When I first began my Accenture application I didn’t really have a clear picture of what life as a Technology Consultant looked like. To be perfectly honest, I, like many others, imagined a life chained to a desk, coding some legacy system in a small Accenture ecosystem on a client site…how truly wrong I was.
Let us back track for a minute, give some context to this Blog and look at the Accenture journey I have been on over the last few months. We will start with an introduction – My name is Phil. I am a 25 year old Masters in Physics Graduate and TeachFirst Ambassador who has recently joined Accenture’s Technology Consulting practice…bit of a mouthful. So where did this ‘mouthful’ all begin? Well, back in the winter of 2013 I decided to apply for a TeachFirst three week summer project with Accenture. At this point in time I was around 4 months into the TeachFirst Leadership Development Programme. I was tired, overworked and contemplating what life was like for my friends who had decided to use their degrees to join the ‘Private Sector’. So with this in mind, I applied and 6 months later I was sitting in the glamorous Accenture Fenchurch Street Office with around 30 other TeachFirsters ready to get a taste of corporate life.
Now it might be important to note at this point that a view into the so called ‘Private Sector’ was not the only driving force behind my decision to apply to Accenture. In addition, the mind-set I had during those first 4 months of teaching did not reflect the overwhelming, positive experience I had with TeachFirst. In fact, if it wasn’t for TeachFirst, I can almost guarantee I would not be in the position I am today, still enjoying that taste I got for corporate life.
So now you know a little bit about me, I will tell you some more about how I have ended up where I am today. To be precise, that is on the 8.30am train to Bristol, about to spend three days on a client site.
It all began during my first two weeks training with around 80 other fresh faced Analysts in a conference centre near London’s Liverpool Street. These two weeks were, what Accenture has called, the ‘Orientation and Induction Training’ that helped to lay the foundations for my work as an Analyst. During these two weeks I met some fantastic people, learnt some great skills and got some fantastic advice about how to get on in the big bad world of Tech Consulting. It was also at this point that I learnt the importance of one key consulting skill – building your network.
But what do I mean by this mysterious word ‘network’? You will hear this word a lot during your Consulting training and it cannot be stressed enough how important it is. So to demonstrate its importance I am going to tell you how I managed to get onto my first role at Accenture within two weeks of joining – and yes it involved ‘networking’.
It all started during the morning of my fifth day with Accenture. I had just arrived to the conference centre in my ‘dress down Friday’ gear and was responding to a few, of the many, daily emails you are bombarded with as an Analyst. It was at this moment that I overheard one of the faculty members (teaching staff) talking about roles at a Products company in Bristol. My ears immediately pricked up and my ‘Networking sense’ jumped into action – I listened. It turned out that one of Accenture’s emerging technology areas were looking for analysts and that there were some roles available within a Products firm in Bristol. After listening for a while I waited until the faculty member was on her own and then took the opportunity to ask her about who to contact with regards to this ‘Cloud based’ role. Once I had got the contact information I needed I wasted no time in contacting the Senior Manager on the project and securing myself a role – great!
So here I am today, on a train, going to Bristol for a second week as an Analyst, aligned with the Cloud Services practice at Accenture. Now before I waffle on and this blog becomes too big let me give you three key pieces of advice that helped me secure my first role at Accenture.
Find the ‘appropriate’ network. Make sure that you aren’t aimlessly contacting everyone you meet about Analyst roles. When it comes to networking onto a project, make sure you find out who is responsible for on-boarding Analysts onto that project (whether from the client side or the Accenture side) and contact them directly. Also, don’t be afraid to ask Consultants on projects for the contact information of their Senior Managers as these people will have more authority to help you secure a role.
The Placement & Intern Analysts can help. Like in my Accenture intake, I am sure that you will have a lot people who have previous worked at Accenture. Use these people. They will already have a network of contacts that you could tap into. In fact, I joined my current project with an Analyst who networked onto the role via a previous contact he had made during his placement year.
Make the schedulers (HR people who help you get a project) job easy. Always go to your HR Schedulers with information they can use. HR people are busy and they will appreciate it immensely if you go to them with suggestions of projects you have found. With this in mind, make sure you also find out the name of the person responsible for getting analysts onto a given project and give this to your scheduler.
As a new Analyst I have benefited hugely from the small network I had made during the short amount of time I have been at Accenture. Follow these tips and you should be onto a winner.