Having just gone over my one-year mark at Accenture, I wanted to share my experience with others who are thinking of joining the company and give a view on how I’ve found my first year and the key things I’ve learnt.
First off, an introduction to me. I joined Accenture in August 2018 as an experienced hire, a venture that I didn’t expect as it came around extremely suddenly. However, it landed at an interesting time in my career whereby I was happy and comfortable in my previous job but felt like I needed to explore different avenues. I was unsure on what way I wanted my career to go, the industry I wanted to stay in or the roles I wanted to fill. It was at that point that I applied to Accenture not expecting it to go much further, but it did!
When I joined, I thought it would be extremely daunting, having been out of the consulting game for a few years I was constantly thinking “Can I do this?”. However, it’s fair to say from day one, I was well supported, from my induction, through to landing my first project in Edinburgh at a major FS client. It’s true that getting on that first flight to Edinburgh, having never done out of town before was nerve-racking, on top of the normal first day worries there was the added “What if the flight’s delayed and I’m late?” “Have I forgotten to pack something?”. Incidentally the flight was delayed by a couple of hours but thankfully there were other staff on the flight in the same boat, so it didn’t seem so bad after all.
I spent around 6 months up in Edinburgh with the client, and not only did I learn more about Accenture, and how the client worked, I learnt how to manage difficult situations and ambiguity, which is something that you do sometimes need to call on when working on client site. I made a great set of friends that made being out of town so much easier. Leaving my fiancé back in London 5 days a week wasn’t an easy decision, but she’s been extremely supportive of this venture and has also helped me along the way (we even managed to spend a couple of weekends away in Edinburgh to do some sight-seeing). The support from her has really allowed me to focus, which was fantastic because as it turned out my next adventure was to be in Nottingham.
Again, I spent around 6 months in Nottingham at a major retailer working as part of a team delivering a new online platform for them. There were huge amounts of learning and it was probably my biggest challenge in my career, due to the complexities surrounding it. However, when the product went live, it was not only a personal milestone for me (first go live as part of Accenture), but a proud moment
(also tiring having worked overnight), knowing the effort, hours and struggles that had gone into making it happen.
In parallel to this I was taking part in a Leadership Development course which enabled me to build on my existing skill set and learn new other skills such as design thinking, the course ran for around 5 months and involved coming up with innovative solutions to real world problems. Again, a course I didn’t think I’d manage to get involved in but ended up joining at the last minute which I was grateful for. Not only did it give me something new to focus on, I got to expand my network, and the opportunity to build my confidence in public speaking.
It’s important to acknowledge the first year has been challenging, particularly, having to adapt to working out of town and being away from friends and family which hasn’t been easy, even now I write this on a train to Manchester on my way to a new client.
However, there’s been a great support network when I need it. We all go through times when we need to be at home, and my managers and senior managers have been able to help me in times when it’s been required, particularly when I bought my first house recently, which as you can imagine was a project in its own right!
So, what does next year bring? Well in summary I’m not entirely sure. As it stands, I’ll be working with my client in Manchester until the beginning of next year delivering some exciting Cloud capabilities, and hopefully taking on some new challenges within my DTE (Deployed To Entity, essentially the practice I work in) with my leadership team.
So, there we have it, a small insight into my first year at Accenture which I hope is useful to readers who are thinking of making a move over, or for those readers who know me, a bit more insight in to my first year. I leave you with a few of my top tips for new joiners… happy reading!
Top tips for new joiners:
Don’t be scared to ask for help – one of my biggest faults has always been assuming I can deal with everything, if I’ve learnt anything it’s to speak up, no matter what the subject, work life, personal life, you name it, someone will help.
Randomly speak to people within your department – sounds a bit weird right? Well, the reality is Accenture is as small as it’s big, and you never know when you’re going to need to speak to someone about a new role or reach out for some help.
If there’s something you’re not sure about doing... Do it – again, sounds strange, and obviously do this within reason e.g. don’t make yourself vulnerable on client site. But face new challenges - I was nervous about the leadership course I went on too, it took a lot of effort and was stressful at times, but ultimately it gave me skills I could take back to my client. Plus, there were some cracking nights out.
Do what’s right for you – this might sound a bit selfish, but if you do what’s right for you then both you and your clients get the value out of it. If there is something about your career you’re unsure about or, a new path you want to take, then have that conversation with your line manager (if you don’t ask you don’t get).
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