Graduate Consulting at Accenture


Could someone give me some advice about consulting firms? I’ve noticed that salaries vary quite considerably at consulting firms. For example, Deloitte is quite notable, but the starting salary is quite megre for graduates. Accenture is quite good, and Merril Lynch (I’ve heard though not seen proof) is fantastic.

What do the different salaries indicate? Do firms pay mroe because they can afford to, or because they are trying to snag the best candidates?

I’m interested in earning as much as I can right after graduation, but obviously not if it’s going to impact my long term salary…

Thanks !!!:eek:


I think with those firms you mentioned there are very specific reasons why the salaries are different.

Merril Lynch: These guys are pretty much renowned as the biggest and best consulting firm around. They can pay the most because they charge the most and they have absolutely nothing to worry about. If you get a job here, they work you unbelievably hard… your life will BE Merril Lynch and Consulting, so frankly the least you should expect for a job here is bucket loads of cash. They also pay for MBA’s by the way…

Deloitte: These guys pay less than others sure. I think this is because they aren’t quite in the top five, or ten (debatably) consulting firms UK althoguht they are very well respected. They pay less because they aren’t throwing cash around and because they know people will apply here for the training and the culture… a more friendly place then Merril Lynch, although again, expect to work your socks off… 9 - 9 at least most days. Note - Deloitte don’t sponsour MBA’s.

Accenture: Accenutre pay a decent 40k plus signing on bonus. However they aren’t very well respected and certainly aren’t considered top level consultants. They also work in technical consulting and are a bit different from Merril L and Deloitte. Work here and again, you’ll be working crazy hours, weekends and be bustled all over the shop… Leeds, Norwich, London… there is a LOT of movement. I think the salary is higher here because they are trying to counter staff attrition, which apparently is high. Note - Accenutre DO sponsour MBA’s

Hope that helps…



The type of consulting carried out by accenture is very different to the other two. It is worth understanding the difference between strategic or management consultancy and technical consultancy.


Installs IT systems, develops supply chains and logistics solutions

Merrill Lynch/Deloitte Consulting

Consults on transactions or business problems, to improve performance, or facilitate a business transaction such as a merger or an acquisition.


I’ve been interviewing at all those places and Deloitte said the reason they pay less is because they are funding your professional qualifications which Accenture for eg don’t do.

The other thing between Deloitte and Accenture is that (apparently!) Deloitte involves a lot less travel due to having many more regional offices etc so you’d be working in London and home counties whereas at A you can be anywhere up to 4/5 nights a week.

You can do strategy/management consulting at Accenture as that was what I was offered on but the earlier post is right in that this is not their primary focus.

Really good luck with everything!!


I have a friend who works for Accenture and he has to fly out to texas every week. He’s pretty junior too. He doesn’t enjoy that part of it very much.

Deloitte is sort of a different bag, you’d be doing strategic consulting. Deloitte’s only office for consulting is in London, but so are most of its clients. Management consultancy is an office based job, i.e. you rarely need to visit clients, most work is done from your own office, so you don’t need to travel much.

In my experience, travelling is cool at first but wears thin after not too long. Hilton just never really feels like home.


Found this forum via the student room and must admit theres been a few more helpful responses.

ALTHOUGH i am told constantly that management consultancy is mostly BASED ON TRAVEL. Which was starting to put me off. Yet I filled in the Deloitte survey thing on their site and consulting came up!!

