February 01, 2017
The First Steps
By: Michael Donaldson

So, I’ve been accepted onto a technology based Graduate Programme and am beginning in the middle of September. I’ve been incredibly lucky that, as a teacher, I was paid up until the end of August, even though I finished teaching on 20th July. I’ve also been incredibly lucky that the summer of ’16 was a particular special one for me: this is the summer that I get married. To summarise, my August consisted of the best day of my life and then an amazing subsequent three weeks honeymooning in Bali. I had two weeks from returning to the UK before readying myself for my new role at Accenture.

Something you should know: I like to over-prepare for things (although I prefer to call it ‘organised fun’). With this in mind, the two weeks leading up to me beginning at Accenture were spent worrying about what I needed to get ready and the logistics of all the upcoming changes in my life. I would like to stress this point emphatically: it was not necessary! Accenture is a great place to work and your first two days in the company (known as Orientation and Induction, or O&I) are as straightforward as they come. Mine consisted of two days in an air conditioned building in central London with complimentary breakfast, lunch and networking drinks. Just ensure that you know where you need to be, what you need to wear and bring, and how long the journey will take you at rush hour in the morning.

O&I is a chance to get a feel of the culture you will be embedded into. It is an opportunity to ask questions and get to know a few of the managers or experienced graduates who are there to guide you along the way. You’re completely new, so it’s the unique part of your career where you can ask any (relevant) question you like. This is also a good time to start getting to know the others in your start group, although you’ll have plenty of time for that over the next few weeks!

We began O&I on a Wednesday and were delightfully informed at lunch that we would be leaving for international training on Sunday! Our flights were booked to take us to Madrid just a few days later. Top tips to make the most of going abroad for training:

  1. Take the time to get to know those in your start group, as well as others who may not be. This is likely to be the largest group of Accenture employees that you spend an extended period of time with.

  2. See the sights. This may seem an obvious one, but for those who aren’t used to full-time hours, it’s easy to feel so exhausted that this is the last thing on your mind. Make the most of the weekend and (for the football fans who end up in Madrid) make the most of two huge teams nearby. I managed to see Real Madrid and Athletico Madrid in my time there and they were both worth the late night!

  3. LISTEN to the faculty! They will notice. These are higher level Accenture employees who can provide a lot of advice on how to progress in your career and it will make a big difference if they see little interest from you. Take notes and consider how you could use all they teach you to get the most out of your career.

After international training, we were placed on a couple of external courses in London to develop the skills we would need as an analyst. These were similar to the O&I days and involved an exam at the end. Once again, taking notes and not being distracted during full days of lectures are key here – take every chance to ask your lecturer about their experiences.

In my next blog post I will talk about being placed on my first Accenture project with a large out-of-town client far from my friends and family.

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