Mazars Graduate Scheme from application to offer

Baker Tilly
Mazars LLP
The Graduate
star
Stream
BDO

#1

Hello everyone, I have recently received an offer to start the graduate training scheme with Mazars and wanted to share my experience. I found websites such as wikijobs and the student room invaluable resources when applying for graduate schemes and hope others can profit from my experience.

The first stage was the application form. This is pretty standard with a combination of motivational and competency questions. Once you have completed and submitted the application form you will hear back from the firm within a week. You will then be invited to take online numerical and verbal reasoning tests provided by Kenexa. You can complete some practice questions before taking the actual test. The best advice I can give is to practice as many tests as you can beforehand but there is nothing too difficult. If you are successful at both tests the next stage you will be invited to is the interview. The time it takes for the interview confirmation can vary as some have said they have been invited to an interview straight away but it was about 10 days before I got invited to my interview.

My interview was held at their London office in Tower Hill. Someone from the HR department and a manager from the department you are applying for will generally complete your interview. The interviewers are very friendly and immediately put you at ease. The interview is split into two sections an analytical exercise and a competency based interview. You are required to complete the analytical exercise first. The exercise is not tricky at all. You have a single side of A4, which you will be required to read and make notes on in 10 minutes. The interviewer will then ask you a number of questions on the article such as what are the main aims of the article, who are the main stakeholders, what are the main problems and what solutions can you think of to solve these problems. This exercise is measuring your ability to quickly assimilate information and communicate that information effectively. The next part of the interview is competency based. This will include questions on motivation, teamwork and the qualification you will be studying for. As others have said the interview is not daunting at all and you do not feel like the interviewer is trying to trip you up. Just keep calm and remember to use the STAR approach to answer the questions.

If you pass the interview then the next and final stage will be the assessment centre. The assessment centre is an intense day. You will be split into groups with a set timetable of tasks to complete. The tasks are an intray exercise, a partner interview, a group exercise and a short presentation.

The first exercise my group was require to complete was the intray exercise. This is quite easily the hardest part of the day. The task itself is not too difficult but the time restraint is quite steep. This exercise is split into three sections: the first section requires you to look through a number of emails and prioritise them by importance and whether they are important/ urgent or not. You will also be required to address any links between the documents. The second exercise is split into two parts: the first involves planning a conference from the documents in the first section of the exercise and explaining any assumptions. The second part involves creating a budget for the dinner using the information provided. The final part is relatively straightforward. You are required to write a memo to encourage managers to send their staff to the conference. The important thing to do in this exercise is to start writing as soon as possible as you cannot be marked on what you do not write down. Time management is a key part of this task and it is likely that you will not be able to finish all tasks. I spent too much time on the first part of section two of the intray, which meant I did not get enough time to adequately complete the budget for the conference dinner. A number of individuals have reported that they did not feel they had done well on this task but have gone on to receive offers. Therefore, if you feel you have not done your best do not dwell on this too much and focuses on doing your best in the other three exercises.

The next part of my day was the partner interview. The experience of the partner interview differs depending on the partner who you interview with. My partner interview was extremely informal and more of a general conversation to get to know whether I would be a good fit for the firm. However, others I spoke to on the day said that their interview was wholly competency based. Therefore, I would advise ensuring adequate knowledge on the firm, any commercial awareness issues and brushing up on your competency question examples.

The group exercise was the next task of the day. This exercise involved selecting one of three scenarios and discussing in your group why you chose that option, three problems with the option you have chosen and then five solutions to the problems you have discovered. The key here is to ensure you make key points, do not interrupt others, time manage if you can, try keep the group on task and use people’s names to give a more personal touch.

The final assessed part of the day is the presentation. You pick a topic at random and then have 10 minutes to prepare a presentation on the topic you have chosen and then 5 minutes to present your topic. You can then be asked questions by the rest of your group on your presentation. There is nothing you can do to prepare for in advance for this task.

The rest of the day involves a lunch, presentations and an opportunity to go for a drink with the graduate “couriers” that will be ushering you around on the day.

