PwC Consulting Application - Start to Finish

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#1

Hello,
Just as other people’s experiences posted here helped me out tremendously, I am posting mine too!
The application process at PwC seems to be one of the simplest and friendliest out there and I would highly recommend giving it a go!

  1. Application form.
    As well as general questions (grades/previous employment etc) you have to answer two motivational questions. Make sure you use your words wisely, tell them exactly why your experiences make you good for the job, and try and find something to mentions about their company that not everyone will have said. i.e everyone know they are No. 1 on The Times list, but what about awards relating to consulting in particular? (MCA awards are a good one)

I was particularly lucky at this stage, having been initially rejected, I received an email inviting me to an insight day and giving me the chance to re-submit those questions. I suppose I ended up on the ‘not quite good enough but promising’ pile! So that is how important your answers to these are!

  1. Online Testing
    Logical, Numerical and ‘personality tests’ - You get two chances at these, thank goodness. i am not a strong mathematician so I signed up to assessmentday.com where it was only £7.99 for plenty of practice maths with proper explanations and would highly recommend for anyone else like me. The practice questions provided by PwC will not fully prepare you for the real thing. (They also have a logical test bank too if that is your weaker point)
    The personality test is extremely arduous, (I have taken it many times, as if you get a ‘second chance’ at online tests you have to retake them all, and have got different results every time so I don’t know how useful it really is!). I would recommend having the competences in front of you and keeping them in mind when doing the test, and try to by consistent with your answers as much as you can.

NOTE: You are informed straight away if you fail a test and have a second chance. I assumed if I was not informed of a failure, that I had passed and would be going through to telephone interview, however they check your application form AFTER these tests. Just something to bear in mind.

  1. First Telephone Interview
    I have done this twice and both times had a good experience with lovely people at the end of the phone. It is entirely competency based and they tell you exactly which ones will be assessed int he first interview so prepare one or two answers for each of those. Even if you think you are clutching at straws, use even the smallest situation and elaborate on it, say how YOU were involved. It can help to use the STAR method to structure your answers (Situation, Tast, Action, Result).
    Some questions I was asked were: How do you keep up to date with current affairs? Can you tell me about a story of interest you have been following? (follow up question to that was of course, how could PwC help) A time you’ve had to overcome a problem during a project, a time you’ve had a problem doing something and there’s been no one you could ask for help, a time when you had a disagreement and had to resolve it…etc etc etc.

I found out that I passed (by text) after 48 hours the first time, and the next day the second time.

  1. Assessment centre
    This was a very relaxed and easy going day and nothing to be worried about.
    BRING A WATCH! They will NOT tell you how much time you have left, and the clock in the room (in London anyway) is not precise enough to know how much time you really have especially in time pressured exercises.

First you do a written exercise, probably something people worry most about. No prior knowledge is needed, they just want to know you can pick out relevant information from a large amount, and structure a report. (Intro, first option pros/cons, second option pros/cons, third…then a recommendation and conclusion)
There is a lot of information, so just skim read or look at the readings, pick out key figures and get writing. Make sure you include one or two numbers from the document and make sure you squeeze in a conclusion, although do not write after time is called, I saw one persons last sentence get rubbed out by the assessor and this may have reflected badly on them as a whole as well.

Secondly the group is split to do either numerical and logical tests, or the group exercise. In the group exercise everyone is given a pack of information and also some unique information they must relay to the group. In my feedback, positive points were that I delivered my unique information clearly in a sensible structured way, I addressed people by their first names, made eye contact, asked questions to quieter members. Just be confidant but overbearing (I was told I asked someone a question but then answered for them which I did not realise I had done!) and try not to talk over people but engage them. All in all it was quite a fun exercise both times round!

The numerical and logical tests are just extended versions of the online ones, however logical is 40 questions in 20 minutes (I love these so it was not problem for me!).
In the maths test, the questions are not in order. I.e you will be asked questions on 4 or 5 different figures, but it does not ask all questions on one figure and then move on to the next, they are mixed up.
The first time round the maths is what i failed (gutting because I passed everything else) I got flustered on the first question which caused me only to answer 11/20.
The second time, I had invested in practice from Jobtestprep.com, a little more expensive but would HIGHLY recommend for people like me as the questions are a little more complex than those on assessmentday.com.
The second time i answered 18/20 in the 20 minutes provided. I would recommend doing all the questions on figures you understand first, and then going back to the harder ones. This really helped me not to waste time on something I couldn’t do. In such a short time its hard to answer all questions anyway so make sure you use the time on the ones you can do!

