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ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products

 
#1 ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
14/03/2014 18:14

zevew

Hi guys,

Just been given an offer at ACN Strategy in the UK, fairly competitive salary and hopefully will get my practice line preferences of FS or Products. However, my questions are:

* Training - I hear you can be dropped into the deepend a little bit, does anyone have an experience of this from the Strategy team?

* Strategy - I also hear that a lot of the stategy work is IT strategy, is this correct? How different is it from the wider body of ACN.

* Enjoyment - I'm not expecting a picnic and massage, but does anyone enjoy the strategy team and do you find the work fulfilling?

I'm not trying to groom this forum for people to make damning comments or make my mind up for me, I've pretty thick skinned and I work long hours anyway, so I'd be more interested in reading constructive advice.

Thanks in advance, currently I'm very close to accepting.

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#2 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
16/03/2014 10:24

noctilucus to zevew (#1)

My answer will not be UK specific so your actual mileage may vary...

Also not sure where you are in your career or in other words what level you would start as.

* Training: true, typically there's a short onboarding of a few days, then as soon as possible on-the-job training. That being said, I've found this to work better than an overdosis of (theoretical) trainings upfront. How well it actually works depends mostly on your strategy colleagues and more specifically the people on the first project you're joining. Especially as an experienced hire, ask sufficient questions early on to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

* Not sure how the UK market looks like at the moment for ACN Strategy but typically the Strat - FS / Products teams I've known internationally did not get involved much with IT strategy. You could argue that a lot of the work that they did was not too strategic and bordered more on the operational (the same projects as their non-strat FS and Products colleagues were doing) but so far I haven't heard too much about heavy IT involvement. Especially not IT strategy. Then again, you might get pulled into IT projects if that's what's in the pipeline...

* Again, not knowing anyone in that particular UK team, the enjoyment heavily depends on who are the partners in charge and what type of projects do they sell. I've known people in Strat - FS and Strat - Products who did extremely interesting projects just as much as people who ended up doing a "mix of a bit of everything here and there". There have been geographies where Strat - FS was synonym for banking; others where the spectrum was much broader, tackling Financial department issues across all kinds of clients & industries.

If I were you, seeing that you're close to accepting, why not ask the people you've spoken to during the interviews if they can talk you through what's been in the pipeline in the past year or 2, to get a flavor of typical work?

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#3 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
17/03/2014 00:08

zevew to noctilucus (#2)

Thanks very much for the reply I really appreciate it.

When you say it is less strategy and more operational, what do you mean exactly?

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#4 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
17/03/2014 08:50

Arby the Manager to zevew (#3)

It means you will be looked upon as part of the wider Accenture machine (Digital, Operating Groups) and much of the work you do will be expected, in some respect, to leverage the holistic operating model which was released some months ago. That means your strategy work will be less "pure" (read - abstract) and more designed to be executable with a range of technology and non-technology offerings. You could also argue it's more results based as you will have to execute the strategy you have delivered to some degree, which is 1 level further on that more purer strategy houses. Arby

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#5 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
17/03/2014 10:52

noctilucus to Arby the Manager (#4)

Exactly! Think organisational changes, process optimization & re-design, etc. rather than just the purely strategic thinking at the top.

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#6 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
17/03/2014 12:33

Arby the Manager to noctilucus (#5)

Don't let that put you off though - the entire strategy industry is moving in this direction in any case (money is in the implementation). I would also suggest it's more interesting...

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#7 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
18/03/2014 00:38

zevew to Arby the Manager (#4)

That's not too bad, I quite like the idea of that.

I will be an 'experienced hire' coming from the FS industry, so 'operational' for me means something very different here. Is there any advice that you would give to an experienced hire coming in for the first time? Also, at C1 level is it true that the wage cap is 44K? I have neg'd a sign on bonus, but would also be interested to hear just how golden a handshake can be at C1 level.

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#8 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
18/03/2014 19:19

cloudnumbernine4u to zevew (#7)

44k for C1. .is absolutely spot on..you won't get anything more than that..In fact it's good that you have got sign on bonus...

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#9 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
18/03/2014 20:18

noctilucus to zevew (#7)

... I will be an 'experienced hire' coming from the FS industry, so 'operational' for me means something very different here. Is there any advice that you would give to an experienced hire coming in for the first time? ...

I'd say there's no rocket science, try to absorb the way of working quite quickly, don't be afraid to ask questions if it helps you to get onboard faster... You'll soon notice who wants to advise you and help you out early on.

See what type of work interests you and where there's currently a good pull from the market for, that should help you get staffed which is crucial to get your head around the way of working.

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#10 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
18/03/2014 23:22

zevew to noctilucus (#9)

Thanks all - I hear a lot if horror stories about ACN but I've also worked out that a lot of it is from analysts, IT or BPO.

This might seem a ridiculous question, but is the strategy team spared a lot of this poor treatment?

Is it also true that the working hours are only bad because of the number of inane, pointless meetings that occur between 9-5?

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#11 RE: ACN Strategy - Financial Services/Products
26/03/2014 17:51

noctilucus to zevew (#10)

Seeing that no one with experience within that part of the ACN organization has picked this up, I'll give it a shot...

The strategy guys used to be treated a bit as "above the rest" but in many cases they do wind up at projects that are staffed with non-strat people as well. So in that sense, expect the same treatment as anyone else (except for compensation).

You'll hear horror stories about any consulting firm and in quite a few cases there's a base of truth behind them: tough working hours, being underpaid compared to your effort (at the very least this is true below manager / senior manager level) and depending on who's in charge your projects may be a mess. But that's not exclusive to Accenture compared to pretty much any other consulting firm.

I haven't heard the comment about working hours being that bad because of internal (?) meetings so I'm a bit surprised where that comes from. The working hours can and frequently are "bad" because:

1) you're in consulting and generally speaking both consulting firms and clients will expect this to a varying degree - some more explicitly than others

2) projects are more often understaffed rather than overstaffed

3) you're frequently working against tight deadlines

4) quite a few senior executives ("partners"), senior managers and managers don't care much about work/life balance and will push you to work late, while on slow days they omit to send you home at a decent hour... this depends very much on whomever is in charge but expect to come across some bad cases. Once people you work with know what you're worth, it's very much up to you to manage this as well.

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