Just got offer from PwC Assurance, London Uxbridge office this week. This website is the main resource I had been used from the application form, all the way to the final, and I would love to write down my whole application process and share my experience with others.
Telephone Interview (first interview)
It was very standard competency-based interview,’ read the compentencies and prepare two examples for each’ is the golden rule for this type of interview. You could prectice to say in front of a mirror for one or two time, just like telling a story, with a bit of humor and be relax, of course be prefessional as well, remember why they ask you to give certain example, and how to talor your story to this compentency. I got following questions:
A time that you got very little support from others.
(Show how you seek help from other resources, can do attitude, and work independently.)
A time when a team member had different working style from you.
When you are responsible of organise something.
A time when you work in a team, what was your role?
A time when you facing potential lie or unethical decision.
(Look at the long-term interest for the clients and the reputation of the company you are working for.)
A time when you have to work very differently in a changing or new situation.
How you keep youself up-to-date to the current business news.
(you can also mention PwC’s own reports, even give the name of one report you just read should impress them a bit;)
Talk about the qualification you are going to take if you join the team.
My written excersice sucks I have to say, and I almost sure they would throw it into the bin straight away. I am an international student, so it took me much longer to read the materials, and I had to start writing when I still have no clue what it is all about. The only thing I remember is STRUCTURE STRUCTURE! First build the structure, and then start filling the contents, being logical when you need to compare things, like putting pros and cons, etc.
What made me go through the AC is that I didn’t let the bad mood from the first task affect my next two tasks, keep calm and dancing on! The group discussion was fine, even through I was again the only international candidate in the group, everyone was nice and letting each other talk, in fact, I think we were all too nice, always nodding and smiling and agree with whatever one person said:P I was the one who tried to organise the various figures and jump in when we need to compare difference businesses models.
Important thing to remember for Group Discussion: you guys are one group, you are teammates to get the task done, everyone could get through if you do well, on the contrary, the whole team can fail as well. This help ease the atmosphere, and you can focus on the target itself.
The Numerical and Diagrammatic tests are all about practice, I bought Assessment Day practice tests, which did help me to score 96% in one of them. You don’s have to buy it as long as you are happy with your online tests, or if you have already done a lot in other applications.
I only got to talk with him about my work experience, the role as a student leader when I was in my own country, compentencies question, what is the key of providing service to the clients ( understand the needs and tailor the service) .
But no Business Awareness questions! I prepared almost everything I could think of, but again, you can never finish preparing, just remember being confident and comfortable, able to answer basic Qs. Since business awareness questions are always what ppl get nervous about, at least that’s my case. I would share how I prepared mine. Please don’t expect me as a graduate can give perfect answer, I am just to help as much as I can
About EU crisis:
It’s such a big issue that you can never cover everything. If they ask you what do you think about the current EU crisis, and what will be the possible outcome. I wouldn’t give clear A or B answer, but I would focus on the fundermental course of this crisis, which is both the public sectors and private sectors are borrowing way too much in the past two decades probably, and debt-GDP level are not sustainable for most countries, here’s how Greece problem comes up. About the future, no one knows of course, there’re so much debate. The political uncertainty is one of the reasons why no one can say what would be the next: US, France, even China are re-elect their new leaders, no one would want to make the move at this point. Think about UK, it has been doing this reforming in the past two years, it’s bloody painful and tough. I don’t see there will be a large move in the short-term at least.
I guess if you could give your opinion in this way, it should be good enough.
Since I applied Assurance, audit reforming is also important topic, I also got idea from one of the post on Wikijobs in preparing this topic, thank you:)
You could say, I personally do appreciate EC’s effort of improving the audit quality since 2008 financial crisis. But the problem here is, EC need to answer two questions here before make the important decisions:
Does the big four audit market worsen the audit quality? And whether the actions such as Joint Audit, Mandatory Firm Rotating can actually improve the situation?
Since you are applying big four, of course you need to show your concern about these:
The big four are already been doing the audit partner retation which is already enough. Besides, other smaller accounting firms don’t really have a capability to handle big companies’ audit for example Barclays.
Moreover, six years of audit rotation would cause the loss of knowlegde, which would worsen the client’s decision making.
Audit-only service will ignore the other elements that auditors should take into consideration in a certain context, which will again bring down the audit quality.
The audit reforming is surely gonna affect PwC’s business and even the business structure, but it should also see the opportunities:
- MFR will lead the lose of important clients, but also bring more non-audit service clients to PwC from the rivals.
- PwC can provice more risk-reduction services to clients under current climate.
Veeery long I know, when I was reading other’s post, I was hoping to see some specific answers, so I thought I would do it if I get offer. Good luck to you all!