Pwc- Middle East- Assurance graduate position- From A to Z!

#1

I have recently received an offer from PwC in the line of Assurance and since this site has helped me alot, I would like to give back to it :slight_smile:

  1. Application:
    I applied for the intake of August 2013 as early as December 2012 (as soon as the applications opened). This was a very lucky move, since my application was rejected the first time, and PwC requires you to wait three months before applying again. The second time I applied, I gave more attention to the wording of my answers to the two questions asked: ‘Why I chose PwC’ and ‘Why I chose Assurance’. It’s important to state your goals, as well as mention the values that PwC considers important and how you match to them.

  2. Online Verbal Reasoning and Numerical Tests
    These were fairly easy. I recommend doing the practice SHL tests to get acquainted with the sort of questions.
    Very important: Accuracy is as important as speed- so if you are not sure of an answer, it is best to skip that question and maintain your accuracy percentage! Do not guess!

  3. First Interview
    This interview was conducted by a Recruitment Officer, and only lasted about 20 minutes. The questions were largely competency-based. Here are some questions I recall she asked me:

  1. Tell me about a current issue in the accounting world that you’ve been following that interests you. (Do read business news as well as websites like accountancyage.com to familiarize yourself with current issues)
  2. Give me an example where you proved your team-work skills.
  3. Tell me about a time where you had to work outside your comfort zone, and how did you deal with it?
  4. Tell me about a personal objective you set for yourself, and how you went about achieving it.
  5. What do you know about the tasks an auditor must perform in their work, and who do they communicate with? (Do be prepared to be asked basic -not detailed- questions about your work as an auditor)
  1. Assessment Day
    I would say this is the most important bit of the entire assessment. If you pass this successfully, you have around 90% of being recruited.

The assessment day started with Paper-based Numerical and Verbal Reasoning Tests. These were very similar to the ones I did online, and the same rule applies: don’t guess and keep your accuracy level high! A couple of people unfortunately failed because they were just thinking of answering all the questions within the time, whereas I left many blank and passed.

Next, we were given a Formal Report to write within half an hour. In my case, we were given leaflets containing information regarding the biscuit industry in the UK and specifics of each of the companies that make up the market share. We were to act as consultants in PwC, writing a report to a client (a biscuit manufacturer) to recommend which of these companies we could acquire. There is NO right or wrong answer- they are merely testing: the structure of your report (be sure to include an Introduction, well-sectioned Body and Conclusion) and the standard of writing (use appropriate business terminology and a professional tone).

Finally, we had a Group Assessment. We were all given a leaflet containing information about one of our clients, who supposedly were an ecotourist destination seeking our advice. Also, each of us were given unique leaflets containing different pieces of information about the costs and rewards of specific actions. We had twenty minutes to ourselves to make notes, and then thirty minutes to discuss as a group. Again, here there is no right or wrong answer.

It is very important to:
-listen. Never interrupt a colleague, and nod and show that you are listening well.
-speak up, but don’t appear dominating. It’s important to make recommendations mentioning the unique information you have, but address your fellow members and see if they are alright with what you are suggesting.
-don’t be quick to reject other peoples’ ideas. Be open to suggestions and mention the pros of what others suggest.
-be time conscious- don’t repeat information that’s already been mentioned, and once something is decided, move on to the next issue.
-smile.

Although I applied to Core Assurance, I was told, in the beginning, that I must pick between Risk Assurance and Tax. I chose Risk Assurance, and had my final interview for that.

  1. Final Partner Interview- Risk Assurance
    The partner interviewing me was in Saudi Arabia so I had a telephone interview with him. The interview did not go well and I did not get the position for Risk Assurance. Here are some questions he asked me:
    -Why PwC?
    -Why Assurance?
    -What do you know about other lines of services we offer?
    It was a very short interview since he was busy, and my answers were too brief, hesitant and not well-plannned.

I was lucky to be offered a chance to try for a position in Core Assurance, though, and this time around I had learned from my mistakes and planned very well.

  1. Final Partner Interview- Core Assurance
    This was (fortunately) a face-to-face interview. The partner was friendly, a good listener, and asked me these questions:

-What made you choose an Accounting degree?
-Speaking of the accounting profession as a whole, what have you been following in the press/media related to auditing?
-Tell me about your previous internship (referring to an accounting internship I had done)
-If I asked your friends to describe your positive qualities, what would they say? (It’s important to mention relevant strengths, and provide examples of times when you demonstrated those strengths, and bonus points for mentioning how these strengths will be useful to you at work in Auditing)
-What if I reversed the question and asked about your weaknesses? (Be honest but mention ways in which you are attempting to work on those)
-Tell me about a time you worked well in a team
-Tell me about a time, personal, professional or otherwise, where you found yourself in conflict with someone? (Do mention how you positively handled the conflict)
-Tell me about any achievement you’ve done that you’re proud of (Do mention why you are proud of it- i.e. what impact it created and what challenges you overcame)
-Moving on the market in the UAE (where I am stationed), what sectors are doing well and which aren’t? (I did not answer this question in enough detail, but don’t panic if you don’t know a thorough answer to everything asked. Think of the interview as a chat!)
-What professional qualifications do you plan on pursuing?
-Do you have any questions?

