Office Hours: Learn About Management Consulting And Technology Consulting Careers At Accenture

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On Thursday, September 13, 2012, Lisa Kramer and Sean Keown from Accenture joined us for live, online Office Hours. Office Hours is an hour-long Q&A with industry eggs-perts just for TalentEgg-ers!

Lisa and Sean fielded questions on Accenture’s entry level Management Consulting and Technology Consulting jobs and internships, provided tips for connecting with recruiters, and gave advice on navigating Accenture’s application and interview process.

If you missed the live event, you can read the complete transcript below:

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TalentEgg Taryn: 

Welcome to Office Hours, TalentEgg-ers! My name is Taryn and I’ll be moderating today’s chat. Our eggs-pert guests today are Lisa and Sean from Accenture! Over the next hour, you can send Lisa and Sean your questions about Accenture’s management consulting and technology consulting career paths, questions about their recruitment and application processes and tips for landing a job!

TalentEgg Taryn: 

Lisa and Sean, could you tell the audience a bit about yourselves?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Hi everyone! My name is Lisa Kramer and I’m the Campus Recruiting Lead for Accenture in Canada and select US locations. In my role, I manage all of our entry-level and MBA recruiting activities to ensure we have the best students and recent grads starting their careers at Accenture.

Sean Keown: 

Good afternoon! It’s a pleasure to be speaking to you today. My name is Sean Keown and I am a business analyst aligned to our management consulting practice based out of Calgary. I’ve been with Accenture full time since January, and prior to that I completed a summer internship in 2011.

As a business analyst, I’ve had the pleasure of working across a multitude of different functional areas and geographies over the last 9 months. Specifically, I’ve been involved on engagements dealing with market assessments, enterprise optimization, workforce efficiency, and operational excellence. For my last assignment, I spent about 2/3 of my time in Calgary, and the other 1/3 working with our colleagues in Houston. Additionally, I had the good fortune of travelling to London, Amsterdam, and The Hague on a business development initiative.

Outside of my client work, I’m involved in several extra-curricular activities at Accenture. One initiative that I’m particularly excited about is the Junior Achievement program, where our consultants will assist budding (youth) entrepreneurs with their business ideas.

I’m looking forward to having a productive chat. Fire away!

Comment From Joshua Cheng

Hi Sean and Lisa. I have questions regarding employee recognition and engagement. I was wondering how Accenture recognizes individual performance? How is this measured? Aside from investing in employees training programs, how else does Accenture keep their employees engaged and happy?

Sean Keown: 

One way that consultants get rewarded is through what we call “Celebrating Performance Points”. You essentially get “spot bonused” these points, and they can be used for a wide variety of merchandise, travel rewards, etc.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Another way we recognize is through promotion…to give you an idea, our consulting career path recognizes our employees’ success with increased responsibility and opportunity. Typically, you would spend 2-3 years as an Analyst; 3-4 years as a Consultant; 3-4 years as a Manager; 3-5 years as a Senior Manager; and then advance to Senior Executive.

For a fun way to get a feel for our career path advancement, play our How Great Can You Be game. You can access this through your Smartphone at accenturecareersmobile.com.

Comment From Houng Saint

I am a recent grad (June 2012) from the University of Toronto- St George Campus. Can I still apply during campus recruiting fall 2013? And what does Accenture looks for in a resume? I do not have any relevant professional work experience throughout my university education nor superb grades, would I still stand a chance at Accenture?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

All of our current roles are geared towards 2013 grads as they don’t have start dates until 2013.

We do however have other opportunities for students from time to time and I would encourage you to visit our social media channels to learn more.

Comment From Richa Prabhakar

Hi Lisa and Sean. Many thanks for your time today. Lisa, I had a question for you regarding entry level roles at Accenture Canada. I recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in chemistry and am interested in starting a career in the technology sector. How would I fit in at Accenture and how would I go through the application process since I am no longer eligible for campus recruiting?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Accenture is open to hiring across all majors, but we find students with majors in business, computer science, MIS/CIS/IT and engineering most interested in and qualified for our positions. A list of these and other majors can be found in the requirements section of our job descriptions.

Comment From Kavita Anissa

On average, how long does the recruiting process take and what can one expect if chosen as a successful candidate?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

The process is actually very quick…positions are posted now with deadlines later this week and next. The interview process will start in the next week and we will have all of our recruiting wrapped up by the end of September for Management Consulting and the end of October for Tech Consulting.

