What’s it like to make the leap from full time education to paid work at a global organization? This summer, Nicole Kelly interned with our finance team in New York. Here she talks about her time at Accenture and how her experiences far exceeded her expectations.
Disrupting: What it means to be a woman in finance
Before beginning my Finance internship here at Accenture, I based my expectations for a career in finance on my experiences in my classes and internship last summer. In my finance classes, males always dominated the roster. As if this wasn’t intimidating enough, my first finance professor announced to the class that one-fourth of the female students (there were about eight total) would succeed in the finance industry. He said female finance professionals struggle because finance is a man’s world, and we would not receive promotions as often as our fellow male colleagues. Even though this statement frustrated me, I believed some truth lay behind it due to the media’s portrayal of the wage gap. Based on these experiences, I expected Accenture to be a male-dominated office, where I would have to be prepared to prove myself and work harder than my male peers to succeed.
My expectations were quickly disrupted when I met my co-workers and saw their willingness to help me understand my role, complete assignments, and create long-term projects. The first few weeks consisted of adjusting to the culture, learning the business and understanding the daily assignments. While completing pricing, invoicing and forecasting assignments, I asked a lot of questions, and my co-workers’ patience surprised me. The first few weeks led me to better understand my role as a member of the Client Financial Management team, allowing me to provide more accurate financial reporting for the contract, client, and Accenture.
I also started to make an impact on my own through speaking up during conference calls to provide feedback and suggestions, as well as to volunteer to conduct research or other assignments for the team. In addition, my long-term projects allowed me to delve deeper into the contracts through collecting data and conducting analysis. These projects not only helped me apply what I have learned in just a few weeks, but also helped the team improve processes.
Accenture allows the finance teams to thrive off their teammates’ strengths, resulting in better performance and experience. The whole experience truly disrupted my expectations of a finance career, particularly as a woman. I feel grateful to be given the opportunity to learn and grow from such an innovative organization.