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Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy

#1 Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
30/01/2014 22:42


Hi all,

I am a soon to be graduate from LSE with a degree in Economics.

Over the past few months I interviewed for a few consultancies, got dinged by BCG and LEK in final round but managed to get graduate offers from Accenture and KPMG to join their strategy consulting practices.

I am really unsure of which one to choose and was hoping to get some advice from experienced people.

My reasoning as follows:

KPMG Strategy is a relatively new group within KPMG - only 1 years old. I am concerned that:

1. the novelty will mean that the organisation will be slightly less organised in terms of how they want to use their graduates

2. their reputation will not be close to that of Deloitte and PwC (who I consider the main competitors at the moment) which means less interesting projects

3. in the pursuit of growth, the expansion phase will be more 'quantity over quality' in terms of how they position themselves in the future - taking on loads of non-strategy projects as loss-leaders and realizing a few years later that those projects did not lead to follow on strategy jobs

On the other hand, Accenture Strategy has an established strategy platform and offers better compensation. But again, my concerns:

1. the Accenture brand name will be associated with technology whether or not I am an IT consultant, which could potentially make things difficult when looking for future opportunities

2. the Strategy work will mainly revolve around operational strategy with limited exposure to M&A and Pure strategy engagements

In the future, I am not completely sure what I want to do, perhaps try to upgrade to one of the top strategy firms, enter an internal strategy job or pursue private equity. The more options I can keep open, the better.

Apologies for the long thread, but would you guys have any advice on what I should consider/what choice you would make in this situation/how the two companies compare in the strategy space?

Appreciate all help.


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#2 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
31/01/2014 09:28

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to grad1234 (#1)

2. the Strategy work will mainly revolve around operational strategy with limited exposure to M&A and Pure strategy engagements

I'd suggest that you really don't want to get into M&A anyway.... it's a permanent death-march.

Do you know what would make the decision for me, if I were you? Just consider the hours. Which one will let you go home on time each night? You're young, don't waste those years of your life in the office. Both brands are fine and an extra couple of grand will seem like peanuts when you're older anyway.

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#3 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
01/02/2014 20:00

consultinggrad to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

From personal experience of working in strategy in ACN and Big 4 I would recommend KPMG. Nicer culture, the end-game is not to sell big 5-year outsourcing project, and smaller in size, which in my opinion provides a better working environment (i.e. easier to stand out and build a network). To put things into perspective - I believe that the whole of ACG at ACN is between 75-100% of the size of the whole of KPMG Management Consulting.

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#4 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
01/02/2014 21:08

grad1234 to consultinggrad (#3)

Thank you both for your responses, really appreciate the advice.

With regards to consultinggrads advice, having worked at both ACN and big 4, is there a considerable difference in terms of reputation when looking for other exit opps? Or are they all on par when looking for strategy related work?

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#5 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
01/02/2014 23:52

consultinggrad to grad1234 (#4)

I believe that in terms of the reputation and future opportunities they are definitely comparable. Therefore, in my opinion, it would more the type of projects you are staffed on that would determine you further opportunities. After leaving ACN I noticed how amazing it is to work in smaller teams in a fast growing practice that is a closer community. You are saying that the Strategy team at KPMG is relatively young - think of it as an opportunity to grow with it, take on more responsibility and get on the growth ride.

In the end I don't think you can go wrong with either but in big 4 I enjoyed the work much more - shorter projects, rather focused on high-level advisory and a firm with a different mindset not focused solely on technology.

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#6 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
02/02/2014 15:52

grad1234 to consultinggrad (#5)

Thank you for the advice, I will really have to think about it.

However, I am glad to hear that whatever I choose, it won't be a night and day difference.

Just as a final question consultinggrad, you mentioned that when you were at ACN, there was a strong focus on selling IT projects, would you say that this stance has changed over the past few years or is it the same? And also, would this not also be the case at a big 4 where they want to sell their audit/tax/consulting services to the client as well?

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#7 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
02/02/2014 18:15

consultinggrad to grad1234 (#6)

I don't think the approach of ACN has changed mainly because they created a strong unique selling point recognized by clients (technology solutions) and from a business point of view it pays off to sell long-term implementation projects. Accenture is a very successful business because of their business model, however I would not call it a consultancy, rather a service provider.

Regarding your question on big 4. Audit is completely separated from the consulting arm because of regulatory reasons and assurance services cannot be offered jointly with consulting. It is true that sometimes it creates a conflict of interests and senior partners have to decide which service line to offer the client. For sometime now I feel that they have been focusing on consulting more and more because of its growth potential (it comparison to fairly stagnant audit). As for tax advisory and transactions advisory they are also pretty separated from consulting however sometimes are offered as 'additional' services e.g. providing transfer pricing or working capital advisory for operational projects. From my experience this type of engagement are always consulting-led.

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#8 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
03/02/2014 09:29

grad1234 to consultinggrad (#7)

Thank you for all the help consultiggrad, will let you know what I choose in the end. Appreciate the advice a lot.

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#9 RE: Accenture Strategy vs. KPMG Strategy
21/01/2015 17:33

rextra to grad1234 (#1)

Hi there,

Realize it's been a while but I'm in the same position as you.

What did you end up choosing in the end? Would be great to get any advice.



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