PwC: From application form to offer

Tesco
#1

Application Form

I originally applied for a vacancy in tax. I completed the application form and online tests but then received a phone call to say all the vacancies had been filled but there were vacancies elsewhere. I was then given time to research the areas to see if I was interested in any and asked to contact them when I had decided. I undertook my own research and was still a little unsure so they gave me the contact details of someone at the firm who worked in the department I was considering who I called and had an informal but lengthy discussion with about the departments and what the day to day job entailed. This helped me to decide this was an area I wanted to work in.

After informing them that I would like to apply for this position they sent me a careers focus form. This is bascially the first question on the application form which you need to reanswer to cater it towards the service line you are now applying for. The first section, ie why Pwc, doesn’t need changing. As such, I have only provided my answer to the first part once below and my answer to both departments I applied to as a guide.

Please provide us with your understanding of the services offered by the firm and in particular, the work undertaken in your chosen line of service (maximum 150 words).*

Services Offered:
Price Waterhouse Cooper help their clients solve complex business problems, manage risk and improve performance by providing a diverse range of services, not only providing clients with sound financial advice but also legal advice, management consultancy and crisis management, using their knowledge and expertise to find an effective business solution for their clients.

Tax:
However, it is in the tax arena where they shine as the global market-leaders, assisting businesses, individuals and organisations with tax strategy, structuring, planning, compliance and providing local and cross-border advisory services. Price Waterhouse Cooper are specialists in all aspects of mergers and acquisitions from initial risk assessment to the due diligence process and advice on tax warranties through to post deal integration. Tax and the law are intertwined, a knowledge of the latter essential for effective advice on the former. It is this relationship alongside the technical complexity of tax which attracts me to this role.

Audit/RAS:
However, it is in the assurance arena where PwC shine as the market-leaders, assisting businesses, individuals and organisations to manage risk by reviewing the processes and policies a company has in place and ensuring their automated systems are secure and accurate.

This in turn ensures smooth running of the auditing process, so to perform the first aspect of the role efficiently is to ensure success in the second part. This is successful because so much time is spent with the client. It is this client focus alongside the dual nature of risk assurance and audit which attracts me to this role.

From a business perspective, if you were to join PwC, which organisation would be your ideal client and what services do you think PwC would be providing to enhance the organisation’s continued business success (maximum 150 words)? Please note the organisation does not have to be a current client of PwC.*I believe Tesco would be an ideal client due to the range and volume of work they would offer PwC, from the management of their accounts to complex and perhaps cross-jurisdictional advice on the most tax efficient way to structure the company and its subsidiaries. Tesco make numerous acquisitions, such as the much discussed acquisition of a former Co-op store, and as such would benefit from PwC’s expertise and philosophy of connected thinking, PwC using their business knowledge, understanding and experience to find a commercially viable solution for Tesco. PWC is forward thinking, bright, committed and flexible and needs its employees to be the same. My degree result demonstrates my academic ability whilst my work experience in the retail, financial and legal sectors demonstrate my ability to multi-task and flourish in a variety of environments, the knowledge and experience I have gained able to be utilised in this role.

The rest of the questions will rely on your personal experiences so it would be pointless to put my answers here. However, I would advise you to use real experiences as these will be a focus point for your interview!

First Interview

There is a lot of good guidance elsewhere on Wiki re this I would advise reading as this is just my personal experience.

This is very much competency based and requires you to know your application form inside out. I personally had 4 years out before going to university then took a post graduate course in my chosen degree subject and had done work experience in my previous chosen field. As such, this was very much a focus in my interview. Why did I wait to go to uni, what made me choose my original subject and what prompted the u-turn to accountancy. I said that I wanted a client focussed job, which I belived my previous career to be but on undertaking experience found it wasn’t. As such, I chose Pwc because it had all the aspects of my previous job that I liked such as teamwork, communication, etc but understood the importance of clients and made them their main focus.

I was also questioned why I chose tax and not audit?RAs at first. i explained that I had a basic understanding of tax and was something I was familiar with whereas as I wasn’t with audit or RAS. However, after research I realised these were areas I would be interested in because they required you to work in client’s offices so were even more client focussed than tax.

