Tara McGivern, technology analyst, Accenture. Image: Accenture
Tara McGivern, technology analyst, Accenture. Image: Accenture

How the Accenture graduate programme builds up your character, not just your skills

23 Oct 2017

Technology analyst Tara McGivern describes how her time on the Accenture graduate programme challenged her and gave her confidence in her abilities.

From tackling programming in higher education, Tara McGivern knew that problem-solving was her passion. However, applying new-found skills in the real world of work can sometimes be intimidating, without the confidence that comes from years of experience.

Through the graduate programme at Accenture, McGivern was “pleasantly surprised” at the attention given to training and building her confidence in the workplace. That workplace wasn’t always based in Accenture’s Dublin offices, as she travelled to Spain as part of her training.

Here, McGivern reflects on her first month on the Accenture graduate programme, which closes for applications on Sunday 29 October. Find out more about the Accenture graduate programme here.

‘I really feel that Accenture has invested in me already, and it’s only the beginning’

What did you study in college?

I studied computing in games development, a Level 8 degree, at the Dundalk Institute of Technology.

With the Accenture graduate programme, are you now working in your desired industry?

Yes. Since I started programming back in first year, I’ve grown to love problem-solving. It can be a very rewarding experience when you uncover that solution that your code needs. Accenture offers me the opportunity to do this kind of work every day whilst still experiencing the wide array of industries they operate in.

What drew you to this company when you were seeking work as a graduate?

There are few companies that stand out in the way Accenture does. I believe it’s very easy to see a corporate firm as just a large machine. Accenture is different. You can tell this company is all about the people. They’ve only reached their current position because they’ve selected the best kind of people, and I wanted to be one of those. Throughout recruitment, I could tell that they weren’t just interested in my skills, they wanted to know who I was as a person.

What expectations did you have before you began the programme?

I expected to start work in a matter of days. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised with how much time was invested in training. This was extensive, ranging from HR basics to how Accenture works and finally, to my own specialised digital training. I really feel that Accenture has invested in me already, and it’s only the beginning.

What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?

In my first month, I travelled abroad for Accenture training with the other graduates that I started with and another graduate group from the London office. Over the two weeks, it was up to us to work together regularly to complete challenges. The completion of a challenge was reliant on the participation of each team member. As these challenges may emulate situations that I may encounter over my career, it was important that I did my best.

Back in Ireland, I was assigned to complete my own self-led training programme for my specialism. Not only did this make me feel that Accenture trusted me, but also that I was capable to be left to complete the task.

Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?

In the past month, I have not only travelled abroad to Madrid for training, but have also been introduced to the vast technologies and resources available to me at Accenture. Over the next few months, I will embark on various projects that will prepare for me for a strong career within Accenture.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

A typical day generally starts with arriving at my desk for 8.30am in the morning. I do a quick check of my emails and ensure that I’m up to date with what’s going on within the company. Then, I proceed with my training. As my training is self-led, it is my responsibility to work through set online courses over the next five weeks. These courses cover a broad range of topics across web development and modern technologies.

After lunch, where I generally link up with the other graduates, I continue along with my training. Towards the end of the day, I generally take care of any housekeeping, such as my timesheets or preparing questions for my next meeting with my training coach. In the evening, I keep an eye out for any clubs and society events within Accenture, such as the Food and Drink Society, Surf Club etc.

How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees?

Based on what I’ve learned in training, I will be given an adequate amount of responsibility based on my level. As my skills grow, so will the level of responsibility. At the same time, managers and other analysts are always willing to take any questions I may have. This kind of environment helps me to get the most out of my job.

Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?

Of course! In just a few weeks, I’ve learnt a huge array of new skills, whether it be how to hold a meeting with a client or the best way of delivering a project.

I feel the confidence I’ve gained is the most important asset, though. It may have only been a short amount of time since I’ve started but, despite this, I feel much more comfortable speaking in front of large groups – sure I even sang karaoke on training! Essentially, I know that I am much more capable now.

Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at this company?

If you even have the slightest notion to apply, go for it! The experience you will gain from a recruitment process is invaluable. Accenture has so much more to offer than just a job. Not only does the great salary come packed with perks such a private healthcare and a laptop, but they also have a thriving clubs and societies scene.

As well as that, Accenture is a company that gives back. Graduates are currently able to take two days away from the office each year for charitable initiatives. I honestly feel like they’re the complete package.

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