Shaheen Shares Her Growth Story At Accenture
Shaheen Bhardwaj, a senior manager with Financial Services at Accenture in India tells us about her journey and how she took the plunge into a challenging role and found the potential for career growth.
“I started with Accenture Consulting in 2008 as an analyst in the Strategy practice and have grown to senior manager now. The first four years were intense—I worked on projects in areas such as corporate finance, pricing, profitability optimization and customer experience.
When I became a manager, I decided to specialize in an industry. At the time, I was doing a project with the World Bank and started finding Financial Services fascinating, which is what triggered my move into the practice. Within Financial Services, I have handled projects in areas such as digital banking, payments, regulatory compliance and risk management. Currently, I am responsible for both sales and project delivery for some of our key banking clients.”
Most exciting part of the work
I love the fact that my role at Accenture in India gives me the opportunity to travel across the globe and work with clients from different cultures—across geographies and time zones. It has given me an opportunity to develop a greater appreciation of our clients and their varied working styles.
Professional growth at Accenture in India
I started at Accenture in India more than eight years ago, straight out of business school. In the first four years the projects I worked on gave me the opportunity to apply myself and develop skills in delivery and client management. As I moved up the ladder, I needed to develop a big-picture, client-centric view. Developing people skills and becoming better at planning and managing teams became crucial.
Accenture Consulting provides me an intellectually stimulating and rewarding career. From a professional perspective, it is an ideal training ground to develop leadership skills and gives you the opportunity to understand multiple business functions. Accenture has a very positive work culture that helps you achieve your full potential. Some of the trainings I have received, such as the Strategy College in Chicago, provided me with great learning and networking opportunities.
From a personal perspective, the high point of my career has been that during my tenure at Accenture, I have worked with 10 Fortune 500 clients across five different countries and have developed some long-term and rewarding client relationships that I know I will nurture throughout my career.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the course of my career:
Client success is key: Develop a long-term relationship with your clients, fully understand their problems and find new ways to add more value.
Gain trust and form a network: Develop excellent trust-based relationships with people on your project teams; they will eventually grow to form your network which will be your most valuable asset.
Always give your best: Delivering high quality work is critical.
Keep an eye on market trends: You must be able to understand and share your perspective on emerging trends in your industry with your clients.
Look out for these factors when starting out fresh in your career
Go for growth: Always choose opportunities that challenges you intellectually and provide potential for accelerated growth. Even if you work in mature divisions or firms, look for teams and projects that have the potential for growth. These opportunities will challenge you and will turn out to be rewarding.
Be bold and ambitious: I believe women often work much harder to prove their mettle. Despite that, they hold back in aggressively reaching out for opportunities, asking for a promotion or negotiating a higher salary, often thinking about how they will be perceived. Women should be bold and ambitious when it comes to creating the best career possible for themselves.
Be flexible: It is important in these times to be as flexible as possible. So often, women hold back when they are required to travel for long durations on projects or take on more challenging projects when they are planning a family. Having an open mind and evaluating the opportunity when it comes is more important than approaching certain career situations with preconceived notions. Sometimes, all it needs is taking the plunge to discover your full potential.