Where did you grow up? What were some important stages of your life in regards to schooling, education, experience abroad and so forth?
I grew up a little way out of Melbourne, spending my early years of school in western Victoria. My family then moved to Liverpool, England where I began high school, before finally returning to Melbourne to complete the later years of my education and VCE.
After high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with myself but I knew I had a lot of opportunities. With that in mind I threw myself into university to study science as I wasn’t ready to decide just yet, so a general degree in an area of my interest seemed like the best fit. During this time I also volunteered at the RSPCA and worked at the local YMCA as a swim teacher and pool lifeguard.
At the end of my first year at university I decided to expand my horizons and follow a more niche passion: marine biology. I moved to Townsville and picked up the second year of marine science at James Cook University. Although I loved the course and the tropical atmosphere, I was discovering my aptitude lay more with people than aquatic life. With this in mind, I moved back to Monash and transferred to a double degree majoring in psychology and physiology. This move also gave me the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad at the University of Buffalo in upper New York state, as well as completing a subject in Prato, Italy.
With all this moving around, I had caught the travel bug. Now working part time at the Royal Melbourne Hospital as an emergency department clerk, I took some time off to travel, partaking in the Canadian working holiday program. This is a move I would highly recommend to anyone. Not only can you travel and work but you meet so many people from all over the world, all with vastly different life experiences to your own. It was this adventure that reinforced that I needed a career with variety and the opportunity to challenge myself over and over again.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I applied to Accenture online through GradConnect and was lucky enough to be asked for an interview. Following the interview I was invited to take part in Accenture Adventure: a fast-tracked assessment day for new graduates. The day was filled with challenges and team building exercises. It was a massive adrenaline rush but a lot of fun and I have remained friends with many grads I met on that day.
I started at Accenture as an analyst in April of this year and have been with the company for six months now.
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
Coming into Accenture I didn’t have a solid understanding of what each specialisation of the company meant. All I knew was what I could offer the company and the skills I could adapt to work for them. As such, I was offered the position of security consulting analyst, where I work on bringing the human element to an ever-changing technical industry.
Before accepting this position I was weighing up a few alternatives, each focusing on working with people. However I decided to again choose a role that offered me flexibility and an array of new learning experiences.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
The interview process was lengthy, although not as daunting as I had imagined. It involved an online application, phone interview, recorded video response and an assessment centre. It all sounds very intense, however it was actually quite fun as it is like a series of games all catered to yourself.
Questions I was asked were things about who inspires me, what I think is most important for a graduate when coming into the workforce and where I see myself in five years time. These questions can be difficult to answer, so a good method to take is the STAR approach: situation, task, action, result. Keep your answers succinct and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
Suppose a student was considering your career. What would you advise them to study? Are there any soft skills it would be beneficial for them to develop? Should they pursue any sort of work experience?
For a career in cyber security I would advise studying IT or something technology related. However for a career in consulting, I would recommend you study whatever grabs your attention the most.
Consulting draws on your ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, so the more depth and breadth of experience or knowledge you have, the greater you will be able to assist your clients. Development of these soft skills is fast tracked by throwing yourself out of your comfort zone as much as possible. As horrifying as that might sound, it will be a fun process. Join a local sports club, volunteer and do odd jobs in anything you find interesting. Not only will you gain new skills, you will meet new people and pad out your resume in no time. If you are able to carry a conversation about topics other than work, you will find yourself with a whole host of opportunities, because people want to work with people, not robots.
What does your employer do?
Accenture is a global company, providing a broad range of services and solutions for our clients in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As an analyst I am responsible for being a jack-of-all-trades and supporting senior staff with the finer details of business delivery. This has been as diverse as working with spreadsheets, client work, event planning (such as R U OK? Day), being involved in the Pride Network and even participating in corporate citizenship.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
A typical work day is hard to describe, as for me there are no typical work days. One day I could be pulling together a PowerPoint slide deck to present to a client and the next I could be volunteering for internal event planning. At the moment I am working with a government client, completing an assessment of their security environment and providing recommendations for gaps in their current processes.
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
The person that succeeds in my career is one that isn’t afraid to learn. There are times you will be working on projects you have a limited understanding of, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and draw on all your resources to allow you to do the best job.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
Career prospects with Accenture are varied but are centred around business and its design. Offering end-to-end business design and implementation, an Accenture employee could be writing the code for software, recommending business solutions for implementation or facilitating those processes for a client.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes. Consulting draws on diversity of knowledge therefore regardless of background, as long as there is a willingness to learn and the ability to adapt, you can achieve great things in this industry.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
What I enjoy most is the culture. Accenture is filled with smiling faces and people willing to have a chat and assist you with your career goals. A task I enjoy is visually representing a piece of work to a client in a manner that is easy to understand and gets people excited about the work we are delivering them.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are the stress levels high?
I would say the biggest limitation of a job in consulting is that if the work needs to get done, it needs to get done – no matter how long it might take. That does mean the occasional overtime or working on weekends, similar to how you would work to complete a uni assignment on time to make sure you get the best grades possible. This can sometimes be stressful, however it is comforting to know that in those situations you are not alone and everyone is right there in the same boat as you. So at the end when you can all relax, there is a great sense of achievement.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t working at Accenture I might be working in clinical psychology or possibly as a vet, depending on how much more study I was willing to do.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?