Accenture: Career Development Opportunities and Proactive People Are What You'll Find Here

Article excerpt

How would you describe the work environment at Accenture?

I have always felt that work at Accenture has been extremely interesting and continuously challenging. You meet a lot of very, very talented individuals, and there is a great deal of appreciation for your skills. If I try to identity the word that is most descriptive, it would be "exciting." Part of the reason that I joined Accenture was because I was looking for something that I thought would provide a new challenge each day, and literally every day is different when you work here by virtue of the nature of the work that we do.

Why should ambitions, career-minded graduates target Accenture as a future employer?

Oh, very good question! For the opportunity for professional growth and skill development. One of the things that you will definitely get to do here at Accenture is to develop your existing talents while acquiring new skills and capabilities. I think it positions you extremely well if you hopefully stay with us or if at some point in your career you decide that you'd like to make a change.

What do people have to do in order to succeed at the company?

I believe that the first thing that an individual has to demonstrate is competence in the area that you work in. You have to demonstrate that you can do the work, that you can execute what's been asked. If it's technical, if it relates to supporting our infrastructure, if it relates to external marketing--you have to demonstrate competence. The second thing that I think becomes important is that in our organization you get responsibility so quickly that you have to show some level of acumen around managing people and managing somewhat complex environments to a solution. That becomes extremely important. Then, finally, I would say a third notion, and this is primarily for individuals who would like to eventually become a Partner--and everybody doesn't have to aspire to that, but if you want to be a Partner, you have to demonstrate a level of expertise where you can market and sell the capabilities of the company.

What do you think is unique about Accenture's diversity initiative? Why is it successful?

We are doing some things a little differently now that I think make us successful. We are spending a lot of time working with our senior leadership. That's not to say that we didn't have their interest and visibility before, but I spend the vast majority Of my time working with our senior executives on diversity-related opportunities, such as recruiting and promotion--I'm proud to be responsible for all of the company's internal and external initiatives and programs related to the recruitment and retention of women and minorities. I report directly to our CEO, Joe Forehand, which speaks volumes as to the importance our company places on diversity. So it's about how we can significantly improve our ability to attract people and also see them grow in our organization.

Does Accenture have mentoring programs?

We do have a formal mentoring program that operates within each of our business units. There is also a dimension that I have introduced into our diversity program called sponsorship. A mentor is someone who will talk with you, coach you, and guide you. You can actually have multiple mentors, and that can be fabulous. But a sponsor is someone who will work with others on your behalf. What I have tried to do is to make sure that our minorities and women have good sponsors. So when it comes time to talk about salary increases or promotion or elevation to the next career level, people have the right kind of sponsorship network.

Do you have any advice for new graduates entering the workforce?

I respond with what I refer to as the PHD--not the doctoral Ph.D., but rather an acronym for Planning, Hard work, and Determination. First, in Planning, everyone needs to have a personal life plan. That plan can change, but it's important to have a direction that says, "In one year, this is what I would like to have accomplished; in three years, this is where I envision myself, in five years, this is where I would like to be. …