Comment From Felipe R

I’m wondering, what do consulting companies look for in recent graduates? I am entering my 4th year as an Industrial Engineering undergraduate, and although my CGPA (3.1) is above average, it is not quite on par with many of my graduating friends (3.5-4.0) who recently broke into consulting for companies like Deloitte and ZS Associates. However in my last few years, I decided to throw myself into several demanding extracurricular positions. Is that worth much to consulting recruiters?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

We look for candidates whose background matches the job descriptions and who are well rounded. Good grades are certainly important. But in addition, we also look for candidates who have relevant work, internship or volunteer experience, leadership skills, are involved in their campus or local community, participate in extra-curricular activities, etc.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

We currently have full-time entry-level openings for Management Consulting Development Program Business Analysts in Toronto and Calgary, and Technology Consulting Analysts in various locations across Canada.

The management consulting application deadlines are September 15 for Toronto and September 27 for Calgary. The technology consulting deadline is September 27. Successful candidates join Accenture at an agreed upon date following graduation.

Comment From Jeremy Vo

Hi, I was just wondering when does Accenture hire interns? What kind of qualities does Accenture want in for interns in their consulting practice?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Accenture offers 10-12 week summer internships for both Management Consulting and Technology Consulting. We recruit for internship opportunities in January.

We look for the same qualities in interns as we would for full-time candidates. Internships are a great way to try out Accenture and for us to get to know your skill set better. Sean, do you want to share more about your internship experience with everyone?

Sean Keown: 

As an intern, I can definitely vouch for what Lisa says about the internship being a useful way to determine if it’s a good fit for you. I was an intern myself, and it allowed me to determine not only if consulting was right for me, but also whether Accenture was right for me as well.

My most memorable moment as an intern was going to St. Charles (just outside Chicago) for the annual student leadership conference.

Comment From Dylan

Hi Lisa, I am currently still in school and was wondering what’s the difference between management and technology consulting?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Both of our consulting opportunities allow you to apply and grow your skills as you help global and local clients effectively address the challenges they face. Technology Consulting analysts apply an integrated range of technology solutions that address our clients’ most complex challenges. And Management Consulting business analysts focus on strategy and take responsibility for organizational change and business transformation.

Comment From Teng Xiao

Hi Lisa or Sean, My question is: does the business analyst get a choice of service lines within the MCDP? Or would it be based on the BA’s competencies? Thanks in advance!

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

In Management Consulting our business analysts work on projects across industries and functions, with responsibilities that may include designing new business processes, conducting research, supporting functional user requirements, performing analysis and assisting in change management activities.

Sean Keown: 

That’s a very good question. For me, I’ve had the good fortune of working on projects across very different aspects of an organization. For example, I’ve helped companies with supply chain issues, workforce strategy, and operational efficiency.

Comment From Shelly Johnson

Hi Lisa and Sean, I don’t have much experience in consulting. What kinds of training and development support does Accenture provide?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

At Accenture, we provide our employees with a core training curriculum and a supportive environment to help them succeed and continue to grow professionally throughout their career. Learning takes place both on the job and through formal training conducted online, in the classroom, or in collaboration with teammates. In 2011 alone, Accenture invested $800 million in training each year, and provided an average of 52 hours of annual training per employee.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

In addition, every employee is assigned a dedicated career counsellor to help guide them along their career path and belong to an internal community, which meets regularly for business meetings, networking and socials. Employees receive regular development feedback from career counsellors, direct supervisors and mentors to help them develop the right skills to meet their career goals.

Accenture also offers mentoring and networking programs, and leadership development opportunities, managing work teams and resources.

Comment From Kavita Anissa

What percentage of the time is spent travelling to other cities?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

This can vary from project to project. Accenture attempts to staff analysts in-town their first 2-3 years. Travel ranges from none at all to all the time, and new analysts should be prepared for everywhere in between. When consultants are staffed to client projects their individual preferences are taken into consideration along with the needs of our business to serve clients.

Sean Keown: 

Travel time is really dependent on the type of engagement you’re working on. For instance, I was on one project where there were regular trips to Houston on a typical Mon-Thurs schedule.

Also, I was lucky enough to go to Europe for a proposal for one of our global clients. This was particularly exciting since I had never been there before, and it was great to work in a different cultural setting.

Comment From Joshua Cheng

Lisa or Sean, can you please describe what the first few months will look like for an entry level management consultant analyst. Do you have a choice of what field you want to work in? If so, how soon would you be able to start working in particular field? I would love to work in customer relationship management, within the customer service transformation area.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Your first few months include training and being staffed on your first project to collaborate with colleagues. Project assignments are based on business needs and an individual’s past experience.

Sean Keown: 

Joshua, the best way to get staffed on projects you enjoy is to leverage your networking skills. If certain individuals know who you are and are impressed with your work, you can increase your likelihood of getting staffed with them on those projects.

Also, your talent fulfillment specialist (TFS) will help staff you to available projects and take your preferences into account if there are multiple project opportunities.

