My PwC Experience

#1

Hi guys,

I had a PwC Senior Interview for London Assurance 2013 this morning and received a call 3 hours later saying I was successful. Like many have said this forum has been integral in me getting a place so I thought I would post my experience. I have a previous post put up on passing the AC a few weeks ago, but feel free to message me if you have any questions.

I was interviewed at Embankment place London by a director. He was extremely nice and put my nerves at ease. PwC are very proud of being a ‘people’s company’ and you definitely experience that firsthand.

We started with small talk and then we began. He asked a lot of questions about my media background - I did Media Arts in uni and have had a lot of experiences in PR/Journalism/HR - he wanted to know how that was transferable to a career in Assurance. I got thrown a lot of curveballs - I had prepared answers to a lot of questions but the interview didn’t follow the sequence I expected. By that I mean that unlike the telephone interview I wasn’t asked overtly rigid questions, so I didn’t realise how difficult it actually was until I left. Tbh, he made it so conversational that it felt more like a chat than anything else - these directors/partners are up there for a reason! They are so skilled at getting the info they need very subtly. The competencies he asked were:

  1. Tell me about a time you fostered a client relationship.
  2. Tell me about a time you received negative feedback you didn’t agree with.

That’s it. He asked a lot of questions surrounding audit and commercial news.

‘Define audit for me.’
‘One of our clients is so-and-so. If you were beginning work and were asked to review their financial statement, what kinds of things would you look for and from whom would you get the evidence?’
‘What is your opinion of the tax avoidance cases going on in the news right now?’
‘Have you heard about the Competition Commission?’
‘Talk me through your opinions on the audit reform.’
‘Hypothetical question: if I gave you 1 million pounds on the condition that you had to invest it in one company, which company would you choose and why? What kinds of evidence would you look for to make your decision before you invest?’

There were a lot of follow up questions such as - Based on what you know about them, how would you advise this client? What about PwC’s Service Lines - how would you harness that to help? What about the provision of non-audit services to audit clients - do you think there are central issues surrounding that?

So my advice is to THOROUGHLY read up on audit - I had no prior knowledge so had to work really hard. Know the purposes of external/internal audit, what they do - know about investors’ needs and what kinds of evidence they look for, know about safeguards (provision of non-audit services to audit clients) and the issues surrounding them. Have an ideal client in mind - I wasn’t asked that question directly but I used it to answer the hypothetical question. When you do your research, anticipate the sorts of things they could ask you - anticipate the follow-up questions and prepare as thoroughly as you can to cover all grounds. Know about current events! Read up on tax avoidance, Eurozone, reforms… I prepared things such as, Eurozone impact on accounting etc. Just prepare as much as humanely possible. That was my approach anyway. I realised after that that I had gotten quite a grilling, but the director put me so much at ease that I didn’t actually realise it until I left.

In terms of competencies - push the points they are really looking for; i.e.: flexibility, networking etc.

Other than that, be confident and smile! I was nervous but hid my shaking hands under the table and maintained eye contact. I would go as far as to say that I had a good time. I’m really no genius - I just really worked very hard and persevered - believe me, I’ve gotten rejected by so many smaller companies and even banks before. PwC was my last hope and honestly my first choice. So don’t give up guys - if I can do it, so can any of you!

I got a call a few hours later by the director - he personally wanted to call to offer me a position but he said someone else would be in touch about the details: I’m still waiting to receive details of my contract. Good luck guys and feel free to message me if you have anymore questions.