When most students and new grads are preparing for a job interview, they research the role they are interviewing for, current industry trends, interview tips, and, of course, deliberate on what to wear. However, in the midst of all this research, interviewees often forget one key topic: company culture.
Whether you’re scanning the company website, reading up on their initiatives, or following every social media outlet the organization has, familiarizing yourself with a company’s values, professional development programs, and community efforts can teach you about the company’s culture. Getting to know these details will help you determine if your personality and perspective will suit the organization, and whether it will provide the ideal environment for your career to thrive.
Accenture, a global management consulting company, is known for its leadership in the fields of Strategy, Consulting Digital, Technology and Operations. However, you may be less familiar with their outstanding company culture that focuses on the long-term career development of employees, community involvement, and collaboration. To get a first-hand perspective on the types of personalities that thrive in this atmosphere, we’ve interviewed Ben Cardarelli, a Management Consulting Analyst, and Monica Youn, an Infrastructure Consulting Analyst, to learn how Accenture’s workplace culture set them up for success.
As a Management Consulting Analyst for Accenture, Ben Cardarelli has the important job of designing new business processes for a bank’s major branches and gathering system requirements. Ben, a Toronto native and avowed Raptors and Maple Leafs fan, moved to Boston, MA to pursue a BBA in Finance & Strategy before landing a role with Accenture in Montreal, QC.
When he was preparing for his interview, there were many reasons why Ben wanted to work with Accenture. He knew that it is a globally recognized brand, and was excited at the prospect of working closely with peers and clients across a diverse range of sectors. However, it was Accenture’s company culture and focus on teambuilding that intrigued him the most.
“I found out right away that it’s the people who make the company so special and different from their competitors,” he says.
Additionally, Ben knew that Accenture would be an “incredible place to learn” and gain an understanding of the distinct but overlapping worlds of both business and technology. Intent on developing his professional skills, Accenture offers Ben ongoing career development and skills training, demonstrating their investment in employees.
To broaden his knowledge of the field, Ben’s project and account teams host bi-weekly training sessions on business and technology-related topics, giving him a deeper understanding of how Accenture’s work applies to various industries and parts of the world. Additionally, Ben has monthly meetings, referred to as “touchpoints,” with his project manager, career counselor and other key mentors to assess how his work is aligning with his future goals. For Ben, this level of support from senior team members helps him stay on track with his career aspirations.
“I use feedback from my mentors to make sure I am growing in my career and continuing to move towards the vision I have set for myself,” he says.
Additionally, Ben’s on-the-job education was supported by his colleagues and several mentors at Accenture who helped foster his talent and encourage him to meet his full potential. For Ben, professional success at Accenture is undeniably tied to forming strong relationships with his co-workers.
“At Accenture, I’ve built friendships that will last forever. It’s a fun company to work for, and you become close with a lot of your peers and mentors outside of the office,” he says.
Accenture’s focus on team building and mentorship was especially helpful to Ben as a new graduate. Transitioning from university to the workplace can be an intimidating leap, but Ben felt supported throughout. If he ever had a question, his manager and project teammates were always available to support him, providing a collaborative network that built trust between team members.
In a relatively short timeframe, Ben’s career has already flourished with Accenture, which he attributes to two of their company values: a focus on creating global and internal networks, as well as respect for the individual. For Ben, both of these values create a collaborative environment that is crucial for fostering innovative thinking.
“We value the diversity of our employees, understanding that differences in opinion and approach are needed to keep improving the quality of our work,” Ben says.
Diversity is a cornerstone of Accenture’s company culture, both internally and externally. Internally, this core value helps to seamlessly integrate people from the Strategy, Consulting, Digital, Technology and Operations business areas to form a cohesive team. Here, different opinions and skillsets are encouraged, which Ben feels allows Accenture’s employees to think of creative, multi-faceted business strategies.
Externally, their focus on maintaining a global network has expanded Ben’s personal network to span all continents and has made him more culturally aware when making business decisions. Not only does Ben get to work with wonderful coworkers in his Montreal office, but he also gets to collaborate with partners worldwide!
