These forums are by far the most helpful in succeeding in these interviews and I’m pretty sure that it is down to them that I received a job offer with KPMG last week.
Here are my experiences of the AC:
First of all, I was the last one to turn up (even though I was early). Be sure to arrive in good time if you havent been to the office before. I had my first interview at the same office and so knew exactly where I was going and how long it would take etc. Be polite at all times… there was quite an irritating candidate that basically demanded coffee before we began, which I found quite rude and the lady supervising us did not seem too impressed. Also when you are given the opportunity to use the toilet do so then and not at another time as this too was seen as quite annoying by the look on the lady’s face.
At this point I was ridiculously nervous and could not concentrate properly. 70 minutes for the first part seems like a long time but beleive me it flies by! I began by looking through the booklet to familiarize myself with it… I would seriously not recommend that you do this, it is a complete waste of time. There is a contents page at the beginning and thats all you need to be familiar with! Also most of the emails have attachments with the relevant information which is exactly the same as in the booklet or the email tells you where to find the information. I looked at the clock and had 10 minutes to go… I panicked considerbly at this time as I still had around 6 emails to do and not all of the emails had even come through yet. It got to the point where I was reading the end of the email to quickly see what was required. I 70% guessed the last 4 emails and didnt even open the last two emails. So I would say at most I probably got 15/24 emails correct and may have correctly guessed a few. DO NOT PANIC… I think you can make up for this in the second part of the ETray. I forgot about it straight away and put in 100% for the rest of the day, don’t let it put you off.
I would advise that you work quickly, answer emails based on the same subject first as you already know where the information is, and do not worry if you havent answered them all.
The second part of the ETray was sooooo much easier. As long as you have intro, main body and conclusion for each email it will be fine. For the first email I proposed two suggested ideas to go ahead with based on importance, budget and current position in relation to competitors. Then I laid out my reasons for not picking the other three. I did not do this in as much detail for the second email, I focussed it more on the proposed idea as this seemed mopre important than the reasons not to use the other ideas.
I would advise here that you divide your time equally between the two emails. Both of mine were the same length and I finished about 3 minutes early. Spend 5 minutes for each one choosing which idea(s) to implement and the reasons as stated in the information, then 15 minutes writing the email and 5 minutes checking.
Lunch was very nice, although I felt so nervous and physically sick I hardly ate any. Most people had puds or coffee but I felt too ill to have aything else! I really do not think that this is assessed. I sat next to a graduate and was able to ask lots of questions. Try to enjoy yourself and relax.
My partner interview was straight after lunch so I think that’s why I was so nervous at lunch. I did my presentation and also made a handout for the Partner to look at. He asked me two questions; why did you choose that firm? How have they been affected in the recession? Then he asked me about 5 competency questions which were very similar to those in my first interview. I used different examples except for one which I found hard to think of an example which I did not use in my first interview. He did not ask me any question along the lines of why KPMG. Once the interview finished we spend around 10-15 minutes looking out of the office (canary wharf) and talking about the o2 arena and other buildings we could see as they were some of his clients. This was good time spent interacting on a personal level I think.
I would advise that you treat the Partner as a normal person, I think that they are looking to see whether you are genuine and will fit in well with the company. Be yourself, shake his hand and do not try to b******* any thing.
Ok this was one of the parts of the day which I was dreading because I was scared of having to talk over people to get my opinion across.
The booklet of information is huge! You cannot read it all properly in 10 minutes, but what I would suggest is that after about 7 minutes… turn straight to the back, as the other candidates probably wouldnt have got this far yet and it will give you some info to input that they may not know about. I did not do this but found that it would have been a good idea as one candidate had seen the info and had some valuable points. Jot down strengths and weaknesses and allow the group to then come to a decision for the long and short term initiatives. There was 4 in my grup and two of the candidates seemed to be trying to outdo eachother on how much they could say and taking leadership. This was so annoying! I simply listened and nodded and occassionly agreed or disagreed with their points and made sure I got a point in of my own. It was really hard for me and the other guy to get a word in. I managed to suggest we wrap up and focus on the time left for the presentation and also gave the other guy, who couldn’t speak because of the other two, a opportunity to express his opinion by saying ‘what do you suggest?’.The task is very easy, I didnt really understand all of the material or the ideas that the two chatterboxes were implementing but I don’t think this is particularly important. DO NOT TRY TO LEAD THE GROUP, give everyone a chance to say their peace and then perhaps lead the group on moving on to the next point. It became obvious that the other guy was very annoyed as he started to disagree with everything the two chatterboxes said just to be awkward!
I would advise that you do not spend lots of time jotting down what people say… just be sure you know what your part of the presentation is, make one comment to lead the group, one regarding time, one to propose an idea and one to get others involved. Listen and look interested by nodding smiling etc at all times. This worked for me. It is also good to expand on what someone has said or by disagreeing (for a good reason) as this shows you have considered other peoples opinions and are listening.
I left the AC at half 4 and received a call at 7. I applied for the business placement year but this is the same process as grads. I was also the youngest at the AC.
Any questions just ask.