How to score a KPMG summer internship



So, I applied for an Audit internship at KPMG only a few months back (mid March), which I knew was pretty late for a summer role. But here is hope for those of you out there who weren’t much of an early bird, I was in the process for just a little over a month and got an offer to start an internship this coming July. It’s best that you apply early, there are more choices, more time to familiar yourself with the process, and I can’t stress it enough, but you have to get your head in the game, and don’t take on too many at the same time or else, you will end up losing them all, I learnt it the hard way. Plus, KPMG applicants are assessed on a rolling basis, which means some might already be at the end of their application process before you even begin. So, no rush, but, try not to apply too close (only a few months ahead) to the starting date.

First, about KPMG summer internship:

  • Requirements: minimum 2.1 degree
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Provisional start date: 1st July (for Audit, at least)
  • Salary: around £18,000 - £22,000 p.a. depending on where and which role you are applying to. (For Audit role outside of London, it’s around 18,000 p.a., which works out around £2,700 for the 8 weeks.

KPMG Application Process:
(You can find most information - for undergrads - on the KPMG website here: ABC

Step 1: Application form

  • Short and sweet. There is no “Why KPMG”, “Why [fill in your role]”, etc. so relax, it only takes 10-20mins max.
  • Tips: I do not remember if a CV attachment is required but if it is mentioned, even optional, I would recommend you to upload one and keep it short, under 1 MSWord page.

Step 2: Situational Judgement Test

  • I do not recall having to take SJT but, if you do have to, here are some great resources to help you get started, they are free-e-e, and I mean, practice the hell out of them. Get used to the time pressure, the test structures (there are only that many).
    i. Love this: ABC - by all mean, I owe my life to this website. They host several free tests and many are surprisingly close to what you will get for most big accounting firms and banks, not just KPMG. Purchase extra practice pacts if the freebies are not enough for you hardworking bees, they cost less than £10 and are full of unicorns and rainbow goodness, best value of money I tell you.
    ii. Try all the things! I mean, testing platforms! They have free tests there, you can also purchase more, but some are expensive and believe me my little doves, if you have time to practice every free tests you can dig up on google, you don’t need to buy a thing. (Just go to their websites: SHL, Kenexa, Cubiks, Saville Consulting, Talent Q, etc.)

  • It is useful to find out which testing platform (e.g. shl, kenexa, cubiks, ect.) your target firm is using, as different platform sets out (some) of their test quite differently. KPMG uses Cubiks, I believe. If I’m not mistaken, its SJT is a multiple choice, where you will have 4 options to choose from. (Please, correct me if I’m wrong).

  • Tips: as you do the test, keep KPMG’s core values in mind and act accordingly. This also apply to all other firms, say, if they value integrity, for heaven’s sake, don’t say you will sell client’s information for some extra to get you your newest Xbox or Playstation or whatever comes next.
    (KPMG core values: ABC

Step 3: Numerical & Verbal Tests

  • Yes, you need to do boths. Practice links are similar to those in step 2.
  • Tips (Numerical): Have a pencil and paper to scribble things down, and surprise surprise … a calculator! Mostly the maths are about dealing with percentages, reading graphs and comparing projects. Don’t stress yourself out as they are not (too) hard.
  • Tips (Verbal): Read the question first, then skim through the text to find relevant info (sometimes they use same wording as in the text, sometimes synonyms/antonyms). You do not need to understand the text, it is actually best that you don’t stress yourself with the content (some are like rocket science or something).

Step 4: Telephone Interview:

  • Length: an hour
  • 2 parts: Competency and Situational (examples below)
  • Tips: Look for possible questions and prepare answers for them. Then read your answers out loud again and again, or practice with your family/friends, if you like … have friends and stuff. The best tip I can give you is always write down the first sentence of your answer in full, so, in case you get a little nervous, you can read it out and the rest will follow, like magic. Here is my collection of possible questions:
    A. Competency
  1. Which recent achievement are you most proud of? What was it in the achievement that you were most proud of it? Why?
    2.a. Tell me about a time where you had to meet a number of competing deadlines, how did you cope and what were the outcomes?
    2.b. Tell me about a time when you have had to overcome a difficult obstacle?
    2.c. Tell me about a time when you have had to adapt to a new approach?
  2. Tell me about a time you have under performed or not met your targets, why was this, and what have you learnt from this?
  3. Which business is performing well/badly at the moment? Why? What problems will they need to overcome in the future to remain successful?
  4. What problems have affected UK business since 2009/2010? Which problem do you think is most important? What would you advise companies to do?
  5. When have you improved a customer’s experience or customer service in general? How did you go about doing this?
  6. When have you had to deal with an angry customer, how did you deal with the situation? What was the outcome?
    8.a. Why KPMG over the others in the Big Four?
    8.b. What research have done into KPMG and what did you find out?
  7. Why Audit? What do you find least/most interesting about Audit and why?
  8. What do you expect you will be doing during your internship?
  9. What new hobby or extra curricular activity have you taken up in the last 2 years? And why did you choose this particular one?
  10. Describe a company that has recently expanded overseas (un)successfully.
  11. What do you think the audit service do that benefits companies? Why?
  12. What challenges an UK firm would face if it was to try to expand into a foreign country?

B. Situational
(They look for specific qualities here, so as you answer, demonstrate that you do embrace KPMG values and culture)

  1. You have very strict guidelines as to how your projects should be handled, and you were told that you could only pass any of KPMG’s work to the client after having at least two of your senior colleagues proof-reading it. You are working on the client site and your client really wanted to see the review that you have been working on, it would take some time for it to be proof-read but your client wants to see it immediately. What would you do?
  2. One of your senior colleagues who have recently joined the project team that you have been working on was asked to observe you in a presentation that you will be making in front of the clients. During the presentation, the colleague questioned your methodology, what would you do?
    3.What would you do if your manager asked you to redo a task you have already completed and you have another deadline to meet on a different project? Why?

Step 5: Assessment Center


thanks a ton