I’m writing this because I promised I would if I was successful as I am indebted to the inside information stored on this site, can’t explain how helpful it was in preparation for interviews and assessment centres.
KPMG Assessment Centre Tax London
9:00 - Start of assessment centre at 15 Canada Square (next to canary wharf), make sure you arrive early I turned up 15 minutes early and there was already 4 fellow candidates there, don’t think how early you show up has a bearing but obviously don’t be late.
Your met by the gentleman/lady who emailed you to inform of the details of the assessment centre, they will be from HR and spent the first 15 minutes taking you to the assessment room and introducing themselves and going through some general housekeeping.
9:15- Introduce yourself to the others one by one (there were 12 candidates in my assessment centre, mostly tax, some consulting) stating your name and your uni and course/job.
Then you will get started on the e-tray exercise, it will be explained to what you have to do prior to the clock starting, for me it was answer 24 emails which had multiple choice answers in 70 minutes. There is a booklet of information provided for which you have to refer to when making decisions in emails (you do not have all 24 emails to begin with some are sent to you throughout the 70 mins). The information stored in the book is also stored on the laptop but i choose to view it in hardcopy because I found the book easier to navigate than the menus, it also allowed me to keep the email with the possible answers on the screen whilst viewing the info in the book.
Questions will be off verbal and numerical reasoning nature very much like the online tests just in a more applied sense. An example of verbal reasoning would be how and when to respond to client/colleague you are given background info and it is your decision to choose how imminent the demand is. Numerical reasoning would be to determine the least successful shop in an area, the necessary information will be provided for you to work it out ( you have rough paper and a calculator).
I completed it with a few minutes to spare, I managed my time well, didn’t panic and always kept my mind on the target that there would be 24 emails in total. It’s important to remember how many you will have in total (you will be told beforehand) because when you’re in the midst of the exercise and emails keep pouring in you can be tempted to think that they’re not going stop coming!
On competition of this you have a 5 minute break to grab a coffee or some water and go to the toilet, and then you’re in to the second part of e-tray exercise. This is a written assessment, you have 2 emails to respond to in 50 mins. The companies are the same from part 1 but new information is provided so part 1 info is then irrelevant. The 2 emails i got was to choose the best areas to invest £200K in and the best area to invest in marketing. These do not discriminate against non-business school students, but they are basic investment and capital rationing decisions, but fear non-business school grads will be fine you can work it through common sense it’s not technical, just work out who pays the most for the least amount of investment.
N.B. the program you write your response in does not have a spell checker, and obviously pressure and time constraints may create some errors, I loaded up Microsoft word from Microsoft office in the start column and wrote in word and copied and pasted at the end. Be warned though when the time runs out the program closes, so if you haven’t copied and pasted yet you will have written nothing!!
12:00 lunch some new recruits typically a year into their training contract come to collect you and take you for dinner. This isn’t assessed and I do genuinely believe that the recruits were really relaxed and good fun, its a free lunch, a couple hours of work and something to talk about at their next appraisal. Obviously though if you do something completely outrageous it may get back, but don’t stress about this bit, its a chance to understand the organisation a little more, they talked a lot about the social aspect, lots of meeting for drinks in the first month and so on.
I got taken to the corporate restaurant on the top floor where clients are taken for a bit of networking the food is fantastic its a real taste of the other side of life, but the new recruits did say that sometimes they go to the staff canteen or maybe go somewhere local for food so don’t expect the wine and dining experience but if you it, it’s a huge bonus!
lunch is really drawn out from 12 till about something past 2, I took my notes to do some prep for the interview after lunch but I didnt look at them as it seemed a little anti-social. Its a good break though a sort of calm before the storm but do expect to be fidgeting and clock watching as 2 o’clock approaches.
2:15 your taken down the room where you had the e-tray exercise, half of you will go into that room and have the group discussion and half of you will wait outside for your partner to come pick you up so you have quarter of an hour just to refresh the presentation in your mind.
The partner shows up and says he/she is looking for (you already know who your partner is it is display on a whiteboard in the morning, so you can work out from there if you’ve got your interview before or after the group exercise and who’s going to be in your group, they’re all males btw).
The partner will take you to an interview room and talk a little about what he does and how long he has been with the firm, etc. Then you get straight into it with your presentation, then your asked questions on the topic of your presentation i got…
Why did you choose that business?
What are the challenges facing that Business?
What are the challenges facing the market/competitor?
I’m sorry I can’t give more it was all bit of a blur to me, I did my presentation on the Times Newspaper and so a lot of the conversation focused on the move to internet based news stories, how you can provide that in a sustainable manner as well as some news corp politics witht eh news of the world phone hacking scandal.
Then he says ‘okay now for some more about you’ and you get the competency questions, again my memory is a little sketchy sorry I got…
Time you worked underpressure
Time you volunteered to do something
Time you Helped someone out
Time you implemented change
Time you was slow to implement change
Who else have you applied to
How would you decide between the others
What’s your plans after the three years of training are done
There’s loads of questions on this site though all good prep!
then it was my turn to ask questions, I asked about facilities to learn foreign languages, opportunities for international secondment, and qualifications you can do after training.
The interview had formal structure but the conversation was pretty relaxed and informal, especially considering the guy’s C.V. which they tell you at the beginning, but don’t be blinded by their status they are true gents so theres nothing to worry about if your prepared.
I was back first, the others who did the group work first will already be out waiting. As those who had been interviewed trickled back it seemed pretty apparent that all the interviewers had been pleasant and quite funny, these are very intellegent guys remember not the monotoned characitures of accountants the media likes to portray!
Then after about 15 mins of waiting it was in for the group exercise, 10 mins of reading alone in the room, and then you’ve got 20 mins to discuss, as you begin to discuss 4 people will walk in and sit down and then begin to monitor you, it’s a little unnerving as their sweep but forget about them and keep your mind on the task.
Don’t panic if you aren’t first to speak, I was 6th out of 6 to speak (although I did try to start speaking 5 times before that lol) but no one spoke twice before I had spoken if that makes sense. That unsettled me a little bit as I has quite a strong group in terms of characters, but don’t let it get you down, make sure what you have to say is quality, I noticed some where speaking for the sake of speaking and just reiterating points which is wasting time you’ve only got 20 mins.
Oh yeah should probably mention what your discussing! again a case study, and you have to draw up four recommendations to improve customer satisfaction 2 important 2 not so important, and you have 20 mins to decide what they are and how you are going to present them to the fictional head of the board (the HR person who runs etray exercise).
Then after all that it’s done your free to go home, they say they will let you know within three working days. I had an email the next day which was a massive relief! Didn’t get my contract till a week later though.
Hope this has helped, apologies for spelling and grammar I’m an Accountant I just like adding stuff up lol, and more importantly GOOD LUCK!!