The Global Case Challenge is a unique program designed to provide undergraduate students with a realistic preview into the world of strategy consulting, and how we work with our clients to develop strategies that have a real impact. It gives students the opportunity to work with and compete against other student teams from around the world, develop and refine their strategy and business skills, and earn valuable professional experience.
Every year we partner one of our clients to ensure the experience is as realistic as it can be, and that global case challenge participants are working on the kinds of business and organizational challenges that our consultants help to solve every day. Seina Nakahara took part in our Global Case Challenge in partnership with Save the Children. Here she tells us the impact it had on her.
Before starting on the Global Case Challenge, I was still wondering what my future career might be. I didn’t know where I should take my first steps. The competition gave me a real insight into a consulting role and now I’m certain this is where I want to work.
I primarily signed up because of the international aspect – the opportunity to work with other students from around the world. But the competition also stood out because of the fact that it was about tackling real social issues; something my economics studies rarely touched upon.
The initial stages were held in Japan. From all the applications, Accenture Japan selected about 70 students to take part in a three-day internship of case work. From these, 20 students were selected to work individually on an initial plan for the Global Case Challenge. The best five were then asked to work together to develop the ideas before progressing to the final round in London.
What really surprised me about this experience was the level of support we had. Some of the workshops and mentoring we received felt like training a real intern or employee would undertake. Taking place over five days, it felt very intense but perfectly prepared us for the way in which we would be working.
For instance, when you arrive in London, you are placed in a team with other students from around the world. My team comprised someone from Germany, Brazil, Spain and Italy. Your natural inclination is to be concerned how this international group will develop an idea in such a short time. You all come from different backgrounds, you all may have different ways of working and different ideas. The collaboration training we received on the first day set us up to deal with it. We were trained on how to work together, how to manage different styles of approach – things we could put into practice immediately.
This thought and organization around the competition was something I hadn’t expected. Everything was designed to work together to enhance your experience and, as much as it could, recreate how a real brief and project would play out; we received guidance from Accenture Strategy mentors; we gained feedback from the client (in this case, Save the Children senior executives) – all things we would encounter in a live job.
If you’re considering your career options, and consulting is something you want to try, I don’t think there’s any better preparation.