Grant Thornton application to assessment day spring 2013 actuarial

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Grant Thornton
#1

Hello, I’ve recently obtained an internship with Grant Thornton for this coming summer and wanted to share my experiences during the application process as everyone’s help on here was so useful for me. Sorry it’s so long but I know how much I’d have appreciated this when I was going through it so I just hope it helps!
The initial online application was pretty standard:
why grant Thornton and what makes us different from our competitors, a time when you delivered great customer service, a time you have taken responsibility for a team, a time you’ve had to suddenly change your plans. Gt took about 2 days to get back to me after sending off my application and I was then invited to online tests. these were numerical and verbal. I study maths at university and have always been confident in my abilities to deconstruct passages of text however I actually found the online tests very difficult. I was convinced I had failed which was a shame however I got an email a couple of days later saying I’d passed (thank god!) but I would definitely practice and practice these online test because the time constraints can be tough. It’s best to know exactly what to expect.
After passing the online tests I then got invited to a phone interview about a week later (I was given the choice of when to book it but I’d say the sooner the better otherwise assessment days could potentially fill up). I had a really nice lady for the telephone interview, she asked me again why gt, why the area of business I’d applied to (actuarial), how the economic down turn has effected gt (make sure you drop in all sorts of departments in the answer to this, I spoke about pensions with respect to actuarial, droppings in the pensions reform to show commercial awareness, and then recovery and reorganisation and then went on to explain how I’d thought gt had actually done really well considering and why, dropping in departments which probably wouldn’t be too affected by the downturn)
I was also asked how the economic climate was affecting businesses in general and clients of gt, why clients return to gt and also the main competency questions which were a time I’d taken initiative and a time you turned a negative to a positive (not the exact question but essentially what they asked). My competancies were business insight, ownership, initiative, motivation and building busniess relationships (and influencing). We ran over quite a bit (they said it would last 20-25 minutes, it lasted 45) but I think that is because I have a tendency to go on and on in my answers but I think the fact that I was really chatty went down well as as soon as I was off of the phone I had an email through to say I’d passed and was put into a pool of candidates. At the end of the interview she also asked me what I knew about the actuarial exams, just wanted to know that I had a basic understanding of what was expected of me and then she went over with me what I could improve on in the interview. in this she mentioned that I should’ve spoken about Bradenham manor, gts training facility. Look into this, it looks like a really awesome place and if I’d known about it I definitely would’ve mentioned that as a plus for why I wanted to work for gt. a really good site ran by gt trainees that has some really good info on Bradenham and other bits is ‘spilling the beans’ google it.
I was in the pool of candidates for about 3 weeks, basically I was in there until the application deadline had closed and then they chose who they wanted for an assessment day. They gave me about 4 days notice before the assessment day itself (wasn’t best impressed but the level of short notice but someone else at my assessment day had only been given 2 days notice so I considered myself lucky!). The assessment day for an internship is now the same as an assessment day for a graduate role (think it changed last year) this is because they usually offer their interns graduate positions afterwards so it makes sense to do so. Understandable, and also I gather it’s not a hell of a lot different, there’s just an extra case study which wasn’t there before. My assement day consisted of lunch, a competency interview with a manager, the case study which I then went through with a director and a group exercise at the end.
Case study: it was about a company how had just expanded and opened a new branch in another location and wanted to expand more into Europe, we were given figures and tables as to how well their sector of business was doing in these places, how well competitors were doing etc. it’s just a case of reading the information, understanding the situation in your head and then being able to talk about it. We were asked to identify 3 main concerns of the business (ie wanting to expand into Europe, develop new products), how gt could help them with these and how gt could maintain a good relationship with the company. The case study was not actuarial at all as I had expected and so I think was very generic, so don’t worry too much, they don’t expect you to know exactly what to say as a business advisor, they just want you to mention different departments in gt that would be able to help so they know you have a basic understanding of what the company does as a whole. The director was a really sweet guy and it was really relaxed and at one point I said outright I couldn’t answer a question and he just said fine and moved on without making a fuss of it at all. He even rang me personally the next day to congradulate me for getting the job. Gt seem like such a wonderful company and this director really put an effort in to show me that. We had 45 minutes (I think) to go through the case study before talking it through with the director.
The compency based interview was with a newly promoted manager just completing her qualifying exams,so there was a lot in common between us and she was very relaxed in herself giving the impression she was just there to talk to me, not mark me on what I was saying which was really nice. She asked me really similar questions to the phone interview, a time I’d had to meet a deadline which was brought forward, how I’d reacted etc. I can’t really remember them all but have a look at the threads on here and they are all covered, there’s none that you wouldn’t expect if you’ve done your research. The only thing she took me by surprise by was asking about an article I’d read in the news recently which had taken my interest and why, I chose a company going into liquidation and she asked what gt would be able to do for them (totally stumpted me so I really would prepare for that).
The group exercise is all the managers and directors that have interviewed the candidates separately come in and watch you have a discussion. My discussion was based on a company who has to chose between others to merge with when expanding to another country. We were given criteria which was important to decide between the merging companies and between us we were separately given information to help make that decision. The twist is, the information each other has is not allowed to be shown to anyone else, you have to tell them and they have to listen and understand and make note and then discuss it. I found it very hard to get a word in as all the other candidates tried so hard to stand out but really I think it’s important to show you can deal with people like that and still have an input. All I can say is, try to keep order and organise the information you are receiving and make sure everyone has the chance to say what they want.
The next day I got a call and was offered the internship- happy with that! I look forward to going back to the office and meeting everyone there as so far, everyone at gt has made such a great impression on me and were so nice and encouraging.
Hope this helps guys, wish you all the best in the process I know how gruelling it can be but stick at it and just give it your all! Ps (Sorry this has been so long! )

#2

thanks very much for this GTintern. I have my assessment day in two days and have been looking for what the day will consist of everywhere so this has been a real help. Were the three questions you stated you were asked about the case study the only questions you were asked about it?
Thanks