December 02, 2016
Expanding My Horizons at the World Economic Forum
By: Alex Pham, an INSEAD MBA student who attended the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Conference in Davos, as part of his Accenture Strategy internship.

I remember the day I received an email from the dean of students about a special opening for interns to work with Accenture Strategy on its 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) project.

Addressing important questions, such as technology’s impact on society, seemed incredibly exciting. This amazing opportunity, to have my work presented at the conference in Davos, was something I never thought I’d have the chance to do. But it’s a chance I grabbed with both hands.

An Inspiring Environment

Just being in Davos is thrilling. When you see politicians and world leaders walking through the streets, you definitely feel like it’s a place where important conversations and negotiations are happening. A place where their discussion panels are made up of politicians, economists, CEOs and billionaires discussing topics of huge global importance.

It’s no wonder that attending an event like the WEF increases your scale of thinking. I got the chance to talk to a lot of Accenture’s leaders during the run-up to the conference. And then, at Davos, I also met various executives, entrepreneurs and heads of NGOs. I encountered some fantastic people who are doing incredible work with their startups or nonprofits.

I came away with more respect for politicians and policymakers, too. Because so many of the panels focused on the difficulties involved with making economic decisions during times of financial turbulence, I adopted a greater appreciation of how tough the job can be.

Working on a Global Scale

The Accenture project and conference made me think of things on a much larger, global level than before. For example, I really got the chance to see how small improvements in technology, multiplied across a vast volume of applications, can drive huge CO² savings and environmental benefits.

As the WEF brings policymakers, politicians and business leaders together on stage in a unique environment, surrounded by their peers, they’re able to speak on a much more candid level than I expected. I got the sense that some of those powerful discussions would shape the decisions of major companies over the next year.

When I was working on the Accenture Strategy report for the forum, I was advised to keep the intended audience in mind. That audience was, of course, full of extremely busy Fortune 500 CEOs, people who are making impactful decisions in the world. So the challenge was how to keep their attention and make our findings relevant to their very large organizations.

Big Opportunities

The Accenture Strategy project for WEF was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was determined to give it my all in order to maximize the opportunity. In addition to offering a real insight into what it’s like to work at Accenture, it has also cemented my desire to work on issues of major importance, including economic development around the world.

Working on the Accenture Strategy project has greatly increased the scale of my thinking, both in terms of what I want in the future and how I will approach it. It’s opened my eyes to vast possibilities and I’ve become confident in pursuing bigger opportunities that I hadn’t even considered before.

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