Hi, I had my Accenture assessment centre recently, and received an ACG offer this afternoon. These forums were a fantastic help in preparing, so I thought I’d pay it forward and add my experience of the process.
The in-tray exercise is the first part of the day, and probably the hardest to prepare for. Use the sample provided on the accenture website, it’s very similar. The trick with this part is to ignore all the graphs and charts and other filler, and focus on the information given. Be sure to be conscious of the dates, and the date you have to write the follow up memorandum- there is a trick part regarding staff who want to take 2 weeks off, which most people put down as a project delivery issue. However, the dates they take their vacation on has come and gone, so this will not effect delivery. Also, remember that a number of the issues have financial AND project delivery applications. I felt I did pretty poorly in this exercise, but I still got an offer, so if the in tray goes badly for you, don’t let it distract you from the rest of the day- the case study and group exercise are King.
The case study is the wine company one mentioned in all the previous posts, it never changes. Your answer should identify the following three problems- the IT infrastructure in not fit for purpose, the supply chain in inefficient, and worker morale is low. From the accenture case studies on the website, come up with specific Accenture solutions to these problems, referencing reports and/or technologies previously developed by accenture to stand out. Also, focus on the long term implications of the of your recommendations- e.g. the CEO is not be happy to spend a load on a new IT system, staff may be unhappy with the outsourcing loss of jobs, ect. The interviewer will press you as to which you think is the most important recommendation, and why. As long as you can justify your recommendations, you’ll be fine. Don’t get distracted by the red herring news reports on competitors, marketing and web site prizes included in the info pack. The object here is to identify and solve the problems that ACCENTURE can fix (and bill for), not the company’s problems in general.
For the group exercise, my group had to design a government programme to encourage inner city kids to achieve- called “Next Top Role Model”. You have to decide how the programme will be advertised, funded and marketed, how the role models will be chosen, and the timeline for the project After 30 mins, each member of the group will have to present on one aspect of the programme for 30 seconds. Again, the object is to link this in with ACCENTURE- you’re not applying for a job with the government. Make technology a central part of your programme. Also- Accenture is a company where new ideas pay the bills, Try and be the idea man in your group- throw out as many suggestions as possible, and try and make them unique. You’ll have had some time to talk to the other candidates during the 15 break- try and get to know every potential team member during this break- this will remove the initial awkwardness when you start the group exercise.
The final one-on-one is very brief, the interviewer asks about your day, why consultancy and why accenture. Think of constructive criticisms of your performance in a limited (and essentially unimportant) section. I said that I found the in-try challenging, since it was so different from other psychometric tests. This demonstrates that I can identify weaknesses in my performance, but ultimately, who cares- I’m not going to be doing In-Tray’s in my real job. Don’t say you found the group exercise frustrating- the interviewer may think that you’re not a team player, which is a critically important trait in consultants.
I hope this is of some help- best of luck to everyone.