Master of your own destiny
Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Hester Prins and inspires her on a daily basis? How has William de Waard's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Melissa Cheung made in her 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 Marissa Jaggan, HCM Consultant at Accenture Netherlands.
Growing up, she wasn’t too keen on the fact that her father, who was a business consultant, had to work long hours. Now, just a few years later, she finds herself repeating history. Combine that with the gentleness and protective nature of her mother, and you have a clear picture of Marissa Jaggan.
‘Veterinarian, professional dancer, teacher: I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to become, so it all blurred together at some point. In high-school I finally made up my mind: I was going to be a doctor. Helping people and curing illnesses seemed to be pretty good life goals to have. However, after a short internship where I got to job shadow somebody who worked in a hospital, I quickly realized it wasn’t for me.’
‘When it was time to apply for university, I kind of threw caution to the wind a bit and randomly enrolled in Psychology. I didn’t have my mind set on becoming a psychologist, but I thought it would be an interesting subject nonetheless. I was right; it was fantastic! It felt like the years just flew by, and I studied really hard and achieved great marks, mostly because I was genuinely interested in and fascinated by what I had to learn. After earning my Bachelor’s degree, I chose to do my Masters in Work & Organizational Psychology. It turned out to be the right choice for me.’
‘The possibility to be the “master of your own destiny” is what drew me to accept Accenture’s offer in April 2016. I was fresh from leaving Capgemini Consulting, where I had already been working with Workday for one and a half years. That was definitely a golden opportunity because I was working with an HR & Finance Cloud Solution system that had only been on the European market for a few years. It made me somewhat of an expert. Today, Workday is absolutely booming, and that makes my job that much more interesting.’
‘It might sound clichéd, but it’s true: I learn something new every day on the job. Also, no two days are the same: I can go from hosting full-day design workshops one day to configuring or finding new ways to work in the system the next, all while having (prospect) client and team member consultations or job interviews with candidates scheduled for the day after that. Currently, I am working for a client in Brussels, where they call it “a ticket to talk to Marissa”. Since I’m often busy, they “collect” all their questions for me, so once I am actually in the building, they all queue and make jokes about who's up next, which depends on their ticket number.’
Finger on the Pulse
‘I have been responsible for a team for six months now, which has been great so far. In this role, I try to be as open and approachable as possible. I think it is important to keep a finger on the pulse: check if everyone is doing fine and still happy in their respective roles. In the event of something going wrong, I like to get to the bottom of what exactly happened and then focus on how we can avoid repeating the same mistake in future.’
"My psychology degree and the fact that I am a woman allow me to communicate in a different way."
‘I am a female working in a male-dominated industry - I’m one of only three women in our 25-strong team. It would be an obvious question to ask if that hinders me in any way, and, besides, I would deny it anyway. To be frank, I think it sometimes works to my advantage. My psychology degree and the fact that I am a woman allow me to communicate in a different way. It might have something to do with a softer, more diplomatic approach. Of course, I have my limits: recently, a client raised their voice at one of my team members. I won’t tolerate people speaking like that to me or my colleagues.’
Croissants and Coffee First
‘My career, thus far, has enabled me to work in Paris, London, Zurich and, now, Brussels. I love working in different countries; the excitement of working elsewhere and discovering the work culture and ethics is fascinating. I remember one of the first workshops I co-organized while working in Paris. We had everything set up to start at 9 AM but when the time came, no one showed up. After a few phone calls, we discovered that the attendees expected us to join them for some pre-meeting coffee and croissants. I love learning about these cultural differences. When I start a new project I find it important to take the time to get to know the project team at the client side, as well as at the Accenture side, especially since teams often comprise diverse people from various cultures and backgrounds.’
‘The “downside” of working in so many countries is that I don’t get to spend much time at home. Thankfully, my husband is a consultant as well (not at Accenture, though), so there is no need to explain working late night or taking on massive workloads to one another. We’re planning to move to London next year. The advantage of working at a global company like Accenture is that possibilities are endless and that people at Accenture are always willing to try and accommodate you.’
A Very Long Bucket List
‘In between our busy jobs, my husband and I love traveling. By taking holiday breaks from time to time we stay connected. Ideally, we embark on a big trip twice a year; we get to take turns in picking the destination. As long as there’s beautiful nature and plenty of activities to enjoy, we’re both happy, although we prefer to indulge in blissful relaxation on the beach during the last few days of the trip. We’re leaving for our next trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in a week and a half. In our living room, there’s a big map of the world with flags showcasing countries we’ve visited so far. The world is so vast, and we have many more flags to collect. Luckily, our bucket list of places to visit is seemingly never-ending.’
Marissa Jaggan (1990)
Studied: MSc Work & Organizational Psychology, University of Amsterdam (2013)
Started working at Accenture: April 2016
Relationship status: Married
Loves: Hanging out with friends and family
Gets annoyed by: Disrespectful behavior and any form of injustice
Favorite food: Pasta
On my nightstand: My cell phone, a book and a lamp
Listens to: Anything Spotify suggests
Last purchase: ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson
Would like to sit next to in the plane: J.K. Rowling - I absolutely love the Harry Potter series
Life-changing event: There isn’t a specific event I can single out; every day there is something that shapes me
The best lesson life has taught me: Be positive and don’t worry too much
What I learned last week: That hard work really does pay off! After nine months of solid, hard work, our project is going live next week
Most beautiful place on earth: A tapas restaurant in Malaga that truly has the best tapas, wine and view of the sunset.
Hobbies/passions: Traveling, watching movies and series, reading
What nobody knows about me: That I’m a big fan of karaoke, even though I can’t carry a tune. That’s what stops me from singing in a public space, but at home I belt with Sing Star...
Life motto: Hakuna matata!
- 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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