Hi everyone. Having leeched off this site for the past couple of months I thought I would give something back by adding my experience of the PwC application process. I’ve been offered a graduate level position in management consultancy - so hopefully some of this information will be useful!
The first stage of the application process is the online application form. I would recommend reading the PwC website which contains all the information you need to know about the company. Also important is the question about your ideal client - make sure you pick a company that you know a lot about as if you get through to the final rounds the chances are you will be asked about it in more detail.
After the online application form are the online tests. These are pretty similar to the other big four tests and consist of numerical and diagrammatic reasoning. Do a couple of practice tests before the real thing and you should be fine - shl is a good website to use.
Following the tests is the first round interview. Mine was by telephone and was competency based. On the PwC website they list all the competencies that they look for, so make sure you have examples for each area. I aimed to have two examples for each potential question, drawing on uni, work experience, school and extra-curricular activities. It’s a good idea to give examples from a range of experiences - if you focus to heavily on uni for example the interviewer will probably start asking you to give non-university examples. As well as general competencies you also need to have a good understanding of what a management consultant at PwC does, and what you would be doing if you joined the company. Similarly you need to be able to talk about a recent news story which could have an impact on PwC. Finally have an answer for why you would pick PwC over a different company.
The final round of the interview process is the assessment centre. There are four parts to the day- to start with you resit the online tests on paper. I found the ones on the day to be slightly harder than the originals - I did a practice test the night before which was enough to get me through them. After the tests there is a written exercise which assesses your communication and reasoning skills. The exercise is a business case which asks you to recommend a company to partner a client. As long as you can write down information in a logical and structured manner and fluently you should be fine.
The final parts of the day are the group exercise and partner interview. For the group exercise it’s important to talk - otherwise the assessors can’t give you a mark! At the same time don’t dominate the group - give others the opportunity to speak. If other people in the group aren’t contributing, maybe ask them what they think about a proposal. I think at this stage they are looking at how you interact with other people and if you can make a meaningful contribution to a group discussion.
The final part of the assessment centre is the partner interview. This was the area that I was most worried about before the day, but once it started it was actually less stressful than I thought. My interviewer asked me about why I had chosen the company I did as my ideal client to advise - so make sure you re-read your application form before the day! My interviewer also questioned me hard on whether or not my advice/ suggestions were feasible - I think they really look to see how you respond under pressure/ criticism. There were also competency questions, for example “Give me a time when you set out to achieve a goal…” As long as you have prepared examples for each of the competency areas you should be ok. As a final piece of advice they will try to ask you a question that you haven’t thought through an answer for, like “How would you spend 1 million pounds?” - If this happens don’t feel that you have to answer straight away, when this happened to me I paused for a second, and drank some water, which gave me the time to structure an answer rather than simply say the first thing that came into my head!
I also found it really useful to buy books on management consultancy - these improved my knowledge of what being a management consultant entailed. I’m not going to plug a particular book, because it depends on what area you’re going into. But if you don’t have a huge amount of business experience I would suggest getting a book which contains example case studies and frameworks you can use to structure your answers. I found this really useful when giving answers about how I would advise potential clients.
Hope this advice was useful - and good luck job hunting!