Applying for PwC Audit in London - How I got the job

Deloitte
#1

Applying to PwC is similar to applying to other Big 4 (PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, E&Y) accounting firms. The application process is as follows:

[LIST]
[]Online application form
[
]Online aptitude test
[]First interview
[
]Assessment day
[/LIST]
Online Application Form

Tricky to fill out, there are a lot of questions that need fielding, and your answers have to be quite well focussed. You need to use as much of the word limit given as possible, to maximise the amount you sell yourself. You must use proof read and spell check your work; you are guaranteed not to get any further by submitting an application form with errors. Realistically, set aside a whole day for filling in the application form.

Make sure you print a copy of your application form so you can refer to it before interview.

Online Aptitude Test

I can’t actually remember if there was an online test for PwC or not, although I did quite a few as most of the accounting firms, both Big 4 and middle market require it. The tests are sat at home through a web browser and are timed. They are split into verbal and non-verbal sections. The verbal section tests your understanding of text; for example you will read a section of text and then answer questions upon. The key thing here is to infer nothing from the text; base your answers on exactly what the text said, and not anything that you can logically conclude or assume from the text but isn’t actually mentioned.

For the non-verbal you will need a calculator and a piece of paper. The questions mostly relate to percentages, fractions and interpreting tables and graphs. Although not everybody is mathematical, if you find you seriously struggle with the maths in this section, you will find the subsequent accounting training too much.

First Interview

Your first interview will be conducted by a member of the PwC graduate recruitment team. Make sure you are prepared for this. Big 4 interviews, although similar to each other, are not ‘conventional’ interviews, so you will not be asked to talk about previous experience or qualifications. Questions you are almost certain to be asked are:

[LIST]
[]Give two examples of situations where you have performed in a team
[
]Give two examples of situations where you have been a leader
[]Why PwC specifically (as opposed to e.g. Deloitte) - My answer to this question would be “Why not, it’s No 1”.
[
]What can you tell me about audit?
[]What will you be doing in your first year?
[
]Are you aware of what the qualfication involves?
[]What recent developments have affected PwC and the accounting industry? - The answer to this usually involves a discussion on Sarbanes-Oxley and Enron.
[
]At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have questions for them.
[/LIST]
You should also:

[LIST]
[]Re-read your application form before the interview
[
]Practice answers to the above questions- know what you are going to say before the day arrives
[]Make sure you are aware of PwC contributions to the community and charitable work
[
]Make sure you are aware of opportunities that are available to you, e.g. secondments, participation in charity work etc, and that you discuss and ask questions about these at the interview.
[/LIST]
This interview is a one-on-one interview and the key aspect here is chemistry. You must strike up a professional yet friendly rapport with the interviewer. Coming across too strong, too weak or too cocky will be ultimately suicidal. They are looking for two key ingredients:

[LIST]
[]Commitment to career - do you know what you are getting yourself into and what is your motivation?
[
]Respectability - are you the kind of person that PwC would want to be represented by to clients.
[/LIST]
The Assessment Day

If you made it this far, you are doing well. The assessment day is broken down into four main sections.

[LIST]
[]Written aptitude test
[
]Team work exercise
[]Lunch
[
]Partner interview
[/LIST]
The written aptitude test is difficult. It is extremely time pressured and the questions are not easy. It is designed to test your ability to solve problems in a logical manner. My advice is to practice with the practice ones they give you online, and just do your best on the day. Take a calculator, pencil and rubber with you. It is not designed to be completed so you are highly unlikely to do so within the time allowed. The girl next time, a history graduate, wasn’t very good at maths, and she was crying by the end of the test. Don’t get beat down, PwC hires people of all sorts.

The team work exercise consists of a simulated board meeting in a company. You are given some information to read prior to going into the meeting, and then further information when you arrive at the meeting. Each person has a specific role in the company, and the scenario is designed to achieve an objective by agreement. The team will be made up of around 8 of the applicants on that day. The exercise lasts about 30 minutes, and you are observed by two members of recruitment.

They are looking for good teamworking skills. You want to be showing a convivial attitude, not too dominating, and not too introvert, i.e. balanced. You sohuld speak when you feel you should make a point, and let others speak when it is their turn to do so. It is absolutely not a competition and treating it as such will probably compromise you.

For lunch you are likely to be taken out for pizza. The PwC favourite is Pizza Express. You will be having lunch with PwC first years, and they can help answer your questions about what it’s like to work at PwC. When they tell you the training is hard, and people with first class degrees fail the exams, believe them. It isn’t like university, it’s much more challenging. Don’t drink anything because you may still have to do some thinking on the spot, and you may still have the partner interview.

The partner interview is an interview with partner in the firm. These people are extremely senior, and have the final say on whether a candidate will join or not. They are not interested in technical stuff, the rest of the process should have done this. They are trying to see if you are likely to fit in with the rest of the firm, and whether you are quality enough to be entrusted with clients. You should not try hard to show off, this will backfire. You should be professional yet friendly. Ask the partner what his/her role is, and how it came to be. Make sure you thank the partner for their time.

If you get the job

I got a phone call the day after the assessment day to offer me a position.

ALSO

See the advice on the WikiJob profile, here:
http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/PricewaterhouseCoopers

#2

The PwC assurance program offer the ACCA where as the PwC Advisory program offer ACA (Correct me if I am wrong) so you applied for the PwC advisory program? Itsn’t that more like business advisory then audit?

#3

No, not true. The PwC Assurance programme does [[ACA]].

