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Real Humans of Accenture: James Morris, Indiana Kelley ’20, Strategy & Consulting Manager

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Pivoting from finance to a career in consulting isn’t easy. It requires the skills and experiences only available through a quality MBA program. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, James Morris describes his journey from financial analyst to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and finally to a strategy and consulting career at Accenture.

James Morris, Indiana Kelley MBA ’20, Strategy & Consulting Manager at Accenture

Age: 33
Hometown:  Houston
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Brigham Young University
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Kelley School of Business (2020 graduation) Data Analytics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2014-2018 FP&A for BP

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I wanted to change from Finance to a career in consulting.

Why Kelley? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I wanted 3 things. 1) A program where I could focus specifically on building real-world consulting skills 2) International consulting opportunities to satisfy my desire to work on a global level, 3) strong ROI / lowest cost for a top-tier MBA

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
I was able to lead several consulting projects that helped me learn the skills needed in consulting. The two most important to me were 1) leading a team of 5 to work with a Public REIT to rethink their portfolio strategy and 2) leading two global consulting groups (was the leader of the consulting projects with companies in Indonesia and Brazil).

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I worked for Accenture’s Management Consulting group in Houston. I did a project for a global Oil Field Services firm, and through the short 3 months, I learned I really enjoyed consulting. Once I was extended the offer, I knew it would be a great career for me.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I chose to work at Accenture because I believe in the mission, and I believe Accenture has a unique position as a consultancy because we can confidently say we can support strategy to execution. We also have capabilities in technology that truly set us apart from our peers. I also love the people at Accenture. I get to work with smart, kind, diverse, and compassionate people every day.

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
It has made it easier to stay in consulting. Having a family and being on the road isn’t ideal, but consulting has made remote work much easier and more acceptable, which means I can spend more time with my family and less time in a hotel!

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Make a handful of good connections quickly. I find that deep connections are more likely to be an aid in the job search process than dozens of mediocre connections.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Really push your comfort zone and be your advocate. I think I could have done that better at times.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Not really.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
You won’t remember what you learned, but you will remember the experiences you had, the skills you developed, and the friends you make. I would have spent a little less time stressing the first semester, and I would have spent a little more time with my classmates in the last semester.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.