June 06, 2018
From Airlines to Consulting: My Observations
By: Linda Sahakian

My career so far, although it’s been short, has been quite diverse.

Firstly, I studied Biomedical Science & French at Uni. Throughout Uni I worked in hospitality – various jobs in cafes, restaurants and Australia Post. And straight after Uni I took a job with Virgin and spent three years as a ground crew member. This included working with Airport Control, managing the Lounge and customer service.

After three years I decided I wanted to get a job where I could use my degree. Through the Grad Connect website I found out about Accenture’s graduate program. I was interested in a business consulting grad role and while other professional services companies seemed to only want grads with a business accounting background, Accenture seemed willing to welcome people of any background.

So I made the jump from airlines to consulting and here are four observations I’ve made including why I’m happy I made the move.

Operational versus continuous learning

There are similarities between working with an airline and working with Accenture such as the importance of customer service and time management.

But the main difference for me is that one is operational and one is constantly changing.

My role with Virgin was operational. There’s a procedure that you have to follow. So when this happens, then you do this and it’s a cascading effect of one thing to another. You follow the procedure. Once you know the procedure it’s pretty simple to follow.

With Accenture it’s different. Somebody will tell you what the project is or what you’re going to do but with each new project you’re learning something new again. Each role has its own way of doing things. You can’t say: “This is consulting, this is what you’re going to be doing and this is exactly how you do it”. It’s about strategy, it’s about problem solving and brain storming.

Of course once you’re in a role it will become a bit more operational. Similarly, with airlines there are elements of problem solving. You might have someone who has missed their flight and you have to figure out how to help them. So while there are always similarities, the roles are very different.

I wanted to make a difference

I knew I would love a job that changes things for the better. Whether it be policies or inventing a new item. I wanted to make a difference and when researching what Accenture did – there seemed to be many avenues to explore in order to do that.

I am now working with Accenture Technology as a consultant. Although I am currently on the bench I have been trained in Workday Cloud ERP. My role will be as a consultant in the implementation of Workday into businesses and helping many industries improve how they work.

Opportunity to give back:

Corporate citizenship is important to me and it’s something Accenture is committed to. I have had the opportunity to get involved with the community here at Accenture. My advice to anyone starting at Accenture would be to get involved in corporate citizenship and the town halls because the more engaged you are the happier you are and the more you’re going to enjoy your time at Accenture.

I’ve always loved volunteering and, until now, have never worked for a company that pays you to go out and volunteer. Why wouldn’t you take that opportunity to help out a small organisation or the community? We went out to Puffing Billy and spent the day helping with removing weeds. It was fun and felt really nice to give back to the community and to have your employer’s support is special.

No set career path – but you have to have an open mind

Within Accenture you can explore different career avenues until you find your niche, whether that be over 3, 5 or 10 years. But it’s important not to knock back an opportunity until you try it. You have a lot of grads who tell you when you join Accenture that you can just say no to the roles you don’t want. But I have seen grads knock back opportunities because they are “sticking to what they want” and then when they get the role they want it doesn’t turn out to be as great as they expected. Then they have missed out on an opportunity that they may have completely loved.

So I believe at the start of your career, there’s no need to say no.

Stay positive, have an open mind and work with Integrity by putting in maximum effort and I believe you will get the most out of your career at Accenture. This approach has made my switch from airlines to consulting exciting and I’m loving my new career.

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