A great future for RPA

Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Marissa Jaggan and inspires her on a daily basis? How has Mark Ruiter's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Javier Leonor made in his life? Through a series of portraits, we answer these questions and introduce you to our people: those who make Accenture the thriving company that it is.

Introducing Heather Munthe, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Business Analyst at Accenture

Born and raised in Sweden, Heather moved to Australia to study at the age of 23. It was a life-changing experience. After graduating with her Master’s in Psychology, she ended up working in IT, a move that turned out to be just as life-changing. ‘To have people doing monotonous, repetitive work is a real waste of resources and energy; if we get robots to do these kinds of tasks, humans can take on much more meaningful work.’ 

‘As a young girl, I already knew that I wanted to study outside of Sweden. My family traveled a lot when I was a kid, so I got a taste for foreign exploration early on in my life. In 2007, I boarded a plane to Brisbane to study psychology at the University of Queensland. Coming from a family of healthcare practitioners – my father is a psychiatrist and my mom is a psychiatric nurse – this route felt like a natural choice.’

The next step

‘In 2012, I moved from Brisbane to Maastricht to complete my Master’s in Health Psychology. Once I wrapped that up, I needed to decide on my next step. One of the most inconvenient things about the psychologist profession is that you only get a license to practice your profession in the country where you graduate. The problem was, at that time, I had no idea where I wanted to stay long-term. I enjoyed living in Maastricht, but was I really going to stay there? I figured I’d get a job in the meantime while I worked out what my next move was going to be.’ 

‘It was in that “in between things” job where I realized that I was actually pretty good at process management and that I really liked working with software like SAP. When I found out that Accenture was hiring RPA Business Analysts, it felt like the perfect opportunity for me.’

"The moments I love the most are the ones when we’re really making things happen."

A slightly unique angle

‘My background in psychology definitely serves as a good foundation in my job today. As I studied the human mind, I feel better prepared to interact with different types of people in different situations. As a Business Analyst, you need to extract information, and collaborate with people about processes and systems in different situations, so the fact that I have a background in understanding how people think ultimately helps me to communicate with them better. This means I often approach my work from a particular angle and tend to think differently from others sometimes. I hope this adds value to the teams I work with and the solutions we propose.’

‘The working environment at Accenture Technology is very fast paced. People tend to associate this sort of dynamic with stress, but I don’t see it that way. For me, it’s good to keep moving. I don’t like it when things stagnate. Of course, it’s best if there’s a healthy mix of busy and slow days, but the moments I love the most are the ones when we’re really making things happen. I call this eagerness to keep pushing forward the “bite” – it’s a reflection of my can’t-sit-still personality.’ 

A reason for excitement

‘Ultimately, the purpose of RPA is to automate tasks in order to free up human time. While the thought of automation makes some people nervous, I only see opportunities. There are a number of complex tasks that only humans can do, and technology will never be able to replicate these. An example is people’s ability to connect with others. Robots simply cannot mimic a person’s ability to build relationships, in business contexts or otherwise. That’s why it’s a pity to have people who are capable of so much more performing repetitive, mind-numbing tasks that can be done by robots. We could all benefit from humans being given the room to devote their energy to more valuable work. Of course, this means that people need to be re-skilled for different jobs, but it’s more than worth prioritizing this. I believe we, as a population, need to move away from the mentality of doing jobs solely out of financial necessity, while not giving much thought to what the job entails. We should remember that we have so much more to offer than merely the skills to perform simple work.’

‘Aside from Accenture’s dynamics and how positively I feel about RPA’s future, I also love the logistical side of my job – the fact that I can work from our offices in both Heerlen and Brussels. Every week I leave for Brussels on Monday mornings and return to Maastricht on Wednesdays. I’ll work from home on Thursdays, and then head into the Heerlen office on Fridays. As I have always lived in bigger cities, the chaos in Brussels feels like home to me, but at the same time, I also enjoy the calm of Maastricht and Heerlen just as much. As a person who tends to be fairly restless, I find my job is ideal in that it offers me the best of both worlds.’

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The cosmopolitan allure

‘Right now, Maastricht is what I consider home. I chose to study here mainly because of the high number of international students present. For a small town, Maastricht is surprisingly international – and no, it’s not only filled with German students. One of the things I love most about living in such a small town is that everything is so close by. There aren’t many places in the world where friends can call to invite you to dinner in 20 minutes and you can actually make it on time – easily. Even better, if I wanted to, I could drive to Aachen for lunch or enjoy breakfast in Belgium.’

‘Aside from the international buzz, I also love the diversity of nature around Maastricht. Nothing calms me down more than going for a walk in nature, often with my boyfriend, Adam – it’s the combination of us chatting away and being outdoors that does wonders for the mind. We met in 2014 at an improvisation theater group and after being friends for a long time, we started dating in early 2019. He’s doing his PhD in economics at Maastricht University and he’s just the sweetest.’

‘I go back to Sweden every year for Christmas, and if my vacation days allow for it, I try to squeeze in a visit over Easter and maybe the summer, too. Aside from my family and friends, there’s nothing I really miss about Sweden...except for lingonberry jam – the one they sell at IKEA simply isn’t as good as what you can get back home.’

Heather Munthe (1983)

Studied: MSc Health Psychology, Maastricht University (2013) 

Started working at Accenture: August 2018

Relationship status: Dating Adam

Loves: To dance

Gets annoyed by: Slow people, and slowness in general 

Favorite food: Iranian food – I grew up with an Iranian stepmother

On my nightstand: My phone and a book: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Listens to: 70’s Funk

Last purchase: Two bags of souvenirs for friends and family members bought in India where I visited for a wedding, and a consecutive short sty in the Emirates

Would like to sit next to in the plane: Robin Williams. He was one of my first comedy loves as a child, and from what I’ve read he was a genuinely interesting and fantastic person

Life-changing event: Leaving Sweden 

The best lesson life has taught me: Even in the worst moments, there will always be something in you that can lift you up and still give you joy. For me, that thing is dancing

What I learned recently: During my last work evaluation I learned I need to know how to promote myself better. As I am the sort of person who has always associated it with boasting, some re-framing needs to be done. I could definitely benefit from a crash course with Adam as he’s very good at self-promoting in a level-headed way

Most beautiful place on earth: Currimundi Beach, Queensland (Australia) – right where Coondibah Creek enters the Pacific Ocean.

Hobbies/passions: Dancing, music and singing

What nobody knows about me: I’ve studied belly dancing since I was 12 years old

Life motto: Non Temetis Messor

Related opportunities

  • Would you be confident enough in your knowledge to advise a company to follow a full digital transformation? Maybe Strategy & Consulting could be a good fit for you
  • Do you think you would enjoy finding effective solutions for complex technology implementation problems? Then maybe you would be great in Operations or Technology
  • Would you want to explore the possibilities that come with new technologies or develop fantastic user experiences? Try Interactive or Technology


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