Accenture – My Experience
Position Applied For: Analyst Consulting Group
Here is my experience of the Accenture application process, from beginning to end, seeing as the other 2 are over a year old! I hope it’s helpful…
Relatively straight-forward, just the usual education information and work experience questions. There were 3 additional questions – one on why you want to join Accenture, one on the roles of an analyst and finally how Accenture would use technology to help its clients. These look a bit daunting at first but after looking through the website (main and careers) thoroughly, suitable answers can be found! There is also the opportunity to upload CV and Covering Letter – I did both, but I don’t know what they prefer.
1st Round Interview
This is a competency-based interview. It lasts around 30-45 minutes and is held in the Fenchurch Street office in London. All the information can be found in the confirmation email, but know this inside-out! I was interviewed by a manager, who made me feel relaxed straightaway, and it turned out to be a relatively informal chat rather than a really rigorous grilling. At first I was concerned I was too at ease, but it didn’t seem to be too much of a problem as I got through to the next round!
Questions I was asked included:
Why did you pick your degree subject at your university?
Why have you decided to go into consulting? (Just answer honestly, there’s no point making stuff up, but be passionate about it! If you don’t want to go into consulting then you probably won’t be at the interview anyway!)
Why Accenture? (What makes it different from its competitors? Could be anything from technology focus to variety of projects / team members etc. etc.)
Can you name Accenture’s main competitors? (I separated them into Strategy and Technology and named a couple from each. They didn’t ask for any details or any more information about them – just to name them)
Do you know of any projects Accenture has worked on? (These can be found both on the main and on the career’s websites. I chose to learn 2 from the main website as they are described in more detail and I didn’t want to have the same examples as everyone else. After I gave one example he asked for a second one, so be ready for this!)
How would technology be used to help a client? (This was probably one of the questions I found more difficult, but if you research it enough for the application form you can just use this! Just make sure you don’t drop in any terms without knowing what they mean, because they could catch you out!)
Can you name an example of this technology? (I used SAP as an example but there are a few e.g. SAP, Oracle etc.)
After this it was just the usual competency questions, which are easy if you’ve prepared! (e.g. teamwork (lots of questions about this!), leadership, flexibility, biggest achievement, problem solving etc etc. They only asked for one example for each question but as with all competency-based interviews try to use a variety of examples and go for the cause, action, result approach, and be sure to emphasise YOUR role, not just we did this and we did that.
Then there was a short case study. Mine was about a water company having problems with burst pipes. It’s not very long at all! At first my interviewer read it to me, and then gave me the opportunity to re-read through and come up with issues and solutions. I was then asked to explain these and once I had done that, he asked me what I thought the long and short term consequences were, good or bad. He kept pushing for answers, and I did miss a couple of points, but that just shows you don’t have to be perfect, you can still get through!
After that, I was given the chance to ask questions then left. It lasted about half an hour in total.
I received an email about my 2nd round interview around 8 days later, and was able to arrange this through an online system about a week after that.
2nd Round Interview
The 2nd round interview is a half day assessment centre lasting 4 hours. In my group there were 10 of us.
The morning started with a short introduction from a graduate recruitment coordinator, followed by a presentation from a senior manager. This part of the day is un-assessed, so don’t worry about it! It lasts about 30 minutes and gives an insight into life at Accenture, (including the down-sides!) as well as
examples of a couple of projects. When this was finished we moved onto the In-Tray Exercise.
In-Tray Exercise (30 mins)
We were given a booklet, with a brief and then a few emails, Excel spreadsheets and diagrams. It was set up as if we were taking over the role of someone who has recently left (very similar to the one online. Even though this is only the first 2 pages it was worth looking at to have more of an idea what to expect.) The first part of the task is to find issues with Project Delivery (so what will cause the project to run behind schedule), Finance and also “Other Issues”. There is then a box to pick to most important issue from each section. They were not asking for solutions, only the issue and a possible cause, but be sure to refer your issues back to the text so the person marking knows exactly which bit you’re talking about! The second part is to write an email to someone, indicating things that need to be done, in order of priority. A lot of people in my group found this quite hard as there is a lot of time pressure, and a couple didn’t get the second part done at all. As long as you are aware there are 2 parts of the exercise, and divide the time accordingly, it should be ok, although the time pressure is still massive! Attention to detail is key though.
We were then split into 2 groups. I went (with 4 other people) to do my case study whilst the other 5 people had a break.
Case Study (20 mins preparation + 10-15 mins one-to-one interview)
We were given a booklet with interviews with 3 people from a wine company, as well as a couple of graphs and newspaper articles. It was like a longer version of the case study from the 1st round interview (again, VERY similar to the example online – doing this was a massive help!) We were given 20 minutes to read it and make notes, coming up with problems, long and short term solutions and consequences. 20 minutes isn’t very long so don’t get caught up on one bit – you can always go back to it. After 20 minutes we were told to stop writing and were taken to the interview pods where we had a one-on-one interview with an HR representative or Manager. We were asked what the problems were, some suggested solutions and then I was asked to prioritise these. This was probably the hardest bit as he kept questioning me, and saying “Wouldn’t it be better to prioritise…. Instead?” so be ready for this, and be aware which issues will be improved by which solutions – it might go round in a circle or one solution could help with more than one issue!
We were then taken back to our original room and given a break whilst the other group did their case studies.
Group Exercise (30 mins)
We were split (again) into groups of 5. The exercise was given to us and was about planning a project for a school in Mozambique. We had one time-keeper and a scribe, and discussed how we would go about this. One piece of advice I was given was to not be the quietest in the group, but also to not be the loudest. Also, remember that if you don’t say anything, the assessors can’t assess you! If you’re scribe, don’t forget to stay involved in the discussion as well as writing. Don’t be afraid to conflict other people’s opinions, but at the same time don’t be aggressive and listen to what everyone has to say! I was also told that it’s good and shows initiative and awareness to include quieter people in the group and ask for their opinions. I found it quite hard to get a word in edgeways, but mentioned this in my final interview and I guess it depends on the people you are in a group with! 10 minutes before the end we were given an extra challenge to overcome, and after our 30 minutes were over we each had to give a 30 second presentation on one aspect of the discussion. They will cut you off after 30 seconds so be ready for this! They also cut you off when the 30 minutes is over so the timekeeper needs to be aware of this.
This was followed by an (un-assessed) question and answer session with an analyst. There are no assessors in the room so this is the time to ask any remaining questions before your final interview!
Final Interview (10-15mins)
We were then collected by our interviewer (this is the same interviewer as for the case study and also the same person that assesses you during the group exercise.) It seemed relatively informal – he wasn’t trying to catch me out, just to finish off the day.
Questions I was asked include:
How did you feel this morning went? (I went through each part of the morning, saying where I thought I did ok, and the parts I found more challenging.
He asked me to clarify a couple of things, but this wasn’t difficult, it was just parts I’d missed!)
What do you think the main qualities of an analyst are? (I gave what I thought the 3 most important things were)
How did you demonstrate these competencies during this morning? (He almost caught me out here – I thought he was going to ask for examples that were on my CV! Again, relatively easy to come up with though)
Why do you want to be a consultant? (Same as 1st round)
He then gave me the chance to ask any questions I might have, and then he said we still had 5-7 minutes so just had a chat for a while.
We were told we would find out the results within 5-10 working days, so I’m still waiting (with my fingers crossed!)
Despite my nerves at the beginning, the assessment day wasn’t as nerve-racking as I expected. In the end I found myself quite enjoying it, and I learnt a lot, so even if I don’t get the job I’m much more prepared for the next assessment centre, and know now what to expect!
Good luck everyone!