Failed PWC application - feedback required


Sadly could not get through application stage in a hurry to submit for remaining 20% of vacancies in Reading. I do not blame for my overseas qualification in Audit and Accountancy wtih an average of 80% on graduation (at least I’d like to think my failure has nothing to do with it), so this leaves me with the way I answered questions. I would really appreciate if people can give their opinion as to how they’d have answered the question or point to weaknesses in my answers. Any help will do. So here are my answers:

Q:Business and Client Service
Please provide us with your understanding of the services offered by the firm and in particular, the work undertaken in your chosen line of service (maximum 150 words).*

A:PwC offers advisory services to businesses, which can be strategic such as development of corporate objectives, growth options, reorganisation of company/finance structure and so on. Alternatively advice can be at operational level such as process improvement, cost cutting measures, productivity improvement. Another type of service that PwC can offer is assurance services for the benefit of businesses stakeholders. Assurance examines financial statements of the business, and through well structured and documented programme, expresses opinion on the true and fairness of financial statements. Business stakeholders, such as bank, may find result of audit helpful in deciding whether to grant or deny a loan to the business. Or owners of the business get assurance that their money is well spent, etc. As a result of recent downturn, services such as insolvency administration, organising tax efficient operations and risk assessment may well be on demand, which can also be provided by PwC.

Q:PwC is passionate about providing our clients with exceptional services that contribute to their business success.
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.*

A:My previous employer, rugby training equipment and team wear supplier, would benefit from help in some areas. The biggest weakness was no control over inventory during the year with only year-end inventory count as a way of identifying level of inventory. Advice on and implementation of inventory control, improvement of production process, tighter internal controls on delivery acceptance and product despatch could reduce production waste and possibly from dishonest employees. Company also suffered from seasonal sales pattern and required access to substantial overdraft to avoid liquidity problems. Sound advice on financial management and possibility of outsourcing admin/sales functions would help to overcome cash flow problems during quiet periods. PwC expertise could have saved company penalty fees incurred as a result of the incorrect VAT submissions. Absence of correct procedures was the cause of failure to obtain VAT numbers that are required for EC Sales submissions along with VAT returns.

Q:Striving for excellence through working as part of successful teams is key to our work. Please describe a group activity that you have been involved in where you have contributed to the team’s success. Your example should be a maximum of 150 words and include the following information: Details of the activity, key objectives, individual contribution, challenges faced and overall outcome*

A:In my current job, extra work emerged as a result of cost cutting measures. The objective was to cover shortened admin staff hours. Activities included processing and despatch of orders and resolving associated queries. I ensured that I cover share of those activities, but at the same time carry out my essential responsibilities, such as invoicing and carrying out credit control on time in order to minimise working capital cycle. Another cost cutting project was to find potential buyers for items of furniture and office equipment for company’s stock room and leased building in Manchester and vacate both in order to avoid paying further rent. I contributed to the task by researching buyers in Manchester and agreed appointment with several buyers, one of which bought all of furniture. With overall effort team saved company £6000 in annual rent payments for stock room and several months worth of lease payments.

Q:Please use the space below to list any additional personal interests, positions of responsibility held, scholarships, awards, prizes, residence abroad or significant travel that you have not already told us about (maximum 200 words). The information you list in this section will not be assessed but will provide us with valuable information to be discussed in your interview if your application is successful.

A:In my spare time I like experimenting with computers and programming. My recent interest has been control of electric motors programmatically via microcontrollers that can be used simple robotic mechanisms that can react to light, which can be controlled via sensors. Although I have not had a chance to create prototype, this will be definitely worked on in years to come as I get closer to finish my studies. Another useful experience I had was running of internet café. This exercise introduced me to management of business and people at early years and showed that hard work is rewarded in the end. I sold it in order to finance my studies and have no financial worries during my studies in the UK. Now, after having a taste of running business, having studied accounting and audit backed by Postgraduate Diploma in the UK, it would be an honour to work for number one accountancy practice in the world, gain access to piles of knowledge and expertise, be surrounded by right people, and in the end, hopefully, contribute back to the company.

Any ideas?


Is English your first language out of curiosity?


no. is it that bad?

and why has my post got stretched to the right. first time here, sorry for the mess.



Its not a particularly bad application, but I think on the 3rd question you have failed to hit home what teamwork skills you have gained. It’s not clear on what the job actually is. There’s no mention of specific’s. What was the team and your role.


