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Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?

 
#1 Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
14/04/2006 13:59

Em

Hi everyone,

Just a quick question about the Accenture Sample Day, as I am going next week. Slightly worried but really looking forward to it. Anyone’s views of the day, what it was like etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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#2 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
14/04/2006 16:27

Warner

I went last year. It's basically an on-site employer presentation (like the ones they do on campus usually). They have a few speakers. Someone from HR tells you about the graduate programme, entry requirements, procedures, etc. One of the managers tells you about their career path at Accenture, what they think you need to be a good Analyst, and why they enjoy working there. Then a few of the current graduates tell you about what they have been doing since they joined Accenture, how they found the application process, what they did at university and before they joined Accenture. There are the usual opportunities to ask questions, you watch some promotional videos and you get a few handouts.

We had a stand-up buffet lunch with the people who had been presenting, so you have some chance to ask extra questions and chat informally. You then have a quick tour of the offices. We also did a couple of group exercises. There were about 30 people at the sample day I attended, and we were broken down into groups of about six.

The first exercise was a general knowledge quiz - topics like knowledge of Accenture, current affairs, sports, and I.T. This wasn't a serious test - just one of those "mark yourself" fun things to break the ice with the people in your group. Nobody knew all the answers - the idea is that the spread of questions is so broad that everyone in the group will know some answers but rely on each other for the rest.

The second group exercise was a case study of a sandwich company - we had to discuss and decide on which new business lines the company should explore, and prepare a short presentation of our recommendations. For this exercise, we had a manager there to guide the group as to how to tackle the exercise, manage the time, etc.

Finally, all the groups had to present their recommendations to each other and prizes were awarded for the best presentations. The day was rounded off with tea/coffee and another chance to chat informally with other attendees and people from Accenture.

There is nothing to be worried about on the sample day - you are not assessed or watched at all really. Just look smart and be reasonably polite. I saw some people treating it like an assessment centre, right down to revising their crib notes on Accenture while they were waiting in reception. If you know vaguely anything about the company, you will be going over old ground for most of the first half of the day.

They run the sample day several times so the format and content is quite polished and scripted to match the recruitment website and brochures. The most interesting thing to come out of the question and answers was that apparently a majority of the graduate intake are applying to Accenture for the second or third time i.e. improving at the assessment game with practice.

My view of the day was that it is best treated as an opportunity to decide if Accenture/IT-based consulting is right for you. It's not a close enough simulation of an assessment centre to be worth treating it as practice for the formal application process.

Talk to the other people attending the sample day and compare your impressions and expectations of the job. Also consider whether you could work with those people on a regular basis. In retrospect, the people at the sample day are a fairly good representation of the people who end up working for Accenture.

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#3 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
15/04/2006 16:31

Em

Thank you very much for all the details and advice.

Did you go onto apply for Accenture?

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#4 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
15/04/2006 18:55

Accenturian

i recently joined the accenture grad scheme, is there anything specific you want to know?

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#5 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
16/04/2006 12:23

Em

Hi thanks for asking! I’m kind of at the research stage and just trying to get an idea of what’s out there. Do you enjoy it!? Did you have any previous experience, is it beneficial (I am currently doing a two year placement within a leading car companies IT dept although not doing anything particularly technical)? What’s the culture/atmosphere like? Thanks again!

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#6 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
17/04/2006 01:12

accenturian

Hi,

Firstly I don’t believe they require you to have a lot of work experience given you are a graduate and there is only limited amount of work experience you can possibly gain apart from those summer jobs and part time work. So in that sense, I had some work experience gained through summer jobs. I think what’s important is that you gained those soft skills and made the most of your experiences such as developing your customer handling, communication, teamwork etc. its a big cliché, but soft skills are very important and they will test them in the interview and assessment centre. I think they specify you can’t have more than 2 years experience for the grad scheme, not sure. However any related work experience I’m pretty sure will be beneficial.

Don’t worry about doing technical / non technical work. Accenture wont get you doing something you have no interest in firstly and secondly not equipped to. You get a choice regarding the type of projects you particularly want to work on and your HR rep will talk to you about this. I am in BSIC and government OG. On my first project, I am not doing any technical work what so ever. I specified to my HR rep that I was interested in focusing on public sector change management and she managed to place me on a business transformation and human performance project so I was particularly lucky.

I can only offer my opinion, and I love working here. There is a lot of responsibility placed on you and you'll be thrown into the deep end straight away but I would rather be treated like that than be considered the 'newbie'.

The home offices are fantastically chilled compared to other organisations I have worked in during summer work like HBOS. You can take breaks when you feel like, talk to other people, I joke around with my managers and other consultants throughout the day....you sit with executives (hot desking principle) and project socials every other week. There is a restaurant / coffee bar in every office where you can go meet people for a break and catch up on the sky sports news! However that’s not to say it’s a slack atmosphere, you are however expected to make deadlines, get the work done and still be focused. Basically you can plan your own work pattern/behaviour as long as the work gets done by the deadline; if that means you are not a morning person, you can arrange it with your manager to come in at say 10am and work till 7-8pm instead (like my consultant housemate!!). However, this may also mean having to stay one night till 12am just to get the work done then so be it.

Work pattern will obviously be dependant on manager to manager and project to project. Obviously if you are at client site, then the rules might be different. My manager is pretty open and ad-hoc given she works from home a lot leaving a lot of flexibility in terms of where we work and what hours we work - though she expects all work to be done by the agreed deadline. My time is broken up around 3 days at the client site and 2 days at home office, though I’m not the type person that likes to work from home so I usually base myself at home office whenever possible.

Hope this is useful; any other queries let me know.

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#7 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
17/04/2006 01:23

pre-ACN

I am not a morning person - can I start at 1?

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#8 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
17/04/2006 01:25

Accenturian

ask your manager

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#9 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
17/04/2006 19:09

Warner

No, I didn't apply in the end. I already had a little experience by that point and I felt the graduate roles and fixed progression structure wouldn't be flexible enough to accomodate it and give me challenging work. If you haven't got business work experience though, I think Accenture would be more attractive place to start. That seemed to be the case for most of the people attending the day and those of my friends who have subsequently joined/left.

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#10 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
18/04/2006 21:52

Em

Thank you for your insights. I will let you know if I have any more questions. Thanks again, Em.

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#11 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
20/04/2006 14:11

Alison

Not to put a downer on this fantastic view of Accenture but I work there as a manager and I don't think we are talking about the same company. There is no way I or anyone I work with would be permitted to come in at 10 and work through flexible hours. As an analyst you are expected to be there on time, be on site, work late and as a rule you get absolutely no choice of project whatsoever (even at senior levels). Sorry to be harsh but I had to counter Accenturian as he/she must be incredibly lucky and I hate to tell you this Accenturian, it won't be like that for very long.

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#12 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
20/04/2006 14:18

pre-ACN

No choice? DO you not identify what you wanna do then go get in touch with the appropriate manager and schmooze your way in?

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#13 Re: Accenture Sample Day - What is it like?
24/04/2006 13:45

Alison

Of course you do that if you have prior warning that you are coming available etc and the 'appropriate manager' has the power to take you on. However, sometimes you get pulled off a job to go somewhere else or in several cases that I have seen, a more senior partner will overrule a less senior one and you go where they consider the 'business need' is.

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