Many are surprised to hear that Accenture – not McKinsey, BCG, Bain, or even Deloitte – is the largest consulting employer in the world. The firm is extremely aggressive in its recruiting efforts to compete for top talent and invests heavily in the hiring process. The biggest obstacle candidates must overcome to land a consulting gig at the firm is the Accenture case interview.
Accenture Organizational Structure
Accenture offers a wide variety of practices, namely:
- Management consulting
- IT consulting
- Back office outsourcing
The firm is known for its specialty in technology and is considered a leader in the field.
The firm’s management consulting arm is its most sought after division and is broken down into three groups: Strategy, Operations, and Digital. Accenture’s strategy consulting group competes for projects with the likes of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. The operations and digital groups are focused more on implementation rather than pure strategy.
As you may have guessed, Accenture case study interviews differ widely depending on the consulting division you apply for.
Accenture Recruiting Process
Accenture’s recruiting process usually involves a standard resume and cover letter screening and two to three rounds of interviews. However, note that the process can differ depending on the office and practice you are applying for.
All interview rounds usually contain the following characteristics:
- One to three 1-hour interviews
- Each interview typically has a mix of behavioral questions and a case study interview
As you progress throughout the interview rounds, you will be interviewed by more and more senior consultants. Initial rounds start with consultants. Second rounds are typically conducted by managers. Finally, in third and subsequent rounds, you will most probably interview with Managing Directors (equivalent to Partners), and finally Senior Managing Directors (equivalent to Senior Partners). You can expect that the Accenture case study interview questions will increase in difficulty as you progress through the rounds. For more on Accenture case study interview questions, see our article here.
Accenture Potentia Interview
The Accenture Strategy case interview is called the Potentia Interview. This interview is a special assessment used only by Accenture, though it bears many similarities to other case interviews.
Here are the main steps in the Potentia Interview:
- Candidates are given a short paragraph about a broad business topic and are given 5 minutes to analyze the text and questions posed.
- Candidates present their initial thoughts.
- Interviewer asks a series of questions to which the candidate responds.
The Potentia Interview lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour. It tests a candidate’s ability to be both creative and logical under pressure. Interviewers will push a candidate’s thinking and often ask open-ended questions with no right answers. (i.e. “What do you think are some potential ways our client could enter this new market?”).
Your interviewer will assess you based on two main criteria:
- Practicality, logic, and structure. Your ideas should be implementable, feasible, and catered to the client. The way you structure your ideas should also include frameworks and logic just as in any other case interview.
- Creativity and range of thought. You should present a broad set of ideas before you narrow them down to the most applicable ones. Providing creative solutions to your client’s problem is necessary in real-world consulting as well, and is what Accenture is assessing.
Accenture Case Interview Preparation
Accenture Case Interviews can be broken up into more nuanced pieces:
- General Accenture case interview
- Accenture technology case interview
- Accenture strategy case interview
With Accenture technology case interviews, you need to be able to demonstrate some technical expertise. The type of expertise will depend on the specific role, and you will almost always know what the firm is looking for ahead of time. Accenture’s strategy case interview is a much more traditional case interview, typical to that of other management consulting firms.
The best preparation tool for Accenture case study interviews come straight from the company itself. Take a look at Accenture’s Case Interview Workbook to help with your preparations. It includes a myriad of resources and gives hints at the Accenture case study interview questions they use. The Accenture Case Interview Workbook pdf can be downloaded below:
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with Accenture cases, out-loud practice with an expert is what will put you over the top. The case interview is a verbal test just as much a mental one. If you don’t practice out-loud, you will not do well. Work with our coaches today on tailored 1:1 prep.
Accenture Behavioral Questions
During the case interview process, you will be asked “behavioral” questions. The rationale behind these is to gauge how much of a “fit” you are with Accenture’s organization and culture. These can vary between the Accenture technology case interview and the Accenture strategy case interview. But in general, there is quite a bit of overlap. Here are some questions you can expect to see:
- Why Accenture?
- Why consulting?
- Walk me through your resume
- Tell me about something not on your resume
- What you you say is your greatest accomplishment
- Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a colleague / boss
- Tell me about a time when you overcame a really difficult challenge
- Can you tell me about a time when you worked in a team and had to manage a conflict
- Tell me about a time when you had to change someone’s / a group’s mind
- Tell me about a time when you led a team through a difficult situation
Accenture is a recruiting powerhouse, and the firm is making annual iterations to its recruiting process. However, the Accenture case study interview is firmly entrenched within the company’s process, and will likely be there for decades to come. As a result, make sure to prep for those case interviews if you are interested in breaking into Accenture!