Comment From Matt Cobb

Hi Lisa and Sean, is there any way to speak with a recruiter after this if I have more questions I would like to get answers for?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Hi Matt, Great question! Attending events like this one is a great way to connect with potential employers. During this busy recruiting season, we encourage students to meet us on campus at information sessions, career fairs or other events and to apply online for our positions through accenture.ca/careers. Candidates selected for an interview will then be contacted by a recruiter.

There are a number of ways to connect with us. Check with your campus career centre to see if we will be visiting your campus so you can meet us at an event. You can also connect with us through our Accenture Careers in Canada Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. We have a new LinkedIn group you can join. And of course, there is our accenture.ca/careers website where you can learn about careers, read employee profiles and blogs and subscribe to our monthly careers newsletter.

Another way students can connect with Accenture is through our new online tool, Passport to Accenture. You create a profile and collect ‘passport stamps’ by meeting us on campus, exploring our website and following us on social media. The more stamps you collect, they more you can learn about Accenture!

Comment From David

During an internship how many projects/ assignments is an analyst expected to undertake?

Sean Keown: 

Great question David, during my internship I was exposed to 2 different projects on the same client account. Also, I spent a lot of time doing business development (pitches), which allowed me to gain a better understanding of how our business operates.  But between 1-2 projects is expected.

Comment From John Isak

Hello Sean and Lisa, I am a graduating this year from the Schulich School of Business, and am very interested in a career in consulting. I noticed your posting on our career website for the ‘Management Consulting Analyst’ position and have 2 questions for Lisa, and a question for Sean: Lisa: (1) Have you ever hired a Schulich BBA student at Accenture? [If not, why? :)]. (2) What differentiates Accenture from other consulting firms in terms of learning and development? And Sean: Can you tell me about why you chose to work at Accenture? Thank you in advance!

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Yes, we have hired form Schulich! Great school! At Accenture we make it a priority to invest in training and development; in 2011 we invested $800 million in training alone.

Sean Keown: 

I chose Accenture because I wanted to be able to see projects through from conception, strategy development, and implementation. Being able to work across all areas of the business transformation lifecycle has allowed me to witness the transformative impact of our efforts. For me, this was the big differentiator relative to other consulting firms.

Comment From Melissa Lai

At Accenture, what diversity programs do you have? Especially for minorities, LGBT or women? Is there a support system?

Sean Keown: 

A great thing about working at Accenture is the diversity of our workforce. Employees work alongside talented colleagues with different backgrounds to bring together their skills and experiences to help our clients. We have a number of programs that support diversity and our diverse employees, including local interest groups, networking forums and mentoring programs.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead:

Specific examples of this include:

LGBT: I was recently at the Out on Bay St. LGBT conference here in Toronto. It was great way to meet with people and share information about our career opportunities. Along with some other Accenture employees we conducted a workshop for conference attendees about building your online brand.

Women:

Each year Accenture recognizes International Women’s Day and for our campus audiences we have conducted a Women’s Networking Forum webcast for the last few years where interested students can sign up to attend and hear some of our female employees and leaders share their career insights and advice. We also recently launched an Accenture Style Board on Pinterest where Accenture women share their examples on how they dress for success across a variety of professional situations.

Comment From tommy_gee

Hi! My name is Thomas and I’m currently in the Business Technology Management program with the co-op option at Ryerson. What opportunities are specifically geared toward co-op students?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead:

We currently hire for 10-12 week internships over the summer months and students are then part of our National Internship Program.

Comment From Sumaiya Hossain

Can a third year undergrad apply for the management consulting internship?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead:

Yes, 100%! Check for postings in January!

Comment From joshuasunga

Hi Lisa and Sean – can you give some advice for students without a business background on applying for entry-level management consulting roles with Accenture? Are there any types of co-op or on-campus extracurricular experience that would help set us apart? I’m going to be finishing my Political Science with co-op degree this coming May at UBC. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us online!

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead:

Practice your case interviews! Join the consulting club on campus! Participate in case competitions!

Sean Keown: 

Great point Lisa! Also, look for volunteer opportunities or campus extra-curriculars to help boost your leadership and management skills.

Comment From Ash 

Hi Lisa and Sean! I will be graduating from Ryerson in May 2013 from the Computer Science program and I’m interested in the Technology Consulting Analyst role. Do I need any past related work experience?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

#1 Join us at the Ryerson Info Session next week! #2 Yes, past experience is always helpful but schoolwork and projects are another great way to demonstrate your skills!

Comment From Jenny Lee

Hi Lisa, I wanted to know about opportunities inside Accenture once you are already there. Are there growth opportunities at Accenture? How quickly can I be promoted or given more responsibility in the company? Are there stages to the process?

Sean Keown: 

There are lots of opportunities to grow your experience as you progress from project to project. As an analyst, you can expect to be promoted to consultant within 2-3 years. As a self-starter, I can honestly assert that there are plenty of opportunities to stretch yourself through our many extra-curricular involvements.