Re: the hours, is there any company that doesnt have so long hours?! You’ve just stayed that the hours are bat at Merril Lynch, Deloitte and Accenture! I would be happy for slightly less money to be based in manchester and not have that much working hours. I think 12 hour days are a bit much, specially if your driving to London or god knows where


My understanding is that there is a lot of travelling - I am pretty sure if you went into any consultancy interview saying “i don’t want to travel much” it would not go down well. Most strategy consulting boutiques I interviewed with said expect 4 nights a week away. It was my understanding that it is not so bad with firms with many offices eg Deloitte as your office will cover a smaller area eg. London and Home Counties - I guess it depends how specialised your consulting is though eg KPMG forensic consulting has 2 bases in UK so quite wide travelling. I really think if you don’t want the travel it’s a big problem. I’ve gone for banking in the end as I decided the time away was not something I could seriously see myself committing to long term…

Good luck with whatever you decide!


cheers well what was with the above post on management consultancy ? I assume there wouldnt be much difference.

Its not so much the travel, its the long hours which would make hours travelling even worse. I understand many grad jobs have 12 hour days etc? But then if you were in the same city every day it would seem less.

I dont really have a numerical interst though you see, so banking, accounting, tax, audit im not sure I would be up to the job. Banking is a no no anyway because its even harder to get into and its just as long hours?!


I’m not sure the hours are so bad… a friend of mine consulting at KPMG does 9-5.30 ish and is when he’s away it’s only a bit longer. He’s doing human capital consulting, it sounds really interesting. Also another friend at Accenture doing strategy said that travelling is actually really enjoying the travel, they all do things together, jogging in the evening etc so it might not be so bad!?

Have you thought about maybe doing a general management program - friends provident have a really cool one you should check out…


interesting posts here. a couple of points

  • i didn’t know merrill lynch did consulting? i’m reasonably confident that they are a US bank with focus on investment banking and capital markets! if they have a consulting arm, would it be more of secondary focus to their core banking operations?

  • also to chrism’s point about travel with management consulting. i work in the strategy team at a management consultancy - my colleagues in the operations / technology / human capital teams travel the country all the time. i think the point you were trying to make here was that STRATEGY CONSULTING is mainly office based? my projects for the past 2.5 years mostly have been. generally as 1) strategy projects’ clients work in headquarters of their companies which are usually based in London and 2) the work is more desk based and research & analysis based, we tend to be based in our office or London. In contrast, the more operational / technology projects (what i would call general management consultancy) could be based wherever the client facing team are based ie not necessarily HQ. this could mean business parks / technology parks / regional offices scattered throughout the country


oh and in terms of hours…

i’m not sure if consultancy would be the right profession for you if you feel particularly strongly about long hours.

it’s not that consultants consistently work long hours for the hell of it, it is generally due to solving complex problems under tight deadlines - an ‘attribute’ that attracts people to consulting in the first place!

if you feel strongly about working a few late nights, then i’m guessing you would be seriously unhappy when approaching project deliverable deadlines (eating takeaway sushi at your desk at 11pm in the office)!


I don’t think Merril Lynch do consulting… they do financial advisory - kind of financial consulting I guess?!


…that late night sushi does come free though doesn’t it? …I guess there are some perks to accompany long hours = fish.



Cheers for the input guys,

I will check out the general programmes but I was looking through all general grad schemes and theres a fine line before a grad scheme that anyone can do and a top one. Lets think about money, but im coming to a conclusion that the extra 5-10 grand on offer is to compensate for buying your life. I would rather work less for less money, but i would be interested in progression etc.

A few firms ive looked at it seems like grad schemes are only for a few years then you leave?! whats that about !

RE: merril lynch, im pretty sure they are one of the best consultants out there. (Not sure on the exact type of consulting they do) But im surprised that if you have a job in the area, your not aware of them. I am aware of the best consultants, most of there names I dont know/cant spell, and these ones are very hard to get into. It was more the next tier of KPMG /DELOITTE.

those KPMG hours sound attractive but i am not sure if they have a manchester office / are big on travel. Then again deloitte sound big on travel.

Maybe it isnt for me but im really struggling here as to what is. One thing im not big on is complex maths based problems! which rules out some finance and maybe even accounting. I dont want a career in an unrelated area such as law. So im struggling.

