We caught up with Bright Network member Cheryl, who successfully secured a consulting role at Accenture. Find out how she's been getting on and see what advice she has to offer to those wanting to follow in her footsteps.
Why did you choose Accenture?
When I graduated from university and was looking for jobs, I didn’t know what I wanted to do – lots of different industries and roles appealed and I found I was almost overwhelmed by the choice. Knowing which path to take was difficult without much prior experience.
A few of my friends were working for consultancies at the time and they explained to me that consulting would let me try out lots of different industries and types of work, whilst being at the same company. This sounded great so I started researching consulting and soon discovered it was a great fit for me; strategic, interesting and challenging work, different projects in different industries and potentially even abroad. I had studied languages at university so the chance to use them whilst at work was tempting.
I applied to lots of consultancies but chose Accenture because I wanted to join a company where I could work on a project right from the start and see it through to delivery for the client. I also liked the exciting and innovative nature of the work Accenture does, like AI, Robotics and Innovation Programmes. The recruitment process was also a lot faster and more fun than some of the other companies I had applied to, which was a bonus!
What was it like starting at Accenture?
The first few months at Accenture were amazing, and completely unexpected. I started in April with 67 others and we had 5 weeks of training. The orientation and induction training was great fun and everyone was welcoming and put me immediately at ease. The training content was stimulating and included a mix of classroom learning and real-life client scenarios. We travelled to Kuala Lumpur to finish our training and to work with colleagues from Malaysia, India, China, Australia and the rest of Europe. It was incredible to get to know so many like-minded people from different backgrounds. The training itself was also useful, learning some of the basic skills about how to be a consultant, as well as what to expect when we started our first roles. It was valuable starting at the same time as so many people – my start group are now good friends of mine, as well as my support network within Accenture.
When I started my first client project it was quite a challenge; I was leading a team of 5 in India on a testing project for an energy client. I had never done anything like it before and the work required me to co-ordinate with stakeholders from across the client and work with multiple new platforms and systems. I learnt a lot (very quickly!) and the support from my project team, the client and Accenture was excellent; everybody took the time to explain things to me, send me useful information and point me in the direction of people who could help.
What opportunities does Accenture offer?
I am keen to continually broaden my horizons and learn new skills so since joining I have been on seven different projects across a range of industries (e.g. Financial Services, Energy and Real Estate). This is one of the things I enjoy about life at Accenture, there’s always a new challenge around the corner and you can always learn something new. However, Accenture supports individuals with whatever their career goals are - I have friends who have been on the same client for years, moving roles and learning, but in the same place. You can really shape your own career, something I don’t think a lot of other companies offer!
Life at Accenture does not end when you pack up your client laptop though, there are many opportunities to get involved with communities and networks outside of your day-to-day role. For example, I’m part of the Accent on Gender network, promoting gender equality within the workplace. The network runs various events to educate on important topics but also holds more informal and social gatherings, like a regular book club.
I have learnt a lot being part of Accent on Gender; it’s introduced me to people from different parts of Accenture and makes me feel like I’m part of a community. I can keep up-to-date on the latest issues and trends, as well as learn from my colleagues’ experiences. The network also provides practical teaching on topics like influencing, having gravitas and working in male-dominated industries.
Having these networks and communities means a great deal to me as it provides me with a sense of belonging. It also gives me the chance to take ownership for something I’m passionate about and contribute to what Accenture is doing in that area. Networks like Accent on Gender also show me that Accenture is the type of place I want to work - one that’s actively working towards a workplace that is truly gender equal.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t worry too much about trying to know all the answers or ‘get everything right’. Focus on whether the company is also a good fit for you; interviewers will want to know you’ve done your research but will also be looking for whether you would enjoy working at the company and fit in well. Accenture is a place where individuality and character is encouraged so definitely let your personality shine through during the interview process.
Feeling inspired? Check out live opportunities with Accenture here.