#4

I’m going to attend the AC in two days, really appreciate the experience you shared with us … :slight_smile:

#5

Hey,

my assessment day is next wednesday, in Birmingham for the international internship. I read on the wikijob description page, that the partner interview was mainly about commercial awareness and career motivation? I have however a few more questions as for example how long will the partner interview be? And to what extend should we do research on companies and their current situations? One of the question especially scared, “If you met the CEO of M&S and were asked for advice from an auditory point of view, what would you say?”… I am not great on what M&S actually do and in addition to this i guess that he already knows everything that I can tell him.

I am applying for an internship only, so can I expect to get nicer questions that this, or should I conduct hardcore research for the next few days, in order to know everything about PwC, audit, and the current market?

Also, i read quite often that the tests conducted at the AC are much harder. Are they paper based or on a computer? Can you go back to questions? Any strategy that can be advised or is the normal balance between speed and accuracy sensible here as well? I did a few SHL tests, and i thought especially the Watson Wyatt online tests were quite hard…is the PwC AC tests of the same difficulty or even harder?

I know these are a lot of questions, and I will already be happy a few of them could be answered, so that I dont stress too much…:wink:

Thanks as well for the good overview chrism2671, it helped a lot already,

Edwinem

#6

Does anybody know whether PWC use negative marking for their online and paper based tests? Like, do you loose marks for wrong answers?

#7

Nopes, none of the two has negative marking…however, in the paper based test they look at your accuracy, so it is advised not to guess questions…thats what they told me at least…

ed

#8

Hi

Im applying for an Actuarial internship at PwC. im stuck with the application. they have a trick on client service… the question is as follows :

From a business perspective, if you were to join PwC, which organisation would be your ideal client and what services do you think PwC would be providing to enhance the organisation’s continued business success (maximum 150 words)? Please note the organisation does not have to be a current client of PwC.

I was thinking to write about a company who isnt a client of PwC at the moment. But what about services?? I was thinking of writing about BP. Any suggestions of what services could be given to them?? or should i go for a more ‘not tat succesful’ company n say how PwC would help them improve?? but then i cant think of ny such companies… i really need help here… somebody plzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

#9

Hi, I just wanted to say thankyou for all of the advice and support on this forum - I went forwards for the grad scheme in Assurance in the Birmingham office and found out yesterday (~1 hour after leaving the assessment day!~) that I have been sucessfull and offered the job! I spent so much time on this website trawling through the various relevant links and thanks to the time and effort of other people I was able to prepare fully and be sucessful!

If anyone would like any advice/hear about my experience from application form, to first interview, assessment day and partner interview then just say so and I shall post something up - there is so much on here already I did not want to waste people’s time by repeating what has already been said!

thanks again everyone who contributed to this blog!

#10

Hi fkimbley, congratulations!! can I ask what date did you go for assessment centre in Birmingham? and when did you get your offer? My girlfriend went for the assessment centre in Birmingham office (grad scheme in assurance as well) on 23rd of this month (last Thursday) and still haven’t got any reply yet. Does that mean she must be failed? Thank you!

#11

Hey there, I obviously can’t comment on the sucess or not of your gf - but my exeperience was that I went for my first interview on 21st, they called on 22nd to ask me to attend an assessment centre - I travelled over to the east midlands office yesterday (27th) to do the tests/exercise/interview there and they called me on the same day - about an hour after I left the centre. They say that it takes 5 working days to get back to people, so I wouldn’t give up hope or anything!!

#12

Thank you for your reply. I just suppose you went for the assessement centre in Birmingham as well since you applied the birmingham office. Maybe the speed of different office is different, so we will go on waiting. By the way, have you got your feedback? can I ask what’s the results of your test?

#13

I was only on the phone for about a minute as had been driving and pulled over to answer, so did not have time to go through feedback and test results etc - I shall be speaking to them again next week so will ask them and get back to you. I was convinced that I had failed the tests, they were a lot harder than the online tests - but I must have done OK i guess.

#14

ok, I guess my gf will soon get the result as well, maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow the latest. But I still appreciate if you could let me know your feedback so I could know what is the requirement for the test. By the way, I am still wondering why did you go to east midland office instead of birmingham office for assessment centre since what you applied is birmingham as you said?

#15

@fkimbley - I would love to hear a bit more about your assessment centre - I have sent you a PM

edit: they invite midlands people to which ever office has the next assessment day

#16

Hi guys. I’m currently in the PwC recruitment process. Mine was slightly different in that after passing the online stuff I had an assessment day which included tests, and exercise and the first interview. I have been successful and now have the Partner interview coming up. This interview is all that’s left for me to get through. Does anyone have any tips? What did they ask you in your partner interview?

Cheers.

#17

Hey, not a very useful post but just wanted to add my thanks to everyone who has posted on this website as I’ve finally got and accepted an offer :smiley: It’s been a fantastic resource, I don’t have anything particular to add to the information on here, but if anyone has a specific question I’ll try my best to give another opinion. Cheers guys

#18

congrats bmoo!!

#19

congrate bmoo! which office and which department will you be working in? well done again!

#20

Hi there, I was wondering if anyone could offer me a little adive on my final Asessment centre. I have applied only on monday for assurance in london and have gone from application to 1st interview to final Asess Centre in a week! (its on monday). so as you can imagine my preparations have been pretty hurried and rushed. the main worry for me is the partner interview, if anyone could offer me some advice on the sorts of questions that you get asked and the format of the group exercise?

Any help, would appreciated sooooo much as I am in such a rush to prepare for the AC.

Thanks guys

Tom