How graduates can contribute to transformation at Accenture

Can graduates drive change in a globally competitive business environment? The short answer is yes – if you join a company as innovative and open as Accenture.

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As you start your graduate job search, one of the many things to consider is what you want from working at the company you’re joining. You may have settled on the kind of role you are interested in, but will your potential employer develop your career and stretch your mind? A little time spent defining your own values and comparing them to different employers when putting your CV together will give you a good idea of your perfect fit. Take a look, for example, at an employer’s ‘about page and its employee blogs and watch its webinars. If it is serious about putting words into practice, the executive board will be open about the company’s initiatives for carbon reduction, its corporate and social responsibility (CSR) policies and its diversity initiatives – just like Accenture is.

‘Accenture was really up-front about its values,’ remembers Oluwadara Oyedepo, software engineering analyst. ‘I met a bunch of people in Accenture who represented the values I was interested in. I wanted to be in a place I felt comfortable and accepted.’

Diversity, disruption, innovation and passion

Andrew Pearce, managing director and advocate for diversity and inclusion, wants Accenture to drive innovation through disruption, but says people need to feel included and have a sense of belonging before they are confidently able to contribute. He points out the massive changes Covid-19 has brought to everyone in the last two years, and before that, how technological disruption changed the way people booked hotels, ordered taxis, and bought and read books.

‘It was innovation that created that disruption and to get that innovation you need diverse people, thinking,’ he says, adding that clients, customers and business as a whole need a disruptive mindset to move forward and grow.

Erin Kinnee, design thinking and innovation lead at Accenture’s advanced technology centre in Newcastle, believes that organisations that encourage challenge for change and disruptive ideas can outperform competitors and take clients to a whole new level of business. Erin started from a non-tech background and is creative and passionate about transformative ways of working. She talks about client meetings that once involved sit-down discussions over several months, which have been turned into fun, fast-paced, week-long workshops where experimental ideas can become prototypes, with needs matched in an easy-to-use app.

‘We don’t, of course, build fully fledged solutions in a week but we can give clients an idea of how a solution would work. We’re not doing it in isolation in our own little bubbles, they are very much involved in the process, which makes such a big difference and makes the process more enjoyable for everybody, to be perfectly honest,’ she explains.

Sustainability revolution

A decade ago, everyone was talking about digital transformation – now ‘sustainability revolution’ is the phrase gaining traction. Graduates who are already embracing sustainability have a dynamic advantage over those who have yet to wake up and smell the ozone.

‘As we transition to a green economy, having a foundational knowledge of sustainability alongside new and existing digital skills will be essential,’ writes Deirdre Murphy, who blogs as a member of Accenture’s UK and Ireland corporate citizenship team.

‘When I’m talking about sustainability I’m looking at how businesses can operate within communities, the section of the planet that we operate on in a sustainable way that doesn’t deplete the planet,’ says Linda Wickstrom, Accenture’s corporate citizenship associate manager. Linda leads a group setting out the company’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), using the United Nations (UN) sustainability goals as a framework. She highlights opportunities for every Accenture employee to get involved under its eco innovation challenges.

Accenture’s stated climate change priorities examine the energy the company uses, its travel policies and CO2 emissions, among other things. It also works with the UK government’s own council for sustainable business in the drive towards net zero carbon. But Linda says net zero isn’t enough. ‘We all need to work towards the idea of nature positive and that’s about biodiversity in the environment – the imperative is huge,’ she says. ‘What we are trying to do is inspire eco systems around us, whether that’s our clients, our people or the communities around that we operate in, to bring about sustainable change.’

Ready to join? Gain evidence of your skills

Can you see yourself within this dynamic business? If you’re still at university, there are ways to both fit in with a new workplace culture and stand out from the crowd. Start developing strengths and skills as you study, earn and play. Recruiters recognise applicants’ employability through their extracurricular activities, not just their academic achievements

You could show recruiters your ability to make change happen by innovating in positive ways. For example, you could join your university’s existing sustainability and diversity projects and start initiating ideas of your own.

On your application, include any volunteering and extracurricular activities you have done, on-campus or off – whether you are taking part in a hackathon or volunteering in a charity shop. I f you’re one of the many undergraduates who supplements their student loan by working, say, at a bar or supermarket, show how your experience goes beyond earning money. It is easy to think that the job is too run of the mill, but alerting your manager to stocks getting low or providing excellent customer service shows how you have made an impact to the running of the business.

Keep note of the impact you are making, no matter how small it seems at the moment, and you’ve instantly got material for answering Accenture’s interview questions and showing off your strengths.

The world – and Accenture – really need you!

Discover more about Accenture on its targetjobs organisation hub or go directly to the Accenture early careers website (see graduate and undergraduate opportunities).

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