February 13, 2019
Bringing life experience to a graduate role
By: Accenture UK

Our Analysts join us from all walks of life and not all of them start here on completion of their undergraduate degree. Many have gone travelling, tried a different career path, or furthered their studies by doing a Masters or PhD before launching their careers with us.

Sherri Snow (Business Analyst in London) and Eloise Payne (Test Engineering Associate at our Advanced Technology Centre in Newcastle) both joined one of our graduate programmes in their 30s, after quite different life experiences. Here’s what they have to say…

Life and work before Accenture
“I graduated in 2008 after having done Computer Animation and spent the next few years working in Visual Effects as an Artist, followed by a stint as a Project Manager in the computer games industry and then, the travel bug hit” says Eloise. “When I returned from my travels, I decided it was time for a change of path, so I returned to university and completed a Masters’ degree in Computer Science.”

Eloise travel photo

Sherri’s journey before Accenture was on a completely different path and continent! “I applied to Accenture after I had finished my PhD in African Archaeology – I also have an undergraduate in Archaeology and a Masters’ in African Archaeology. Throughout my degree studies and my PhD, I spent about 10 years working in East Africa running archaeological and research projects.”

Sherri portrait photo

Why Accenture?
“When I first went to Uganda in 2003, one thing that stood out was that people outside of the capital city didn’t even have a mobile phone - let alone know what a smart phone was - but during my 10 years there I saw it go from people not knowing what a smart phone was, to people being able to bank and shop online via their phones from small remote towns. I noticed first-hand the big difference technology was making to their lives and that’s what got me interested in applying to Accenture - to look at how technology is impacting developing economies”, says Sherri.

For Eloise it was about continuing her learning and building skills through varied work. “I still don’t really know what I want to do within computer science. I did some research and attended the Accenture Women’s Insight Day and it seemed like a good place to start, to get my foot in the door and have the chance to experience a lot of different areas and build on my skills. I thought it would be a good place to come in and learn and, I now realise that’s pretty much true.”

Why our graduate programme?
“For me” says Sherri “not having a technical background was a slight concern. However, I’m in a role where I’m looking at business strategy and business users of tech, I’m not going down a hardcore technical route. The culture here is always encouraging you to learn so it’s very progressive and future-focused towards what you can achieve – not just what you’re achieving now, but what you can go on to achieve – so, I think that’s nice, it’s the real foresight on how we’re going grow individually and collectively. I’ve been very happy with how my career has been developing and last year I received a mid-year double promotion and was aligned to Javelin, which is a Retail Strategy company and part of the Accenture family. I’m really specialising in retail now and I can see myself progressing to become a manager in retail delivery.”

Eloise adds “I decided that the graduate scheme would be better for me because if I went for an experienced role there may not be so much learning or support. Really, it’s just like I’ve started-out, as even though I’m a bit older my experience doesn’t match – obviously there’s some stuff that is transferable and I have the professional experience but not the technical skills. I thought if I applied for the graduate scheme, even though it was a lower salary to start with, I would progress quicker in the longer-term.”

Any advice?
According to Eloise, “before I applied I started to connect with people on LinkedIn to get their views of working here, and I also contacted the recruiters for some advice on whether I should go for an experienced role or the graduate scheme.”

Sherri advises “I applied after coming out of a PhD and a lot of people that I started with had just finished their undergraduate or Masters. I was in my 30s whereas everyone else in my start group was in their early 20s and I would say don’t let that intimidate you, because you would have gained life experience from all the other things you’ve done before joining the company and can use this to your advantage.”

About our Analysts:

Sherri Scheherazade (Sherri) Snow joined us in 2017 on our Client Delivery Graduate Programme. She is now a Business Analyst focussed on e-Commerce and specialising in Salesforce Commerce Cloud and aligned to the Javelin Group – our retail strategy arm.
Eloise Eloise Payne joined our Software Engineering Graduate Programme at the Advanced Technology Centre in Newcastle in October 2018, and is currently working in Operational Test.

Why not find out more about our graduate opportunities and see where your own life experience could take you.

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