Working at Accenture: How Much Does A “Partner” Make?

Nice! Are there drawbacks to this program? Of course. He continues:

“It takes 15-20 years of consistently excellent performance to reach the vaunted level of Partner Managing Director at this firm. One or two bad years and you’re out of the running. Why? Because for each bad year, you pretty much need to have three exceptionally good years to erase the black mark.

The Partners want to appoint new Partners as young as possible so that they can contribute for as many years as possible. This way, the firm gets the best return on their investment (in you). Ideally, they want you to stick around as a partner for approximately 20 years so you really need to get appointed no later than the time you reach the age of 45. This leaves very little margin for error throughout your career.

As a result, most aspiring partners know if they get a less-than-stellar review even just one year, they are pretty much out of the running for Partner. And they usually start to polish off their resumes at this point. By the way, the firm goes out of its way to help place you in a high level position so that you can become a potential client in the future.”

Similar thing happens at Accenture. I was suddenly flooded with recruiter inquiries a couple months ago. I wondered aloud to a colleague why I was suddenly getting so many calls from random recruiters. He pointed out that Fall is “recruiting season” at Accenture. Accenture pays out annual bonuses in the early Fall. Your rating and bonus determine whether you are on a likely Partner trajectory or not.

If you want (or need) to get off the fast track to partner, this is a good time to consider it. Recruiters know this and are eager to get you to leave your job at Accenture and take a sweet job elsewhere. And let me tell you the jobs are definitely sweet!

Here are a few examples of the types of jobs that recruiters pitched me last year: CTO for a fast growing technology startup that has started the IPO process; A large IT shop that is well on the path to transforming to a cloud services model needed someone to create a “sales organization” to sell their services to their internal lines of business; An established company that needs a leader to begin their cloud transformation process. I could go on.


Is It Worth It?

Money ain’t everything, brother. I doubt that the majority of people who make it to Managing Director at Accenture do it just for the money. Honestly, there are easier ways to make a buck. The challenge, prestige and recognition are probably what drive most people to strive for partnership at a firm like Accenture.

I think the question you have to ask yourself if you are considering this career track for yourself is: are the sacrifices worth the rewards? You will travel a lot. You will spend a lot of time in airports and hotel rooms. You will miss your kids’ soccer practice and piano recitals frequently. As a friend nicely put it, you have to “put your personal life on auto-pilot.”

And when you’re working in a distant city, there’s not much else to do but work work work. Clients can be difficult and adopt a blame-the-consultant-first policy when the shit hits the fan. And the shit ALWAYS hits the fan. How you work your way out of the mess is what determines whether you are “partner material” or not.

As my career counselor explained to me (we don’t have supervisors or direct reports at Accenture) as he and I were preparing for the 2012 laddering calls last Spring, “whether you want to be Partner or not, we use the exact same criteria to determine your annual bonus…so might as well give it a shot.” Good advice.


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49 thoughts on “Working at Accenture: How Much Does A “Partner” Make?

  1. I work there but let’s face it: it’s 3rd tier firm, making MD in this company is simply not worth it.
    You could get better money in IT without being a corporate slave, so use your time wisely while you’re there and jump the ship.

  2. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am inspired!
    Very useful information specifically the last phase 🙂 I care for such info a lot.

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  4. Hello Asif,
    You have some great insights on your blog. Appreciate all the effort you have put in to elaborate on the hiring process and life at Accenture. I am in the final stages of hopefully of getting an offer as a Sr Mgr from Accenture in the industrial sector. I am currently a mid level mgr with 15 years of experience in large public company and starting an exec MBA. I was hoping for some insights from you on getting in at the right level and possible career paths in Accenture. Would love to have the opportunity to chat with you on these aspects.


  5. Hey Asif,
    Just stumbled upon your blog – it’s great to find such a mix of technical, career, and general life posts!

    I’m currently a student interested in working for Accenture. You mentioned exit opportunities that recruiters had for you – do you know what opportunities are potentially available for those at the Consultant level looking to leave? I only ask this because I know consulting is a lifestyle and if I were to work there and a couple years in find I’m not able to handle the travel, I’m interested to know what my exit opps would be.


    1. Corey, first of all, if you don’t have a family at home then the traveling can be pretty great. You will definitely enjoy if you get into a good project and good team. But if you want to leave after a few years, there are lots of opportunities available to you. The key is to work with your career counselor and determine the best path for you. At Accenture, you don’t have a manager or direct reports. You have a career counselor and, depending on your seniority, you will have some counselees. I had a group of analysts, consultants and managers for whom I was their counselor. I was very open with my counselees that they should decide whether they want to be a consulting lifer (some did) or if they want to stay a few years and then move onto something else (others preferred this path). I helped them develop the right skills, networks, knowledge and training to help them in their chosen track. In addition, if you are active on LinkedIn, no doubt you will have recruiters calling you regularly. There is no formal outplacement process at Accenture but the Alumni Network is very active and strong. Good luck to you and thanks for reading!


