Most students dream of attaining an internship with an innovative, high-profile company like Accenture. The motivation behind this common career goal is clear: students can gain hands-on experience and valuable insight into the industry they aspire to work within. Accenture’s interns learn about the Technology and Consulting business alongside industry leaders and benefit from their perspective and mentorship. Indisputably, internships are an important part of determining a career path. The question is: how can you turn an internship into a lifelong career?
For many of Accenture’s intern alumni, this experience is the beginning of their professional journey. To learn how you can turn your internship into a career, we’ve interviewed past Accenture interns Brody Hodgson, now a Strategy Analyst, and Emily Raso, now a Digital Business Integration Analyst, for their personal tips on how they transformed their internships into their career launch pads at Accenture.
Calgary-born Brody Hodgson attended the Queen’s University Commerce program to pursue his love of Business. He was passionate about his field early on, and knew that a Strategy Consulting career would offer him unparalleled professional opportunities. However, after completing a few internships, Brody often felt under-utilized and wasn’t gaining the skills he needed to succeed in his industry. Luckily, Brody didn’t give up on internships, and after attending an on-campus information session with Accenture, he knew where his next opportunity lay.
“It was evident that the company treated interns as full-time employees and gave them learning opportunities that promote professional growth,” Brody says.
At Accenture, Brody’s internship offered him the challenge and learning opportunities he desired while providing mentorship and coaching from his supervisors. No two workdays were ever the same, and Brody was able to gain experience in a diverse range of projects that gave him valuable transferable skills.
“I came to work every day with the appetite to learn,” he says.
Brody credits the support of his team for inspiring him to expand his skillset. Although addressing new challenges each day kept him busy, he recalls that every employee was happy to take time out of their day to provide the support or advice he needed. Furthermore, this supportive culture works both ways: everyone at Accenture, from newcomers to high-level employees, wants to learn from their colleagues, regardless of their role in the company.
“Over the course of my internship, my managers strongly encouraged me to take time out of my day once a week to connect with a new colleague over coffee to ask them questions about their career and build a relationship,” Brody says.
As if providing interns with valuable job skills and in-depth mentorship wasn’t enough, Accenture even sends their interns to a three-day Student Leadership Conference in St. Charles, Illinois, along with all of the Accenture interns in North America.
“It was an absolute blast of a weekend, and I made some friends that I am still very close with today,” Brody says.
As his internship was coming to a close, Brody was hard at work finishing his projects when his manager called him into his office for a chat. After discussing his tasks and providing some guidance, his manager asked how Brody was enjoying the job. When Brody assured him that it had been an incredibly enriching experience, his manager offered him a full-time role at the company. It was a day Brody will never forget.
Today, as a Strategy Analyst, Brody has been trusted with the rare task of leading his own stream. He balances this work with meetings with stakeholders, as well as updating tools that are being used to help the client team work more efficiently.
Reflecting on his current career, Brody notes that his internship provided a learning opportunity that he would not have had anywhere else, and urges students to consider pursuing this goal.
Brody says, “Accenture provides a very unique opportunity for individuals to pursue careers and develop skill sets in a wide variety of areas. Don’t take this opportunity for granted!”
1. Network – When it comes to Accenture, their people are your greatest assets and you have an opportunity to build strong relationships with every single one of them.
2. Have a passion to learn – No one expects an intern to know everything, but having a passion to push yourself and learn new things will go a long way.
3. Make sure that Accenture is right for you – Some people discover that the consulting lifestyle just isn’t for them. The internship is an opportunity for you to evaluate how much you enjoy the consulting career just as much as it is Accenture’s opportunity to determine if you are a good fit for the company.
Emily Raso is no stranger to change; this Hamilton, Ontario native grew up surrounded by farmland and forests, but wanted to experience big-city life. While adjusting to a completely different lifestyle would be challenging for some, Emily’s move to Montreal, Quebec to attend McGill University was an early indicator of her ability to adapt to change. While she was in school, Emily balanced her studies in Mathematics and Computer Science with her love of soccer, which she both played and officiated.
