Emma is a Design Experience Senior Analyst at Accenture. She joined Accenture in 2019 through the MyPlus Students’ Club insight day programme. Emma also has a congenital neuromuscular condition.
It’s been almost three years since I was in a room full of nervous graduates getting an introduction to Accenture as part of the Tech Vision recruitment programme. At the time, I thought HTML was short for Hotmail, but I was curious about what a career in technology would look like and the opportunities that a company like Accenture could offer. Now, almost three years and a global pandemic later, I’ve learnt an incredible amount, including what HTML really is. I’ve been able to work on a variety of projects involving new technology like Conversational AI and make an impact working with a variety of different clients. I’ve also met hundreds of incredible people and have had invaluable mentorship and leadership support.
This year, I also officially aligned to an exciting new DesignOps team to work towards my goal of specialising in product design. The past three years would have been very different had I not signed up to the MyPlus Students’ Club newsletter and been connected through their team to Accenture.
What are the key employability skills to have?
The ability and eagerness to learn, being able to learn new skills or subject matter knowledge is incredibly valuable, particularly in consultancy work. The technology industry is also continuously evolving and developing, so being able to keep up with the industry-leading skills and technology is essential.
Teamwork means understanding your role in a team, your influence on key team deliverables, and working collaboratively. It’s a core foundation skill to most jobs.
Whether you’re presenting a PowerPoint to your team or delivering a keynote speech, storytelling skills will help connect your audience, instil trust and lead to more effective decision-making and progress.
What unique skills and strengths has your disability given you which have been an asset in the workplace?
Asking for Help: As part of my disability, I’ve often been in situations where I’ve had no choice but to ask someone for help, such as when I drop something that I can’t pick up. This experience has taught me that there is absolutely no shame in asking for help, and often it can make the process of reaching your end goal a lot quicker. In the workplace, this means not spending too long struggling to do something, and being able to ask a colleague to show you how or take on the action themselves if that is their domain.
Empathy: Being empathetic and understanding what motivates people or how they act can be very impactful in the workplace. I believe understanding the emotions of others starts with understanding your own. My disability has given me strong self-awareness skills, and these can be very useful in ensuring I am empathetic at work.
Stress Management: Unfortunately, you can’t schedule when your disability might flare up. This experience, particularly in the past two years, has given me the opportunity to significantly improve my stress management skills. Being able to rapidly re-prioritise and communicate any changes in your circumstances to those you work with is a very helpful skill to ensure you can manage any workplace stress and communicate effectively with those around you.
What advice would you give to disabled students applying for graduate positions or going through the recruitment process?
Often disability can be seen as a negative connotation, and the medical model of disability focuses on what you cannot do. I would advise graduates to believe in themselves and their capabilities, focus on your strengths and create constructive plans to improve any development areas.
Additionally, when I graduated, I limited my goals under the assumption that I couldn’t achieve as much as my peers as I had a disability. Applying the social model of disability, disability-related limits are imposed by the environment around us. This environment and its accessibility for your needs will often significantly vary depending on the company, the city, or the role. I would strongly encourage graduates to set their goals regardless of disability, and instead have a list of your access requirements that you need your environment to provide for you to reach your goals.