Being part of the Accenture alumni network is very valuable and it provides great benefits. Whilst some of us are no longer at Accenture, there’s still a sense of belonging – we feel like we’re still part of Accenture’s extensive network and that connects all of us (whether you’re still working at the company or have moved on in your career). As part of the alumni network, there are regular events and meet-ups with ex-Accenture people but also a few people who are still working at the company. It’s a great opportunity to build your network and I’ve met many business contacts through alumni connections. You’re also kept updated via regular newsletters and we have our own website and portal where we can stay in touch with Accenture colleagues, friends and other alumni and continue to grow our network on a global scale. So yes, the Accenture Alumni Network is important, and I’ve not had a similar experience of from other companies I’ve worked at and left.
“Just working for Accenture puts a very good brand on your CV”
I think just working for Accenture puts a very good brand on your CV and that’s not just in UK, but across the world. For example, my current company, where I'm a partner, is based in a small Spanish city. They know Accenture and have a high degree of respect for the organisation, so when I was interviewing with them it was almost like I had an Accenture seal of approval - they saw me in a different light.
I joined Accenture as an Analyst, starting out from a place of no knowledge to going to a place of being an expert in something – and in a very short period of time! Being part of Accenture helped me to understand what was possible and taught me the value of hard work and perseverance.
Why Accenture? When considering my first career options it was a combination of things. The one that really stood out was the company’s global reach. Equally, I would be working with very smart and friendly people. And, importantly, Accenture strives to be inclusive and as I’m from an ethnic background it was important that I felt as comfortable as possible in my working environment and be included and accepted.
In my first role I was working on a project looking at the technical infrastructure for around 15,000 petrol stations across the globe. I was managing a team in India to deploy and support a lot of the technical architecture that went into those petrol stations, so felt I was given early responsibility through advising clients on how to manage and create processes. But, it was quite admin-led and I knew I was capable of more - I just needed the opportunity.
That opportunity arose on my next project in financial services. It was a very cool project which was set up to help remediate people who had been mis-sold very complex finance products. I joined as the infrastructure tools lead – effectively I was put in charge of a big and complicated spreadsheet which took in information from different work streams. I needed to process the tool then report metrics to management daily. I was also responsible for reporting those results to the Financial Conduct Authority and ensuring data quality within the project. The tool had a lot of manual intervention which resulted in errors, etc. and I spotted an opportunity to bring in automation that would alleviate a lot of the manual tasks, eliminate errors and report to management in a more-timely manner. I was able to automate what two graduate Analysts were doing over a period of a day into between 5 to 10 minutes using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications).
My solution was then used as the framework to build a final robust solution. This suddenly saw me propelled into leading a team of around 10 people (many of whom were more senior than I was) and telling them how to build the solution. For me, it was a massive period of growth and transformation – not just in building my technical skills, but also building the softer skills such as management, team collaboration and coordination - it really pushed me to the next level. Every week I would introduce a new level of automation, so you could say I was fully Agile, even though I didn’t even know what Agile was at that stage! Suddenly, I was producing something that everyone was supporting, and people were telling me that I needed to give it a name. My manager suggested ‘Blazer’, because I was known for wearing blazers on the project but, I wanted something catchier and settled on ‘Viking’ which stands for Violet Information Key Numbers Generator (the project was called project VIOLET and my tool was handling numbers). I then became known as ‘the Viking’ for the project and someone even bought me a Viking hat!
For me, career growth and progression were about identifying the right things to do on a daily or weekly basis and then continuously putting that into my work. It wasn't about going on some extensive course or becoming the academic expert on a subject. It was about working in an Agile way, slowly building up knowledge and putting that knowledge into practice on a regular basis. And that’s a method of working I've taken with me on my career journey since Accenture.
What really differentiates you when you’re at Accenture is the additional activities that you take up and the causes that you fight for. That mantra has become a part of me - that if you're in a workplace and you're doing your job well that may feel like enough but, actually, it's not enough and you should be pushing yourself to do more. It's just about time management and prioritisation and learning how to set expectations with people and work to deadlines. So, it makes you better in terms of time management.
“That’s a method of working I've taken with me on my career journey since Accenture”
Before working at Accenture, I really didn't understand the importance of the softer skills like
negotiation, management, analysis and creativity. But being at Accenture helped me understand the value of those things and how they can really differentiate you from the pack, especially in terms of creativity. People think creativity is all about music, arts and dance and the like but from Accenture; I’ve learned that creativity can be exercised in any discipline and I demonstrated that when building the Viking. More importantly, I learnt that the processes that unleash that creativity come from being in a very good team with great people who can be an inspiration. I have a lot to thank Accenture for!
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