My overriding memory of the Global Case Challenge sums up, for me, what makes the Global Case Challenge so special.
We’d been flown over for the final in London, in March. It was our welcome dinner at a very lovely hotel restaurant. And the 25 of us who were in the final all wanted a picture to remember the evening showing the London skyline in the background. We went outside on the balcony in our evening wear – all shivering – but it was so exhilarating. Looking round I got a genuine sense of privilege. All of us from places across the globe, brought together by Accenture Strategy and having the opportunity to work together, collaborate and network.
Overall, I think the whole experience was one of surprises. For a start, as an Engineering student, I never felt like I would get all the way to the final – let alone win. There seemed to be so many more people who would be better equipped to undertake a business-style challenge. But as the competition really does deal with a project from beginning to end, it involved some of my key skills (such as technical knowledge), as well as abilities that everyone was learning at the same time, like presenting and thinking outside the box.
The other unexpected thing was how much the Accenture Strategy people wanted to take part and help. This wasn’t seen as a frivolous, nice-to-have competition for students. Everyone who took part – from the organizers to the clients – took it really seriously. The expectation levels were very high but our mentors really believed in us, and took the time to give us the guidance we were looking for.
What will stick with me though is how well everybody got on. The first few days of a large international cohort being together could be the recipe for disaster! Of course, everyone at first felt a little bit awkward, but the welcome dinner and the shared goal we had all helped us get to know each other. I think it was this experience that led me to the most unexpected revelation.
Without the competition, I would never have realiszed how much I enjoy the high-pressure environment of working to a tight deadline, collaborating with people from around the world and delivering something. For the final presentation we were working until around 2am¬ – and that was everyone. It was exciting. When it was over, and we won, I just wanted it to go on. Which led me to where I am now – an Analyst for Accenture Strategy.
If you’re wondering where your studies could take you and want to find out what consulting is like, my advice would be “do it”. Not only will you find out about the role and the business, you’ll probably find out something about yourself too.