"Consulting Recruiting at Accenture" by Mike Juan
Hey ya’ll, Mike Juan here.
I am a 2Y MBA student here at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and currently the VP of Finance of the Consulting Club.
Prior to moving down to the Carolinas for school, I was working for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, one of the leading financial regulators, in New York, NY after graduating from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ in 2013. I decided I wanted to apply to business schools to further develop my soft skills and strengthen my technical and analytical skills, while pivoting career paths to the world of strategy consulting.
My recruitment path was somewhat atypical. I met recruiters and consultants from Accenture at the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management’s (Consortium) Orientation Program (more affectionately known as “OP”) back in June, prior to ASW and to my first year starting. For those that are curious, the Consortium is an organization that aims to enhance diversity and inclusion in global business education and leadership. Accenture was one of the leading sponsors for OP and hosted several different presentations with topics ranging from “The Day in the Life of a Consultant” to Casing 101 and some more personal panels detailing what it was like being a minority in consulting. It was clear from the start that Accenture was heavily invested in creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for their employees.
After a coffee chat and screening interview with an Accenture consultant at OP, I received an email from one of the recruiting managers in July inviting me to interview at their Super Day. As joyous an email that it was to receive, the fear of God was instilled in me after realizing that I had approximately a week and a half to learn how to go through a case interview. My classmate Phil Kealy, who had also received an offer to interview, and I were lucky enough to have been in the Chapel Hill area and were able to get a crash course in casing from our Consulting Career Coach (/Fairy Godmother) Linda Vo. Additionally, we were set up with a casing partner, a current Accenture consultant, to help guide us throughout the interview and recruitment process.
Casing is one of those terms that is so ingrained within business school that you can include it within a BINGO board of daily jargon, and I would guarantee that it would be one of the first words crossed off. It carries the fear, anguish, and dread that normally comes with getting your blood drawn...or pledging a fraternity/sorority. Learning to case was initially a bewildering, and frustrating process, but it is an especially important part of the consulting recruitment path. Ultimately, the interviewer wants to see that you can break down a complex problem into more manageable bite size pieces of analysis and after analyzing and working through the problem, communicating a clear and logical recommendation to the “client”. Obviously, this is a grossly simplified version of the overall process, but the key takeaways are that the interviewers are looking for candidates that are not easily flustered, can think logically, and can clearly communicate actionable recommendations for complex problems.
Networking is an important part of the recruitment process. While some people may view networking as an unimportant “check-the-box” exercise, I viewed it as an opportunity to assess fit - for both with the firm and with the industry. Consulting may not be for everyone. Oftentimes, there is constant travel, and you will work for several different clients throughout your career. You may not like Company A because of X, Y, and Z. The only way to learn more about these different factors and tidbits is to talk to people at these firms. As a career switcher with limited perspective on consulting, I genuinely enjoyed learning more about the various projects that these consultants worked on and how much impact they have for their clients.
Anyways, long story short: I was able to secure the offer, along with Phil, after an arduous Super Day process, including a welcome dinner on Wednesday evening and several behavioral and case interviews between Thursday and Friday. There is really nothing quite like getting the offer call at around 10pm ET after flying back to Chapel Hill from Chicago, going to a pool party (...because ASW and it was pre-COVID, after all) and having a few beverages after believing that you did not get the offer since your classmate got his offer call right after we got off the plane at 5pm. Looking back on this today, it was probably one of the most stressful and rewarding 72-hour periods of my life.
Overall, the recruitment process was atypical, illuminating, and fulfilling. It was atypical in that it was vastly accelerated and pushed up a timeline that normally takes place in the fall and winter. The process was both illuminating and fulfilling in that it forced me to learn a lot about myself and pushed me to venture far outside of my comfort zone. As you may know – all blog posts, especially those that may end up somewhere on LinkedIn, we must incorporate an inspirational quote or a life lesson. So, as Steve Jobs has said once before, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” This recruitment process helped me learn how to connect the dots from my past and identify how they have set the foundation for my future. This would not have been possible without the help of the 2Y’s and the incredible resources that UNC Kenan-Flagler have provided in terms of the career prep (resume and cover letter review, and interview practice).
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at Michael_Juan@kenan-flagler.unc.edu, I would be glad to answer any questions that you may have.
To learn more about my summer experience, take a look at this blog post!
Interning at Accenture