad Range of Career Opportunities
Your Accenture career is what you make of it. Because the firm offers so many different services and has offices around the globe, consultants at the firm enjoy a broad range of opportunities. You could be working in the Accenture Digital practice in New York for a few years and then transition to Accenture Strategy in London for another few years. On the other hand, if you feel like you’ve found your calling, Accenture also provides training and support to help employees specialize within their desired area and skillsets.
Accenture careers involve continuous training. Accenture Connected Learning is a $841M training program where employees can access digital lessons covering a wide variety of skills. The program consists of over 24,000 online courses, 100 professional communities, and 50 connected classrooms. This program, in addition to the massive amounts of training you receive on the job, will help you build valuable skillsets coveted by employers across the world.
To help ensure that employees are able to perform at the top of their game, Accenture provides a variety of health benefits. These include health insurance, life insurance, health checks, business related travel insurance, and even flu vaccines. The company also provides support for employees with ongoing health conditions.
Even with all the great benefits and opportunities that come with Accenture careers, we would be lying if there weren’t any drawbacks.
Tier 2 Firm
The first and most important drawback to note may not even really be a drawback. Even though Accenture is the largest consulting firm in the world, in the bigger landscape of consulting firms, Accenture ranks in the second tier. McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain are the three companies that sit amongst the top tier. If you are looking to working at the best of the best, Accenture certainly provides a fantastic experience, but is not at the very top.
More Operational Than Strategy Work
Following up on the above, Accenture is known more for its operational work than strategy. This can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it means that you’ll actually be helping implement real solutions for your clients. On the other hand, the work becomes a bit drier and is not as “sexy” as strategy (this also does limit your exit opportunities if you eventually want to leave for a corporate strategy role).
Hierarchical Structure and Politics
Any firm that grows to such a large extent will ultimately build a culture of internal politics, and Accenture is no different. Because the firm is so large, the company’s leadership structure is not as flat as some of its smaller competitors, and thus you must play the political game to rise through the ranks.
Though there are a diverse set of opportunities and practices at Accenture, you may feel pressured to stay within a certain specialty. This is true at most firms – once you build a certain skill set and network, it only gets harder and harder to leave the comfort of what you’re most experienced in. Transferring into different practice areas or locations can also be tricky, since the most sought after options are the most competitive to internally transfer into. Lastly, it can be difficult to leave the firm itself. Especially if you are a top performer, there will be pressure from seniors to stay at the firm. If you end up listening to them, you’ll end up building a very specific set of skills that may decrease your exit options.
Challenging Work Life Balance
Another notable drawback is the challenging work-life balance at Accenture. Because Accenture consultants are usually high achievers, teams push themselves to provide clients with top-notch deliverables, which take considerable time and effort. Though plenty of opportunities for rest are available, Accenture consultants often work long hours throughout the week, though rarely if ever on weekends.
How to Land an Offer at Accenture
Most aspiring Accenture consultants place a lot of focus on the case interview process. However, even if you are going through an on-campus recruiting process, you need to master the art of networking to have a chance at landing an offer.
Before you get too excited about the prospect of the Accenture case interview, you need to first ensure you get an invitation to the interview! Without that, there is no interview process to ace. Accenture receives thousands of applications each year for both off-cycle hires and traditional on-campus recruiting, so even being invited is an important step. But assuming you perform reasonably well in the interviews, firms will often talk to a wide range of people you’ve interacted with before making the final call. If you haven’t engaged much with many people, you’ll hurt your chances.
When done well, networking gives you a competitive advantage during the recruiting process, making it more likely, all else equal, that you’ll get an offer. There is a 4-step process that works when it comes to networking and, ultimately, landing an offer at Accenture.
Perfect Your Consulting Resume
Your resume is usually the second impression you’ll make on the firm. Your first is often the networking email you’ll send to a connection at the firm, be it a referral or recruiting manager. But before you are even able to conduct an informational interview, most Accenture consultants will expect to see your resume. And, if this resume doesn’t display your competence and reinforce your story for why you are interested in working at Accenture, you’ll be in trouble.
Your resume is also a tool for helping you craft and communicate your story. What have you accomplished? What skills do you have? In what types of situations have you applied those skills? All these are things that firms look for in candidates.
Be Specific in Your Reachout Efforts
Before you start sending networking emails, know what you are looking for. Have a few specific things you’d like to know that explains why you are reaching out. Are you just conducting research on the firm to prepare for a potential interview? Trying to learn more about consulting in general? If you can identify a very specific ask, you’re more likely to get a positive response from a busy Accenture consultant. And, now you have a foot in the door.
Land Informational Interviews
Third, once you know what you are asking for, you can start to reach out to people you know who either work at Accenture or are close to someone who does. Your objective is to get a warm introduction that allow you to discuss your “ask” with an Accenture consultant.
There are three common ways to network into Accenture: 1) reach out to people you know personally who either work at Accenture or know someone who does 2) reach out to alumni, as they always love to help 3) send a cold email. Not as many people send cold emails as you’d expect, and it is a more effective strategy than most give it credit for. Follow our tips in this article for more on cold networking emails.
Ask for a Referral
The whole point of networking is to land a referral to an interview. That’s why networking is so key to eventually landing an offer at Accenture. So once you’ve perfected your resume, decided what you want to ask for, and reached out to people for informational interviews, what’s next? The next step is to convert your reachout into a referral.
How do you do this? First of all, be yourself. Act like the interesting human you are who is smart and fun to be around. You are trying to showcase who you are beyond your resume, and it doesn’t hurt for the consultant to view you as someone they would enjoy working with. Finally, at the end of the short (~15-minute) informational interview, ask if they would feel comfortable referring you. If they don’t, ask for specific feedback on why not. A ‘no’ now isn’t necessarily a ‘no’ forever, and you could gain valuable insight that could help you get the referral the next time around.
A few final thoughts to help you network your way to an interview. If you are still going through the on-campus process, attend Accenture’s info sessions. And while simply attending is good, finding a way to strike a conversation with the consultants there is even better. Finally, be sure to send thank you emails to anyone that takes the time to have an informational interview with you or speak with you at an info session.
Accenture Consulting internship recruiting is one of the most competitive processes in the world. The internship usually consists of a 8-12 week program in which interns work on real projects within a consulting team. Interns who perform well during the program are given return offers to join Accenture as a full-time employee.
There are just two entry points to Accenture internships: through an undergraduate or MBA program. Accenture hires the vast majority of their interns through these two avenues, and they present the best shot for you to join the firm through an internship. To be selected for interviews, make sure you maintain a high GPA, participate in extracurriculars, and gain some solid professional experiences.
Top Office Locations and Why
Finding the best office locations at Accenture is no easy task. Information online about the different locations is scarce and your best bet is to network with Accenture consultants in your preferred areas. However, here are a few of the top locations in the States:
New York – The Big Apple is the center for many things in the world. A lot of Accenture’s biggest and most interesting clients are headquartered in NYC.
San Francisco – Given Accenture’s heavy focus on its technology practices, San Francisco is one of the hottest office locations that many candidates vie for.
Other notable office locations include Accenture Chicago, Accenture Atlanta, Accenture Austin, and Accenture San Antonio.
Accenture will remain one of the top consulting firms in the world for a long time to come. As with all great and large firms, there are some important pros and cons to consider. But with any luck, you’ll land an Accenture offer and have a long and rewarding experience. We hope that this article helped provide you with some insight to help you decide if the firm is right for you.