“I can be working with people in the UK in the morning, with colleagues in Canada and the U.S. in the afternoon, and then with colleagues in Japan or South Africa in the evening,” Ben says.
“I have had incredible opportunities to do impactful work with people in different parts of the world. There are not many other companies where this kind of collaboration is possible.”
Check out Ben’s tips for adapting to Accenture’s company culture!
1) Be open to new challenges and new experiences, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will never stop learning.
2) Don’t be shy. Connect with as many people globally as you can, learn about their background, and be clear about your goals and where you envision yourself long term. It’s your career, so take control of it.
3) Become comfortable being uncomfortable. Project deliverables, timelines, and expectations can change daily in consulting, so learn how to be flexible and comfortable with ambiguity.
Monica Youn, an Infrastructure Consulting Analyst, started working for Accenture only 3 days after her final undergraduate exam. This quick change of pace could have been challenging, but thanks to Accenture’s supportive, engaged, and fun company culture, Monica adjusted to her new professional life without a hitch. Rather, she had found what she was looking for.
During her last year of undergrad, Monica struggled to find a direction in her career path. While her peers were pursuing a specific industry or developing their skills in a particular field, she felt unsure as to what career she should choose. However, the diverse range of work experiences that consulting offers intrigued her, and it was the perfect choice for someone who wanted to expand her skills and find new passions.
While researching, Monica found Accenture and was immediately attracted to the company by the people she met. From the HR recruiter to the senior and managing directors she interviewed with, Monica found everyone to be welcoming, humble, and supportive, and she knew she had found a place where she felt she belonged.
“I saw myself belonging at this firm and getting along with the people in this company,” she says.
In fact, Monica’s transition from student life to the working world was much less abrupt than she expected, because much like university, Accenture offers their employees a balance of work, learning opportunities, and fun extra-curricular events to attend.
Accenture’s new hires are constantly learning about new technologies and emerging skillsets. The company even provides a specialized training website with thousands of online courses available for employees to brush up on any subject they could imagine. Monica recently completed a course in cloud infrastructure, and experienced firsthand the enriching professional development Accenture employees can expect. She will even travel to St. Charles, IL to attend “Analyst School” for two weeks, a program for new analysts.
In addition to these tools, perhaps the greatest resources Accenture employees can draw on are their colleagues. Monica notes that her manager plays an integral role in her professional development; Accenture’s focus on mentorship is a significant part of their collaborative atmosphere. As well, each new employee at Accenture is assigned a career counsellor, or a senior employee in your field of expertise who acts as a guide.
“When I first came into Accenture, I was afraid of navigating the company on my own, but my career counsellor was there to help me along the way. He provides me with great advice on my career path and is helping me reach my fullest potential,” says Monica.
This unprecedented level of support speaks to one of Accenture’s core values: providing an open and collaborative work environment. As a new addition to the Accenture team, Monica works alongside senior leaders, such as her manager and career counsellor, and her peers as well. To Monica, working closely with her colleagues allows her team to learn from one another through their in-depth, multi-perspectival discussions and brainstorming sessions.
“I am continuously amazed at how much we encourage each other to share ideas and deliver value for our clients. Everyone is always open to listening and working together to build a better solution,” she says.
For Monica, there is no question that her training and her peers and mentors have helped her improve upon her existing skill set, as well as developing new ones. Reflecting on her goals, Monica says that she hopes to become a leader in her field one day. She is an excellent example of the fact that when talented people and a supportive, collaborative company culture come together, their goals are not far-off dreams, but entirely possible achievements.
“I know for a fact that these are not only hopes, but very attainable goals as long as I am committed to improving my career within Accenture,” she says.
Check out Monica’s tips for adapting to Accenture’s company culture!
1. Be prepared to work hard. You will be given a chance to develop new skills and have many different experiences, but you won’t be able to benefit from the opportunities unless you are willing to put 100% into your task.
2. Be prepared to put yourself out there. Network with as many people as you can. They become your peers, leaders and mentors. These new connections will help you open up doors and guide you in the direction you want to go.
3. Be prepared to have tons of fun! Accenture isn’t just about work. It’s about engaging with your community. Be ready to enjoy your time attending cool events, meeting new people and making a difference!