How to Survive the Accenture Challenge

The Accenture Challenge, the most stressful week of the first semester for most CICS students.  The Challenge is a week long case study, teams get the challenge on Monday and have until Friday morning to complete the case.  The major twist is that on Thursday night there is a change to the challenge, something that makes people rethink how they completed the case.  Tensions run high as this Challenge involves 5 total team members and little to no sleep.  This post will shine some light on how to succeed and make it through the Accenture Challenge.

Starting out the Challenge teams get the RFP (Request For Proposal) this outlines what the organization wants from each team.  The RFP will be very convoluted and teams must analyze the RFP to break down what they think the organization needs.  After each member of the team has read the RFP try and break the team into their varying roles.  It’s important to have a manager that knows most aspects of the RFP this will make the sections of the RFP transition seamlessly when it is time to present the solution.

Tuesday and Wednesday are dedicated to completing the case. In a perfect world going into Thursday night’s class the case would be almost done except for the twist that occurs on Thursday night.  Try and have the proposal mostly done by the time Thursday night comes around.

When Thursday night rolls around be prepared to work all night.  If the teams solution is not affected very much by the twist in the challenge then clean it up a little and start focusing on the presentation.   The presentation is just as important as the proposal.  Focus on what the RFP actually wants for instance this years Challenge was focused on guest’s satisfaction with a cruise ship.  Make sure that the teams presentation is catered to the main focus of the RFP.

When it comes to the presentation the judges are going to try and fluster each team, throwing them off guard with all sorts of questions they are not usually keen on answering.  Practicing these questions beforehand is an essential task because the questions that teams would think never would be asked will be.  Overall the case needs to be complete, think about every little aspect of the case and try and reflect that to the judges.

This is a learning experience and it should be treated as one.  This is a tough project but it helps build everyone as professionals.  At the end of the day the case is worth 10% of ICS 601 grade and should be treated like an academic project.  If you are a winner of the Challenge do not let winning get to your head, you’ll never be the smartest in the room and once you realize that you can begin to learn.  Good luck and go get ’em!

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