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Shaneli Jain
Shaneli Jain
Consulting Analyst
September 12, 2018

My First-Day Jitters (and Tips) as a Consultant


My first consulting project at Accenture lasted less than 72 hours. Being “benched”, as it turned out, was a great learning experience.

After networking and making connections, new doors opened for me. I was assigned a new client project!

First day on the client site: prepping myself
This was a big day.

Don’t mess up, I thought to myself. Make sure you are understanding exactly what the Accenture team wants, as well as what the client wants. Then, go above and beyond to deliver.

I put my game face on and arrived at the client location (hoping I would be there for more than 72 hours).

Well, the assignment lasted only four weeks. But in this “vast” experience, I’ve learned two valuable lessons about how to be successful in the consulting world.

  1. Adapt and ask the right questions.
    Don’t be nervous; you are working with people who have a heart. They will help you.

    You may have heard the expression “There are no silly questions.” I disagree. Of course, you can ask as many questions as you want, but before asking about every little detail, first try to exhaust all resources.

    For example, I was originally hired for a project management role, but on my first day, I was assigned to the global finance team. Did I have much background in global finance? Well, if four years majoring in economics counts, then yes. But, college is different than the real world. So, I would say no; I didn’t know how bank transactions and investments are managed in large databases for tech companies. I was overwhelmed.

    I took a deep breath (several, actually).

    I learned all I could about technology implementation and about finances in a company. I read documents on Accenture’s Knowledge Exchange, and I asked all the big-picture (and small-picture) questions to the colleague who previously worked on the project. While I still don’t know everything about every system, I learned what I needed to complete my tasks.

  2. Establish meaningful relationships.
    Every day won’t be rainbows and sunshine.

    It’s easy to fall into the daily drumbeat of work and wonder about the bigger impact you’re making. But everyone has an important role to fill, and you were hired as an asset for the team.

    If you try and find the colors in the dark, things will come your way and it will work out.

    For things to come your way, you need to establish meaningful relationships and be relevant. Speak to people with a purpose. Instead of using their time to benefit only your needs, provide feedback or ideas that may help in their area of expertise.

    For example, while working on a financial project, I unexpectedly met a wonderful managing director at a team dinner. We discussed my passion for the sciences, and he led me to a great opportunity. I’m now working with him on the diamond client account he manages. I have a feeling that he will be my mentor for a long time.

    I frequently walk into his office and ask for specific advice. I am completely transparent with him and the team, and they know that I want to drive impactful work. And it’s paid off. They’ve given me exposure that’s not typical for a new analyst.

    This is just one example of how things can work out if you give it your all. I made the time to go to team events (which is where I met the account lead). I had the courage to speak with him directly and genuinely (not to impress him). One conversation led to an opportunity that I’m excited to work on. In this current role, I never feel like I’m just an analyst; I feel like a driver. The account leadership makes me feel like I’m adding value.

I hope that sharing my experience helps you find success, too. Whether you are thinking of applying to Accenture, or if you are a new joiner, feel free to connect with me directly on LinkedIn.

Want to experience the exciting world of consulting? Find an opportunity with our team today.



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