Both times I received a call from the recruiter two days after the assessment centre.

  1. Final Interview.
    Obviously this varies depending on which partner you get, (a friend of mine recently had one where they simply read competency questions monotonously from a sheet).
    In my case, I had a senior manager, and he began by telling me about the firm and about what he does. Then asked why consulting (and how is it different from audit because that was my first application…long story). After that he said ‘I have to ask you these competency questions now’ however he tried to make them different by referring a lot to my employment history on the application firm. i.e I see you worked in a restaurant, imagine you are working for PwC and you are called in by the restaurant, what problems would there be and how would you solve them. At times I found it difficult to figure out what he was trying to ask me, but he was very helpful, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat or rephrase the question, it can really help! After the obligatory competency questions I was given the opportunity to ask him some questions too, and then he spent some more time telling me about his job and what life would be like for me working there. An hour, and 2 firm hand shakes later I was on the way home.

I didn’t think the interview had gone as well as it could have because I struggled o come up with some answers, and it took them two weeks to get back to me while I was at home being sure I had failed. However, in the feedback from the recruiter it sounded like the interviewer had made his decision based on me as a person, rather than simply my answers. Confident, engaging, clear etc. I even had some negative feedback which was that I appeared to let stress get to me at times, but I still got the offer, so don’t lose all hope if you think it didn’t go too well!

Anyway, I think I’ve pretty much covered everything, I’ll be starting in November in the London office and happy to answer any questions :slight_smile:


#2

would like to apply for graduate programe at pwc middleeast!
how to apply?
could not find a link on their site


#3

I’m not sure if the process is different in the Middle East or not, but no link could just mean they are not recruiting at the moment. There should be a student recruitment number you could call to find out though.


#4

Hi Lucy91,
That was really an informative article. I am currently going through the process myself, and have couple of questions to ask…

The Application:
I applied to PwC Risk Consulting (as an Experienced Hire) in January 2014 through a recruitment agency. Although I have nearly 7 years of Financial Technology Consulting experience behind me, this was my first attempt at any real Big Consulting role. Hence, I was excited and a bit nervy at the same time.

Telephone Interview:
About 2 months after applying (and a couple of rescheduling), I finally had my Interview scheduled in March 2014. Since I work / stay in the Middle East, it had to be a Telephone Interview. The overall interview experience had been quite good. The interviewer was a Senior Consultant and he religiously followed the competency interview patterns. What impressed me most was the impeccable punctuality of the interviewer, in that, he called in exactly as scheduled (not a minute early, not a minute late) and we ended the interview in 1 hour on the dot.

The Follow-up:
After the Interview, I kept following up with the Recruitment agency but heard nothing for a couple of weeks. Finally, during early April, things happened. First, my application status (in PwC Career portal) was changed from “Scheduled Interview” to “Under Review”, and subsequently, the recruiter contacted me mentioning that he had received initial feedback from PwC in that they were interested to meet me in their london office for Assessment Day and Partner Interview. I had a good 15 minutes chat with the recruiter where we discussed my availability / convenient dates and also requested him to confirm the schedule couple of weeks in advance, so that I can get my tickets booked and tourist visa arranged for London. Till this point of time, things were going good.

The Silence:
However, since the last 4 weeks there has been no response from PwC whatsoever. My application status (in PwC Career portal) is still “Under Review”. I have tried to buzz the recruiter couple of times, but even he doesn’t seem to have any clue about what’s going on at PwC end. Had the initial feedback been negative, I would have moved on. But after a positive feedback, it sounds strange that they went silent altogether. I mean, yes, it might take them some time to get the assessment day and the partners’ schedules matched (because I am an international candidate and need to have everything done together, because I’d be flying out from all the way to Middle East, just for the interviews), but as a candidate, I would like to stay in touch.
I can take No for an answer alright, but after hearing a kind of positive response, this L-O-N-G wait is killing me!!
I came across your post today, and that you had to wait merely a day or two for each of the stages, makes me even more edgy.

