I have just managed to get through to the partner interview for assurance with PwC and wanted to log my experiences so far for anyone who needs help. I will be totally honest with the process so far and how I have felt and done alone the way.
One of the main things that has helped me was attending the PwC presentation evening at my careers centre at university. Even if you have graduated you can still attend these events at your uni. I went on 5th October and met the whole graduate assurance team from my city AND the assurance partner who will be interviewing me at the final stage. I gained so much from that evening and spent 15 mins having a 1-2-1 chat with the partner.
Prior to the presentation evening I had already applied for the assurance programme and managed to get through to the first interview. I would recommend taking your time with the application form; it is not tricky just long. Make sure in your extra information box you write about any achievements that you can talk about if you get to interview. I wrote a lot about my extracurricular stuff and my interviewer brought it up, which gave me more to speak about and draw examples from.
There isn’t much I can stay about the online tests, just practise if you struggle with them and remember to keep an eye on the clock. Rumours have it that the pass mark is around 60% but don’t hold me to that. For the online tests I managed to finish the logical (shapes) but on the numerical had to guess the last 4 questions due to running out of time!
The application question is 500 words and asks to provide your ideal client with advice about the services PwC could offer them. I would recommend choosing a business within an industry you know about and either one that is doing really well and expanding or possibly going through some difficulties. I chose a company from the health & leisure industry as I have worked in that sector for the past 7 years. I gave a brief history on the business and their economic background at the current time, and then I gave 4 examples of what services PwC have that could help them. Gave examples from across a range of services, not just the one you are applying for. I submitted my application question and found out 12 hours later I had been successful.
I chose to have a face-to-face interview as I believe you can build a better relationship with someone in the flesh than over the phone. My interviewer was fantastic and the whole experience was very relaxed, I just felt like we were having a chat. He asked me a lot of competency based questions (which can be found on the website) and then there was quite a large section on commercial awareness. He asked me if I would like to talk about the company I had written my application question on or another company. I obviously choose the company I had written about as it was fresh in my mind, and he asked me about the current background and then asked for a SWOT analysis. Following this he asked if there as anything I would like to ask him while he finished his cup of tea! Make sure you have a list of questions to ask as it shows you are keen and want to learn more, I asked about the exams process and what studying was like within the company and I also asked about secondments.
My interviewer said he would type the interview up the same day and send it off to the recruitment team. I received a phone call at 12pm the following day to say I had been successful, and they provided me with a wealth of feedback from my interview. My assessment centre was booked in for 13 days later.
The assessment centre started at 9am and lasted about 4 hours. There were 5 of us there, but they can have up to 12. With the type of exercises you do on the day, you can’t really prepare much for it. Just remember to take a watch that has a stopwatch facility on it as you need to keep an eye on the time.
The first thing we done was a written report exercise, we had 30 mins to read 8 A4 pages and produce a 2 page report that was structured, with good content & appropriate use of language. I found this part tough as I ran out of time, I have no problem with writing reports but the time constraints really affect you. I only managed to write 1 line in the conclusion!
Following this was done a group exercise were we had 20 mins to read another booklet and an individual piece of information. Following this we had 30 mins as a group to discuss what we had just read and convey our individual parts in a concise and persuasive manner. We had to come to a conclusion on what piece of information was most relevant to the task. This was really enjoyable as my team worked well together and we had a very businesslike meeting.
Finally we completed the paper numerical (20 questions in 20mins) and logical (40 questions in 20mins) tests, these were tough again due to the time constraints. I managed to answer 18/20 on the numerical and 16/20 on the logical.
As we were finishing the assessment centre, the recruitment officer said to me that the assurance partner (who I met at the presentation evening) had been asking after me and wondering when I was coming for my interview with him!! I was ecstatic that he had remembered me and that I had obviously made an impression, definitely shows you it pays off to network at those events.
I left the assessment centre and 2 hours later received a phone call to say I had been successful. It was Friday afternoon though and the recruitment officer said they had rushed the feedback to get in touch with us before the weekend, so if you go midweek expect to be waiting up to 48 hours.
I am now waiting to hear on a date for my partner interview, but I am feeling very optimistic as I have met him and already spoken to him about myself and the job.
I will let you know how the interview goes and what sort of questions he asks! If anyone needs any help or has questions about the process please do ask, I couldn’t have got through it all by myself and this website really helped!