Eli Schildkraut
Summer Analyst, New York University
August 24, 2018

My Surprising (and Truly Human) Internship

My summer at Accenture started off like every other internship I’ve had in the past—with high hopes, but no major expectations. But from the very first day, it became clear that Accenture doesn’t just talk a big game. They actually walk the walk when it comes to respecting you as a professional, and even more as a person.

I’d spoken to friends who recently graduated, and the consensus was clear: Everyone I knew who worked at Accenture loved it. I also did some of my own research and repeatedly ran into phrasing like “Truly human” and “Bring your whole self to work.” However, at the time, they just seemed like cliché buzzwords.

Keeping it kosher
I showed up to the first day of orientation a little tired, completely overwhelmed and—most of all—hungry. To my delight and surprise, I sat down at my assigned seat to find a freshly ordered kosher meal waiting for me. As an orthodox Jew, this moment was particularly impactful to me because I had not requested a kosher meal for orientation.

It was 9:05 a.m. on my first day, and Accenture was already thinking of me, and I didn’t even have to ask. This moment set the tone for the rest of my summer.

The next big moment came midway through the summer as I prepared for the Student Leadership Conference (SLC), where 500 Accenture interns gather from around North America for a weekend in St. Charles, Illinois. This weekend presented several obstacles.

First, there was the hurdle of getting three kosher meals a day shipped to a remote suburb outside of Chicago. There was also the more challenging obstacle of keeping the Jewish Sabbath, Shabbat. Without going into too much detail, Shabbat involves active prayer at set times throughout the day, as well as abstaining from several activities, such as writing or using electricity.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the weeks leading up to the event were filled with anxiety because I was nervous to step outside of my comfort zone and onto foreign turf. For all the other interns, the SLC is one of the highlights of the summer, but I was stressed and worried about the logistics.

Putting me at ease
Ultimately, I felt comfortable enough to attend the weekend conference because of the accommodations Accenture provided. They worked very closely with me for weeks leading up to the conference to understand my needs, and they made arrangements accordingly. Without their level of sensitivity and care, there is no chance I would have been able to attend the conference.

The capstone moment for me came toward the end of the summer, when I received a company-wide email, inviting me to a Thursday night Challah Bake at the office. It seemed that only a few months ago, I was helping to plan the monthly Challah Bake with a campus club at New York University, and now I was invited to very same event at the Accenture office.

At this point in the summer, my previous experiences had reassured me that I was not going to have to compromise my values and beliefs in the office. However, this moment represented something so much more meaningful.

For the first time, I felt that the office was a place where my religion and culture could thrive and grow. Instead of having to suppress a huge part of my life, I shared and celebrated it with my friends and co-workers.

Growing personally and professionally
All in all, between the people I’ve met and the lessons I’ve learned, this summer has been revolutionary for my growth as a person and a professional. My experience at Accenture has taught me that the two go hand in hand: My development as a person fuels my work as a professional and vice versa.

In my opinion, no blog post can truly capture the dynamic, open environment at Accenture, because everything will just sound like corny buzzwords. All I know is that I have been blessed to work at a place that understands that we are all truly human and they want us to bring our whole selves to work.

Grow as a person and a professional when you bring your whole self to work. Find your fit with our team today.

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