My message to those of you that have been trying to secure a training contact but have been unsuccessful so far is to not give up. I started applying for graduate contracts from last year and have attended a number of assessment centres since then including PWC, BDO, UHY, Baker Tilly, the government fast stream (FSAC) and a few smaller firms. Each assessment centre you complete will give you valuable experience that you will be able to utilise during the next opportunity you are given.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below and I will try my best to answer them.


#2

Frederic, this is immensely helpful. Thanks so much for taking the time to post your experiences here!


#3

You’re welcome.


#4

Hi I’ve got a second interview for Mazars next week but my application is for a placement year (PSIA). Do you have any other tips as I will only be required to do a 5 min presentation on PSIA and a partner competency interview. Do you reckon I have to prepare for the presentation before or they will give me the details on the day? Thanks for the really helpful post!


#5

They should let you know whether you will have to prepare in advance for the presentation or if you will be given a topic on the day in the email they sent you regarding the second interview. If the presentation is specifically on PSIA then I suspect they will want you to have done some preparation in advance. In terms of the delivering the presentation my advice would be to try have a clear structure in place. An introduction to your topic, your main body and a conclusion. Try to speak clearly and don’t try to rush though the presentation. Also be ready to answer a few questions on your presentation at the end.

In regards to the partner interview, as this all depends on the partner you are interviewing with I would say the main thing is to practice your answers to a multitude of competency based questions around Mazars six core values integrity, responsibility, respect for individuals, cultural diversity, independence and continuity. Also, make sure you have a good understanding of the firm and the services it offers as well as your motivation for the role.

I hope I have adequately answered your question.

Good luck with your second interview.


#6

Hi
Could you let me know what makes Mazars stand out from the Big 4 and the other mid-tier firms?


#7

I would say that the main thing that makes Mazars stand out from the big four is the responsibility that you will be given at an early stage in your career. You will be doing more varied work on the clients in your portfolio which means you are more likely to receive a wider depth of knowledge as compared to the big four. In terms of medium firms the main difference is the type of clients you will be working on. Mazars has one of the highest number of FTSE 350 clients outside of the big four so you will be sure to work on some interesting clients. Finally, Mazars is an integrated firm which means you will find it a lot easier to move abroad to do secondments that at most other firms. Hope this helps!


#8

How long does it normally take your them to invite you to take the tests?
It says 15 working days, is that the norm? Is the verbal test true/false/cannot say types?
Thanks and congratulations.


#9

From what I can remember it take up to two weeks before you are invited to take the online tests. However, the actual time may vary and could be shorter or possibly longer. In terms of the verbal reasoning test it is the stand test from what I can remember so if you get a chance practice some kenexa style questions.


#10

Yes this helped. Just got to know I have passed the tests and been invited to the Interview. Do they call to book the slots or online? I have not received any calls from them after hearing about my tests results which was also via email.
Also, for the Interview:- how did you prepare for the analytical exercise and how many questions came up for competency based interview?
Thanks in advance.


#11

It was online when I got invited to my interview. They will email you when slots become available. There was literally no way to prepare for the analytical exercise as you do not know what it may be on until the day. Just make sure you take note of the question that you have to answer so that you are only selecting the relevant information to discuss. There were between 5-8 from what I can remember. Teamwork was definitely a key focus during my interview but any questions regarding their core values could come up.


#12

Thanks for sharing your experience! Would you mind telling us how long it took to hear back from them after the assessment day? :slight_smile:


#13

It took approximately two weeks for me. The partner who interviewed me called me to tell me the good news.


#14

Thanks for the clarity. Bit nervous. Also, can you let me know if the questions include business awareness types, although it is competency based just to make sure?
Thanks in advance for your time and knowledge.


#15

My interview did not include commercial awareness question but some other I spoke to did so it was be best to come prepared with some awareness of what is going on in the news and developments in the accountancy field at the moment.


#16

Hi Frederic,
I recently got an offer from Mazars to start in 2016 in audit.
I was wondering how you were finding it and if you’re enjoying it?
Thanks!


#17

Anyone have an AC on 11th Dec? Struggling with how to prepare as everything is now ‘strengths-based’ instead of competencies.


#18

what division and location?


#19

Hiya :slight_smile: It’s difficult to prepare for a strengths-based interview but just try and think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. Good luck!


#20

London office - Tax; what about you?