My learning life at Accenture
March 5, 2021
March 5, 2021
Charlotte James has an incredible appetite for new ideas and experiences. As well as the skills she’s acquiring through her diverse client work for Accenture Strategy, she’s studying MBA modules, learning to lead the Inclusion and Diversity team and becoming a qualified wine taster.
I joined Accenture Strategy because I love high-level work where you help shape how organisations develop and solve their most complex problems. I wanted a role where could I bounce around between different industries and strategies and always learn new things. I liked the idea of short projects where I wouldn’t stay with one client for too long.
In my four years with Accenture, that’s certainly been my experience. I've worked with state government departments, financial service institutions, aerospace and defence companies, energy retailers, consumer products, universities and social enterprises. My work has covered large-scale digital transformations, voice of customer strategies and human-centred design projects.
At my graduation from my Master of Commerce degree with my grandfather (who also attended Sydney university to study Medicine).
Every time, I gain new skills, learn about new industries and work with fascinating people. I think the ability to quickly learn new things is a valuable skill in itself.
I really enjoyed a project with a national essential service provider, helping it create a customer strategy for its future business. We interviewed everyone from its senior executives to individual consumers. It was cool to come up with innovative strategies that would both solve customer pain points and help the organisation be more successful in the future.
I also worked with an aerospace and defence company, planning their digital transformation. That’s when you really push the envelope, suggesting ideas businesses don’t think they’re ready for and showing them what’s possible.
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My favourite thing is that light bulb moment when people flip their thinking and get excited about something they previously thought of as science fiction.
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All the way along my journey at Accenture, I’ve had great training opportunities, including doing INSEAD MBA modules on topics like financial modelling and business strategy frameworks.
With some Accenture friends in Tokyo, when I was working on a project and got to live there for 4 months.
We have a lot of informal training – we call them ‘brown bag sessions’ where people share their skills, experiences or interesting projects. Plus, the whole business operates as an apprenticeship model. Senior people are always there to help you and take the time to ensure you’re upskilling on every project.
At the start of each new role, I’m asked to articulate what I want to learn and my goals, so the rest of the team can support me in achieving them. I also have a Career Counsellor – a built-in mentor who advocates for my progression in the firm.
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The people I work with are amazing. At Accenture, you work with individuals at the top of their game.
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We’ve had a few acquisitions lately, including an amazing new team of economic consultants. I see each new wave of specialists as bringing in yet more exciting opportunities to learn.
I’m currently leading our inclusion and diversity (I&D) pillar in Strategy, working with a team that includes managing directors. It’s all about creating a workplace where everyone feels like they belong. I’m currently helping to organise brown bag sessions for our Women in Strategy group. We ask senior Accenture women to come and talk to us on topics like building a personal brand, finding the right mentor or being resilient.
We also have fortnightly virtual coffee catch-ups for women in the team. And in our monthly community call, we make sure junior people speak too, so everyone has a voice.
I kind of feel like I have two jobs: my client work, which changes every 6-12 weeks, and the ongoing work I do to support and grow the team. As well as my role in I&D, I help with recruiting and organise social events. It’s great how Accenture is open to junior people like me getting involved and helping to build the culture we want to see in the future.
Outside work, I’m doing a certificate in wine production and tasting with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). I’m really enjoying learning something completely different. Maybe one day I’ll get to consult for a wine company and I can bring my passions together!
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