November 04, 2016
By: Mike Donaldson

Hey there - welcome to my first blog post! I’m Mike and I’ve been with Accenture now since mid-September. I will use this space to talk about my experiences leading up to, and since joining Accenture.

In the final year of my Mathematics degree at the University of Kent I spent the majority of my free time researching graduate roles, applying to each role, being rejected by each role and, finally, going through the seven stages of grief with each role. The problem was: I had no idea what I wanted to do! I had the preconceived notion that because I was doing a numerical degree, I should be aspiring to do tax or audit at one of the Big Four. It wasn’t until I had a more detailed look on the Teach First website that I realised how wrong I was.

Now, my aspiration had never been to teach. It certainly wasn’t my aspiration while I was teaching either. I decided to apply to the Leadership Development Programme because I follow a general rule that it’s never a bad idea to do something which develops you, opens doors for you, and improves your employability. I was placed in an academy in Medway, Kent, and had a pretty rough ride in my first year. Teaching didn’t come naturally to me and it wasn’t until my second year that things began to improve for me. I was lucky enough to have 5 others who joined the school with me and they made all the difference!

Mike Myself and the fantastic Teach Firsters on our final day of working together.

I applied for the Client Delivery graduate programme in August 2015, just after finishing my first year as a teacher. You can imagine my delight when I received an invitation to an assessment centre just a few weeks later. I prepared myself suitably for the day by pouring over the Accenture website (and Glassdoor) memorising technology trends, case studies and even corporate strategy. I was lucky enough to receive an offer from Accenture after a few weeks and eventually received my start date for September 2016.

As a teacher, it was easy to think along the lines of “so I can teach, but I can’t apply this to any other job. I’m going to be starting as if I am fresh out of university”. That’s definitely how I felt. It turns out, however, that while I spent all my time worrying about whether I’d planned my lessons well enough, whether my pupils were on target in maths, or whether that particular pupil was going to be a problem today, I’d spent two years in a high pressure environment developing all the necessary skills to survive outside of teaching. This all became apparent on the assessment centre and in my first few weeks with Accenture. Teach First call it a Leadership Development Programme for a reason and I only realised the value of it recently. It has helped me thrive in the last 6 weeks in a way that I may have struggled with as a new graduate.

In my next post I will discuss the Induction and Orientation stage of Accenture, my training for an Analyst role, and looking ahead for my first project.

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