Now that you have read my entire story…what do you think? Do you think they are just delaying due to some operational issues, or could it be because the initial feedback was wrong altogether and they have since change their mind regarding me? I know I might sound dumb… but any thoughts, ideas, suggestions would help.

Thanks!


#5

Hi Shamik.14

I think the problem is likely to be matching up the assessment centre and interview on the same day.

To clarify, I only had to wait a day or two to hear the outcome of the first interview and assessment centre. But my assessment centre was two weeks after the interview, and my final interview was 4 weeks after that so plenty of waiting! A friend of mine wasn’t given a a final interview slot until months after his assessment centre.

I wouldn’t worry too much but just keep in touch regularly. Its common to wait a long time for final interview so if they have to match it with the assessment day it may be more difficult.


#6

thanks!


#7

Hi Lucy91,
Thanks for your words of encouragement. My optimistic side was thinking on similar lines and the pessimistic side just needed a good reason to shut up. :slight_smile:

I’m just curious though, did you go through Graduate hire or Experienced hire?

Btw, Congrats on making it through… hopefully, if I make it too, will see u in London :slight_smile:


#8

I applied through graduate hire, good luck!


#9

Hi Lucy91,

Thank you for your helpful information.
I am going to have my telephone interview for the Management Consulting position. Would I ask you a couple of questions, pls?
-Was your interviewer a manager or a member of the HR team
-There are a list of 6 core skills PwC looking for, did you have one question for each or there were diff ways to assess one skill.

  • At the end of your interview, did s/he ask you if you had any questions? if so, what did you ask? Thanks a lot Lucy91

#10

Hello, Hello11 :stuck_out_tongue:

My interviewer was from HR (both times)
I don’t remember if I was assessed on each of all of the 6 competencies, but I can say that I was not asked any questions that weren’t listed. So prepare as many examples as you can for all of those competencies!
She did ask if I had any questions, and because she was from HR I just asked things to do with the application process and potential professional qualifications…try not to ask anything that you could have found out yourself online!

Good luck in your interview :slight_smile:


#11

Thank you, Lucy91 :slight_smile:


#12

Hi Lucy91,
I finally have a feedback from PwC, in that they are keen on arranging a Video Conferencing Interview rather than having me travel to London. They also mentioned that if and when they summon me to London, they want to be sure that an offer would be made. Hence, the Video Conferencing Interview comes first. This would ideally be arranged from a local PwC Office. I have done some research on general video conferencing interviews, but couldn’t find anything specific to PwC Consulting.

The key information I am looking for are:
A. The mode of Interview - Something similar to the Telephonic one? Very much Competency Based?
B. Since the specialization that I applied for was Financial Risk Consulting, could possibly I face in-depth questions on the technicalities of Financial Risk Management? Or is it supposed to be a set of generic Commercial Awareness questions, like the telephone interview?

It would be great if you could throw some light upon these questions. Also,
any additional information, suggestions specific to PwC Video Conferencing interviews would be good to start with.

Thanks!


#13

Hi,

I am by no means an expert in the details of the process, but I would imagine as it’s a second interview, it would be similar to other people’s experience of second interviews (regardless if by video or in person).

These can vary depending on the manager that you get, but do prepare the second interview competencies listed on their website.

As for technical knowledge I have no idea, but I suppose it would be better to be prepared for everything.

good luck!


#14

Hi Lucy91,
Thank you for your advice. I would like to ask about the AC
-In the numerical test, you mentioned there were 40 questions in 20 minutes. Did you use SHL to practise or other website? is SHL tests are at similar level with the test in AC?

  • How many questions were there in the diagrammatic test? was it also 20 minutes? Were they both in paper-based?

  • Any advice on how to prepare for a written exercise? Was it like: there were 3 or 4 companies and you advised which on to invest in?

  • Lastly, how many people were there in your group exercise and do you know how many of them got in?
    Thank you, I very much appreciate your advice