There were also a lot of questions around my knowledge of the work involved in these departments and what I would be doing day to day as well as PwC as a whole. I would advise researching these areas fully.

It was very relaxed and informal and was a conversation rather than an interrogation. I had 2 interviewers, one from RAS and one from audit. I asked several questions during the interview. For example, when they talked about themselves I asked whether they had trained at the firm and when discussing secondments I asked if they had undertaken any. I was informed this demonstrated my knowledge of the firm and a genuine interest in what the firm has to offer.

I left the interview feeling very positive andreceived a call the next day to invite me to an assessment centre.

Assessment Centre
Bright Future’s advice on this is great and helped me immensely so read that alongside my experience as this is just my view.

The format of my assessment centre was slightly different from usual due to the availability of the partners. I will discuss it in the order I experienced it.

Group Exercise
This may differ in later years but my group exercise was about an existing company wanting to become accredited in a specific area. However, to do so they had to meet certain guidelines and would need to implement various initiatives to do so. Funding for this also depended upon a contract from another company. Each group member is given information on different schemes that may be implemented to meet the required targets. These vary in cost and effectiveness. You are also given a book with about 17/18 pages worth of information and you have 20 minutes to read this and make notes. You are given 3 tasks: work out your main objectives; decide which 4 areas have most importance; and discuss how PwC can help and what services they can provide.

We did achieve all our goals but I don’t believe this is partcularly important. I was told that the reasons I had performed well were because I led the topics of discussion, was conscious of time, asked the other group members their opinions and referred to them by name (though I wouldn’t advise doing this unless you are sure what everyone’s name is!).

Partner Interview
I was asked no competency based questions and surprisingly no business questions either. Although from what I’ve read this isn’t the norm. My interview very much focussed on why I had chosen accountancy, audit/RAS and PwC. I was asked how I would begin to build up client relationships when I first went into an office. I said it was a matter of asking questions and listning to the answers and then building a relationship of trust between myslef and the client. I tied this in with my progression through the firm, explaining that at the beginning I would be taking a back seat, performing simple tasks whilst as I progressed through the firm I would be building a realtionship of trust with the client, proving my opinion could be trusted by performing my work well and communicating well. Then by the 4th year I would be taking on my own clients and managing them, the relationship of trust having been established and they would know they could rely on my advice.

I had to explain how I was introducd to accountancy (I had met a person working for PwC in australia whilst I was travelling) and why this interested me. The rest of the interview focussed on my career timeline, what my jobs had entailed and my applcation form in general.

Once again I was interviewed by 2 people and the interview was informal and relaxed. I asked questions about when I could apply for secondments and whether this would be encouraged. I ended by thanking them for theor time and discussed their speific role in the firm whilst they escorted me back to reception. I felt it had gone well but wasn’t as positive as I was after the first interview.

Psychometric Tests
I completed the numerical test first. This was harder than the online version and you have to answer 20 questions in 20 minutes. I only managed 12 questions. I was positive I had failed at this stage and was grateful I had’t completed it first!!

This was followed by the nummerical/diagrammatical/logic test where you had to answer 40 questions in 20 minutes, I managed all 40. I felt confident I had passed this and quite enjoyed it!

Lunch
I was taken for lunch by a graduate from Audit an an executive from RAS to pizza express. This was wholly informal and enabled me to meet people I might be working with and get a true understanding of the culture of the firm and what you will be doing day to day. This is not assessed so feel free to ask whatever you want and relax. Easy for me to say as I got to go home afterwards but it really is your chance to see if the firm is right for you rather than vice versa.

I had a call first thing the next day to offer me a job and by that evening had been assigned a buddy who called me to welcome me to the firm and answer any questions I miight have. I never received any feedbcak on the tests ither than the fact my logic score was better than my numeracy score but that I had apparently passed their threshold. Personally I believe this to be a lie so my advice is, practice as many tests as you can but don’t stress about them, they are only one small part and the rest of the process if far more important. I think I failed this test miserably and yet I still got offered the job!!

