What I learnt from a visit to Accenture

Accenture billboard
Accenture billboard

Article written by Tom McCann, Projects Officer (RED & UROP), University of Reading Careers


On 1st October I attended a Careers Services Overview Day at Accenture.

Here’s everything I discovered, alongside some top tips for those thinking of or planning on applying to one of their schemes.

What does Accenture do?

In simple terms, Accenture helps organisations to maximise their performance through technological solutions. They provide a consultancy for organisations to help them improve their functions and recommend technology that can do this for them. On the day we were shown a great example of their work in their Innovation Hub – in this example, it was all around developing new technology for British Triathlon and helping the athletes to monitor and maximise their training outputs.

As a company, they employ over 480,000 people globally including 12,500 people in the UK and Ireland.

pin iconTop tip: Even if you do not have a background in technology this is not the most important thing. They are looking for candidates who have a passion for technology and you will need to get across your passion for this area in the application process.

What opportunities are available?

There are a load of different opportunities both for students and graduates at Accenture so it would be difficult to go into too much detail in this blog, but below I have listed some of the various opportunities on offer:

Grad programmes

  • Consulting Graduate Programme
  • Strategy Graduate Programme
  • Client Delivery Graduate Programme
  • Analytics Graduate Programme
  • Software Engineering Programme
  • Technology Architecture Graduate Programme

Industrial Placements

  • Consulting Industrial Placements
  • Technology Industrial Placements

Vacation Schemes and Internships

  • Summer Vacation Scheme
  • HR Summer Internship

You can find out more about the schemes here.

pin iconTop tip: The vacation schemes get the most applications of anything they offer. If you are unsuccessful in getting a place on this scheme don’t let this put you off applying for other roles in the future!

What are the application processes?

We were given quite a lot of detail about the application processes with Accenture, particularly what they ask people do to if they are interested in the Graduate Programmes.

The process is broken down into three different parts; Headstart, Discovery Portal and Assessment Centre:

  1. Headstart – this is where you build your online profile. Similar in some respects to a LinkedIn profile, you give details of your education and employment history but you are also strongly encouraged to detail as many of the extra-curricular activities you have been involved in as possible. The programme uses a contextual algorithm to match your skills against the position you are applying to.
  2. Discovery Portal – this is used instead of video interviews. In the portal, you are given a ‘live brief’ project to work on and you need to go about solving the problem through the online system. There is no time limit to completing this but most candidates do so within an hour.
  3. Assessment Centre – this part of the process contains several different activities including a team activity and the chance for a Q&A with current employees. They also incorporate a virtual reality task into the day so you get the chance to show off what you can do in a different environment.

pin iconTop tip: When completing a Headstart profile make sure you really highlight all of your extra-curricular activities as this is what will stand you apart and show how your skills and interests match to the role. As part of the application process they are moving away from competency-based questions (e.g. what you have done) towards questions about strengths (e.g. what are your skills and what do you enjoy doing).

Accenture presentation

What is the company culture like?

As you would expect at such a large and successful company the offices were very modern and impressive with lots of space designed for collaborative work. A few comments were made during the day that it had the ‘feel’ of a university and I thought the same also. Staff are given laptops and appeared to be able to work they wish in the large and open-plan offices. Below are a few key points made in relation to company culture:

Clubs and networks – like a university there seemed to be a large number of clubs and networks that staff could be involved in. This could be sports-based clubs or networks based on specific interests that people had.

Diversity – Accenture are very big on diversity and have won awards for their work in this area. They have recently appointed their first female CEO and are aiming for a 50/50 gender split across the company by 2025. They also have ‘Accent on…’ groups to make sure everyone’s views are heard including groups for LGBT+, disability, and ethnicity.

Work-life balance – in a Q&A with some people on the current graduate scheme they were questioned about their work-life balance. This seemed to be very dependent on the client/project they were working on but long evenings and weekend work could be needed (although the time can be taken back at a later date).

I hope that the overview of my trip to Accenture proved useful. If you have any questions or are interested in applying to the schemes make sure you book a Careers Appointment to get your application up to scratch.