Team assistant - learning various parts of being a consultant.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I completed a two month internship at Accenture in London during the summer of 2014. Whilst I studied film, and wasn’t necessarily convinced that moving into consultancy was for me, I thought that if I was to end up working in consultancy, I may as well get experience at a top consultancy company such as Accenture. Whilst the experience proved that the industry wasn’t perfectly suited to me, that was nothing to do with Accenture as a whole. The internship was very well structured, and I was given tasks to complete by my supervisor every day. I really felt like I was helping my team, and they were super friendly. Anything from revising documents, to fact checking financial contracts, it felt like what I was doing was helping the team, and that was key. I wasn’t just ‘making the coffee’. I would recommend anyone try out different industries whilst they’re still studying and Accenture is definitely worth a try. Like I mentioned, they’re great with training, structure, and helping you to achieve specific goals. If I had one negative it just would be the general corporate culture that is a little stifling, especially coming from a University environment, and experience at more creative companies since has proven that Accenture is fairly corporate.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt really valued by my colleagues. I was given proper tasks to do every day, and I felt like I was making a real difference and providing value. The tasks I was given ranged from financial, to admin, to 'brainstorming' and I was given a large amount of varying tasks, specifically to help me see what I enjoyed.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was always given consistent feedback by my direct line manager which was nice. However one criticism would be that I never really presented or worked further up the chain. I was always solely working into one person and it could have been nice to get some exposure to people further up in the Accenture ladder. Obviously I was just an intern, so this has to be weighed up with some realism.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was always given tasks to do and so I was always busy, which was great. The worst thing on a placement is to be sat idle. I was given proper tasks that actually mattered. At some points I even helped the team on projects where they were working late, and I was happy to do so.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Again, I was given lots of responsibility, or at least, what felt like a lot of responsibility. Real presentations with real clients depended on some of the research and work that I was doing, so it was nice knowing what I was doing mattered to my team. I was given a lot of responsibility which is different to other placements I have done.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills definitely helped me evaluate where I was both as a student and as a prospective graduate employee. It made me realise what I did and didn't like about the corporate environment. The training still helps me to this day, so it was incredibly helpful. I'm not working in consultancy, but I do not, by any means see my time at Accenture as a waste.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office was pretty corporate and old fashioned. Especially compared to some of the more creative companies I have since worked for, it was quite staid, and often the offices felt quite empty (although I realise this is the nature of consultancy - being based out of office).
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The work placement was very well structured and organised. I was given a buddy, and a line manager, and always had something to do. I was providing real help to the team, and that was a consequence of them bestowing me with real work to do and a confidence in my abilities, which felt empowering.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I feel it's hard to judge how much they invested in me as I was only there for two months, but it was definitely mentioned that if I should choose to pursue consultancy upon leaving university, there could be a place for me. So there was a certain amount of investment placed in me, even just on a basic level, of my buddy giving me their time.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I realised quite quickly that whilst the work was interesting, it wasn't for me. I think I'm a creative person and that corporate culture is not for me. So whilst it was an option that I could get onto the graduate scheme when I left university, I wasn't that keen to rejoin.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were a couple fellow university placements but I didn't do a great job of socialising. That's my fault as I lived and studied in London at the time and already had my established friendship group and my own circles. I did play 5 a side with some of my colleagues which was fun.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
This is tricky as I lived and studied in London so I was used to the higher cost of living in London. They did pay me a placement wage though which was great and helped cover the costs of lunch and travel to and from work, so overall London is pretty expensive to work in!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
My colleagues and I sometimes went for a drink after work on a Thursday or Friday and the nightlife in the area, London, as you'd expect was pretty good. Lots of pubs and bars, and there was always a company card behind the bar so I rarely paid for a round!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
As I mentioned, I did get involved with the company 5 a side team as one of my team was on the team and got me involved. I'm not a prolific player but it was a good networking exercise. I think there were other clubs but I didn't explore too much.