On the student room that i post on, everyone has the same idea that consultancy and IB are the big dawg jobs. and jobs in HR, marketing and sales and not in the same league. I also came across alot less starting salaries for these fields. But then again im sure each of these 3 involve travel!

It sounds like all this you get a degree for better jobs and better money is bullshit and that you only get more money because they are buying your social life.

Is there anything business related that has an office in manchester that doesnt involve stupid hours or excessive travel!


Big salaries generally do mean bad jobs/jobs that require you to work, HARD.

Accenture offer a 10k signing on bonus… for example! …reports are that it’s not a very ‘fun’ place to work, although it is an alright company.

The leaving after your grad scheme deal is usually because the company know most people leave anyway.

Pretty sure both Deloitte and KPMG do have manchester offices.

All these big companies require long work hours. Investment banking and the other city jobs are all “top” jobs in terms of cash and prestige, but if you don’t want to do them, don’t do them. The other jobs you mentioned, HR/Sales/marketing are perfectly good jobs - sure the salary is less, but if you WANT to do them you will ENJOY them. You need a job you ENJOY - earning 70k working 16 hours a day in an office you hate… what’s the point?!!

Dude, just think about what you want to do and forget the money. Think about what you enjoy and then think about the jobs/companies that need people to do what you enjoy… do that.


Nick - why are you so against travel? It can be fun, and you will be able to see a variety of places, for free, and actual get paid to do so.

Regarding Managester… there are a lot of companies there who hire graduates - particularly creative industries such as marketing, pr and advertising. The Co-op bank is also based up there.

In fact, retail banking might be your best bet. Retail banks pay good money (can start of 30k) with good incentives. Plus you won’t have to travel and the job has good structure and is highly business orientated. It’s not as prestigious as investment banking, but certainly a good job to have.

Are you at Uni in Manchester?


cheers guys! big help!

I really couldnt give a damn about prestige! With the consultancy thing, I just thought it would be my kind of thing, and it comes up when i fill out the big companies questionaires even when i clicked NO TRAVEL! on deloitte! Believe it or not!

Thats the trouble Im not sure what I would enjoy, and most of the jobs either dont tell you whats involved or they lie. With regard to the salary im not looking at anything near 70k, im looking at jobs startin at 20-30k and yet the hours are sounded not far off the 16 you mentioned!

Yeah im at uni in Manchester, and im currently living at home (dont worry im an outgoing guy who likes to meet people!) With the travel, I suppose I would like it at the start, but I know one lad whos into computers and just last week he was in Poland, the Us and somewhere else and he hates the travel now. Its more the getting to places I dont like the sound of. Long flights, a few hours drives down the motorway from Newcastle/London… Its time being wasted. Time travelling ALONG with long hour days is what puts me off, because if you took the travel away you get a bit of free time.

Everyone needs basic hours of sleep (plus i get bags down to my neck -lol!) and im not really a morning person, so getting up at 6am because i have to drive a few hours, board a plane isnt really appealing.

I also wonder what some of these guys are like fitness wise, I know they seem to go gym alot. I go to the gym now and again, but whats more important is eating alot of food (trying to bulk). At the moment I dont have time for that with basic uni and my P.T. job at an insurance company.


and re: retail banking, Ill have to do some research on that too. But 2 things spring up: 1) its banking so its nearly as competitive as IB? and 2) will it be highly numerate based?


Compared to Investment banking, retail banking is basically a doddle. It’s not even number based… there’s all different sorts of jobs you can do that don’t require maths at all. Like management, etc.


Yeah my degree is in Management. Just looking on the student room for Retail banking info and basically they laugh at it compared to Investment banks, think its piss to get in and one person says they wouldnt do it past a part time job and that you’d be working with non graduates!

You can see how frustrated I get. Basically its just all IB egos in that forum.

Im not bothered about that stuff, its just I want a job that do well to get, instead of a job I would easily get if you get me. I have good a levels and good gcses, may have a good degree if I would get off the net :wink: