I have spent a good part of the last year lurking on this forum benefitted greatly. Having recently received an offer, I would like to take the opportunity to give something back and give all prospective PWC applicants a thorough insight into what to expect.
Online Testing: Self Explanatory - Consists of a Numerical and Logical psychometric test. I highly recommend subscribing to assessment day.co.uk as their broad selection of tests are incredibly useful for all exams.
Phone Interview - This 50-60 minute interview will focus on specific competencies central to the ‘PWC professional’. Questions will include;
‘Tell me a time when you have had to learn something new’
‘Have you every sought feedback’
‘Tell me a time when you dealt with people who work differently to you’
‘Tell me a time when you had a work in a team’
‘tell me a time when you dealt with dishonesty’
‘Tell me about a time you had to deliver exceptional customer service.’
‘Tell me a time when you demonstrated your organisational and leadership skills’
‘Why the business area of your choice’
‘why the ACA/CFA/CIPD qualification’
‘What current affairs are you following’ ‘How could PWC help’
Advice would be to prepare well and take your time when answering. Also stick with the STAR approach.
- Assessment Centre - Consists of three parts. 1. Case Study, 2. Written Exercise, 3. Psychometric Testing
Psychometric Testing - 40 minutes - 20 Numercial Questions and 40 Logical Questions.
Word of advice - Manage your time and prioritise accuracy over completion The pass mark is typically 50% but can vary from what I have been told.
The case study - 40 mins - Will involve you and the other candidates being given different solutions to a problem. You will be afforded 20 minutes to make notes on your individual proposal which include analysing the costs, potential revenues and 10 year projections. You will also be given a budget which, in my case, was a % of revenues in the information pack. My case study centred around the by-products of palm oil and a company that wishes to diversify where potential solutions included; Eco Friendly Soap Bar, Animal Feed, Natural Gas Extraction etc. Be aware that there will be both a need for profitability and eco friendly publicity. You are also recommended to see whether you can take on multiple solutions under the budget. There are also factors like government subsidies to consider. However, midway through the preparation, you will be told that the budget will be slashed by 30%, ending any collaborative ventures.
Key advice; Correctly calculate the figures and confirm with the group.
Try to use inclusive language ‘We’ rather than ‘I’
Remember names and try to build a rapport - HR had suggested that this is a key .
Do not waffle and repeat what others have already said.
You NEED to come to a conclusion to pass.
Written Exercise - 30 Mins - You will be given a pamphlet and you will be asked to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of a government project. My exercise was based on water conservation and required the analysis of taxation, reporting and monitoring as potential solutions. This was probably the most difficult of all of the assignments due to the time constraints and the pressure. Advice would include;
Avoid writing too descriptively and more analytically.
Bullet point all pros and cons - this helps to avoid descriptive writing IMHO.
You will also be given various graphs and numbers; Use them ALL and find a way of integrating everything.
You will NEED to write a conclusion to pass
- Final Interview
Interview itself is incredibly synoptic to the telephone interview, so expect to be asked the similar questions. What struck me about my interview was the emphasis the partner placed on loyalty. Hence, preparing a piece on why PWC and not the other big 4 or IB would be wise. Commercial awareness will also be tested and you will be expected to have some idea of the economy and business where your ability to come up with a founded opinion will be judged rather than your technical expertise.
For those of you still waiting or are thinking about applying, feel free to ask me anything and good luck.