Helpful and happy
Insiders claim that Accenture's strong culture and collegial atmosphere are among the high points of life at the firm. One source calls his colleagues "tolerant and highly motivated", while a co-worker says, "The culture among the company is quite friendly. People working together talk on a first-name basis." The friendly environment is a good thing, given that it may be easy to feel lost in a firm of 181,000. It also helps that new joiners are assigned a "'buddy' to help them integrate, and a career coach to advise on personal development and training." Explains one consultant, "Morally, all employees that I have seen so far have positive attitudes, are willing to help and are open to new thoughts." Sources also reiterate that Accenture is a great place to grow as a new consultant. "Opportunities for advancement are high, and I see, overall, a great future," raves one consultant.
Insiders from certain locations complain that the dress code is "always formal", but other offices loosen up a bit when it comes to attire. "It's usually business at the client and business casual on social events. At certain clients, business casual dress code is acceptable," a source explains.
Accenture also gets high marks for its diverse culture. A source says his office has "Asians, British, Europeans, Americans, lot of Aussies and Russians." States a manager, "The company promotes diversity -- you can find people from across all ethnicities and races in this company."
Although consultants say Accenture isn't hypercompetitive, it is "performance-driven", meaning that you are expected to put in your fair share of hours. Weekly, the schedule will "fluctuate wildly". Consultants say they generally work around 50 or 60 hours a week, but an analyst notes that "it's not typical to work during weekends, just in some periods." Explains a colleague, "Work hours are dependent on the project, however, the general rule of thumb is that face time is important. If you are not chargeable, you have opportunities to work on business development, proposals or presentations." In some offices, extra hours could reap rewards, we're told: "With the approval of project management, overtime can be compensated in the form of additional holiday or payout," a consultant reports.
Respondents say they expect plenty of travel, though some offices have more local projects than others. "The contract states you may be required to work abroad for up to 60 percent, though this is always discussed with HR first," a consultant states. A cohort who appreciates the chance to spread his wings comments, "Accenture Spain has many European projects, so you can get the chance to travel a lot, which is good financially and also for experience."
Show your face
A number of respondents voice complaints about the importance of face time at the firm. Says one source, "The most striking thing that I observed at Accenture is that career advancement, promotion and recognition depends more on the perception of your managers about you, rather than actual work that you do." Another explains the importance of networking: "People working on large-scale projects and with clients where relationships are well-established do not receive the same attention from senior management. Sometimes there is also bureaucracy regarding issues were many people are involved (training, rotation between projects etc.)."
But a manager in London explains that face time is actually a good opportunity to stand out from the crowd: "Generally speaking, being flexible is key to success within the firm. Partners will appreciate your flexibility and will request your services long after you have rolled off. Partners remember names of analysts and consultants, so it's good to have visibility. Excellence is rewarded."