In this blog, Victoria Ayodeji shares her Accenture journey, from joining initially as a Horizons Gap Year intern, to returning for our virtual Summer Vacation Scheme. She also shares some of her top tips for students who are applying to Accenture for an internship.
Hi, I’m Victoria, and I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge. I first joined Accenture back in September 2017 on an 8-month Horizons Gap Year scheme. During this internship, I worked on two projects in the Health & Public Service sector. One of these projects required me to work in Newcastle for most of the week, which was a great experience because I met amazing people and was supported by my team with the steep learning curve! After the gap year scheme, I also interned in Silicon Valley and did some travelling in California before starting university. Fast forward to 2020, and I re-joined Accenture as an intern on their Summer Vacation Scheme, working on a fascinating internal Accenture Development Partnership project for a non-profit.
I chose to gain work experience at Accenture before university – and here’s why.
As most students will agree, sixth form or college is a rather stressful time for teenagers. With university and apprenticeship application deadlines looming and summer exams fast approaching, a gap year seemed like the perfect thing to do straight after Year 13. Why not take a break? Why not take some time out to think and re-direct my ambitions and goals? I decided to take some time to develop my interests, explore and try new things – and most importantly, expand my horizons and capabilities.
In the first term of Year 13, my Head of Sixth Form recommended that my classmates and I apply for the Horizons Gap Year internship at Accenture. Having researched the company and what the application process would entail, I was certain that I wanted to apply as I knew that the scheme would teach me more about the working world by gaining invaluable work and life experience. My mentality was (and still is!) that there is nothing to lose, only things to gain, from doing an internship that gives me the opportunity to develop my transferable skills, at a company that specialises in technology, an area of expertise that is growing exponentially worldwide. Accenture’s technology focus was not the only thing that attracted me to the internship; the fact that the internship was 8 months long was another attractive aspect, as it meant that after the internship I would still have time to do whatever else I liked before starting university.
My gap year internship was not a ‘year out’, but rather a ‘year in’. If planned well and effectively, an internship can be a time of great productivity where you can further enhance your soft skills. That was my journey to Accenture as an intern. If you’re thinking about applying to an internship at Accenture, here are six tips to support your application:
Tip 1: Practise and get advice on how best to approach the online application, tests and video interview. If you can get assistance from your school, a charity, a friend or even a family member, that is brilliant. If not, use the internet for advice (one of the great perks of living in the digital age is that there is a lot of guidance out there!).
Tip 2: Don’t worry if you don’t have any direct consulting or technology work experience, many young people in education won’t have. You will, however, need to be able to display a passion for technology throughout the application process – whether that be in artificial intelligence, innovation, machine learning or using technology to foster social change.
Tip 3: Be reflective of the past experiences you have had and how they link in with what the company does and its core values. For instance, a school team building project that required you to come up with new ideas will be a great thing to include in your application as this showcases innovation.
Tip 4: Know the reasons why you want to work specifically for Accenture (rather than another company), so if you’re called for an interview you can show your passion and interest, especially in technology and consulting and the programme you’re applying for.
Tip 5: Use the ‘STAR’ technique during your interview. S stands for situation, T for task, A for action and R for result. Using this technique will help you to structure and articulate your answers for competency-based questions very well.
Tip 6: At the assessment centre, use ‘out of the box’ yet rational and pragmatic thinking when completing the team case study activity. This will help them see that you are approaching the task from all angles.
Lastly, enjoy the process! Whatever happens, applying for this scheme will be great practice and preparation for future job applications in whatever sector you decide to go into.
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