During my undergrad in Anthropology, I loved learning about new cultures that were completely foreign to me. However, I was particularly interested in learning about my own culture and examining how we work and what our practices say about our culture.
Consulting offers a lot of that too. We’re constantly examining new organisations and industries, asking questions, figuring out what’s going on and how to understand it, and then piecing it together to see what it all means.
For a career in strategy consulting, what you studied is not as important as the ability to reason, come up with answers, and question the logic that is presented to you.
Since I’ve started with Accenture Strategy I’ve worked on a variety of exciting projects and proposals across the Government, financial services, and aerospace and defence sectors. It’s really exciting to be thrown into an organisation and an industry you have minimal prior knowledge of and to quickly try to understand their business problem.
If you're considering a career at Accenture, here are six questions that might help you decide whether strategy consulting might be for you.
Do you understand what Accenture Strategy does?
It's important to understand what we do and how strategy compliments the other areas of Accenture.
To get up to speed, the Accenture.com.au website has some great case studies of the type of work we do. It can also be helpful to have a look at the LinkedIn profiles of people working in our team – you can see what articles they're liking and sharing, which will provide a good overview of the topics people are talking about, interested in, or working on at the moment. People at Accenture are always actively trying to learn about new things. It's a community of people who want to learn more, know more, and develop their skills and knowledge. See if you're interested in these areas and consider whether you would enjoy working with or learning more about them.
Are you willing to learn?
It’s really important to understand the skills this job is going to require. Because of the short-term nature of our projects, it’s important to be flexible, adaptable and willing to throw yourself into situations which you might not know much about. You have to quickly figure out who the client is, what their problem is, and how we can help. This requires a willingness to learn new things, often very quickly. If you come in thinking that having finished university you’re now done with learning, it’s definitely not going to be the case.
Are you a people person?
Regardless of where you work, people are going to be an important consideration. Do you get along well with people? Do you enjoy being around and working with others? At Accenture, you will often spend a lot of time in a small room with your team working through a problem, so you need to be sure that you're going to be happy to spend a lot of your time with others.
Take advantage of any opportunities to come in and interact with the people who work here, whether it's reaching out on LinkedIn or attending Accenture events. Getting that exposure to our people will help you figure out if it's a culture and a way of working that you'd enjoy.
Are you naturally inquisitive?
It’s been said a million times before, but soft skills are more important than hard skills in this type of job. If you really need to be able to use a certain program or tool you can always learn it. However, being able to ask the right questions, speak up and share your point of view, and understand both tacit and explicit elements of the situation will often be the biggest value you will add. Even if you’re in a room of people who know the topic deeply, it can be valuable to question things which might be unquestioned within the group, but which may need to be explained to the client or other key stakeholders.
Are you flexible and adaptable?
You will often get thrown into pieces of work which don’t resemble anything you’ve done before. Are you open and willing to try things that you haven’t done before, or that you aren’t even sure you’ll be good at? Having the flexibility, adaptability and willingness to give things a try is really important.
Are you self-aware?
At Accenture we work with an amazing group of people who are willing to help you, however you need to be willing to ask for that help. Being self-aware and knowing your capabilities and where you are going to need help is a truly valuable skill. Being able to reflect on your own abilities and ask for help when you need it will often get you quite far.