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Inside View: Accenture Consulting

Energized by digital services, world's fifth largest consultancy firm is aggressively recruiting.

Fri Aug 7 2015

Energized by client need for digital and technology services, Accenture is scouting for talent.

Business school has proven to be fertile hunting ground for the world’s fifth largest consulting firm by revenue. It was last year a top recruiter at INSEAD, Chicago Booth, Kellogg School, Duke Fuqua and LBS.

With a surging global advisory sector poised to surpass $245 billion, Accenture has seen marked growth in digital areas such as big data analytics. Increasingly, business has called upon the firm to deliver long-term strategy projects at the intersection of business and technology.

For a business whose livelihood is dependent upon offering best practice client-facing services, the need to hire the very best people is salient. There is great demand for talent at Accenture, and its links to the top MBA programs go a way to satisfying its staffing needs.

Expansion of its standalone digital unit has been rapid. Founded in 2013, Accenture Digital had grown to have 28,000 employees at last year’s count. Accenture has 336,000 employees operating across 56 countries.

The firm looks for individuals that have deep experience in change environments, and who are comfortable operating in and designing solutions for complex business problems. Increasingly, an understanding of data and analytics is required.

In this interview with BusinessBecause Gregor McHardy, managing director and technology consulting lead for communications, media and technology at Accenture UK and Ireland, shines a light on the growing need for tech-savvy strategists.

What demand are you seeing for strategy consulting, which is slated as experiencing resurgence?

We see significant demand for strategy consulting, particularly as Accenture has positioned itself at the intersection of business and technology. For example: within the communications, media and technology industry there is a lot of market consolidation and convergence, which is creating demand for M&A and strategy consulting work.

Also with digital disruption, our clients are reviewing their business models and assessing what they need to do to reinvent themselves, which also requires strategy consulting input and support.

Our recent acquisition of Javelin Group is a key indicator of our growth aspirations in this space, and compliments an aggressive year of hiring for strategy skill sets.

What expertise is needed for consultants to address complex long-term problems?

We look for individuals that have deep experience in change environments and are comfortable operating in and designing solutions for complex business problems.

Increasingly, an understanding of data and analytics is required. We see clients increasingly make more data-driven decisions and putting analytics at the heart of their businesses. So, our teams are increasingly bringing data and analytics skills into project analysis and execution. 

We hire proactive individuals who are focused on delivering the best results for our clients and who embrace innovative approaches to dealing with established problems. Consulting is as much a mind-set as is it is a skill-set.

Is there still a demand for MBA educated consultants?

We respect and appreciate the business understanding and skills that an MBA provides individuals, as this imparts a high degree of the business acumen that we look for in our employees.

We have a huge demand at Accenture for talented consultants and it can be a challenge to find high calibre talent. As such, we work closely with a number of business schools on a global basis to identify top talent amongst the classes, particularly those with skills that align with our strategy practice.

Research suggests clients are increasingly using their own managers as in-house consultants. Do you see this as a threat?

No. In fact, at Accenture we’ve seen evidence that it creates a better working relationship between us and our clients.

If a client has an in-house consultant they have much clearer expectations, because they fully understand what they need to achieve and subsequently what they need from Accenture. We find that they have more specific and targeted requirements on projects with a clearer articulation on the success criteria and joint outcomes for the work. It’s a positive move.