Good Luck!!!

#2

We don’t have gold stars at WikiJob, but if we did you’d get three! …on behalf of everyone applying to PwC, and especially mature candidates - thank you for this highly comprehensive post! :slight_smile: …and well done on getting the job!!!

#3

Very useful for someone who has an interview next week for audit! The main wiki page on pwc and process i think is misleading as it lists lots of non competency questions for the FIRST stage which it ays you are “cetain to be asked” but iv never heard of anyone being asked them in their 1st interview.

If i could ask you, in your first interview which competencies did they test you on? Also in the app form you are already asked about teamwork so do they ask you again and u give another example, or do they build upon what youv already said? Also their follow up questions, are they just “so what did u learn from that” or “tell me what went wrong and how did u deal with it”

Thanks for any help!

#4

Teamwork and communication mainly. They asked me to explain what I did and the role I played and then would I do anyting differently in hindsight. My example was a group presentation. I said that, even though I wouldn’t change the outcome as it was completed successfully, I would have tried to make us more organised as a group and set tighter deadlines so that the preparation could have been smoother and we would have had more time to practice. I didn’t need to discuss any example other than those on the application form though I did have some prepared just in case!

#5

awesome thanks for a quick response! just to be a nuisance were the questions specifically “give me an example of a time u worked in a team” and “give me example of time u used communication skills”, or were they worded in different ways, e.g. give me an example of a time you had to explain something complicated to a dumbass (i.e. communication skills).

also when asked “why audit” how many points did u give?

cheers!

#6

Astonishing post! Great work, I’m glad you got the job!

Just one thing for everyone else- those written tests are difficult but don’t fret about them. PwC’s strength is the diversity of the people it hires- not just maths geeks. It takes all sorts in a business like that.

#7

The latter. But mainly it was them mentioning something on my form and for me to embellish and demonstrate what skills I used. However, I guess they would ask you how you demonstrated you worked as a team etc if you didn’t expand on it yourself.

In answer to your second question I can’t really recall exactly… I said it was client focussed, demonstrated by the fact you went to client’s offices, varied because you are always working in different offices and team oriented, as you are often working with different teams of varying sizes. This also rendered it challenging and thus an exciting area to work in.

Hope that helps…

#8

Please help me with this question,

Is ‘Virgin’ a good eg. of an ideal client?

And could I know the difference between Assurance and Audit?

Thanks,

Nakul

#9

Any business would be fine as long as you can demonstrate how PwC could help them and understand the business. for example, there are many facets of virgin, the tv, the trains, the planes and they have recently sold the dvd section to zavvi. However, this question was never probed at my interviews so maybe it’s just a way of them gauging how well you can practically apply PwC’s services to a company. As such, Virgin would be fine.

Assurance is the main dpartment and audit is part of it. There are many other facets of assurance such as the public sector and RAS (risk assurance services). As such, if you are applying to audit, you just need to be aware that it is a part of assurance and understnad audit inside out. This information can be found on both Wiki and PwC’s website.

#10

Look at the page [[Audit & Assurance]] for clarification. Typically auditors give assurance to clients, although often the words are used interchangably.

#11

Thanks a lot!

#12

Chrism/Redsuperted, I have a feeling I should rename this as a more generic application advice title as I think this title is misleading. Is there any way to do this?

#13

Yes there should be. Currently the first post in threads on the forums cannot be edited, although all others can. We’ll get this changed ASAP.

#14

What would you like it to be called?

#15

PwC: From Application to Offer

#16

Done! Great post by the way, and well done!

#17

Thank you!!

#18

to those who have received an offer to start this year, just wondering if anyone has been assigned a buddy yet?

#19

The buddy system may sound a bit unecessary to some people, rather like the college mum and dad system at university.
But, don’t knock it. Buddies are usually picked for the job because they will be good support to the new boys.
Especially helpful when you are feeling under pressure from exams etc. They know what you’re going through and can be pretty reassuring. Some have even been known to help with a bit of exam tuition!!

#20

absolutely agree. plus I have some questions which I’d like to ask a buddy. But have yet to be assigned one hence my post!