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grade inflation

 
#1 grade inflation
15/03/2011 08:55

Petra Carmichael-deSastre

I am ex ACN from many years ago, and have been working alongside an ACN team at a client for the last 6 months. I have to say that in terms of responsibility, client facing skills, gravitas etc a manager now seems to be postioned more like an S1 was in my stint there. What was an aggressive pyramid structure now seems to start off with vertical sides on it, though the grade changes persist.. Not sure what's been driving this - maybe the nature of the work sold requires more junior skillsets, but they've had to keep the promotions just for retention?

admittedly policemen are starting to look young too

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#2 RE: grade inflation
15/03/2011 10:13

anon to Petra Carmichael-deSastre (#1)

Well the average person will become a manager about 28 or 29 assuming they joined fairly fresh out of uni so it is quite young in comparison to the age of the client that person will be engaging with. I'm 27 and hope to make manager next year, and i do agree, the expectations are high at that level, especially in the management consulting side of the business.

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#3 RE: grade inflation
15/03/2011 10:48

petra c-d to anon (#2)

not sure we are on the same page - I'm saying the expectations are now lower. My first project for ACN was on a 7-man development project overseas; the whole thing was led by a second year analyst (ie less than two years out of uni), with two visits in three months from a manager. The managers and just-sub-managers I have been working with here are by contrast glorified PMOs, and they are all very much doers, not client engagement leaders

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#4 RE: grade inflation
15/03/2011 12:41

Bob to petra c-d (#3)

Well, just look at their business model: revenue growth and steady revenue stream comes from larger and larger multi-year delivery, transformation, outsourcing, etc. deals with larger and larger teams (stack 'em high and wide).

So you might have a project with 100 ACN bodies and only 1 'client engagement leader'. So much for opportunities for building BD/sales skills, shaping work, engaging with senior client stakeholders... Until you get to mayeb 2nd/3rd year SM level you won't even be allowed to talk to heads of level clients.

This volume-based model bring with it other things such as larger teams to lead and manage (and related complexity - you mentioned an A2 leading 6 people...I think A2s easily beat that these days), bigger variance in staff quality (not really up-or-out...just hang on and you'll get promoted...everyone blends into a sea of mediocrity), much less 'throw you in the deep end and see if you sink' and more reliance on industrialisation, methodology, tools, etc. to assure quality and reduce write-downs (the scale of which are increased due to scale of engagements).

In the past ACN probably hired the cream of the crop (a few top talent), threw them in, kept the ones that swam, worked them 16 hours a day which meant within 2 years you had the combination of high intelligence and equivalent of 4 years experience (then rinse and repeat).

Now they hire lots of pretty good people, stick them in random roles, move them to another client if they don't repeat, let them work from home 2 days a week (refer to example of our dear friend Aces), which means 2 years later you have a bunch of mediocre people with 2 years of experience. Then rinse and repeat.

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#5 RE: grade inflation
15/03/2011 17:13

anon to Bob (#4)

Disagree that because you do a bit of home working you are in some way a poor performer, it's a good perk.

Also, I think what is being discussed here is the IT consulting side of ACN. You would not find an A2 on a strategy or supply chain project managing 6 people. The expectations of people on the IT side are perhaps different because of the nature of the work. The business and staffing model on the Consulting side of the business i think is the complete opposite. Teams are lean and usually have 1 SM or an M, a consultant or two and an analyst or two.

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