Florence Bourjade
Strategy, Accenture
BSc Management with Placement Year (2016 – 2020)

Please provide a brief introduction as to what course you study at WBS, the placement that you are completing, and how long the placement is for. 

I study BSc Management at Warwick Business School. I am on a 12-month placement at Accenture, working as a Consulting Analyst in London. 

Why did you decide to take a placement year? 

I knew since high school I wanted to do an intercalated year at university. I wanted to go to Latin America to become fluent in Spanish. I dreamed of travelling and learning about different cultures. I believed it would be a journey of self-discovery. 

I also knew I wanted to work during my intercalated year because you need relevant work experience and good marks to get into the top companies in the world. Moreover, it means having a better chance of getting a graduate offer if they like you, which I knew would put less pressure on me during my final year. Finally, I wanted to work to see what I enjoyed doing before committing to anything after graduating. 

With this in mind, I looked for consulting jobs abroad, as this was the industry I was keen to try. Unfortunately, I didn’t find many opportunities that suited me and therefore I decided to look closer to home. The best roles I could find for my placement year were based in London.

How are you finding your placement year so far?

I am so glad I decided to do a placement year. I have grown up so much, and I love being financially independent. I really value my time outside work, and I will go back to university knowing that I should make the most of my last year with so much freedom. I have made some lifelong friends, and there are many people I have met at Accenture who I really look up to, who are great role models and who are just great people. 

I have learned so much. I have developed and strengthened my quantitative and qualitative skills, as well as my general, industry-specific and client-specific knowledge.  

What projects have you been involved with whilst working at Accenture? 

I have changed roles and projects many times during my year at Accenture. I have worked across many industries and divisions, from resources to financial services, from delivery projects to client workshops.  

I worked on an IT delivery project where I was responsible for analysing and increasing the data accuracy of 6,000 members of staff. I created training guides, top tip infographics and animated videos to help 6,000 employees adopt the new technology and the new ways of working. This content was read, watched and approved by the C-suite of the company. I was responsible for all communications sent to the business about the project, and I designed the strategy to support the business during their device and network transition. I was able to engage with senior business stakeholders on a regular basis, as well as members of staff.

I then worked as part of our Client Innovation Services practice, which includes working closely with the C-suite of the FTSE 500 to help them strategise about the future of their organisation. I learned about industry and tech trends and designed a workshop to target their needs. I created high-quality, professional videos using specialised software and I facilitated activities to help our client to think more creatively.

I enjoy the variety of the work, as well as closely interacting with senior leadership from some of the top companies in the world. Very few companies would allow interns to work so closely with such key stakeholders. I love the creative side of my work, and always thinking ahead. Accenture really listens to my ideas and gives me the tools I need to make these happen. The most rewarding thing is client feedback: when they praise your work and personally request that you work on another piece of work for them, it fills me with pride.  

How have the skills you have learnt so far at WBS helped you with your placement year?  

I was able to utilise my knowledge on some of the business cases we had covered in lectures and seminars. Knowledge around industries or big companies like Amazon, Google, Tesla, Uber, Airbnb and Spotify is really useful within the business world.

In addition to this group work has been key during my placement year. Everything you do in consulting is team-based, and therefore by participating in teamwork or group work during your studies at university is brilliant because it really helps you when entering the world of business. 

What tips would you give to other students who are thinking of doing a placement year? 

I would highly recommend that you apply as early as you can. I missed some great opportunities because I sent most of my applications out in November/December, and that was already too late for many companies. Also, the sooner you apply, the easier it will be as term progresses and you become increasingly busy with your coursework and exams.

Secondly, utilise the support that is available to you. You will need someone to review your CV, cover letters and someone to help you prepare for interviews and assessment centres. Make sure you reach out to friends and family and also the CareersPlus team. Finally, I think that considering a placement year should be given a lot of thought, as you must think about what you really want to achieve from your placement year. This could be discovering your dream job, travelling, meeting new people, becoming fluent in a language, or gaining the key skills and knowledge you require for a future career.