Hey guys had a first round interview yesterday. I realise there are already a few posts but I thought I’d throw in what I was asked. First of all I’ll say that compared to other interviews I’ve had, although it was informal and the interviewer was nice, it was quite rigid. It only lasted an hour, and there wasn’t much chance to expand on answers or give different examples. Which is fine, but it means you should really make sure you are concise with your answers and get across all the points you want to straight away, because he moves on through the questions quite quickly. In terms of questions it was just your usual competencies really, no shockers. I think I had… Why accountancy? Why KPMG? How do I keep up to date with news? What do I think I would be doing in my first year? Tell me about a time I worked in a team, what was my role? Tell me a time you had to deal with a difficult person? Tell me a time where you had to deal with confrontation in a team? Tell me about a time you worked under pressure? Tell me a time you had to set and achieve goals? Tell me about a time where you were out of your comfort zone? Think that was about it. Oh… and tell me about a story in the news that has interested you? (I didn’t speak about super markets or airlines and he seemed to like that, but I don;t think it matters what you talk about really!) and then Talk to me about a broader issue, affecting the economy as a whole? So quite a few Q’s for only an hour, which is why my main advice is to be really concise with your answers, also I was only asked for one example for each. I’m not saying this will always be the case, but it means you really should concentrate on the quality of your first answer. If I get any futher I will post again! Hope it’s of some help.
thanks for the post, was really helpful. i have got my interview on coming monday and i am struggling to answer the following questions. I would really appreciate if you can please give some ideas on how to answer these.
What is your understanding of the credit crunch and how is it affecting KPMG?
What is the biggest challenge currently facing KPMG?
What problems do you think professional services firms are facing today?
Hey which office is your interview for? And for which service line?
TO be honest I wasn’t asked any direct questions like that. I was asked things like ‘Can you tell me about a specific story in the business world at the moment?’ Or can you ‘talk to me about a general issue effecting the economy?’
However i guess all interviews are different. In terms of the biggest challenges facing KPMG and problems they face at the moment… I would probably mention things like; the effext of the recession (so possibly less work and different types of work), clients expecting more but on a smaller budget, dealing with clients who are really struggling, an increased demand for quality risk management (companies want greater assurance of risks), need to align with a rapidly changing economic environment and changing risk profiles , keeping up to date with regulatory changes, uhm… i guess like all organisations the need to be efficient and of real value in the services they provide, a more specific issue you could mention is the risk of fraud and current levels of fraud (i think there’s an article on one of the big 4’s websites about fraud which might be worth glancing at) and then finally I guess the fact we’re possibly moving into a more positive and secure economic environment and confidence and the impact of this.
Sorry that’s not very well written at all, I just splurted out anything I could think of. To be honest the first interview really is quite short and structured so you don’t really need to say that much for each answer or statement you give. Maybe just have a quick look at publications on some of the Big 4’s websites and see if anything looks relevant to answering that type of Q. Hope that helps a bit. Just msg me if you want to ask anything else.
heyy thanks for the reply, was helpful. i am applying for audit in birmingham. what do you think is it god idea to talk about fraud and then relate it to audit by saying that it poses risk for the auditor to give right opinion beaucae of the risk level going up in current environment.
Still not sure what to talk about if they ask directly what challenge is kpmg facing currently, what do you think if i just talk about bad ecnomic environment and then link it to kpmg’s services for clients?
last ques, how deep did you reserch about recession topic, or do you just talk on a broad basis saying how it affected the jobs, economy, the debt of the country, etc.
Yeah fraud was just an example really, I didn’t mention it but it’s certainly a current challenge. Like I said I wasn’t asked a question directly about challenges KPMG face or anything like that, but I probably would have just related it to the current environment and how that effects the services they provide and the expectations of clients.
In terms of the recession I didn’t really do any deep research, I just tried to have a basic and rounded understanding of it, and what the current situation was. In my opinion as long as you can show an understanding of the key issues, are up to date, and can express an opinion you should be fine. You don’t need to know every single detail and you don;t need to express a complex analysis of the situation. Just that you are aware, understand it, and can speak about it informally really. So don’t worry too much. All the best.
Agreed. A rounded understanding of key points, and being able to relate it to the business world is all you need.
I was asked in a roundabout way, how the recession is affecting the (business) world today. (I say roundabout, he said "So, theres lots of talk about the “recession” these days, but what the reality for the real world today?).
I took it as a chance to talk in (very) basic terms why things are difficult now, threw in some background as to why thats the case (quick mention of what caused the recession), threw in a mention of quantitative easing, the VAT cut, and other recession related tidbits I read about, to show that I had a rounded understanding of how things are at the moment. Nothing detailed, no numbers, no names, no places. It was very much informal, as andyjowen said.
