This is Swapnil Kanade from Dr. D. Y. Patil Institute of Management & Research, Pimpri. I was selected in Accenture on 5th April, 2008. Here are the details:
Location of Test: IICMR, Nigdi, Pune.
1. Aptitude test of 55 questions having 55 marks. Date: 29th March 2008.
2. Group Discussion and HR & Technical Interviews. Date: 5th April 2008.
Candidates from MCA and Engineering Colleges
around Maharashtra were invited for Campus selection.
The aptitude was conducted by MeritTrack for Accenture. It contained English section, Mathematical Aptitude and Reasoning section. The questions are easy. Just solve them fast as the time is just 60 minutes.
After those sixty minutes, 5 minutes are given for writing an essay. This will be evaluated in the interviews. Our topic was "Artificial Intelligence". I finished the test in 50 minutes and utilized the remaining 10 minutes for thinking on the topic. Do not start writing essay unless you are told to do so. In fact, we were given only 3-3.5 minutes. You should write the full page for the essay.
The results of aptitude are conveyed to your TPO. Out of 36 students of our college, 11 were selected for GD. The overall selections at this stage were 211.
The next rounds were held at the same place one week later, on 5th April. It started at 9.20 a.m. We were given a PPT on Accenture. Listen to the PPT carefully. Remember the motto of Accenture: High Performance. Delivered.
After the PPT, we were divided into groups of 12-14 each and taken to GD halls.
My group's topic was "Do ends justify means?" The GD conductor talks to you before the GD and explains the criteria etc. Please make sure you have great command over English and you do speak up at least a couple of times. Listening is more important and I was successful in leading the overall GD. I listened to others carefully. So guys were mostly addressing me. I also made sure that no one dominated and gave some ladies chance to put their views. This ability of handling your team is very important.
Other GD topics were "Evolution of Education System in India from 1990 onwards", and "Globalization".
111 candidates were selected for Interview round. From our college, 4 made it to next round.
We were then given some forms where you fill in your information, location preferences etc. Then one-by-one, we were called for interviews. I had to wait a lot as my turn came only at 3:30 p.m. The HR and Technical Interviews were conducted by two persons simultaneously in different halls. (Pipelining!) Those who would pass one kind of interview would then be sent for the other. I was first sent for HR.
I first tapped the door gently and opened it, asking for the permission to come in. After getting it, I got in and walked upto the table and greeted the HR, who was a sober man in his 30's. He looked very serious, but was in fact were kind. I sat on the chair only after being told to do so. He had my resume and copies of certificates with him which he was reading. After a while, he fired the first salvo at me by asking me to introduce myself. The questions were as follows:
1.Tell me something about yourself.
I talked about myself and my strengths and weaknesses, my objective etc. Make sure your introduction lasts no more than 1-1.5 minutes.
2.How can you prove that you are creative?
This question came as I had said that I had quoted 'creativity' as my strength. I gave the example of my pencil shading hobby.
3.Give me an example of your perfectionist attitude.
I said that I work on my paintings and portraits for several drafts unless I am satisfied with them.
4.Do you have any of your sketches with you now
5.I said, "Sorry, I don't."
6.Tell me about your family background.
I stressed on the loving bond we share in our family. Try to say something about all your family members.
7.Can you tell me a situation where your suggestion / creativity helped your team achieve some innovation
I gave example of our 3rd semester project.
8.And a situation where your team failed in achieving its objective because of your mistake?
"I am a trekker. We have a trekking club in our town. Once we had arranged a trek to one fort called Bhairavgad. It was quite difficult ascent and I was required to go first and tie rope for the others. Unfortunately I could not climb the point with steep ascent and we had to abandon the trek altogether. But the very next week, we again went there and this time we made it to the top."
9.Who is your idol
I said, "Sachin Tendulkar. As he is a high performer and still keeps his feet firmly on ground. I wish to perform like him and still maintain my humility."
10.But when Sachin scores a century, our team looses, right?
"It is a team effort and everyone has to contribute his best. And the team leader has to make sure they do."
11.How did you come to know about Accenture
"From one of our seniors who was placed in Accenture a couple of years ago. I was very much impressed with the global look of Accenture that he described."
12.What do you mean by Global look?
"It is the global presence. This gives Accenture the great mix of different cultures and I like to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. That's one of my strengths. I will get an opportunity to explore the same at Accenture. Hence I really admire it."
13.Which company do you admire the most other than Accenture?
"I like Infosys."
"It has done very well as a Corporate Citizen. I especially was impressed with their 'Infosys Foundation' headed by Mrs. Sudha Murthy. I have read her books like 'Wise and Otherwise'. The foundation has been doing a lot of social work and philanthropy in various remote parts of the country. This suits my nature of helping others in achieving their goals. Hence I admire Infosys very much."
15.Have you appeared for any other company's test before?
The interview lasted for 20 minutes. I wished the HR a good day and came out. After 5 minutes I was told that I cleared the HR.
The next round was Technical interview. After half an hour, my turn came. The interviewer was a lady in her mid-forties. She was very cultured, soft-spoken and refined.
She was a HR and most of the questions she asked were of HR type. It went somewhat like this:
1.You said that your idol is Sachin Tendulkar, right? Why?
