“Why Accenture?” How to Answer This Common Interview Question

Why Accenture?
Rachael Troughton
Rachael Troughton

Former Accenture

If you apply for a management consulting position with Accenture, you’re sure to be asked the “Why Accenture?” question somewhere along the way.

Why?

Accenture wants to be sure you have a strong reason for wanting to work for the firm. Having a good answer to this question shows:

  1. You’ve researched the firm and thought about what the job entails, and
  2. You’re likely to accept an offer if you receive one.

But what is a good answer to “Why Accenture?”

In this article, we’ll tell you!

We’ll discuss:

  • Accenture’s history and corporate culture,
  • The type of people who succeed at Accenture,
  • How Accenture differs from the MBB firms,
  • How to answer the “Why Accenture?” question, and
  • Thoughts from an ex-Accenture consultant on the “Why Accenture?” question.

Let’s get started!

Accenture’s History and Corporate Culture

Arthur Andersen LLP was one of the “Big Five” accounting firms providing auditing, tax, and consulting services. In 2000, its consulting practice separated from the accounting practice and became fully independent from Andersen Worldwide.  

It rebranded and launched as Accenture on January 1st, 2001. 

Accenture has a strong history in technology implementation and partnerships, only moving relatively recently to launch Accenture Strategy (2014) and Accenture Consulting (2015).  

With over half a million employees across 51 countries, its corporate culture is built around six core values: 

  1. Client Value Creation
  2. One Global Network
  3. Respect for the Individual
  4. Best People 
  5. Integrity
  6. Stewardship

Not surprisingly, like all the major consulting firms, Accenture talks about wanting to attract the best people to deliver value for their clients. However, the emphasis on stewardship, integrity, and corporate responsibility is a real differentiator.  

Accenture takes these responsibilities seriously. Some work Accenture has done include:

In 2008, it was included in the Ethisphere Institute’s “World’s Most Ethical Companies” list and joined the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. In 2019, Accenture ranked no. 1 in Barron’s “Most Sustainable International Companies.”

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Accenture’s People

Preparing for the 'Why Accenture' question

Accenture’s “One Global Network” and emphasis on cultural diversity as an enabler of high organizational performance means you get to interact with people from many different backgrounds and countries. This can help broaden your perspective and contribute to your skills as a consultant.  

This diversity is seen across all levels. Accenture has a female CEO and is committed to a 50:50 male to female ratio by 2025. If having successful female role-models is important to you, this might be worth considering.

Entrance to MBB firms is exceedingly competitive given their status as prestigious tier-1 consultancy firms. Ambitious new hires will thrive in the “best-of-the-best” environment, but others may find it daunting.  Accenture’s strong belief in its “culture of cultures” that creates and celebrates diversity may feel more inclusive, offering a sense of belonging to those who don’t feel the culture of the MBB firms is right for them.

Because of its commitment to creating value for the client, there is no easy ride at Accenture.  Analysts are interacting with clients and expected to contribute from day one.  You’ll need to thrive in a dynamic environment and be confident articulating your own opinion. 

Accenture is also a very social firm with many networking opportunities.  New analysts are actively encouraged to attend events as this builds the skills required to work effectively with clients.

These events included Friday night dinners or drinks with office colleagues, wine tasting, and even playing polo! Playing polo was a great team-building event. It provided the opportunity to see colleagues who had little experience riding horses try to hit a small ball while riding (amusing). It also taught us resilience as we attempted to learn this difficult skill in a social setting.

How Accenture Differs from the MBB Firms

The key difference between Accenture and the MBB firms is in the type of work they traditionally do for clients.  As Arthur Andersen, Accenture used to be part of the ‘Big 5’ consultancy firms offering a range of professional services including management consultancy.  However, when it became independent, Accenture focused its expertise on technology implementation.

This differs from the MBB firms which are known mostly for their strategy consulting work (though, in reality, their work is a broad mix of strategy, marketing and branding, organization, operations, and technology projects.) 

In strategy consulting, it could take years before you see the impact of a study. The benefits can also be hard to break out from other changes in the client organization and its market. 

For instance, if an MBB firm’s M&A study recommends acquiring another company, the timeframe for buying the company, merging the two organizations, and the results hitting the bottom line can take years. Or, if there’s a bidding war for the company and the client can’t make the acquisition, the initiative could die.

With a technology implementation project, the impact in terms of improved process, quality, and/or cost is easier to assess. If you’re the type of person who likes to see a tangible outcome for the effort you’ve put in, Accenture might be the firm for you. 

You’ll also get significant exposure to and develop real expertise in managing change. Accenture consultants grapple with stakeholder resistance and problematic integration challenges! 

For example, you might encounter client frustration with system incompatibility or with changes to current organizational processes. No one likes change. But managing change is critical to ensuring that the result of a project is improved business processes, not a PowerPoint presentation that sits on a self, unimplemented.

Accenture does do strategy projects as well, particularly in the U.K. market where they have a strong reputation. And, having created dedicated Strategy and Consulting arms, this area is likely to continue to grow.

How to Answer the “Why Accenture?” Question

Guy researching how to answer the 'Why Accenture' question

The “Why Accenture?” question is asked to help the recruiting team determine your ‘fit’ to the firm.  In crafting an answer to the “Why Accenture?” question there are three key elements to articulate:

1. Know what Accenture is and what it isn’t.  Accenture’s value-proposition has traditionally been different from the strategy focus of the MBB firms.  Therefore you need to articulate why technology implementation is a better fit for you.  If you do want to be a strategy consultant (in the Accenture Consulting or Accenture Strategy arm) then you need to answer why Accenture and not another firm.

2. Share what elements of Accenture’s culture or ways of working appeal to you and why.  Are you on a Diversity committee and attracted to the fact that in 2018 Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index rated Accenture no.1? Say so. Do you value being part of a team and socializing as well as working with your colleagues? Say so. Recruiters want to understand what it is about Accenture specifically that attracts you and why.  Make it personal.

3.  Understand how your strengths match Accenture’s project work. Recruiting teams look for applicants who are self-aware enough to understand their strengths and weaknesses.  Knowing what the job entails and how your strengths fit to deliver value is a good indicator that you will have both the aptitude and motivation for the role.

Thoughts from an Ex-Accenture Consultant on the “Why Accenture?” Question

“I joined Accenture in 2002 having completed an internship with KMPG the previous year.  Accenture felt more innovative and less formal than other firms. I felt that the result we achieved for the client was infinitely more important than the approach we took. 

The process of implementation can be challenging and involves significant stakeholder management. I found it satisfying to utilize my strong relationship-building skills to help land the change with senior stakeholders. 

It was also important to me to feel confident that senior leaders valued diversity of thinking as well as the cultural diversity Accenture prided itself on. I wanted to feel confident I could share my ideas from a place of authenticity rather than in any particular mold of a ‘management consultant.’

I remember, during orientation, we were challenged to discover the middle name of one of the executive leadership team.  While others began scouring the internet, I simply emailed the person in question to ask.  

She responded immediately and said that in all the years of doing that challenge no one had thought to email her directly.  I think the course leaders were slightly horrified but having evidence that a senior leader welcomed innovative thinking proved to me that I had joined the right firm.”

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In this article, we’ve covered:

  • Accenture’s history and corporate culture,
  • The type of people it attracts,
  • How Accenture differs from the MBB firms,
  • How to answer the “Why Accenture?” question, and
  • Thoughts from an ex-Accenture consultant on the “Why Accenture?” question.

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the “Why Accenture?” question, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s recruiters will answer them.

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