I had my assessment centre last week and got an offer the next day for a Nov 2009 start. I thought I would explain the assessment centre in more detail.
The first task was a case study where we had 20 minutes to read it and identify problems/solutions for an electricity supplier, called Western Electric. It is quite time pressured so I would read through quickly, listing the problems and solutions as you go along.
-Interview relating to case study
You take your notes in for this part. I was asked to identify the 3 main problems and 3 main solutions for Western Electric. The problems I identified were that:
- Their internal IT systems were inadequate and data was lost between various databases they had
- Their processes were inefficient - field workers would have to go to the office to pick up a print out of their next job and their location was not known unless they were called
- The customer service was poor - they received many complaints and in a competive market they could lose many customers to other providers.
The solutions I proposed for these problems were:
- Integrate their IT systems so there is one central database to ensure data integrity/reliability
- Provide field workers with GPS systems/PDA’s so their location could be identified and jobs could be e-mailed to them which would save time and improve efficiency (I also mentioned that they would require training for using this new technology)
- Train the call centre staff so that they are able to perform jobs better and perhaps provide a new reward system to improve motivation (as their poor performance could be down to lack of motivation as well)
Then I was asked about if the company strategy is important - I replied by saying that it is important but not an immediate issue as they need to build on their core competencies and resolve their current issues before thinking of a long term strategy
Group task 1 - relating to case study
We then had a group task for 20 minutes. This is also related to the case study. We had to discuss and rank 5 issues for Western Electric from a list in terms of importance. From memory the issues were Strategy, IT systems, Internal processes, Customer service and one other. After that, we had to list our 3 main issues and solutions out of them 5 that we earlier ranked. I just talked about the 3 problems and solutions that I had discussed with the interviewer earlier. The key to this group exercise is to offer to manage the time and ensure that you get your point in as well as allowing others to talk
Document review exercise
This is just a case of highlighting errors you see in a document - easy as it sounds
Group task 2 - idea generation
This one can be difficult. Our task was to think of ideas to improve the health of the nation. We initially had 15 minutes to think of and discuss ideas and the rules state that you then have to adopt someone else’s idea by the end of that time. Again, I managed the time and suggested that we spent 5 minutes generating ideas and 10 minutes discussing and made sure we stuck to our plan. My ideas included increasing taxes on foods high in fat and subsidising healthy foods. I also suggested that shops or stalls could be put into town centres where people could find out more about healthy recipes and watch someone make a quick healthy dish. Think of around 4 or 5 ideas to discuss. After the 15 minutes we were stopped and provided 4 different budgets to implement our ideas. We had 5 minutes to allocate budgets to our final ideas and then each of us had to present our ideas to an assessor over a 30 second period. The key to this task is again to organise and manage time, as well as coming up with innovative ideas
This is informal - they asked me to reflect on my performance throughout the day and provide reasons for wanting to jopin accenture.
That was my experience of the assessment day. The case studies that people get may be different but I also had an assessment centre 12 months earlier and the initial case study based on Western Electric was exactly the same.
I hope this helps people with assessment centres coming up!