KPMG Assessment


Hi everyone,

I have a Kpmg assessment centre for public sector audit in a week and am getting a little bit nervous about it. i was wondering if anyone could help.

  • i was wondering what king of questions would get asked at the partner interview and what level of commerical awareness is necessary? Do you need to have an indepth knowledge of the workings of the stock market?

  • with regards to the presentation would it be an error to pick a retail company now given the current climate in the retail industry???

Thank you for any help


Hello Sarah. First up, have you seen these pages…

  • [[KPMG]]
  • [[Partner interviews]]
  • [[Presentation]]
  • [[Commercial Awareness]]

Next… regarding partner interview and commercial awareness, I would say that you need to have a better understanding than most other graduates, but bear in mind that accounting firms do not expect you to be absolutely brilliant or have equal knowledge to partners. You should understand and be ale to discuss in detail what’s going on right now (e.g. [[credit crunch effect on audit]], whats going on with retailers, price rises, inflation, stagflation, house prices, etc) and you may need to be able to describe how things like the stock market work in general terms. The more you know the better, but don’t get hung up about learn specifics of the stock market or complex issues - you won’t need this kind of knowledge.

Regarding [[presentation]] what is the topic title? You could certainly talk about a retail firm. The current climate means there is more to talk about - but you must do your research and understand why the current climate has come about (internet shopping/credit crunch, etc) and be able to discuss where, in your opinion, things are going to end up in 5-10 years.

Hope this helps. Have you been to any other interviews so far or is this your first?


this is my first assement centre but my second interview, as i had a first round interview.

I was thinking about looking at monsoon acccessorzie and how they have over extended in order to keep up with the fast fashion trend but in doing so have isolated their target customers,

i was going to suggest that perhaps they cutback on their younger range which has sold badly and forecast on getting back to the core market.

  • through a maternity range
  • an ethical fashion range - concentrating on sustainability in fashion moving towards buying a more sustainable quality wardrobe.
  • also looking at their weak stock control withing the stores.

I’m not sure if this is at all the kind of thing i should be doing?

thanks for any help


What is the title you have been given for the ‘’’[[presentation]]’’’ exactly? …I think Monsoon/Accessorise would be OK - but just make sure you keep things based around economics/finance rather than fashion. The points you have raised look to be very strong so far.

Check ‘’’[ this post]’’’ too.


the basic title is to pick a company and come up with ideas to expand their business.



I agree with Redsuperted, your arguments seem quite strong and it’s okay to talk about current trends since you can always relate it to demand and supply, target market, potential opportunities / problems etc. Remember to stick to the guidlines they have given you though; the main thing you don’t seem to have mentioned is how KPMG can help. Although I’m not sure if this was specifically mentioned in the guidelines, I remember I interpreted it as such.

I realise my post that Redsuperted linked to didn’t go through much of my presentation so I’ll talk about it now.

I chose Ryanair who are a KPMG client and during the month or so were constantly on the news. Oil prices, profit warnings, fall in demand for air travel, BAA break-up, Stansted purchase, BA and AA merge, you name it and it all happened around that time. I was well aware this potentially led to a lot of difficult questions but I felt confident that even though I didn’t know everything about Ryanair, I knew enough to provide an intelligible answer for most answers.

In the KPMG interview I had the feeling the partner didn’t know much about the aviation industry so he only asked a few questions about it. Instead he focused on questions on the economy which fortunately I knew a lot about. A warning though, I could be considered quite lucky, one of the people in the assessment day with me also chose Ryanair and apparently got a partner who was currently working with Jet2 and knew a lot about the industry. The applicant had done next to no research and was bluffing his way through and apparently got slaughtered during his presentation. Also in my PWC interview I had a partner working within the industry and he asked a lot of difficult questions but was actually quite impressed by how much I knew. So it can be risky since you’ll get potentially harder questions but if you can hold your own, you might look quite good as well.

From my own experiences and also what other people have told me, the first interview and partner interview is quite different. The partner interview seems to depend a lot on how well you two interact and follows less of a script. For example; during the interview I mentioned that I had studied a module in Economics of Education and we ended up talking for 20mins about the A-level results that had been released that day and the problems faced by employers when looking at the academic qualifications of applicants.


Hi Sarah,

Firstly all the best, one advice i can give after having my AC last week is be natural as it is easier being yourself and assessors will pick up if you’re not. Being yourself you will perform loads better & enjoy the AC too!

About the presentation its absolutely fine to do retail even with the current situation, you can perhaps advise how KPMG’s service can help during the current situation. Really include how KPMG can help not in general but specifically! This is where your partner will be interested and shows that you know what KPMG has to offer!

The actual interview went okay, the hardest question i had was where i had to tell a time when i did not achieve my desired goal and how i felt? In terms of your Q of knowing commerical awareness i was asked to share my opinion on the economy and what i thought would be the LT/ST effects… I didnt get any questions on what the successful and unsuccessful businesses are at presence. The interview is quite structured but remember the partner will only have 1 hour to do the presentation and interview so i spoke quite a lot on my competencies perhaps the reason why i didnt get the other questions asked! Have lots of questions to ask you partner!!

I will be putting up my AC experiences later this week!

Hope it helps! Good luck :o)


Any ideas on what kind of services KPMG could offer with regards to expansion outside consultancy and performance improvement?


Well outside of advisory they also offer audit and tax services. Chances are expansion will mean these services could be of use also. Try giving the website a thorough read through and if you need me to be more specific I can be.