PwC application 2015 - Begining to end


#1

Hi everyone,
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 :slight_smile:

Pre-screening question:
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.

Online tests:
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.

Telephone interview:
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
  • Relationships
    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.

Assessment Centre:
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.
Written Task:
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

Group Exercise:
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.

Reasoning tests:
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.

Senior Interview:
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 :slight_smile:

S


#2

Hi Sam

This is such a great post - really useful. Thanks very much for posting here!


#3

Hello sammanu,
Congratulations on getting the offer and thanks for the great post!
I have an AC coming up soon and I wanted to ask how did you prepare for the written exercise and group exercise? Is there any specific preparation one can do for these?

Thanks
Hussein


#4

No problem, congrats on making it to the AC stage,
There is no specific way to prepare for these, just gather as many tips as you can from this and other posts.
For the written exercise, I practiced my structure. Grab an A4 and see how the structure I suggested above would look like on paper in practice, it helps to have a visual image in you mind. I’m used to typing and needed to speed up my hand writing, so I practiced by writing 2 full pages of A4 under time constrain. After a few attempts, I managed to improve my speed by around 4 minutes and used that time for reading the case during the actual test. Also read about different water conservation strategies ( don’t recall what they were, there’s another post that has it) .
For the group one, I didn’t do any preparation, be your self and be a team player :slight_smile:

Good luck!
S


#5

Thanks for the advice sammanu.
I have accumulated a nice big document with all the tips I could find in WikiJob. It is a really good idea to practice writing since I am also not very used to handwriting anymore. Thanks again. I hope it goes well.

Hussein


#6

Congratulations on your offer! Thanks for your post, it helps a lot
I just passed my telephone interview, May I have questions about the AC?
Are the reasoning test and the written task both paper-based? and is there any paper available for scribble when doing numerical test?
Thank You:)


#7

yeah, everything is paper-based. They give you some rough papers if you wish to write some notes, but given the time pressure, I wouldn’t suggest that you spend much time taking notes.
Good luck in the AC!


#8

Yes everything is paper based and there is draft paper available which will be collected at the end. As for the reasoning tests, I personally tried to do my calculations in one go in my calculator (becomes easier to do with practice) due to time constraint which helped to save some time during the test.


#9

Thank you for your advice, sammanu
I am also wondering how you managed to find out useful information for each option when writing report? In such a short time
Are there many subheadings in the 16pages, or is it structured? And did you write the report in a bullet points format?
Thank you again


#10

Thank you for your advice hsahyouni
You said you will also have a AC coming, did you finish ? Mine is on 26th February

:slight_smile:


#11

No problem :slight_smile:
And yes I had mine last week but I didn’t pass. Hopefully you will have a better outcome :slight_smile:


#12

No problem,
I spent no more than 6-7 mins for the initial reading to get a gist and started writing right away; I suggest you to do the same. In my draft notes, I just wrote some figures down to remember. There wasn’t an overwhelming number of headings and sub-headings as far as I recall. My report was structured as mentioned above with pros and cons in a bullet point format.


#13

Hi.
Could you please let me know if in the PwC background check - they contact the previous employers on their own (like someone in HR) or to the line managers with details we provide to them?
Thanks,
Jeeves