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March 10, 2020
Day-in-the-life of an Accenture grad: Ella
By: Ella Sheedy

When Ella completed a coding paper in her first year studying business, she was inspired to change the focus of her degree, and her life. In her first 10 months as a grad at Accenture, she’s already making waves.

When I swapped my business degree for computer science in my first year at the University of Auckland, I got a lot of raised eyebrows. I had no idea what job I’d end up with. But I loved coding and wanted to work with people.

When I joined Accenture’s Auckland office, I was impressed by its track record in technology, work opportunities and the variety of clients. But the thing I liked most was our company culture. Accenture feels like one big whānau (which is Te Reo for ‘family’). We have our own sports teams and social events – and everyone gets involved in volunteering, like the Hour of Code, for example.

Ella's first day at Accenture

Our Accenture Auckland office

My first project was helping out with a strategy piece for a big government agency. I felt like I knew nothing, so I jumped in the deep end. Thankfully my team was supportive and I found my feet in no time. It was fascinating to learn about how the sector worked, meet senior clients and use my skills to add value to the project.

My next client engagement couldn’t be more different. I worked with a global confectionary giant for two weeks on an innovation challenge! I helped to design and facilitate a 2-day workshop about design thinking in partnership with Fjord, Accenture’s global design and innovation company.

Planning some project deadlines

Planning some project deadlines with a colleague

I’m not a naturally confident person but, with the support of my colleagues, I learnt to facilitate a room with 30 people, lead meetings and guide conversations. It really boosted my confidence and is a skill that I’ll have for life.

At the start of 2020, I decided to transfer to Wellington, where my parents live. I was born and raised here, so it’s nice to be back. Here’s what a day in my life is like:

It’s a reasonable commute into the office by bus. I’m a morning person so I get up at 6am and reach the office just before 8am. I find a desk, check emails, have brekkie (free cereal in the office – yay!), catch up with colleagues and start work. I’m in a four-person team: 2 managing directors (MDs), a senior manager and me.

Ella's desk

At my desk in the morning

We’re working on a strategy piece about how to deliver better government services. It involves running workshops and conducting one-on-one interviews with the client’s staff to find out what’s working and what needs to change. Right now, we’re in the final stage, compiling our recommendations for achieving the client’s goals. The senior manager and I work on the report together, which will then be reviewed by the MDs.

At lunchtime, I make a point of getting out of the office. I usually meet up with a colleague for lunch in Midland Park. I try to finish work at 5pm and go straight to a hot yoga class. On the weekend, you’ll often find me walking the hills of Wellington or socialising with friends. Last Saturday, we even had a pizza night with my friends from work.

The thing that I like the most at Accenture is how friendly everyone is – even those who are more senior than me. Our monthly team events give us the opportunities to catch up with people in the organisation in an informal setting.

Ella's Lunch out

Popping out to lunch

It doesn’t feel like a 9-to-5 office job. You meet people, you learn lots, you get amazing growth opportunities. I couldn’t believe I got to present to a client on my first project. It was scary – but cool!

The flexibility is pretty neat too. You can leave early if you’ve got something on and work from home if you need to.

Project meeting

During a project meeting with a colleague

Our project is nearly finished, so I’ll soon be starting something new. Before I do, I’m going to Melbourne for two weeks of extra technology training – can’t wait!

I’m hoping my next challenge will be a Salesforce project. I recently did one of Accenture’s courses in Salesforce, and absolutely loved it. I like the fact that the majority of our New Zealand Salesforce team are women. It’s a bit different compared to my uni days of being the only female in the computer lab!


Are you strategic, curious and 100% unique? Want to do meaningful work where you can truly make a difference to some of New Zealand’s most iconic brands, helping them transform their businesses from the inside out? Then we have great news for you - applications are open for graduate roles at Accenture*. Apply Now!

*You must be a New Zealand Citizen to apply. Applications close 15th March 2020.

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