By Neelay Patil
Markus Kerbs is an alumnus of the Master in Management (2013-2014) with previous experience in management consulting and digital marketing and Bachelor in Business Administration. IE students and alumni interested in working at Accenture can reach him with any questions through his LinkedIn page: www.linkedin.com/in/markuskerbs.
What do you do as a Consultant at Accenture Interactive? What are your responsibilities?
I work at Accenture Interactive, a part of Accenture Digital, which primarily focuses on topics from marketing strategy, analytics, and customer experience to campaign and content management, as well as e-commerce. (For those of you who may be wondering, yes, we are hiring!)
My first project dealt with managing a digital transformation of an international bank. Currently, I am working with a client in the global fast-moving consumer goods industry. My team develops and enhances our client’s web analytics infrastructure and processes across its brands and campaigns. More precisely, I manage a team in India, which conducts the reporting workflow alongside running the ongoing web analytics infrastructure. Furthermore, I am involved in several projects which are aimed at further improving web analytics capabilities, such that they generate actionable insights, which in turn improve customer satisfaction and marketing ROI.
In addition to an individual’s ongoing projects, Accenture offers employees the possibility to be involved in a variety of other fields. I recently joined a search expert team (incl. SEO) as well a campus team, which focuses on further promoting Accenture on universities and recruiting new talent.
What was the Accenture recruiting process like for you? How did you first contact Accenture?
The recruiting process consisted of three interviews. However, it all started with sending an email with a short introduction and a couple of questions to the recruiting team of Accenture Digital. (By the way, Accenture has an online career portal that every applicant should actually use.) Afterwards, I proactively called the respective recruiting department several times to check my application status, until I finally received an invitation for a telephone interview. Sometimes I was afraid of being too pushy, but it obviously didn’t hurt. The interview consisted of a self-introduction, a couple of questions regarding my CV & development, how I behaved/would behave in certain situations and finally a case study related to a digital transformation. Afterwards, I received an invitation for an onsite interview. The onsite interview consisted of two one-hour interviews with both directors. These interviews were focused on my personality, development, digital affinity and knowledge of digital trends. All in all, I was very impressed with the positive and inspiring atmosphere during all of the interviews, which certainly made my decision to choose to work for Accenture Digital an easy one. Today, I can certainly say that my impression was not mistaken, as the people and culture at Accenture continue to be truly amazing! I suggest everyone take these factors, prospective coworkers and company culture, into thoughtful consideration, as they will ultimately determine both your happiness and success in the workplace.
How did the MIM Program prepare you for your position at Accenture?
I am sure all IE students have heard this a trillion times, but the international atmosphere and the discussion with colleagues from all over the world definitely nurtures a global mindset. Also, the intense group work and numerous presentations during the MIM program are a great replica of the work situation in a consulting firm. Given the fact that the MIM Program is packed with a variety of challenges, tasks and opportunities, I needed to prioritize constantly, which is obviously a very important skill for a consultant as well.
With regards to the content of the MIM Program, while the first two periods strengthened my business foundation, the 3rd period really helped to enhance my understanding of key digital trends, key concepts/language and most importantly it allowed me to further develop my digital business mindset, if you will.
Furthermore, it was a truly fun and insightful experience to take part in the Global Immersion Week in Silicon Valley and get the chance to get to know and have discussions with companies such as Google, Twitter, Oracle as well as plenty of tech startups.
What is your advice for current MIM students who dream of working at a place like Accenture Digital?
Stop dreaming and apply to Accenture – did I mention that we are hiring?!
Ok, here is a ‘No-Brainer’: Take the time to follow the news on relevant topics and try to apply the ideas/concepts you are learning. If something doesn’t fully make sense to you, simply ask or challenge your professor or peers. In general, I personally believe that I learnt quite a lot with regard to discussions, argumentations and quickly connecting the dots by challenging my professors. Though, some students may choose not to do so, I encourage everyone to speak up, share their ideas and challenge peers and professors during courses, since the classrooms of IE Business School might be the last ‘safe’ place to make mistakes – you will be better off making mistakes during the program and learning from them, rather than during your professional career.
Especially with regard to Accenture Digital, students should take advantage of the possibilities IE offers, from the Digital Business specialization, to many lectures/trainings by guest speakers and the Global Immersion Week in San Francisco.
Students should also be aware that simply completing a master’s degree program from a prestigious institution such as IE Business School may not be enough. To truly achieve one’s career goals, one must take an active role. Everyone should try to differentiate themselves with developing certain key skills and becoming an expert in specific topics – you really don’t want to be mishmash in a nice packaging.
What do you think was the key to your successful job search?
I am not going to elaborate on phrases such as ‘be yourself’ or ‘dress for success’ or something like that, but of course, I did my homework, such as practicing case studies with peers (I found this really improved my structured thinking, which helps me almost every day), making sure that I got decent grades and preparing an awesome application. I also ‘practiced’ a couple of real job interviews with Tier 2 targets before I applied to my desired favorites (at least now this is what I think I did).
All in all, I believe it was my coherent personal story and rather unique professional skill set, alongside my studies at IE that led to a successful job search. I started building this foundation many years ago, but above all, it is important how you go about telling your own personal story and put together its single pieces in a way that is interesting and unique to both you and your prospective employer. Additionally, I chose specific personal experiences and hobbies and above all an application, which I believe helped me stand out amongst a pool of other highly qualified candidates. It may sound a bit abstract, but I also figured out that interviewers are more interested in the interviewee’s experiences and point of view of situations, such as how one coped with challenges and what would one do differently today, than merely describing procedures and circumstances.
How do you see your position at Accenture fitting into your long-term career aspirations?
Given the fact that Accenture is the biggest consulting firm in the world, rapidly growing and leading in plenty of relevant fields (you can actually google that), there are unlimited opportunities for me. Accenture offers individuals the chance to become an expert in general topics, such as Innovation Strategy, or in a very specialized niche topic, such as search optimization of internal knowledge sharing platforms. At the same time, Accenture employees can also devote themselves to certain industries, such as becoming an expert of digital transformation in the banking industry.
At the moment, my professional goal is to learn as much as possible in the Digital Business/Marketing landscape and gain further valuable experience in the international consulting environment. Nonetheless, my personal life takes on a very important role as well. Fortunately, Accenture Digital allows me to accommodate both.
In the end, the people here at Accenture are simply a pleasure to work with and the support newcomers receive from the community is amazing. I am convinced that everyone at Accenture would agree: it is the culture what makes Accenture a truly awesome company to work for.
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