@ kev370 - thanks for the reply…i passed the first interview this week, have got my AC in 3 weeks time, just got some questions about AC, if you can help me pls.
when choosing the company for presentation and giving recommendation, do we just have to talk how can the business expand further or can we talk about how can the business improve its bad situation for e.g. i am hoping to choose British Airways n looking to advise how can it improve but that is not really about expanding, so i am bit confused it this is right?
and how did you justify you recommendation for the company i.e. did you provide some figures or some other data to support what you are saying?
and also if you can tell bit about the e-tray as i am reallly scared what will happen in that?
and was the partner interview similar to the first round interview and any advice on how to choose the company for presentation?
nice post~~hope you’ll get through…I really like KPMG,but I got rejected…
Just thought I’d add to the post quickly. I had my partner interview last week, and I’m really pleased to say I was offered a position! REally surprised, but over the moon! And a big thank you goes out to everyone who offered my advice through this site.
Again, there are a number of posts with great information, which helped me alot throughout the process. But for what it’s worth I’ll try and offer my advice.
First of all, I’d like to mention I don’t have a maths or business background at all. At my group stage alot of people seemed to have done an economics or accountancy based degree, or they were Oxford/Cambridge. But it goes to show that you can come from any educational background.
In terms of the final stage… I found the responding to emails part pretty tough, mostly in terms of time limit. I think I answered 21 out of 24. In reference to this, yes it’s a good idea to flick through the available info prior to answering any emails, but don’t take too long before getting stuck in.
The second section is to reply to two emails. My main priority was to finish both emails, so I tried to keep both of them relatively short and to the point. You really haven’t got time to waffle or to be changing your mind. I would advise picking an option and sticking to it. Also I think it’s better to write two good emails than one amazing one and one terrible one, so I tried to share the time evenly. Not only will the rushed email be marked down on content, you will also lose marks for time management. Both my emails were pretty basic, I didn’t go into any really complex analysis of the options, but I got across some simple points and I managed to finish both of them within the time.
The group exercise was the first I’d ever done. It was a bit strange but the time went really quickly. My group was pretty good, in terms of everyone was nice. We had 10 mins to read through some info on a company (things like customer satisfaction surveys) and then we had 30 mins to discuss and come up with some recommendations for the company, before presenting our ideas. Everyone is obviously trying to contribute, and a couple of guys were obviously keen to try and lead the group, which was fine. I didn’t try to lead, but I made sure I was contributing some ideas and tried to ask a few open questions to move the discussion along. It’s hard to really give advice here, just be yourself. Maybe try to watch out for the discussion drifting off, or if you think it needs to move forward, and make an effort to get things back on track. It’s really difficult to balance being too quiet from too pushy. So again just be yourself, listen when others are speaking, don’t feel you need to be speaking all the time or on every point, but make sure you do contribute.
I then had my partner interview and presentation on a seperate day. I was pretty nervous about the presentation, but like everyone has said, it is very informal. It’s more like you’re just talking, sitting down. I decided not to do it on a supermarket or highstreet store jsut to be a bit different, but it really doesn’t matter. I did it on an online company, which had been in the news and had plenty of info available. I had done alot of research for my company and decided to produce a handout (despite it not really adding any real value to my presentation). I didn’t have many financial figures (one or two profit figures in my introduction) and my suggestions weren’t anything really complex. I knew it all anyway, but I had a personal copy of the handout and a few que cards with the key points incase I lost track. I don’t think I presented it particularly well, I’m always really nervous at the start of an interview and it defintely showed. But I think my general content was good, and I relaxed a bit towards the end and was able to answer her questions pretty well.
After that it was 50 mins of Q’s. I was also told at the start to try and use different examples than in my first round interview. I used examples from the same areas so university or my most recent job, but I didn’t use the same specific scenarios. Again mostly competency ones asking for specific experiences. But also some commercial awareness ones ‘what are the key issues in the current economic environment?’ ‘what are the key issues KPMG are facing?’ and also more general ones regarding some recent news. Like she asked me about the recent climate change conference in Copenhagen. I basically just had to be able to express an opinion. So my main advice is to keep up to date with all the big stories and issues, don’t just read up on stories relating to banks and business. There were also a few ‘why kpmg?’ and ‘why audit?’. And that was about it. I finished early afternoon and I got a call the same evening.
I was pretty shocked, but very pleased. If anyone has any more questions just send me msg, or add to this and I will try to help. Again I would also like to say a BIG thank you to all the guys who helped me from this site.
