I have recently been offered a job in an advisory role at KPMG, and I found the forums really helpful for preparing for each step… so figured I’d put something back in!
My AC was in mid-late december and it did take a long while after my phone interview to get a date sorted due to the volume of applications they had. As mentioned in several previous threads (eg. https://www.wikijob.co.uk/forum/accounting-professional-services/kpmg-assessment-centre-2013) the day was centred around a fictional consulting firm AAA of which you have just joined a cross-divisional team.
Here’s my thoughts/summary:
Written report (60 mins):
You are given a set amount of time to read a small brief on an energy firm who have recently completed an international merger which has it’s own merits and challenges. Following this you are then given 1 hour and a new booklet with ~12 pages of information! The key to this is READ THE QUESTION!
You are required to set out strengths, weaknesses, challenges and recommendations for your superior, and I strongly suggest you start your document under these 4 headings. Personally, I spent the first 10 minutes putting bullet points I gathered from the first booklet (small brief) into these 4 headings, then started with the larger brief.
I then would say to spend ~20-25 minutes flicking through the 12 page booklet and putting small bullet points in each of these categories using FACTS and FIGURES, using the remaining time to beef out these points into flowing text. I would also strongly suggest you think about what other services AAA offers and how they could benefit the client in the recommendations.
I just run out of time to beef out points as I wanted to, but remember after each exercise you have the opportunity to self-evaluate (which is assessed) so you can reflect on this in your notes.
E-Tray (60 mins):
This is actually quite a fun exercise! You will be tested on a huge variety of things in a fun way. Using your laptop and a headset you are given an hour during which tasks, emails, voicemails and “conversations” crop up, varying in the format of: Checking spreadsheets, replying to a harsh email, coming up with new ideas, organising meetings around a schedule etc.
It is not designed to catch you out, nor should it. I tackled the tasks and emails first, making sure to focus on one thing at a time. Keep an eye out for the recommended time they suggest you spend on each set of exercises and look out for 1 or 2 things which have a time limit on!! (eg. submit by 45 minutes). In the same light don’t rush tasks and submit early as it cannot be undone, give each section the appropriate level of time.
The booklet given to you just contains the exact same info that is on your screen, in fact I did not use mine at all.
Client meeting (15 mins):
You are given 15 minutes to prepare for a meeting with a client whose organisation has not had a pleasant experience with AAA previously and is likely dubious about working with yourself and is subsequently likely to be irritable. You are tasked with finding out some information for a later meeting with your manager.
First of all, address the elephant in the room! Accept what went wrong before on both sides previously, and what will be done in the future. Then make sure you listen to the client and if they are quiet try opening them up with some open ended questions.
Manager meeting (15 mins):
Nice and relaxed by and large, make sure you give a nice succinct summary of the client meeting and recommend future steps. This was the easier part of the day (thankfully, as I was shattered by then!) with no real issues. I did get caught by an obscure almost competency based question, just remember back to your phone interview for the examples you gave to give a reasonable answer.
That just about covers it! Everything specific has already been stated on previous threads, but try to take home a few key points:
- What of the 9 competencies are being tested, and when? Think about how your efforts in these tasks will be looked at
- Enjoy it! It is a relatively long day, and most of us were out for the count by the end of it, but fundamentally it will give you an insight to the type of work you may encounter. It will also give you an idea of what kind of culture and people you will possibly be meeting. Remember from here onwards they are looking for reasons to hire you, not filter out, as they are spending a significant amount on these ACs
- Be critical in the self-evaluations after each exercise, they will know the areas you have done well/less well in and highlighting the latter will show good self-awareness and motivation to improve… which falls under a competency.
- You are not in a competition with anyone, if they like you, they will find somewhere to put you in their firm. In my AC there were only 2 people applying for the same area as myself
I hope this answers most questions, I don’t want to go into over-specifics as my strengths/weaknesses will vary hugely from all of yours! I just want to give a general idea of what to expect and how best to prep yourself for it, again it shouldn’t be a daunting experience as either way you will learn a lot from it.
Feels free to message me with any questions about phone int/AC/ partner int