I was recently accepted onto the Management Consulting grad scheme and, having used this site extensively throughout my application, I thought it would be a good idea to run through my experiences. Sorry if I simply regurgitate information you have already come across; hope that this is of some help!
Online Application Form
I can’t stress how important it is to take your time with this first stage. The PwC website has an overwhelming amount of information on it but try to read all sections appropriate to consulting. Another website I found useful at this stage was Inside Careers (http://www.insidecareers.co.uk/__802574d80054fdad.nsf!opendatabase) which gave a good overview of management consulting as a profession.
Ideal Client Exercise
Again, take your time with this early stage. Choose a company that you have genuine interest in. Research the current issues surrounding the company and then try to relay these to how PwC could be of assistance. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to gather information and express it clearly and concisely.
When filling out the application form it’s always a good idea to write your responses in Word first and then paste them across, additionally if possible, get a friend or family member to read over your responses.
The online tests consisted of numerical and diagrammatic reasoning. The key to passing these is simply practice. Useful websites were:
My only advice with these tests is, as you have probably already read, to work efficiently. If you get stuck, move on. Especially with the diagrammatic reasoning test I found that if I couldn’t see the answer in 10 seconds then it was unlikely I would be able to after 1 minute. I would also add that while the temptation is there to have a friend/family member help you out at this stage, bear in mind you will be re-tested should you get to the assessment centre, therefore I believe in the long run it is more beneficial to take the tests without assistance.
First/ Telephone Interview
This interview is completely competency based. Have a look at their website and prepare examples of how you have demonstrated these competencies:
When preparing examples, bear in mind the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) approach, and also try to draw from a range of experiences. Try not to have all of your examples from one stage of your life (i.e University), draw from experiences you have had from part-time jobs, voluntary work etc.
For my assessment day, we began with a written exercise, the purpose of this being to assess our ability to review and summarize a large amount of information. I was initially overwhelmed by the amount of information to read, but my advice would be to work efficiently and keep an eye on the clock. There is a limit of two sides of A4 (hand written) for the exercise so make use of the space and importantly make sure you finish! I finished with a couple of minutes to go which gave me the opportunity to quickly read over my work.
Next was the numerical and diagrammatic tests, similar to those in the earlier stage.
Finally there was a group exercise. Key things to bear in mind during this exercise:
• Be confident, but not arrogant. Express your opinions but allow other to speak and LISTEN to what they are saying, asking appropriate questions where possible.
• Don’t interrupt others while they are talking.
• Make notes while others are talking and refer to them when you speak.
• Keep an eye on the clock.
• Always keep the budget in mind.
I had heard a lot of mixed reports regarding this final stage. Some people that I spoke to reviewed their Ideal Client Exercise with their interviewer, others discussed current business issues and how they might influence PwC. My interview however was completely competency, similar to the earlier interview.
The competencies that I was asked about were those that you would expect to demonstrate working within consulting: Communication, Setting and Achieving Goals, Acquiring New Skills, Developing Relationships. Additionally I was asked the predictable questions of Why consulting? Why PwC? What do you expect to be doing on a day-to-day basis in your first year? Following these questions I was given the opportunity to ask some questions, this was a chance to really demonstrate your enthusiasm for working for PwC and for the Grad Scheme.
My advice regarding preparation for this final stage would be to try to cover all the bases. As I said my interview was all competencies, but that is no guarantee yours will be. Review your Ideal Client exercise and prepare to be quizzed on it. Do research around current events relating to PwC and the business community in general. Prepare competencies and finally try to think of the worst questions they could ask you, these will be specific to you, if there are any areas of your CV that you feel are potential weak points, prepare responses for if they are brought up.
Finally I would say be confident! The main objective of this interview is to assess how suitable you are to work for PwC, let your personality show, be positive and try (easier said than done) to be relaxed.
Hope this is of some help. I can’t really remember the exact questions I was asked at either interview and do not feel that posting them would be constructive, I am happy however to answer any further questions you may have.