Florence Bourjade, BSc Management student, shares her experience of moving to London and joining Accenture where she has been able to utilise her creative streak to positively impact her future career ambitions within the consulting industry.
I am studying BSc Management at WBS, and I am currently on a 12-month placement at Accenture, in London working as a Consulting Analyst. I knew that I wanted to take part in a placement year since high school, and I have always wanted to travel to Latin America to become fluent in Spanish. With this in mind, I starting my placement year journey by looking at consulting jobs abroad. Once I began looking for placement year opportunities in Latin America in the consulting industry I discovered that unfortunately there were not many opportunities available which meant I narrowed down my search to the UK.
I was aware that by taking part in a placement year I would gain relevant experience to be able to apply to some of the top companies in the world. I also felt that by working in the industry for a year would give me a better chance of being offered a graduate scheme opportunity if I performed well, which would put less pressure on me during my final year. Finally, I wanted to gain work experience to see what types of roles I enjoyed before committing to a particular career path after I graduate. In the process of applying for my placement year I applied for so many roles I lost count. It was a long process of CV writing, cover letters, online tests, online interviews, assessment centres and face-to-face interviews.
In my role as a Consulting Analyst, I am part of the Management Consulting branch where I work at the heart of client organisations, helping them harness innovation and improve performance. I have been responsible for conducting research, interviews, analysing data, developing training and creating client workshops. I have learnt how to network and engage with various key stakeholders, and I have built an extensive knowledge of current technology trends, industries and companies. During my time at Accenture I have been involved in a number of projects throughout my role which has given me a great overview of the whole company, and I have worked across many industries and divisions, from resources to financial services, from delivery projects to client workshops. I have been involved in an IT delivery project as part of the business change management team, where our aim was to ensure our client successfully adopted the new tools and software we supplied them with. Following this, I worked as part of our Client Innovation Services practice, where I learnt about the current technology trends and actively participated in mind mapping sessions and workshops based on innovation and creativity. I really enjoy the variety of work I have been involved with as well as closely interacting with the senior leadership team, as very few companies allow interns to work so closely with such key stakeholders. In addition to this, I love the creative side of my work, and the ability to always think ahead. I feel that the team at Accenture really listens to my ideas, and supports me to turn these ideas into a reality.
Throughout my placement year so far I have been able to utilise my knowledge of some of the business cases we covered in lectures and seminars when discussing particular industries or big companies like Amazon, Google, Tesla, Uber and Spotify which has been really useful. I have also been able to use my marketing and project management skills that I learnt at WBS to help me with my role at Accenture which has been really beneficial. Finally, I would say group work is a key skill that has helped me with my placement, as everything you do in consulting is team-based. In addition to this, I feel I have grown up so much since I started my placement year, and I love being financially independent. I have made some lifelong friends at Accenture who I have learnt so much from, and they are great role models who I really look up to. I feel that my placement year experience at Accenture will positively impact my future employment. I would really like to continue my future career path within the area of consulting, and in particular, focusing on strategy and innovation which I feel is where my passion lies.
For future students who are thinking of doing a placement year, I would definitely recommend that you apply as early as you can. The sooner that you can apply the easier it will be for you to manage your time, as you become increasingly busy with exams and coursework as well as trying to make time to prepare for your online tests, assessment centres and interviews. Secondly, my top tip would be to make sure you have support as applying for placement year opportunities is a long and challenging process. It can be quite demoralising if you receive lots of rejections, and it is stressful doing timed tests and interviews as well as balancing this with your university work. I would definitely recommend speaking to friends, family, your personal tutor or the WBS CareersPlus team who will all be able to give you lots of moral support, so don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it.
When considering whether you want to do a placement year make sure you give it a lot of thought, as you don’t want to waste such a great opportunity. Choosing the right company, industry, country or university is very important so think about what you want to achieve from your placement year beforehand, and have some clear objectives. These could be to find your dream job, travel the world, meet new people, experience a new culture or become fluent in a language.