      Asif Khan

  6. Hi Asif,
    Thanks for sharing this valuable information. I am joining Accenture as a senior Analyst IT operations. I believe Accenture recently changed their hierarchy. Could you please tell me if its a team lead position?

    1. trust me as i tell you this, now 10 months into accenture: at this company, you can be the most senor guy in your division and manage a project solely on your own, or you can be 2 days into an analyst position and manage a team of 30. you have to take it one day at a time. accenture wants you think of yourself as your own company in a big marketplace – sometimes companies have lots of people working for them, sometimes they don’t, but every day you have to create value, operate effectively, and develop people. that has almost nothing to do with hierarchy or job title, no matter what people might say.

      1. That’s a good point, Will! My very first role when I joined Accenture as a Senior Manager was to fill in as an Executive Director of IT for one of my clients. I managed a team of 125 people. The next project, I had no direct reports. It is entirely up to you what level of leadership you take on (and persuade others to trust you with). One of my colleagues joined the firm as a Consultant and was immediately thrust in a long term role managing a team of 4 people. She was promoted to manager within a year. Don’t worry too much about the title (although most people at Accenture seem to be very aware of titles) and just do work that you enjoy and that challenges you. You will do just fine.


        Asif Khan

    2. Hi, I believe this role is in a different organization than where I worked. However, I checked with one of my friends who happens to have the same title. He said that this is equivalent to a Consultant role. When you are on board, you can ask if you are in the consulting or services organization. If in consulting, then this is an Analyst role. If services, I think it is a LevelC. In services, the hierarchy goes from LevelE (entry level) to LevelA (most senior role below Managing Director). Hope this helps.


      Asif Khan

  7. Hey Asif!

    Thank you for your insightful article. I was recently offered a position at Accenture and accepted the offer. I have a question regarding one of your paragraphs though, you said “… I was suddenly flooded with recruiter inquiries a couple months ago. I wondered aloud to a colleague why I was suddenly getting so many calls. He pointed out that Fall is “recruiting season” at Accenture. Bonuses are paid out in the early Fall. Your rating and bonus determine whether you are on a likely Partner trajectory or not….. Recruiters are eager to place you into some pretty sweet non-consulting jobs.”

    I’m not quite getting what you’re saying in these two paragraphs. So are you saying Fall is the recruiting season because a lot of people leave Accenture due to their realization that they won’t get promoted? Also, what do you mean by “Recruiters are eager to place you into some pretty sweet non-consulting jobs.” Thanks again for your awesome article!

    1. You’re right! That is a confusing passage. I just rewrote it. Tell me what you think now. You are correct in your assumptions. The work experience you get at Accenture is like catnip to recruiters so if you put in your time, you will learn a lot and your resume will look amazing and employers are willing to pay top dollar for that experience. Not everyone leaves because they just realized they won’t make partner. I recently left the firm because I wasn’t really interested in the time-consuming process of campaigning to become a Managing Director…and the even more time-consuming job of actually BEING a Managing Director! Many leave to “spend more time with family.” It sounds like a cliche but it is a definite reality. At least it was for me…


      Asif Khan

  8. My close friend is a Senior Managing Director (this level is not mentioned explicitly above) and e route to be promoted. Promotion levels include CIO -USA, CIO-Global, etc. Love to see the compensation associated with those. Well above the $340K USD level.

    1. John, you’re right. There are multiple levels of Managing Director. I didn’t dive too deeply into it in this post because I was concerned about whether this was publicly available information or not. There are 4 levels of MD and each level has 3 sublevels. You start at Level 4.3 then you get promoted to 4.2, 4.1, 3.3, 3.2, 3.1. Once you hit Level 2, you become a Sr MD. Then you keep going from 2.3 to 2.2, 2.1 to 1.3, 1.2, 1.1. Once you reach the SMD level, you either eventually join the Global Leadership Team at Accenture or leave the firm to become a VP- or C-level executive at one of our clients. Not a bad career path! By the way, are you John G in Dallas?

    2. John, one more thing. Regardless of which level of MD you are at, your total comp will be higher than the amount you mention in your comment. You have to count the non-cash, long term compensation. That is typically far more lucrative than the salary, as is typical with most executive compensation plans.

  9. Dear Asif,

    Thank you for sharing! I am currently an engineering undergraduate considering a career in consultancy. My mentor recommended me to consider Accenture. Like Dean, I have done my due diligent online and networked with a couple of Accenture representative (I have to honest, mostly are Analysts). I noticed that there are slight variation of Accenture culture for different country.

    Would you share with me about what you deemed as consistent characteristics (be it culture, mentoring system, etc) which distinguish Accenture from its competitors? It would be such an honor for me to get a more big-picture feedback from a Senior Executive like you, sir :).

    1. Jeanny, I have not worked in other countries but I have had the opportunity to meet people who have had international assignments or are based in other countries. I must say that Accenture does a great job of communicating its core values so that there is a remarkable consistency among Accenture associates in different countries while allowing enough flexibility to accommodate different cultures. Everyone I have met, without exception, is smart, articulate, passionate, competent and friendly. I was in a training class last year with associates from Russia, Australia, Japan, UAE, Brazil, etc. We did several role-playing exercises and it was fascinating to see how people from different cultures approach the same problem.

