Preparing to make the transition from college to a full-time job is an exciting step in your career journey. As a business analyst less than two years out of my grad program at Duke, I can still remember the sheer elation I felt when receiving my offer. With this in mind, I’ve gathered input from some of my colleagues, along with my own experiences, and have created a list of things to consider doing to prepare for your upcoming job before your start date:
1. Think about the type of work you want to do. As part of the Accenture Management Consulting Development Partnership, I can attest that this program provides a great foundation where you can rotate through a number of projects and responsibilities, although you may not have time to try everything. Knowing your preferences will help you direct your career as you discuss and explore potential project assignments. Think about the industries and functional specialties that are of interest and do some research into latest trends for those areas.
2. Network. Reconnect with those who interviewed and met with you during the recruiting process, and reach out to school alums who are working at the Accenture office you will be joining. Use LinkedIn’s company search to find friends of friends. Express your excitement to work at the firm and thank those you met during recruiting once again for their help. Gratitude goes a long way, and you may find that your connections help you get on your first project.
3. Read up on Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce.com. No matter what work you do at Accenture, you’ll always be well served to understand these platforms.
4. Get set up with hotel, air, and car rental rewards programs. As the consulting lifestyle often includes travel, (how much depends on your project), consider getting set up now with rewards programs. Pick at least two major companies in each category; This will be one less thing to do once you start working.
5. Figure out housing in advance. The search can be taxing in some cities such as San Francisco and New York, and the last thing you want to do is be living out of a hotel and spending your weekends still searching for housing. Nabewise is a good site to learn more about a new city by neighborhood, and Lovely is a cool way to search Craigslist and other postings on a visual layout.
6. Travel. Accenture has a generous paid time off policy, but as you start your first project and kick-off your career it may be a while before you take a holiday. If your summer is open before you start work, go see something new!
7. Create a one-paragraph or one-slide explanation of your background. Within your first week of starting, perhaps even during orientation, it’s likely that you will be contacted by managers seeking new analysts to join their projects. In addition to a phone interview, managers will often request a quick paragraph or PowerPoint slide with some information about you, such as your Accenture home office, your skills, experience and professional interests.
8. Keep your financial life in order. There are budgeting tools such as Mint that can help. Online tools can really help you manage everything at once; however, it is really important to find a system that works for you.
9. Find a hobby/cause you’re interested in and make a commitment to participate in it. It’s a small step to managing life outside of work. There are also many groups to get involved with at Accenture – community service, employee interest groups, recruiting – which will connect you with your coworkers and life outside work.
10. Become a PowerPoint and Excel guru. You’ll learn these on the job, but if you are an expert at designing beautiful slides and can write macros for Excel as a brand new analyst, you’ll quickly stand out. Bonus points for familiarity with Prezi and other Microsoft Office alternatives.
So there you have it – a top 10 list for preparing for life as a new consulting analyst.
One tip I failed to mention, and the one that nearly everyone I spoke with mentioned is, to relax. Finish that book you’ve been meaning to read, catch up on TV shows, and remember that no matter what, you already got the job and you’re going to be okay. Your future colleagues look forward to meeting you!
Lucas Chapin is in Accenture’s Management Consulting Develop Program for business analysts. For more information about this program or other opportunities with Accenture, contact Jessica Gershuny with NSCS Careers: firstname.lastname@example.org.