Well done andyjowen.
To encourage others who don’t have a relevant degree or are not Oxbridge candidates can you tell us what university you went to and what degree you have.
Remember the stats on the ICAEW website. Most students of ICAEW are not from accountancy degree type background. Imagine how boring it would be with no breadth of academic background.
Congratulations andyjowen! Where and what did you apply for? (Apologies if you’ve already said, I must have missed it.)
ngill - Congrats on getting through to the AC. In answer to your Qs…
Presentation - the company you choose is entirely up to you and as long as you are comfortable with it, have reasearched what you’re suggesting and can justify it then you’ll be fine. That being said, if you choose to not give suggestions on expansion or further development then depending on what exactly you do choose to recommend then you’re risking not fulfilling the requirements of the brief that they gave you, so bear that in mind.
I would advise sticking to an industry that you feel comfortable with and that you understand enough to make realistic suggestions on how to succeed in. If that’s BA for you then go ahead You will want to be in your comfort zone if you can be. If you choose an industry you’re not familiar with then the risk of getting questions you can’t answer increases, logical right?
Justifying recommendations - for me I did retail so I recommended two things: product diversification and online shopping. I justified by talking about competition, demand, brand identities, things like that. No numbers, no technical analysis (I’m an engineering graduate so I don’t know any), just reasoning.
Interview - for me (and for many others it seems) this was a much more relaxed version of the first interview. Nothing to worry about here, just do your prep as usual and smile.
E-tray - I really recommend that you just do a search on the KPMg e-tray on these forums and read all of the experiences available so that you know what to expect. There’s nothing you can do to prepare for it beforehand, just calm your nerves and be ready to find information in a booklet.
I would strongly suggest sorting your emails by subject order, and then dealing with them as such where possible so you don’t have to flick through the book to different sections all the time. Within subject order, deal with the emails chronologically.
Also, you’ll find that sometimes you need to refer to two pages of the book at once (which will involve contant turning back and forth. In these situations (there will be a few) the info is usually attached to said email aswell and one is usually portrait layout and one is landscape layout, so what I did was open the potrait one on screen and arrange my windows to show the email and the attachment, and open the book to the other page. It’ll save you valuable seconds believe me.
One last thing to mention is that the emails will come as you complete other emails for that subject/project. I found that I pretty much completed each subjects/projects run of emails before having to deal with the next one saving me lots of time. It also helped to not inundate me with incoming emails about different topics. I finished it with about 10 minutes remaining. Use your time wisely, remember task management is being assessed here.
The written section was much easier in my opinion. Read the email, figure out whats being asked for, figure out what your main points are early on (this may require some basic multiplcation/division) and then just concisely write and justify your points quantitatively where possible, making sure its FINISHED. This is key. Address it to the right people and write in a style that is appropriate. Neither of my emails were longer than this one paragraph.
Did the first interview a while, everything is exactly as they advertise and as people have written about on this site.
I would reccommend you have read papers and have a general understanding of business issues at the current time and also how they affect KPMG etc. but thats just common sense.
hi kevin…thanks a lot…ur response is very helpful!!
i m now thinking of not choosing BA as it is bit risky by looking at recommendations to give… i m now hoping to choose morrisons or tesco.
and for your partner interview did you get questions on same competencies as your first interview and did you use same examples as your first interview or did the partner tell you to give different examples (as written in andyjowen post that the partner asked to use different examples).
also at the end of your presentation what kind of question did the partner ask you on the businesss you chose.
thanks once again for such a huge help…rely aprreciate it!!!
Just ensure you do your research on what they are currently doing too, you don’t want to spend 5 minutes talking about a recommendation only for them to ask “aren’t they doing that now?” or “haven’t they tried that already?”
Compentency questions were different from the first interview but you should be preparing examples in advance to cover competency areas. You can always adapt examples and regale them in a different light to hit different competencies. I had a base of 6-7 examples of situations across work, travel and education that I used for both the first interview and partner interview, and that I adapted and highlighted different areas to talk about to specifically hit the compentency that they asked me to deomnstrate.
Questions on my presentation were minimal at best, in fact thinking back I don’t think I got asked any questions, he seemed quite interested in what I had said and just made some conversation with me about it. But, be prepared for questions because every partner is different. Think about why you chose the industry, the company, why you suggested what you did, pros and cons of everything. If necessary hold some info back for question/discussion time afterwards, it’ll make you sound like you know your beans. It is unlikely to be a grilling, at this stage they already have enough assessment information about you to see how you work under pressure. But again, prepare for the worst and you will have no problems