PwC: RAS/Assurance (Newcastle) - Any advice etc?

#1

Hi,

I’ve got an assessment centre coming up for a position in RAS/Assurance with PwC in Newcastle. (The centre comes first ie there isn’t a 1st interview then a centre including a partner interview - it seems the partner interview is a 2nd round thing if you get through the AC - not sure why it’s this way round).

Has anyone had any experience of applying for RAS or applying to the Newcastle Office? And any advice regarding the assessment centre generally would be much appreciated.

Many thanks.

#2

Hey, I’m no use re RAS or Newcastle I’m afraid but have been through a PwC assessment centre.

The basic outline of mine was: psychometric tests, group exercise then partner interview.

The tests are nothing really to worry about - one numerical and one diagrammatical. I missed 4 questions on the numerical and was still in the 76th percentile so just focus on accuracy. Maybe do practice tests on shl the night before to get familiar with the style.

re group exercise the normal rules apply. We were given about 10 mins to look through the info individually and then 20 to discuss as a group and come to a decision. Don’t be overbearing but make sure you make yourself noticed. Some of the feeback I got was that they liked the fact I drew the group back on point throughout the task by summarising what we’d agreed already and what we still needed to address. Also, they take in your notes at the end so try to put something quite structured down on paper (in the preparation time I drew up a grid of all the options we were given, their cost and how they would help us achieve our aim. I was then able to add to it as more info was given by other candidates during the group discussion).

The interview is nothing to worry about. Both my interviews with the firm were really friendly and relaxed. They assess you against the competencies (you should get a phonecall telling you which competencies they’re assessing you on during the AC) so try to brainstorm egs that demonstrate those competencies the night before. That way, examples should easily come to mind during the interview and you should be able to just drop them in rather than straining to come up with good egs on the spot. They’re big on personality (or so I hear) so just be yourself and relax.

This is a bit rambly I know (I’m watching friends while typing, lol). But hopefully it’s of some use. Any questions, feel free to ask.

Good luck.

#3

Did they say they would look at your notes?

The lady took mine and ripped mine up saying they only took them so you wouldn’t show what the exercise was to people outside - this was last year though

#4

I have got an AC as well with PWC in newcastle, dunno the date yet, the lady i spoke to said its a bit difficult getting dates or was it numbers for the position. not too sure. I applied for Public Service and risk assurance though.

#5

They didn’t say either way, but didn’t rip them up either. To play on the safe side, I’d assume they look at them personally.

#6

grad85,
I applied to RAS/Assurance at the Reading office nearly a year ago (a very quick year!!), sadly unsuccessfully.
Digby has covered the AC stuff well, and that is also very well documented in numerous threads here on the forum. Sounds like yours is slightly different (like mine was) in that you are going to have an AC (1st interview, tests, group exercise) then, if successful at the 1st stage, a later partner interview.

Just a few quick points on RAS as, I know, it was nigh on impossible to find out any information on it!! Had a quick look through my notes on it, and here are a couple of points I have noted down.
*RAS helps clients to be confident in their business by identifying, measuring and managing their risks more effectively.

  • alot of that is testing the internal controls in place within organisations for things like security of systems/buildings, access to confidential/documents and commercially sensitive information.
    *help clients to:
    -understand risk holistically
    -reduce risk and complexity (standardise/simplify processes + procedures)
    *My own point for any question on the impact of recession on RAS:
    -“In uncertain times organisations & investors need to know that there is a safety net in place to protect their future profits and investments.”

I went into the 1st interview with little knowledge of what RAS was about, and in hindsight should have looked into it more! I will say that at the partner interview I was told that a significant amount of the RAS teams are computer specialists who do things like trying to hack into computer systems (with permission of course!), also they have people that try to blag their way into client HQs without supposed to be able to get in.

I would get in touch with your HR contact and ask if they can put you in touch with someone from within RAS to get a better understanding of the day to day. (I wish I had…)
Hope that helps,
Ucayman.

#7

Hi, I also have an upcoming assessment centre for RAS and it is spread over 2 days. I have never attended an assessment centre so far so am a bit unsure about what to expect. I have found all of the comments very helpful so far. One thing I was wondering though, would it be possible for anybody to post some example group excercises?I have no idea really what sort of things they ask you to do. Thanks

#8

Digby, is that you??? If so, it’s AA…

I work in RAS and they generally just wanted to see you had a basic understanding of the department and what it does and what you will be doing in it, ie ITGC’s and business processes; looking at computer and other controls within the business to gauge if we can place reliance on these controls and thus reduce the volume of substantive testing that will need to be performed by the audit team. The RAS work will be performed a few months in advance of the audit so the audit approach can be tailored to what RAS have done.

