I’ve always been interested in working overseas. I wanted an opportunity to live in another part of the world, meet new people, experience different cultures and make another country my home.

Accenture gave me that opportunity in 2016, and New Zealand happened to be one out of four places I was interested in relocating. I took the chance—five managing director interviews later, I flew all the way from South Africa to work in New Zealand. I’ve never looked back since.

At the Mount Victoria lookout

Working at Accenture
When I was given the offer eight and a half years ago, what stood out to me was the professionalism during the interviews. I also found the career opportunity compelling. My work at Accenture involves helping clients use cloud more pervasively. As a strategy and consulting senior manager, I help in figuring out how to scale and how to make cloud an enterprise capability. I solve client problems through my experience and by connecting with Accenture experts who have gone through similar challenges before.

When it comes to managing people, I’ve come to know that good leadership is being able to listen and understand people’s attributes, strengths and weaknesses. It’s about challenging them to be the best that they can be. It’s about giving close guidance and letting people find their own outcome.

As you become more senior in your role, you rely more on the people around you to achieve success.

Trust and integrity are important to me and I look to always ensure that I am living these through my work. I try to do this by ensuring I am balancing what’s best for our clients, our people and Accenture as a whole, so that there is alignment to deliver a successful outcome for those involved.

At last year's IWD event

Powering through the pandemic
I’ve noticed that, as an experienced hire both in my previous geography and here in New Zealand, our core values are recognisable and consistent wherever you’re located. Whether you’re having performance feedback with your counselee or conducting succession planning, everyone’s living each of Accenture's six core values at one time or another.

We’ve been lucky in New Zealand in that, even though we had some cases, we’re the only nation to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic as early as we did. We were able to get back to our clients early because of that. And it’s been a valuable experience for them.

Switching to remote working was not that difficult for our teams in comparison to some clients who had to grapple with technology to support remote working.

Even though we were working remotely, my primary client project became a massive success—we were able to release a product during lockdown earlier this year. It was a remarkable achievement for the client and our collective team as we had to adapt to digital delivery for a programme team of more than 500 people in a few short weeks. What helped from an Accenture perspective is that we are already comfortable working with remote teams and technology, and so we were able to continue with minimal interruptions. The collective Accenture team did a fantastic job and demonstrated our values of client value creation, one global network and the best people. It was a proud moment for all those involved in delivering under the circumstances.

Living a life well-lived
Life in Wellington is amazing for work-life balance. Being close to work gives me more time to do some hobbies and relax—it only takes 10 minutes to go to the office and another 10 minutes back home.

There’s also the saying that goes, “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.” It’s just one of the best capital cities in the world.

I enjoy road cycling here. I took it up a couple years ago, as I’ve always been an active person. In my teenage years, I was a semi-professional footballer.

I love cycling and running around Wellington where you have a combination of beautiful scenery to keep you company.

However, balancing my passions outside of work and my career can be an ongoing battle. Some days you’re busy, and other times you’ve got time for yourself. It sets me up quite nicely as I’ve had to adapt. When you’re working with different engagements, you look after yourself and make sure you’re not going beyond your hours. There’s conscious effort to shut down and make sure you’re not working extra time.

Sunrise at the Wellington Harbour in Winter

To those interested in moving to New Zealand, my best advice is to do your research and know what you really want to get out of the experience. Best of luck!


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Suraj Sowki

Technology Consulting Executive

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