While Emily always had an interest in Technology, she was not sure that she wanted to be limited to a single field for her whole career. She stumbled across Accenture’s internship program, and loved that it offered the opportunity to combine Technology with Business, allowing her the chance to work face-to-face with clients. This balance was appealing to Emily, and she began to imagine what her career with Accenture could be like.
Her next step was clear: apply to Accenture and experience the career she was imagining.
To her delight, Emily was invited to the first round of interviews for Accenture’s internships. For this stage, Emily recorded a video detailing why she wanted to work for Accenture and what “digital” meant to her. Shortly after, a traditional face-to-face interview with an Accenture Manager took place. Finally, a third behavioural interview was conducted via telephone. To prepare, Emily charted her relevant past experiences, focusing on what she had struggled with and what she learned. This preparation meant that Emily was able to tell her interviewers how she could utilize her past experiences moving forward, a sign of preparedness that marked her dedication to the role.
Much like Brody, Emily loved that no two days at Accenture were the same. This flexibility enabled her to experience a range of tasks, all of which helped prepare her for the ever-changing, everyday circumstances of the working world. Her duties ranged from training with other interns to focusing on predictive analytics capabilities to playing soccer with her new coworkers.
As an athlete, Emily has always been used to a team-player mentality. While joining a new professional network can be intimidating, Emily found that everyone at Accenture demonstrated a collaborative, welcoming attitude that made her feel a part of the team right away.
“The best part about Accenture is the people,” Emily says. “Colleagues are always approachable and willing to help you with your career goals, give advice or just talk. I never felt like the “new guy;” I was welcomed with open arms and it made my internship that much more enjoyable.”
Not only did Emily form close relationships with her peers, but she also bonded with her supervisors and developed trusting relationships with them. From the beginning, Emily notes that her supervisors constantly provided interns with valuable feedback to improve their skills. They were also generous with positive feedback and encouragement, leading Emily to feel like a valued member of the team.
“Having such a close interaction with all of my Senior Managers allowed me to set goals and get feedback along the way,” she says.
For Emily, networking was key to her success in her internship. She went out of her way to network with other colleagues and Managers in different departments in order to gain insight into their work and interests. Not only was this a great way to integrate herself into the company, but this polite research allowed her to gain a broad perspective about the different avenues one’s career can take at Accenture.
“Creating a lasting relationship was much more valuable to me than “speed” networking,” says Emily.
Her networking skills came in handy at the Student Leadership Conference in St. Charles, Illinois, where she met over 300 North American Accenture interns and heard inspiring speeches from executives from across the globe.
After such a fun-filled, enriching learning experience, Emily was sad to see her internship end. Luckily, on her last day, Emily found out that she had been offered a full-time position with Accenture.
“A rush of happiness came over me,” she says.
Today, Emily works as a Digital Business Integration Analyst with Accenture, where she has continued to grow professionally and personally. Along with gaining a close-knit team and in-demand job skills, Emily’s role has allowed her to travel and make contacts with people around the world. In her first two weeks of training as an Analyst, Emily went to St. Charles, Illinois with hundreds of other new Analysts from Italy, Holland, Sweden, South Africa, Poland, Spain and the U.S.
“It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to see what projects are coming up in my future with Accenture,” says Emily.
1. Do your best: Always put 110% into your work, and go out of your way to make the most of your experience. You’ll gain from your internship what you put into it, so give it your all!
2. Always ask questions: Always put your best foot forward and show your supervisors your willingness to learn. You might not know everything right away, but being engaged and asking questions will show your dedication to improving and learning more.
3. Know your brand and yourself. Internships are a chance to see how you’ll fit in with a company, so getting to know their company culture and how you fit into it is key.
When it comes to taking the first steps towards an enriching and rewarding career, an internship is one of the best ways to start out. As Brody and Emily experienced, the opportunity to get a feel for your intended industry and make contacts early on can jumpstart your career, allowing you to really achieve your dreams. The key is to find a role within your industry and give it a try: it just might be your first step to the rest of your professional life.