RAS specific, that’s pretty much all thy’ll expect you to know. Audit wise, you’ll be doing the simpler work such as matching invoices to stated values on the fixed asset register and the like. They know this is not the most enthralling work and want to ensure you know this too!!

Ucayman’s recommendation to ask HR to speak to someone is an excellent idea, that’s what I did. I also pointed out in the interview that this was necessary as the website’s description of RAS wasn’t very helpful!

PS Tafa, make sure you refer to public sector in your interview… My friend in PS said the interviewers felt this was a vocation and wanted her to feel the same too, which she said she did in her interview!

#9

It is indeed me lovely! I get everywhere, hey? :slight_smile:

Jonny - in the group exercise you’ll generally be given some information to read through about a business that wants to achieve some objective and what the various options are for it to do so. So eg, in my exercise we were given details of a business that wanted to become accredited with some eco-tourism body. We were given the criteria against which businesses were assessed in order to become accredited (eg: total waste, energy efficiency etc) and some current figures as to how the business in question compared to what was required of them. We then each had individual details of 2 initiative the business could pursue, the impact they would have on their relevant figures and initial and ongoing cost. Our objective was to, as a group, decide which 4 initiative the business should pursue over the next x months and then discuss what services PwC could offer in relation to these initiatives.

I hope that gives you a reasonable idea. Basically you just need to be relatively clear headed and make sure you understand the information in front of you and keep on topic in the discussion in order to come to some sort of conclusion within the time.

#10

Cheers for that,

very helpful

#11

Thanks for all the posts.

I have been told I’ll be doing an individual exercise rather than a group exercise. Does anyone have any advice on this. What are they going to best testing me on here, as it can’t be the teamwork and relationship issues that would be tested in a group exercise. I have to say I’m much more worried about this, as I’d prefer a group exercise definitely!

Anyone done an individual case study/exercise?

#12

http://www.wikijob.co.uk/forum/accounting-professional-services/urgent-individual-exercise-pwc

I’ve been to a PwC AC in the past and done the group exercise, (didn’t get through though was told I did well in the group ex), and am going to be attending an AC soon where I’ve been told I’m doing the individual exercise. The girl on the phone told me it is a very similar exercise to the group one, you just have time to prepare your thoughts then explain them. It is a little daunting but in a way I reckon maybe easier to show your strengths, as you never know what awkward people you might come up against in the groups! Make sure you make clear notes, giving your budget and reasons for each option (assuming the exercise is similar to the ones mentioned on this site), make sure you have a personal preference ordering for the different options and then you’ll be ready to answer any questions. Good luck!

#13

Thanks for all the comments.

I got through my AC and got really great feedback on my performance which was good (PwC give really detailed feedback, and it was only an hour or so after I’d left). I now have my Partner Interview next week. Does anyone have any tips/advice? What kind of questions where you asked at your partner interview?

#14

Hi Grad85, did u have your assessment centre on Monday, this is Luke I had mine the same day if this is the person I’m thinking you are lol! I had my partner interview this Thursday and got a phone call today to say I got the job. Advice regarding this interview, I didn’t think it was as bad as the first interview. He just went through my application form and asked questions around that and then a few about the job I’ll be doing and the training involved but it was no where near as bad as I thought it was going to be! Good look!

#15

Thanks for everyone’s help in this thread. The partner interview went well (I had no clue how it had gone) and I received an offer that I will be accepting.

Thanks again.

#16

is it for 2009, or 2010 start?

#17

Hi everyone,

I have an a/c coming up in embankment for PWC. i applied for RAS/Audit split scheme.
I was wondering if anyone could give me a few points:

  1. Is the partner going to ask questions more on RAS or Assurance?
  2. what will i expect in the group exersise, i have never had one before so am getting a bit nervous.
  3. I keep hearing these SHL tests are very difficult… are they on a similar difficulty level of KPMG’s online tests… i found them near impossible.

THanks

#18

Hello, Digby, thanks very much for your post, its really useful. I will also attend an AC next Tuesday and may I ask you more about the group exercise? Would they give you some “break news” during your discussion process and require you to change the budget and options pursued by the company? And do you think it is essential to leave 2-3 minutes in the end to summarize all the conclusions with your team members? Thanks a lot!