Eleanor Kenny Boyd and Sophie Davies, now in their final year of Business and Management at DIT College of Business share with us their experience on the Accenture Internship Programme.
Internships provide opportunities to explore careers that match academic and personal interests and are perfect for preparing students for the workforce, also many employers look to their own interns as the best potential candidate for a full-time position
The Accenture Internship Programme is open to third level students in their penultimate year of study and applied for through the DIT placement officer, Stacy McCarthy.
Eleanor and Sophie were both successful in their application for the Internship Programme and embarked on their journey with Accenture in Spring 2017.
Eleanor: Before starting in Accenture, we were both naturally nervous as we had very little experience in the business world previously. Although we had researched the company, it was hard to know what we would be facing into. This added nerves but also excitement, as we had heard so many positive things about the company and the internship programme itself and had spoken to recent interns and graduates.
Sophie: Our Accenture Adventure began on the 27th March in Accenture’s head office in Grand Canal Square. Our initial start group had an intake of eleven other interns who were from various other colleges, with the majority coming from UCC.
On our first day we took part in ice breaker games with the other interns to get to know each other and were given training in PowerPoint.We also received presentations from an associate from “The Dock” (Accenture’s Innovation Centre), a previous intern turned graduate, a managing director and more.
Our training consisted of three more induction days and included Excel training, effective communication training (with the Gaiety Theatre), Strength Finder evaluations and individual presentations.
Eleanor: There wasn’t really a “typical day” in Accenture, every day was very different, and I think that’s what made it exciting and challenging. The usual working day was 9-5.30 with some overtime, as expected. Sophie was on client site which meant she had a completely different day-to-day experience on her project, compared with my experience in the head office and on an internal PMO role.
The projects required us to use our initiative and be engaged from day one. We were constantly learning and adapting as per the situation demanded. Accenture prides itself on it’s vast amount of clubs and societies, many of which we took part in after work including rock climbing, Hiking club, Toastmasters, Tag Rugby, Thank Crunchie and other social events.
Sophie: During our placement, we completed several weeks of online training. This training helped us while on our projects, covering topics relevant to client site work, such as Digital Disruption, Agile thinking, Design Thinking and Cyber Security.
Our experiences on various projects gave us an appreciation of attention to detail, the importance of good communication, working in a team dynamic and conflict resolution. A key learning aspect was understanding the importance of managing expectations of those you work with and report to. We worked on building our skills in relation to time management, prioritisation of duties which are invaluable skills as we progress into our final year in Business and Management.
Eleanor: A clear highlight of the entire experience was undoubtedly our Intern trip to the London Accenture Offices. We travelled as a group of 45 interns to London for a weekend in August where we were exposed to workshops in UI/UX, developing our Design Thinking skills and learned to rapidly prototype our ideas. It was a brilliant weekend and also gave us a chance to connect and meet with some of the UK based interns.
The ‘Intern Innovation Day’ at The Dock was held in July and was a brilliant chance for us to experience Design Thinking. The workshop was facilitated by the experts in the Fjord Design team and gave us a really good taste of what Service Design is all about.
Sophie: There was never a shortage of events, both educational and social, to attend. As interns we were invited to everything and had Breakfast Mornings with various key members of the organisation where we got a feel for the various parts of Accenture such as the Strategy or Products practice.
Another great aspect to the experience was the fact that we were assigned our own “Career Counsellor” who was there as our point of contact for any career related queries and to give us general guidance and support. As Accenture is such a large organisation, having a designated contact in this way helped hugely with networking and finding out more about how Accenture functions.
Eleanor: Accenture very much has a culture of word hard and play hard. This was apparent from day one, both on client site and internal project. Accenture promotes uniqueness and they focus on maximising and building up employee’s strengths.
Initiatives such as the Women on Walls, 50:50 by 2025, women in STEM events, Accenture’s LGBT community alliance, Rise Events (commending those who succeed in promotions) and International Women’s Day all highlighted to us Accenture’s inclusive and diverse culture.
Sophie: It was clear consistently throughout the internship that we were not being treated or labelled as ‘Interns’. The expectation on us was clearly to perform to the best of our ability and to a high standard, regardless of our position in the company.
This was challenging but it gave us such a great sense of achievement and pride when we received positive feedback from our teams and it became clear that our efforts in adding value to the projects were recognised.
Eleanor: A key advantage of the internship programme is that it allows for the opportunity to be put forward for a final round Graduate interview. In this case interns have a chance to secure an offer for a Graduate position the following year, once they complete their relevant studies.
Naturally this was on our minds throughout the five months as it was a key opportunity for us to show the positive impact we could make in our projects and teams, and hence be put forward for a final round interview.
We were both able to draw on the many experiences the internship provided us with which gave us confidence as we headed into our interviews towards the end of our placement in which we were subsequently offered graduate positions from.
Sophie: Our experiences during the internship were hugely beneficial and worthwhile. It helped greatly with overall confidence, built up our experience in a business setting and of course exposed us to aspects of how a company like Accenture operates. Winning ‘Accenture’s Intern of the Year’ for 2017 was definitely a highlight for me and a proud moment.
Eleanor Kenny Boyd and Sophie Davies– Final year students of BSc. Business and Management at DIT College of Business and took part in the Accenture Internship Programme as part of their third year in college.