I have overall enjoyed the placement, especially thanks to the great opportunities and benefits such as social events,gym subsidy, etc. I have gained many new skills and insights into consulting. There were certain parts of the placement which I think could have been improved - especially regarding the organisation of the induction and training, and guidance and help with finding project work while you are a placement student. Upon joining, I was incredibly nervous, but then onwards, I was able to enjoy every minute of the year. I was afforded a wide range of responsibilities and met people who are mentoring me even after I finished working.
Even though I joined Accenture only for a placement programme, I never felt that it had limited any opportunities available for me. I was treated like any other Analyst working at Accenture full-time. My colleagues were investing their time and effort in helping me to equip myself with all the skills and capabilities needed for me to become an integral part of the team. I felt that my colleagues wanted to hear my opinion. Even more, they were encouraging me to speak up more often, and were advising me to grow my confidence in dealing with more senior stakeholders.
I was lucky to have great line managers on my projects who did not hesitate to offer help and guidance with my work tasks and gave great feedback on all completed work. They were also extremely helpful when discussing future career plans, both within Accenture and elsewhere. However, what i did find lacking was the support from HR / my career counsellor during the time I was unassigned and struggling to find project work. This, along with the other skills I developed, will aid me greatly in the future.
The worfkflow fluctuated throughout my time at Accenture. At any given day, I would have a list of things on my to-do list. I would always be occupied with work. There were times when I had too many things to get through, but I do believe that the amount of work that I had came as a result of my proactivity and willingness to learn. It was always dependent on what stage the project I was working on was in, and I often found myself either flooded with tasks one week, or with barely anything to do the next week, therefore prioritisation skills are valuable ina role like this. However, I have never struggled with long hours and have always managed to maintain a good work-life balance.
As aforementioned, my first project was a quiet one and therefore I wasn't given much responsibility. When I joined the other projects, it started out similarly but by proving myself in performing other tasks and volunteering to help out with other work streams, I became a dependable member of the project and thus was given more responsibility by my colleagues. I was delighted to be given a great deal of responsibility on all my projects, such as being trusted to lead a majority of client communication, oversee work of other analysts, speak in client stakeholder meetings, lead workshops, etc. This was a nice surprise, as I have heard of students in other companies being given almost no repsonsibility.
During my placement year, I attended a number of training sessions and also learnt skills from my managers. The ability to use analytics software has been useful for my degree whilst the communication skills I developed have been useful in my role as a Student Ambassador on Campus. A large majority of the skills I developed will greatly help me when I graduate and let me hit the ground running upon returning to Accenture. The skills and training I have developed and received will not be extremely valuable in my degree studies, as my degree field is unrelated to my work at Accenture.
The atmosphere in the office can vary greatly depending the project you are on and whether you are based on the client site or not. The atmosphere in both the main London office, and the client offices was generally great. All offices I worked in emplyed a hot-desking policy, which especially in the main office mena that you could end up sitting to completely different people each time you visited. Main office offered free hot drinks, and often also fruit and other small refreshments, which was a nice perk. The client location offices were also nice and welcoming.
This is the aspect of the Placement that i believe could be improved, as I found the organisation of the placement to be slightly lacking. I found the 2 day induction too short, and the training for my specific career track to be disorganised and isolating as it was moslty online. In my contract I was told that I will be placed on 3 different project assignments, which has not happened and I had to find project work after my initial assignment by myself and without much guidance.
I was given some classroom trainign opportunites, but not to the same extent that a Graduate would get. The online trainging offered was extensive and included free language teaching tools, which was a nice perk. I appreciated being able to gain official certification, as well as get trained on mental health issues. Despite only being a placement student, the amount of personal training and development I received was incredible. From the opening week to various training sessions on agile ways of working and analytics, I felt that Accenture truly cares about the development of their colleagues. The opportunities were endless and my only regret is that I couldn't do all of them!
Working from home
The company seeks to employ interns/placement students, given that they performed well during their time in the company. That means if you perform well then there is a good chance that they will give you a full time role after you finish the course in the university. However sometimes that also depends on the requirement of the project. You need to be proactive and do some very good networking with the staffs. Sometimes that helps. Participate in different social events as these are important too.
The social scene was extremely good - I was lucky enough to end up on an out-of-town project with a large number of other placement students and interns and therefore had the chance to spend a lot of time with them, both on work organsied events, and outside. This however depends entirely on luck and you might end up feeling quite isolated if alone on a project with no one near your age nearby. There were 11 placement students in total on the placement year and we would regularly meet up for drinks or social events which made work even more enjoyable. We are also able to talk to each other about the different areas of the business we were each working in and find opportunities for others to try new projects.
The cost of living and socialising in London is always going to be high and this is perhaps one of the very few negatives about doing a placement in London. London as a city was very expensive to live in on a Placement salary. This is however not a reflection on a company and the compensation offered for graduates is moslty sufficient to live off of. During my placement I have had to manage my money very strictly and budget, but was able to save up a certain amaount despite the high costs of living.
I have not enjoyed the nighlife too much, as this is of no particular interest to me. However London is known to have a great nightlife ( but expensive) and other placement students did enjoy this. On the occasions I did go out I had a good experience. However If sent on a client location, this could be different. There is always something on after work or on the weekend which meant that you would never get bored when you are not working.
Yes, accenture offers many different social clubs, netoworking events and other activities such as volunteering. As long as you are pro-active and social you will find many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. Projects that are based outside of London are often very good at organising many social events to entertain employees staying away from home during the week. There is truly something for everyone at the firm ranging from book clubs to sports teams that play every week. Not only this, but workshops are run on mental health and diversity which I found to be fascinating.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
6th September 2020