It’s my time to give something back to the wikijob community.
This website has been an endless source of information throughout my application to PwC, and it’s only fair of me to share my experience with all of you.
First of all I applied to PwC’s Management Consulting Grad Scheme. It doesn’t really matter which sector of PwC you have applied for. The application process is the same for all sectors, so what I write will hopefully be useful to all of you. The only slight difference is with the Economic and Strategy Consulting applicants. In your applications you will get more tested on case studies, but more to come on this one later.
It is a long, challenging and stressful application procedure. But nevertheless very rewarding, and I can’t stress enough how much important it is to prep.
Right, off to the different stages:
CV selection. This is straightforward. If you satisfy the minimum requirements you make it through to the following round. Easy peasy. They let you know via email as soon as you click on the submit button
Online tests + essay
This stage was surprisingly challenging.
It involved 4 online timed tests:
- Diagrammatical (the one with the shapes and sequences)
- Questions about work situations and how you would react in them
- Psychological questions to determine your profile.
And it involved an essay where you had to explain your ideal project and client. I discusses about a big retailer trying to be more environmentally sustainable, therefore how to transform its business to meet sustainability targets. I explained the gains from environmental sustainability, the risks, and how PwC could help. I wasn’t aware, but PwC is actually focusing a lot on sustainability issues. Just look at their almost carbon neutral new HQ in London. So if you discuss about sustainability issues in your essay you definitely are a step ahead of other applicants.
Not too long after submitting the various tests I got an offer for a telephone interview. The dreaded telephone interview.
This was an interesting experience.
a 50 minutes telephone interview structured like this:
Are there any topics in the news you have been passionate about recently? if so, tell me about it.
Here they were testing your overall commercial awareness. Two of the questions they then asked were: 1)How does this affect the overall business environment. 2) What would you do to improve this situation
A load of competency based questions. I’m not going to list them here, but it’s the usual ones you can find in other topics of this forum. To prepare for this I basically went through the last 8 years of my life and noted down in bullet points the most important moments. Then I tried to see how any of these could fit into PwC’s applicant profile
Two questions about PwC: 1) what is your understanding of your line of business. 2) What actions did you take to learn more about PwC
It took 2 weeks for them to get back to me. Well, Christmas was in the way, but still, a stressful wait. All I can say is that no news is good news with PwC. So if you have not received any feedback, well, be hopeful. They’re still evaluating you and it means you’re still in!
FOURTH STAGE - ASSESSMENT CENTRE:
Long long day of tests and interviews.
I got there 20 minutes early. That gave me the chance to wait in the lounge, have a coffee, and meet the other applicants. To my surprise we were a mix of Graduate and Internship applicants, and people applying for Assurance and Consulting. 6 of us in total.
You have to read a 10 page booklet (including diagrams), and write down a report for a client.
I thought I screwed this up. I took too long reading the first 3 pages, and totally ran out of time for the rest. DON’T DO this mistake. The first pages are useful, but the bulk of the data is in the second part of the booklet.
key things to remember:
- don’t do spelling mistakes
- use good grammar
- use headers and divide the different sections of your report clearly
- use a good introduction
- give a recommendation at the end
Time is a big constraint, so make sure you use it wisely. Don’t write down too many scrap notes, it’s time consuming. Do mental notes instead.
Numerical and diagrammatical tests
Same as online, but on paper. I personally found them easier.
Only different aspect is that in the numerical test the graph and table doesn’t stay the same for 3-4 questions. But it alternates instead. So, graph (1) will be used for questions 1,4,7,11,15 ; graph (2) will be used for questions 2,5,12,16; etc… They’re basically mixing it up, so be aware and be awake!
I was really lucky. I did mine with two other people who were good and not arrogant. We worked as a team, came up with good suggestions, encouraged each other and did correct maths and offered a suggestion to the problem.
The exercise consisted in helping out a client in doing some environmental changes to its structure. This involved investments in 6 different possible projects. We had to evaluate these projects: cost, future profits and environmental impact. Interesting case study
1 on 1 Interview
I interviewed with a Senior Consultant. He was awesome. Very laid back, down to earth and it was basically an informal chat. He threw in a couple of competency questions in the middle of the interview, but nothing to difficult. The day before the AC I actually got a call from PwC’s HR telling me my strengths from the phone interview and what competency questions to work on for the 1on1 interview. Well, the competency questions he asked me were non of those… so make sure you go through all of your competency questions before the AC, you never know what they might ask you.
Don’t get confused by the informality of the chat. They will be checking for commercial awareness, your motivation to work in Consulting/Assurance/etc… and your understanding of what exactly the sector you applied for actually does. So, do your preparation. Go through the interview in your head the week before, and think how you would answer these questions. Have a clear structured career-motivation ready that then you can fit into any conversation. Be confident, smile, joke and be yourself. They are not just assessing your CV, but your overall personality to see if you are a person they would be happy to work with and spend time with!
Well, I got an offer after 4 working days. So excited! Their April intake was full, so I’m starting in September.
Now I only have to wait for the Pre-Employment Checks to go through and then I’ll be signing the final contract. A bit nervous to be honest, you can’t help but thinking you may have made some tiny mistakes in your application form and that something will go wrong. Hopefully it won’t!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see if I can help.
Best of luck to everyone throughout the application process!