This interview was alot better because I had planned what I was to say and gave thorough examples for everything. Although she did not ask me why I chose PwC, I managed to squeeze that information somewhere. If you have something impressive to say, say it! Show your energy and enthusiasm, listen well, and be yourself.

Do ask questions when prompted- it shows your curiosity and interest in the job. I asked my interviewer about the scope of responsibility I’ll be looking at when joining the program, and the opportunities to interact with other lines of services.

When done with the partner interview, send the partner an e-mail appreciating their time and reenforcing your interest and enthusiasm for the job. It took them a week to get back to me.

Good luck to everyone, and please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions.

#2

Thank for such a thorough post!

I had a question. Did the HR contact you or the partner who interviewed you? And was it through email or phone?
Also, when you were unsuccessful in the risk assurance interview, did they tell you to interview for core assurance or did you ask them if you could?
And last question is, is the start date still set as September 1st or has it changed?

Thanks :slight_smile:

#3

The HR contacted me to give me the offer, through phone and then e-mail, and it was the HR who also suggested I interview for core assurance.

I am not sure of the starting date! The offer says ‘no later than Sep 29th’.

#4

I see. I had my final interview 2 weeks ago and i am wondering if I should try to contact the HR and ask for updates. It seems like not alot of peope have received offers yet though.
Anoter question, will they be conducting the background checks themself or will we have to get our degrees attested and stuff? Because that itself takes a good month :expressionless:

#5

I think it wouldn’t hurt to call and ask for an update, although don’t worry because they do take long to reply to many people.

They’ll be conducting the background check themselves (checking your references) but things related to the visa/labour card processing like attesting your degree is your responsibility [ :frowning: ]

#6

They finally replied saying they will make their deision by the end of this week but they’ve been saying that for a while now :frowning:
Btw are you from London? And will you be working in Dubai?

#7

fingers crossed I hope you get a positive response soon! If you don’t, it’s probably slow now because of upcoming Eid so don’t lose hope.

Nope, I’m in Dubai and will be working in Dubai, what about you?

#8

Yes hopefully!
I’m from Toronto and I’ll be working in Qatar for tax :slight_smile:
Lets see when they tell me. Are all the offices closed there in UAE for Eid now?

#9

I still did not hear back from them :frowning:

#10

Could any one of you disclose what the salary range is for the middle east program? particularly saudi arabia and UAE. Are the offers similar for lets say Qatar, UAE and Saudi?

#11

Hello, I don’t know about other countries. In the UAE, annual salary for graduates ranges from 81,000 to 90,000 dirhams (around 22k $ to 24.5k$)

#12

Hi z321, Thanks for replying. Its similar to what you get paid by big 4 in Saudi Arabia for an entry level position. Mind you this is for expats if you’re a Saudi you get paid atleast 10,000 to 12,000 Riyals for the same position.

#13

Great post z321, could you confirm the annual salary? 90k dirham is a joke. def not worth the trouble. it’s not enough to buy food! what about accommodation and travel?

#14

Hello everyone!

Could anyone share his experience of participating in Assessment Center in Dubai (were numerical and verbal reasoning tests like on-line tests or more difficult; group discussion - what was the size of the group, any tips; written ex - the way it was held)? I will really appreciate any information! Thanks a lot in advance!

#15

Hey guys !
I received yesterday an email from PWC Dubai to inform me that they will send me an email from SHL to take the numerical and reasoning test. Has anybody here done those tests before ? where can I find sample tests ? how can I prepare for it ! Thank you !

#16

Hey SHL numerical test is 18 questions in 20 or 25 mins. You have to be extremely accurate as I think in SHL there is negative marking. The math is easy percentages, ratios, reading graphs, etc etc. I havent done one for PWC but i’m sure its similar to the ones I’ve done for banks. Good Luck

#17

Thank you user 10 !
But in the link they sent me they said 45 minutes for numerical and 45 for verbal. that’s weird, all the people here and in other forums said that it should be 25 minutes as you said.

#18

Yw. They say 45 mins because you have to do a practice test before the actual test. The practice test is not timed but in total it takes 45 mins

#19

aah got you ! thank you ! and you can choose another language or it should be only in English ?

#20

You can choose another language, but some companies make you do them in english if their requirement is fluency in english.