January 25, 2016
Horizons Newbie
By: Zoe Conway

Hey Everyone,

I am Zoe, 18 years old and am currently taking a gap year. I am on the Accenture Horizons School Leaver Programme. As a school leaver joining an incredible large company at graduate level, the work is quite full on and the client facing side of it leaves you in the deep end learning your way up. The way Accenture works is pretty confusing. I am currently working on a digital project, but prior to this I was based on an Infrastructure digital workplace project. It all sounds very technical and yes I am still confused what this all means, but a word of advice: just focus on what is important for you and your career and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Previous to joining Accenture, I studied A-levels in Religious Studies, Product Design and ICT as well as teaching Gymnastics part time. My work experience didn’t really have any relevance to working at Accenture and this lessened my hopes for achieving such a great placement. However, Accenture don’t look for the typical smart student, they look for ambition, drive, extracurricular activities on your CV and simply those who are “go getters.” So don’t worry you don’t need to be studying technical subjects, nor do you need to have such prestigious work experience – all that’s needed is your proven effort, determination, motivation and hope to succeed and you’ll stand in pretty good stead for securing a place here.

The application process is quite simple really. You apply and if they like your applications you will have a telephone interview. Just make sure you read up about Accenture (what they do, what they have done and certain case studies). If once again you are liked, you will attend an assessment day where you are given a series of tasks and a face-to-face interview (it’s very nerve wracking but everyone’s in the same boat). Finally, if you are successful again, you’ll receive a call to let you know whether you received a place or not. I was on holiday in America and I received about five calls from an unknown number, but obviously your first thoughts whilst away are not “Ooo lets just pick up the phone to a random unknown caller and let it drive up my phone bill” – so I didn’t answer. But, then it got to the point where they called so many times so I just answered and luckily I did! It was Accenture – I was so happy that I had been offered a place on the Horizons scheme with only 18 other “Horizoners” this year. So a word of advice: do your research, read up on case studies and if you have applied please make sure you answer your phone to every unknown call, as it may be your Accenture opportunity coming along.

At the moment I am working on a project for a large retailer in Products. It is difficult to explain my day-to-day role as I am working in an agile environment (which is simply a small team where everyone helps the other out) and I always end up doing a large variety of tasks which is giving me the best possible experience I could ask for. My team is made up of Accenture employees as well as several client stakeholders which is key to the success of the project relationship. I am currently based in Central London which is amazing for me because I live on the Central Line. However, my first project was based out of town which meant a long travel on a weekly basis for a two night stay in luxury hotel (I have now racked up enough loyalty points to earn a free night stay anywhere in the world wooo). As well as dealing with serious client facing work, my team would always arrange events and nights out during the week to keep our motivation going –I’ve been out for meals, 45 minute group spinning sessions, golf, Winter Wonderland and more. This helps you become closer with your team and certainly helps promote the work life balance at Accenture.

So, I am five months in and it is honestly one of the most incredible and invaluable experiences I have ever been on. If you are thinking about applying to Horizons or even for a graduate programme, I would look no further. Life’s about learning, so take this journey and you will never regret it

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