Bright Network member Jian-Yi Oh recently secured a graduate role with leading technology consultants Accenture. We caught up with her to hear about her experiences, as well as hear her top tips for anyone looking to follow in her footsteps.
Please tell us about the graduate scheme you are about to join.
I will be joining the Accenture Client and Market Consulting Programme on the condition that I achieve a 2:1 in my degree.
Why did you choose this company and role?
I first heard of Accenture when my brother did an internship with them a few years ago. I then had my own internship with them, in Malaysia, between my second and third year.
The internship was brilliant; I was given a lot of responsibility as part of a small team of analysts and consultants working in a Malaysian utility company, where we undertook a company transformation. I got to be involved in several aspects of a consulting role despite being an intern.
Apart from that, I had always been interested in consulting; I studied business in the hope of using it to help people.
When I discovered an interest in technology, I decided I wanted to combine business and technology to help people solve their problems. Accenture then became a perfect choice to pursue both of my goals.
Please tell us about the application process - what did you have to do?
I had some trouble with my placement because I applied too late and lots of the places were filled up, so I made sure to apply early for the Graduate Programme.
It started with filling out the application form via their careers portal, where I provided my details, information on my experience and education as well as my CV and cover letter.
The form included a few questions such as “Why did you choose Accenture?”, “How do you think Accenture helps its clients using technology?”, or “What do you expect to do in your day to day role?”. There was a strict word limit for your answers and they make a point that answers had to be concise.
Because I was applying from overseas, my interview was conducted over the phone. We were emailed tips before the interview, which was really helpful.
The areas we were told to focus on were very similar to the questions in the application form, so the first part of the interview offered you the chance to expand on what you wrote before.
It then moved on to general competency based questions. Finally it ended with a short case study involving a troubled business. I was asked to identify possible problems and suggest solutions, as well as attempt to foresee any complications that might arise from my changes.
I was then called to an assessment centre in London, along with about ten other candidates. The day consisted of some solo analytical process exercises, a group case study exercise and then a final interview.
The case study involved working together to solve a client’s problem so it was important to have good teamwork skills. Luckily, the other candidates at the centre were very friendly and professional, so we were all focused on agreeing on the best solution.
A recommendation from my Accenture Buddy, who was assigned to me at the start of the application process, was to make friends with everyone before going into the assessment centre – and even just chatting to the other candidates in the lobby helped build a rapport that was useful during the exercise.
What did you find was the most difficult part of the application process?
The mini case study was the toughest part, as well as understanding the consultant mind-set. Consultancy interviews are a little different from normal ones; there’s a strong focus on critical thinking, structured thought process and time management. You have to go in there already thinking like a consultant and not an applicant.
My internship was really helpful in learning to think like a consultant, but you can also read books and articles on the consultancy industry; they always emphasise the same values – critical thinking, structured thought process and time management.
What was the most enjoyable part of the application process?
The assessment centre – the case study was a great insight into the work you would be doing. Also, the recruiters conducted a Q&A and an experience sharing session in between the activities, to help us find out what we were getting in to.
What top three tips would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Get an understanding of the consultant mind-set, whether it’s through work experience, talking to people in the industry or just reading about it. It will tailor your approach to the application process, and let recruiters see how you would perform in the role.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the application process is quite different to other industries, so make sure to ask them if you are unsure about something. I actually made a mistake in my first mini cast study, overestimating the amount of time I had, so I wish I had asked then!
Apply as early as possible! Getting in before other candidates lets them assess you solely on how you would fit the job, rather than comparing you to ten other strong candidates for a limited number of roles.