      I hope this helps. I strongly recommend you speak with analysts in the geography where you are interested in working. They will give you the best sense of what it is like to work at Accenture day to day.


      Asif Khan

      1. I can weigh in here a bit as well – The Abu Dhabi/Dubai division is (I have to believe) one of Accenture’s most heterogeneous, as it has been staffed up Accenture people from all over the world looking to make a career change, and then as well as been augmented by local hiring.

        At any given point, there could be 10 or 15 nationalities represented in the office!

        It is indeed the case that, as you would expect, different people manage both their tactical and strategic approaches differently depending on where they are from. But it is also fascinating to see, as a new-hire, that indeed the Accenture transfers from all over the world all stick to Accenture’s core-values and Accenture’s Way.

        That is so critical in an emerging market like the Middle East where you have to be extra clear about rights, responsibilities, ethics and compliance.

      2. Will, good point about ethics and compliance. We are required to take ethics and compliance courses twice a year. Accenture takes this issue VERY seriously. I once met a consultant from a country that, shall we say, has a less than stellar reputation for ethics and compliance in their business dealings. This consultant told me that Accenture is one firm, it is understood and widely recognized in his country, that you don’t mess with. No bribes. No corruption. No impropriety of any kind. That fact alone made me very proud to work for this company!


        Asif Khan

      3. Dear Will and Asif,

        Thank you so much for the feedback! I have set a couple of coffee appointments with Accenture analysts as Asif suggested. And Will, thank you for the reminder to always double check relevant office’s term of conducts. I am honestly very excited about the company, after interacting with Accenture role models like you both.

        I wish to ask for another suggestion from you both:
        As a biomedical engineer who are preparing myself for a job in management consulting (preferably in health & public service), what would be a good step to do? Is there any courses or books you would recommend?

      4. Jeanny, I don’t know of any courses or books in particular that I would recommend to prepare for your chosen career path. However, I recently read a book called The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. I highly recommend it. It is related to your interests. Also, I don’t know what country you are in, but in the US, the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”) is a huge catalyst for change in Health Care. I recommend learning about that and other government initiatives that will require major transformation in the Public Service space. This type of industry knowledge will be a huge plus when you interview at Accenture. But the key is to get the job offer. Accenture will teach you everything else you need to know 🙂


        Asif Khan

    2. Dear Asif,

      Thank you so much for the tips and book recommendation. Would definitely check it out! 🙂

      I live in Singapore, and was fortunate to enjoy an education in HSA (Singapore equivalent of FDA) regulations and patent due diligent evolving around medical devices development. I hope it can set me apart from my interviewee competitors :).

      Hope you have a pleasant week ahead. And again, please let me express my sincere gratitude for your kind responses and guidance.

      Warmest Regards,
      Jeanny Haliman

  10. Asif

    I was given an offer by Accenture (which I have accepted). Before accepted the offer I did a large amount of research on Accenture’s culture, policy’s and career methodology. Part of that due diligence was your vaporware blog. You did a very good job in explaining the upward mobility of the company and the need to build a peer group around you. This blog post about “Working at Accenture: A day in the life” was partially interesting and gave good insight about the company. I believe our motivations for joining Accenture are very close. I also possess a deep technology background but the current job I was in I out grew and was unable to take my career to the next level. You really instilled the need to “network network network” with everyone in order to be successful.

    One of the things after reading many glassdoor reviews and reviews around the web I see as a constant challenge is the assimilation of new experienced hires. How have you overcome this challenge? What parts of Accenture’s business process are the most challenging for experienced hires not born inside of the culture? How does Accenture’s delivery methodology for projects differ from the industry normal? Any general advice also is most welcome.

    Once again Thank you so much for publishing a great blog, it really serves as a window inside the company.

    1. Dane, first of all congratulations on joining a great organization! Second, if you get to know me, you will quickly realize that I love to talk and give unsolicited advice…which is probably why I started the blog in the first place :-). After you have gone through the onboarding process, give me a call. I’ll talk your ear off!


      Asif Khan

  11. asif – enjoyed your analysis. i’ve just recently joined the abu dhabi office in mc at manager-level. finding the whole thing fascinating. if you’re ever in my neighborhood, drop me a line.

  12. Good insights to ACN, thanks ! Now I hear friends and recruiters also portraying that sr. managers are considered as executives, as noted in offering letter, and also that’s why the next stop for a sr.manager is sr. executive (or MD now)….wonder if they will rename the role sr. manager too..

    1. Jamal, ACN changed SE to MD to be aligned with the other major consulting firms. I know that Deloitte and PwC, among others, use the term Director for the ACN equivalent of Sr Mgr. So I expect that change to come to ACN at some point. Yes, a Sr Mgr is considered an executive role. I’m not too hung up on titles but it would be good to have a consistent title structure across the major firms.


      Asif Khan

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