I have received an offer for the PwC Management Consulting graduate scheme. I have used wikijobs forums extensively during my preparation and would like to contribute and give something back by sharing my own experience
Before answering any of the questions, make sure you understand and convey your reasons for why PwC? and why (in my case) Management Consulting?
These are the two questions you will be asked again during telephone and senior interviews in slightly greater depth. I pretty much used the same answers with a tad more detail. So, it worth investing a bit more time to acquire a thorough understanding of the firm and the role at the very beginning.
I found them quite straightforward. A numerical reasoning test (12 questions – 17mins), a logical reasoning test (18 questions – 18mins) and a personality questionnaire (52 questions – no time constraint). for the first 2, assessmentday and jobtestprep are two great sources for practice. For the personality questionnaire I would say, be honest and consistent with your responses. It worth skimming through PwC Professional Leadership framework as well.
I had my telephone interview in October, so don’t remember the questions in detail. If you look at other threads you will find plenty of recently added experiences.
But overall I would say, make sure you ‘thoroughly’ understand PwC Professional Leadership framework that consists of the following areas:
- Whole Leadership
- Business Acumen
- Technical Capabilities
- Global Acumen
These will be assessed in form of competency questions. Make sure you have a deep understanding of the role you’re applying to. Also prepare a recent business related topic to talk about (find something you’re actually curious and enjoy reading about – it helps!). As in pre-screening stage, the more you prepare for this interview the easier it gets to prepare for the senior interview because they have a very similar format.
The AC was a 4 hour event which included a Written Task, a Group Exercise and retake of the Numerical and Logical reasoning tests. In the morning, before starting the assessments make sure you introduce yourself to other candidates and have a quick and friendly chat with them. That way you’ll have a pre-established relationship with potential members of your group task, which makes it so much smoother.
It was about encouraging businesses to conserve water. You’re presented with 4 options that are not explicitly stated (by that I mean they’re in the text). The booklet is about 16 pages. 3 areas are assessed: Structure, Language and Content. You’re only allowed 2 sides of an A4, so be careful! Tip: all of the information you need is after the blank page. Make sure you finish your recommendation; otherwise it’s an automatic failure apparently.
I structured mine as below:
1.0 – Introduction
2.0 – Options
2.1 – Option 1 (2 Pros and Cons)
2.2 - Option 2 (2 Pros and Cons)
2.3 - Option 3 (2 Pros and Cons)
2.4 - Option 4 (2 Pros and Cons)
3.0 - Recommendation
For me this was the most enjoyable task. You’re given a brief about a project and each given an option, you need to work as a team and choose the most appropriate option. Quick tip: all important information is after the blank page in the booklet. The only calculation required is payback period (if I remember correctly), quite easy to do, don’t worry. Basically you have a budget and few objectives for your project. Every decision you make should be with respect to them. There is no right or wrong here as long as your decisions and sensible and justified. In this task, your soft skills and team working skills are under evaluation. So: make eye contact, be the time keeper if you can, don’t be shy and be confident when making your points, also respect other members, listen to their points carefully and never jump in when someone is talking unless you absolutely have to.
These are a more time constraint version of the ones you’d taken before. Numerical (20 Qs – 20mins) and Logical (40 Qs - 20mins). All I can say is practice, practice and practice! Time is of the essence; don’t spend too long on one question. Don’t be afraid to skip a question if it is taking long to answer. Here you need to be accurate and fast – also quality over quantity. Don’t just guess 5 questions at the end for the sake of answering all of the questions (I answered 15 questions during my numerical test and passed). As mentioned earlier Assessmentday and Jobtestprep are two good sources.
It follows the same structure as the telephone interview, but this time face to face with a senior member of your chosen line if service, mine was a director. Prepare in the same way you did for your telephone interview but this time with added depth to your answers. Expect a lot of follow up questions after your responses. Make sure you know your line of work inside out; the more you know the better. To get this information you can network with current employers, read about the competitive landscape of your chosen service line etc.
At this stage you should be able to make a good impression during the interview and be personable. I can’t stress enough how important it is to build rapport with your interviewer. Your knowledge and enthusiasm about the role and the firm, as well as your manner can all help towards building that rapport. Ask about his/her background, find what you have in common and build a conversation around it. At the end of the interview, show more enthusiasm and ask questions. Make sure you ask if he/she is available or needs to leave soon before asking your questions. I had a very nice conversation for 30mins after my interview was over!
Overall, my experience during the process was very positive. After each stage I received constructive feedbacks (in form of reports or verbal feedbacks over the phone) that wasn’t the case in my other applications to other firms (at least to the level that PwC provided). For me it is a sign of respect for the time I spent during each of these stages. I’m very pleased about receiving a job offer.
Anyways, hope you find my experience useful and wish you best of luck