My internship experience at Accenture has been nothing short of life-changing. And logistically stress-free, which is a big deal for someone with a visual impairment.
There are many parts of this internship that make this life-changing experience just that.
From meeting exceptional people and working on impactful projects to successfully navigating my way to the office in downtown Chicago (counting blocks and looking for random landmarks)—giving my parents just a few more gray hairs—I felt a new sense of independence. And while finding my way in new places and new situations is difficult at first, practice makes it easier. I love experiencing new things.
Accenture did a great job accommodating my needs. In fact, they always seemed to be a step (or 10) ahead of me. For example, when I interviewed for my position, they were prepared for all the issues I threw at them: bad phone signal, not feeling comfortable working in New York (the primary site for HR interns), my college grind schedule that is just a touch (or a lot) more than a 9-to-5 work day, and they had answers to any questions that I asked them.
When I started, the team seemed to have my every need mapped out well before I arrived, and the experience was seamless. Never before have I experienced such stress-free logistics. It makes it easy for me to focus on the job at hand.
Improving the new-hire experience
Working with the HR team in a global organization of nearly 450,000 employees allows me to focus my attention on one project while at the same time helping other people with theirs and learning as much as I can about the company.
I’m currently working on a proactive engagement project, which involves talking with as many new hires as possible about their jobs and discussing ways I can improve their experiences. It’s giving me an insider’s view of the way the business runs.
Alan and his mentor, Rachel Martin
When I sit down with someone, I’m not hearing a list of the pros and cons of the job; I’m hearing about a person, a career. Projects like this are very rewarding because I know that I am improving an employee’s life, and ultimately also improving the company’s performance.
The best part of this internship has been the people. One weekend, we headed to St. Charles, Illinois, for a Student Leadership Conference with almost all the U.S. interns, which offered life-changing networking opportunities. I’ve found that Accenture people are very wise, intelligent and thoughtful, which has only made my experience that much better.
The work that I do is challenging, but challenge is a necessary part of any rewarding experience. I’ve encountered many obstacles along the way, including technology issues, lack of experience and familiarity with how the company works. And I also wasn’t quite as familiar with JAWS (Job Access With Speech) as I thought. JAWS is a computer screen reader program that allows me to read the screen with a speech output. When I receive an email, I hear the ping, listen to the message and respond using keystrokes on my keyboard. Not too different than the way anyone else uses a computer—I just don’t see the words.
But technology doesn’t always cooperate. One day, my computer decided that it wasn’t interested in letting me log in, and I needed to come to the office on one of my work-from-home days to get it fixed. On top of that, it takes me longer to figure out how to use different applications, which is a big pain sometimes. However, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything, because ultimately, I have learned more about technology than I learned in any single experience in my life.
As someone with a visual impairment, I know that challenges like these are only going to motivate me more, and I’d like to believe that I face my challenges head-on. I didn’t go into this internship expecting a smooth ride by any means, and every experience that I’ve had that was smooth-sailing was not as valuable to my life as an experience like this one.
Want to do challenging work that makes a difference? Find an opportunity with the Accenture team.
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