Thanks jobless. Do you think you would have put up content similar to mine if you were going to apply, how would you correct some points in my applicaiton?

the09 raised good point about English, I probably should have checked with native speake. Would you agree with usage of language?

sorry to be a pain. It just I may still have time to apply for 09 vacancies with other of the big4


well, i agree with jobless, the third question was not answered particularly well :(, u should have described clearly the objective of ur task and what problem/s you faced as a team and how u overcame the problem/s. der are essential looking for team working skills and problem solving.

in the first question, u tried to list all the services that pwc provide, u shuld have mentioned one or two and concentrated on the job vacancy u ve applied for, its not really clear what you are interested in. here der are looking for reasons why you are interested in that specific position.

in the second question : it would have been great to have mention the service line not just how pwc can help i.e. Consultancy, Assurance, Financial Advisory, e.t.c. for instance PwC through its Assurance services could offer advice on and the implementation of inventory controls, improvement of production processes, tighter internal controls…da da da da

its not a bad application though, good luck though with ur further applications.


I would say the first question wasn’t answered very well. I read it and I can’t tell which department you applied to. Also the last question, you should briefly mention things that could be talked about at your interview to demonstrate the competencies they want. It would also be a good idea to have your answers checked by someone whose first language is English to have a look at the wording e.g. “gain access to PILES of knowledge…” is an unusual turn of phrase.

Good luck


yeah you need to focus a bit more on the specific service line you applied to and your own teamwork skills

and yes I also thought piles was not the correct term


Thank you very much all for your feedback. I can now see my answers from different angle and learnt to be more specific and relate my answers to competences on their website. It’s a shame that I had not come across to this site before I applied :frowning:


Hi Delf - sorry to hear about PwC, but stay positive - you have some great feedback for future applications!

A little bit of a sales pitch now - in case you haven’t seen it already, we offer an application review service and an application writing service, which may be of some benefit to you for future applications - [ have a look here] :slight_smile:


I wonder if Pwc is accepting applications from overseas students, i guess the recruitment process for overseas students has a deadline and this process starts at the begining of Octbober/September and ends at the end of November each year.

Which vacancy did you apply, grad position?

good luck



I applied for Assurance grad position in Reading which was(is) 2009 Autumn opening. I would not have required permit to work/stay in the country so indicated this on my application.

WikiJob, thanks. I have not noticed, but sounds interesting :slight_smile:


Hi delf, sorry to hear about pwc, i’m sure you will have success in the future.

As for your application, i am aware that English is not your first language and your application answers were not as strong as they perhaps could have been, however, i believe that you were most likely rejected due to your bad use of grammar. Having been offered a place at pwc at the end of March, I was told that they find bad grammar highly unacceptable and thus reject a large amount of applications due to this. I was told that it is essential to be able to communicate effectively in writing to clients, that you will be auditing, and therefore if you cannot communicate effectively with pwc then this will likely continue with regards to your clients.

A lot of grammatical errors arise from your answers - especially with regards to missing out key words, albeit you might have been trying to reduce your wordcount, however, it makes you sound less professional…for example:

“Although I have not had a chance to create prototype, this will be definitely worked on in years to come as I get closer to finish my studies. Another useful experience I had was running of internet café”

There should at least be a letter ‘a’ before prototype, it should say ‘finishing my studies’ and the last sentence would sound more professional if it was written more like - “An additional experience involves the period of time when I ran an internet cafe”. I also think that a lot of your sentences are very short and it might make more sense to use commas in place of periods. For example:

“In my current job, extra work emerged as a result of cost cutting measures. The objective was to cover shortened admin staff hours. Activities included processing and despatch of orders and resolving associated queries.”

It does not really seem to flow very well and the reader ends up having to stop unnecessarily far too often. With regards to your answers, i cannot tell which service line you have applied for in your first answer and it might have been more beneficial if you discussed briefly about the other services that they offer such as taxation to provide advice to clients on ways to reduce their tax liability, business recovery services to help turnaround under-performing businesses through restructuring, corporate finance to help support and execute mergers and acquisitions and actuarial services.

With regards to your second answer the question clearly states “what services do you think PwC would be providing to enhance the organisation’s continued business success”. They want to know about the services pwc can provide to help your chosen firm continue success in the future, however, you refer your whole answer to the past and what could have been done previously - not in the future as it is asking. Your third answer is by far the weakest as it is hard to understand what exactly your objective was, what was your role, how u engaged with the team, how you solved problems with the team and ultimately how was the team successful. Your fourth answer is better, however the grammar is very bad and thus it is very hard to concentrate on the content of your answer rather than the way it is written. The use of the word ‘piles’ in your answer sounds really unprofessional as it a slang word.

I hope you do not take offence to these comments, i am just merely providing you with helpful tips on how you can improve your application answers as these things take a while to learn and i wish you lots of luck with regards to your applications in the future.



Thank you for detailed feedback, very usefull, looks like I need to go back to school and study basic grammar:) I do welcome contructuve criticism so no offence taken. It’s hard to get used to the “right” language for foreigner, especially if people around you, firstly, do not try to correct your errors, secondly, may not speak the language correctly themselves. And therefore, one would assume that he/she knows the language. I will, from now on, watch my grammar all the time.

You are right, I was easily reaching wordcount of 200 and was trying to reduce the content in every way possible.

So how does it feel now to work for PwC? do you look back and regret anything?