I noticed there was a dearth of information with regard to the econs consulting application process, so I thought I’d share my experience if anyone wants to apply to this service line.
Step 1: online reasoning tests are pretty standard SHL stuff, comprising of the numerical reasoning test, the logical reasoning test and the student talent questionnaire. Note that the logical reasoning test is listed as “inductive reasoning” under the SHL system.
Step 2: First round interviews are pretty much as what alpie describes. As part of the technical discussion, I got the building a bridge connecting the island to the mainland question; and on top of that, I had a question that talked about why corner convenience stores have higher prices than supermarkets, very theory of the firm stuff, so a discussion about eos, pricing strategy, cost structures, margins should ensue.
As for competencies, I was asked about why economic consulting, why PwC, teamwork, and when I had to deal with a conflict. I was also asked what was the difference between/what sets apart PwC economics consulting with other economic consultancies (Oxera, Oxford, Frontier etc). This would come up especially if you tell them that you’ve applied to them. So for this, you should be very familiar with the services that PwC can provide for their clients.
Step 3: Assessment centre
Part 1: Assessment Tests are exactly like what you get online in Step 1, except on paper, but no more student talent questionnaires. The tests are not negatively marked, so do as many as you can. You get 20 mins for each test.
Part 2: The written exercise is where they give you a brief, you make a recommendation on behalf of the client and write a report about it. So structure is important here, try to break down info into digestible bits and use as much business language as possible. You are given 30 mins to do this.
Part 3: the second round interview consists of a case study discussion and a competency discussion. You are given four business questions beforehand to choose one from and 20 mins to prepare. It would probably be useful to revise on some econs here, some areas include theory of the firm, market structures, pricing strategies/bundling.
But your discussion is definitely not limited to econs alone, and could include other qualitative issues. I don’t think any in-depth industrial knowledge is expected, but some grasp would be handy when the interviewers bring up examples in different industries, and you may need to apply your econ knowledge and commercial awareness.
I did not get too many questions on competencies, and the discussion was similar to the 1st interview: why PwC, why econs consulting, and where do you see yourself in 5 years. They could expand on your response to the questions, when applicable, weave in what you know about PwC’s services. And this part was a lot more like a chat and both interviewers were very friendly and were more than happy to share their experience.
Part 4: Group discussion is where you have a discussion with 3-4 people while being observed by 2 assessment officers. You are given a brief containing a client info and what help do they require. Each person has a separate card containing info unique to themselves. You are given 20 mins to prepare for the discussion. Do note that there are irrelevant info, so hone in on exactly what is required of the team.
During the discussion, it is important to stay on track, share your own information as much as possible (this is key!), ask for the opinion of others and always give others a chance to speak. Do not be aggressive/dominating. Speak clearly and loud enough so the assessment officers can hear you and make remarks.
The day ended with a small reception with some members of the team, so great time to ask questions about the work they do etc.
Some statistics: at the assessment centre, there seems to be a slight majority of postgrad candidates (I myself am an undergrad). Also, there weren’t many female candidates during the session (like around 12.5%); but according to the team, at entry level the gender balance is more or less even. the number of people who attended the assessment centre came up to about 14-15, and the recruiters mentioned that they were hiring for 5 positions for 2010.
For the interview, it is crucial to establish rapport with your interviewers. I do not know how much weight they attach to each component of the assessment centre, but the interview seems to have a make-or-break importance. As long as you demonstrate a healthy interest in econs and what they do, you should be fine.
hope this helps!