The competency interview will consist of generic questions such as:
- Why are you interested in consulting?
- Why are you interested in the work we do?
- Are you willing to travel with work?
- What are your interests outside of work?
- Why do you think you would be a good fit at Accenture?
As well as specific questions about what is on your CV. Be aware that interviewers are not looking to find out if what you wrote on your CV is true but they want to see how you articulate that experience. Being able to communicate your prior experience in a confident and interesting way is very valuable so be prepared to talk around the points on your CV.
This is as much for Accenture to show their specialty in technology and engage with candidates as it is a test for you to pass. As long as you tackle the simulation competently and with a smile on your face then you are likely to score highly. They are looking to see how you will react to more fun and different scenario in a professional environment; those that shy away or those that turn into uncontrollable children will score low on this task as emotional extremes in front of a client are not preferred.
A case interview is a business case that involves a strategic problem such as entering a new market or increasing profitability and as the interviewee, you are asked to recommend an appropriate strategy. An example question might be:
The CEO of Deutsche bank has become increasingly concerned about their declining profitability over the last 36 months and has asked you to determine the factors causing the decline as well as recommend a strategy to reverse this trend.
The most critical part of any case interview is selecting, customizing, and presenting the approach you are going to take to the interviewer. If you can do this well then you will score highly as long as you follow that approach through, even if it doesn't get you to the right answer.
If you have not come across a case interview before then you should definitely research them and practice them more than anything else as they are very easy to get wrong but are crucial to almost every consulting interview you take.
Read our comprehensive guide to case interviews to get yourself up to speed.
Market sizing questions (sometimes known as guesstimates) are often used in interviews because they require a mix of logic, maths, and common sense. They can be asked as a standalone question or as part of a larger case interview. Candidates that are competent with market sizing questions can find them extremely easy to execute.
All the top-tier consulting firms are likely to test their candidates with a market sizing question at some stage in the process as it is considered a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation. For instance, you may be sat talking to a UK clothing retailer about their growth strategy and someone may put forward the idea of opening an e-commerce store inviting the question “how much revenue could we expect to generate from an e-commerce store?” and on the back of an envelope (or more likely a piece of paper), you could estimate the size of the UK’s online clothing market and apply a market capture percentage for the client to give them a rough figure. Being quick with these calculations keeps the conversation flowing with the client and maintains a good impression.
There are two structures to know when answering a market sizing question: issue tree and tabular. It is sensible to practice these frameworks before an interview that involves a market sizing question because it can be the difference between being successful and unsuccessful.
The group exercise will have an answer to it and most groups will reach it but getting the right answer is not paramount to scoring well. Naturally, there will be someone within the group who assumes the role of the leader but the person that does will not be guaranteed extra points for doing so. Taking the position of a leader shows confidence but it is essential that the leader does not become overpowering and should make a concerted effort to ask for other people's opinions and bring quieter members of the group into the conversation.
Someone who isn't the leader should be seen to contribute positively to conversations and communicate their opinion and thoughts clearly to the rest of the group. If they notice that there are members of the group struggling to communicate their thoughts then they should bring them into the conversation or task by asking their opinion or delegating a task.
It is likely that an element of change will be introduced during the task such as swapping a team member for someone completely new. This is a simulation of a real-life project situation when team members do come into the team at short notice and so must be up-skilled as quickly as possible. It is important that if this happens you take the initiative to introduce yourself, the team, your thinking, and how they can help as quickly as possible.