Comment From Jeremy Vo

Hi Lisa and Sean, I was just wondering if one or both of you could elaborate a little more on the sub-streams and specialties that Accenture has in Technology Consulting.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Technology Consulting Analysts apply an integrated range of technology solutions that address our clients’ most complex challenges.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

IT strategy, SAP, Security are just a few of the different areas where we may work with clients.

Comment From Guest

Can we ask your Twitter account general questions about the application process? Or on Facebook?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Either are great venues, as is our LinkedIn group. Please feel to connect with us at anytime 24/7.

Comment From Eric

How can I make sure I stand out at recruiting events? Do you expect us to wear a suit?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

No suit required however, I do recommend you are polished, well prepared and ready to network with us. We understand you are students and may not have a suit in your backpack everyday! Be energetic! Read up about Accenture before you meet us.

Comment From John Isak

I was wondering if the case component of the interview is different at Accenture (for the Management Consulting Analyst position) than other strategy consulting firms? Also, are there any technical skills or computer skills required for the Management Consulting Analyst role (outside of MS Office)? Thanks!

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

We actually only do case interviews for roles in Management Consulting. For Technology Consulting we focus on your technical skills.

In the case interview component the interviewer presents a situation you may encounter on a consulting project and asks you to explore the underlying causes of the problem and suggest recommendations for a remedy. The case interview demonstrates your ability to define a problem, logically structure your analysis, and communicate your thoughts.

Sean Keown: 

Hey John, to answer the latter part of your question, the tools I use on a daily basis are primarily PowerPoint and Excel. Sometimes during business process mapping, I’ll use Visio, but as of yet I haven’t been required to use more specialized applications.

Comment From Joshua Lam

What key skills or words are you looking for on a resume? I want to make sure all the skills I have are highlighted the in the best possible way but I am unsure about how to do it. How do you go about sorting through all the resumes you get?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead:

No spelling mistakes!

Make sure your skill set matches the skills we are looking for. Differentiate yourself from your classmates who may have similar skills. Sorting through resumes is always the fun part for the campus team at Accenture. We look at every resume, cover letter and transcript. And, yes, we read cover letters so use it to sell yourself!

Comment From Houng Saint

Hi Lisa and Sean, I am U of Toronto- St George. I am not sure if there is a recruiting event at UofT for this recruiting season because I don’t seem to see events by Accenture coming at UofT this year. Do you ever hire UofT undergrads? And if Accenture is not coming to UofT, where can I go to network with Accenture?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Yes, we are at UofT next week for our annual Technology Consulting Information Session. Here is the link to our Facebook page so you can check out the specific details: facebook.com/accenturecanada

Comment From Sumaiya Hossain

How long does the individual get to solve the case during the interview process? Is the individual by him/herself or is the setting such that the recruiters are present in front of them?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

The case interview is generally 45 mins…you will be in the room with your interviewer and they will be present to answer any questions you may have and ensure you have a good understanding of the case. HINT: They are mostly interested in how you structure your thoughts vs. the actual outcome. Always remember to practice, practice, practice when it comes to cases!

Comment From Joshua Cheng

Sean or Lisa, aside from the case interview, is there any other component involved like a writing test?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

No, no writing test for either Management Consulting or Technology Consulting.

Comment From Bobby Carter

Do you ask technical questions during the interview process? Should I brush up on my calculus and operations textbooks and notes? Is it hard to go through the interview process? Are there multiple steps and interviews? I live in a remote town so it’s hard for me to get to a large city where your offices are.

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

For Technology Consulting, yes, we ask technical questions, no need to study calculus again…we are just trying to get an understanding of how technical your experience and knowledge is on the spectrum. No need to worry about living far away, if you make it to our final round interviews, we will arrange transportation for you to the closest office.

Comment From Houng Saint

I heard from some people that it is better to apply as early as possible to increase your chances rather than applying close to the deadline. Is it true that applications are segregated based on when applicants submit their applications?

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

We review all resumes regardless of when they are submitted (as long as it’s before the deadline).

TalentEgg Taryn: 

That’s all the time we have for questions today. For those of you who didn’t get your questions answered feel free to connect with Accenture online. Lisa and Sean, do you have any final comments?

Sean Keown: 

Thanks everyone! It was a pleasure speaking to you all today. Good luck with your applications!

Lisa Kramer – Campus Recruiting Lead: 

Thank-you TalentEgg and Taryn for giving us the opportunity to connect today!

TalentEgg Taryn: 

If you’re looking for more information on careers with Accenture, check out their TalentEgg profile or connect with them on Twitter (@accenture_ca)!

Thanks again for joining us today TalentEgg-ers! Keep your eyes on our Twitter feed (@TalentEgg) for upcoming Office Hours events!

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