If we could pick a consulting firm to win the aggressive campus recruiting award, it would probably be Accenture. Today, let’s turn our attention to learning more about their recruiting process – specifically their all-important case interviews.

1. Who are Accenture?

If you ask an Accenture recruiter this question, he/she would give you a lengthy and generic description, something like … a leading consulting firm that values sustainability and getting the best people … That description can very well fit almost every consulting firm out there.

In summary, there are the 2 basic points you should remember:

Accenture used to be the consulting department of a former “Big 5” accounting firm

The name of that firm is Arthur Anderson. Of course, Anderson is now gone (due to the Enron scandal in 2001), leaving us with only the Big 4, but the consulting department had already separated before that episode.

When that department left Anderson, it had to change its name, so we have Accenture!

Accenture is not purely management consulting

In this regard, Accenture is similar to the Big 4 accounting firms, who operates in other fields than management consultingtin.

For Deloitte, EY, PwC, those fields are finance, risk, tax, etc. For Accenture, it’s IT.

2. Accenture Consulting Recruitment Process

The recruiting process for Accenture’s consultants is very similar to the Big 4 Accounting firms, featuring 3 rounds in most situations (with a few exceptions here and there):

Round 1Round 2Round 3

Networking

Resume Screening

On-Campus Interview

(Behavioral)

Office Visit

Case Interview

This may sound strange, but Accenture’s case interviews don’t appear during the second round – these are actually placed in Round 3, while Round 2 mostly consists of behavioral or fit interviews

I’ll skip through the first two rounds and only focus on the most difficult and relevant topic: the case interviews.

3. Accenture Case Interview

Accenture case interviews test the candidate’s ability to solve problems using a structured approach. They are a mix of the interviewer-led and candidate-led formats, with three types of questions:

  • “The Great Unknown” tests framework structuring and data inquiry
  • “Parade of Facts” tests data filtering and analysis
  • “Back of the Envelope” tests mental math and logical thinking

Almost everybody out there is overly stressed about how to deal with Accenture cases. I got a ton of questions about how to prepare specifically for Accenture. I’ve read even more on various forums and discussion threads.

Well, I studied a whole lot of field reports and sample case studies from Accenture and I found out that people really overrate the difference between Accenture case study interviews and any other typical case interview.

As it turns out, overall, Accenture case interviews are still similar to those at the all-famous MBB consulting firms. As such, the principles as well as tips and tricks for other consulting case interviews – such as those explained in my comprehensive guide below – are still applicable at Accenture.

Case Interview 101
The Online Guidebook

An A-to-Z Crash Course on Case Interviews

I want to know more!

With the “big picture” out of the way, let us dive into some specific “popular perceptions” of the Accenture case interview:

You don’t need IT background to solve Accenture cases

Accenture may have IT-focused interviews, but NOT for management consulting positions.

Except for some case contexts which may be related to IT (e.g: Uber‘s profit‘s going down), you can expect to solve the case content-wise just like you would do for any other typical case interview.

Accenture case are mostly question-based

Based on the field reports I’ve studied, most cases were divided into multiple questions, each super specific and to-the-point. In some cases, those questions were not even closely related to each other. The case as a whole sounds like a casual business discussion on some pressing issues.

Interestingly, this style is somewhat similar to McKinsey’s interviewer-led style!

Accenture case are somewhat heavier on market-sizing questions

With that said, you can expect to see these questions in any case interview at major consulting firms. Market-sizing and guesstimate questions are popular and it’s no exception here.

Keep this in mind: Market-sizing questions are not about getting the correct number, but estimating in a structured and logical fashion.

Accenture case are not any heavier on math than any other case interviews

There is a myth circulating around the forums that Accenture case interviews are heavy on math. 

Almost every case interview out there does test some consulting math, but I don’t see any reports or statistics showing that Accenture tests math more than other consulting firms.

Just think about it: is math the foundation of consulting work, and the main criterion in case interviews? Unsurpringly, the answer is “No”. 

What they look for in case interviewees is structured problem-solving – in other words, you solve problems by systematically breaking it down into small, MECE pieces, identify the root causes, and draw actionable, long-impact solutions.

Here’s the key takeaway:

Don’t worry too much about the myth that Accenture cases are radically different from the typical cases. Cases vary from firm to firm, interviewer to interviewer, and case to case – but the core principles remain the same.

Just go ahead and study for Accenture case interviews just as you would for other firms, especially McKinsey.

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