"That's because he is a high achiever and perfectionist. He can deliver high performance time to time and in spite of the reverence he gets from the world, he is so down-to-earth. I wish my success doesn't go to my head at any stage of my life."
2.Tell me something about your family.
This question was a repeat. I gave similar answer.
3.Why was your score so less in 12th standard?
I explained the reasons.
4.You have done B.A.?
I said, "Yes."
5.What was your major?
6.Why did you choose Political Science?
"It is the enveloping subject for all other subjects of the world, as it creates the framework within which other subjects like economics and even science and technology evolve. It gives you the opportunity to study the diverse cultures and political setups of different countries. This enables me to understand the socio-cultural mindsets of their people. This in turn helps me in effectively interacting with them."
7.Then why did you not go for IAS?
"In fact, I had started preparing for Civil Services Examination. I wanted to go in the Indian Foreign Service. But later I realized that I won't get the kind of freedom and power to push forward my vision and opinions or aggressive strategies. I also had a liking for technology, so I chose MCA after B.A."
8.Why do you love technology?
"I am a creative person. Just like canvas, brushes and color palette are tools for creativity in arts, technology is the tool for expressing your creativity. Besides, I also love working with machines."
9.How did you develop interest in technology?
"When I first learnt C, I was very much impressed with its power of making the machines work for you, according to your wishes. That fetched
me closer to technology."
10.You said that you want to go into Systems Programming, right?
Actually I had not said so. But still I answered affirmatively. "Yah, Systems Programming is domain that puts high demands on you for utmost creativity, supreme command over languages and thorough understanding of the architectures and other details. So, one who has a liking for details will surely succeed in that."
11.And then what about Application Programming?
"I like Application Programming also as it involves interacting with people. You have to understand their needs and preferences. The interfaces have to be user-friendly. So, if one can understand the preferences and psychology of people, one can really develop successful applications. The study of different cultural setups helps in this stuff. Hence I can do equally well in this area also."
12.What are your strengths?
"My ability of communication, soft skills, my creativity and my technical knowledge are some of my strengths. I can work well in teams and can lead them also."
13.Can you write a C program for 2X3 & 3X1 matrix multiplication?
I wrote the program. She asked me to explain the logic of the program. She also asked me why the order of the matrices is important. I explained.
14.111 candidates have been short-listed from GD for interviews. What's in you that sets you apart from others?
"My USP is my communication skills and my ability of interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. This will help me in dealing with our clients and I am particularly eager to work in Accenture as it has people from all over the globe. I am really excited at the prospect of working with the company having global look."
15.Can you give me an example of how you can communicate across cultural backgrounds?
"Well, I have a zeal for talking to people especially from backgrounds of other than mine. For example, I have a vast network of friends, most of whom are from different states, even from different countries, speaking different languages. I can interact with them because of my observing, analyzing and empathizing skills. My cross-domain experience and knowledge helps me a lot. I am sure I will have similar success with Accenture as well."
16.Why should I select you?
"Accenture will select me only if it thinks and is satisfied that I am the right candidate for the job. Let's think from Accenture's perspective. What it will look for in a candidate is the soft skills, strong domain knowledge, communication skills, ability of working in teams, leadership qualities, global viewpoint, creativity, and so on. And I think I have it all in me."
Here I again stressed on soft skills.
17.Where do you see yourself after three years from now?
I gave a diplomatic answer to this question. I said, "I don't know exactly how fast careers grow in Accenture, but generally speaking I see myself as at least a System Analyst. Not three years as such, but say, five years."
18.Any other company you appeared for before? What was the result?
"I had appeared in KPIT aptitude test on the very next day after the aptitude of Accenture. But I could not clear the test."
The interview lasted for 25 minutes. The last question she asked was "You want to ask me anything?" I was a bit surprised at the timing of the question. I just said, "Well, nothing as such!" Then she thanked me. I wished her a good day and left the room. After a while, the person outside the door told me that I was selected and tried to shake hand with me. But I couldn't because my friend literally hugged and lifted me up in excitement. I was then busy receiving calls from all my college-mates and friends. Success is really very sweet. And when it comes in the form of placement, you suddenly feel a kind of relief from all your worries and tensions!
From almost 2000 candidates, 211 cracked the aptitude test. 111 candidates cleared the GD round. And finally who made it to Accenture were just 33, a majority of whom were girls. There was a sad edge to my success- I was the only student from all candidates of our D. Y. Patil Pratishthan to get selected in Accenture. I will really miss my friends. I take this opportunity to thank them for their support.
Tips for successful placement:
First, please work well on your soft skills. Merely having fluency is not enough; you should have the ability of conveying your thoughts across clearly. You must have well manners and etiquettes.
Second, do a SWOT analysis of yourself and stress on your strengths in all answers. Remember, questions pop up from your previous answers. Hence, it is in your hands how to direct the interview flow.
Next, gather information about the company from various sources. Try to find out what the company wants. Also work on your GK as some of my colleagues were asked questions on it.
It is a popular myth about Accenture that it only seeks fluency in English. It also wants its employees to give a high performance. Hence having technical knowledge is also very important.
Believe in yourself. Be polite, but firm. Don't get disturbed if you are cross checked. Keep your ears open for any clues.
Develop some novel ways of answering. For example, the way I answered the question "why I should select you?"
Just be relaxed and calm, poise. Have a great self-confidence.