Like mane people who have written about their experiences on here, I’m writing because I’ve had an offer from PwC and feel the advice available through this website has been invaluable and so I feel I should give something back. So here’s my experience.
Online Assessment: Not too much to say here, other than be hones, they do check your results and employment history if you were to get an offer, would be awful to get an offer and have it revoked because you lied about a module result. Also try and practice your tests, I got outstanding in both mine only because I had had plenty of practice, so try and get a few practices in before having a go.
Phone interview: This was actually quite intense compared to other I’ve experienced, the interviewer obviously has a list of Q’s to ask and I had prepared several case studies and examples to answer them. However, for several of the Q’s I either didn’t have a relevant example or had already used it, so i took a few seconds and came up with some relevant ones. I suppose the message would be to prepare as many examples as possible but they may ask a question that your not prepared for so be ready to think on your feet (Literally, I found walking around the room helped). Some of the q’s were, name a time when . . . you have had to persuade someone to your way of thinking? you have had a disagreement with a colleague? you have had to adapt your approach or style of work? etc etc, most of the questions are online and the competencies are on PwC’s website, there’s 2 for each competency.
Assessment Centre: Mine started with the two tests (Logical and numerical), not much I can say other than practice practice practice, in reality the only part you can practice. We were then split into two groups of 6, our group started with the individual report, all I can say is be structured. If you don’t know how to write a proper report, then find out, you should have clearly defined sections (e.g. Title, Summary, Introduction, Main body and Recommendations) and your writing style should be clear and to the point, which may mean using bullet points. Finally, in our case it was a recommendation report, and within my feedback I was told I should have prioritised this section with 5 minutes to go. I was also told that I could have used bullet points and one or two sentences were too wordy and could have been shortened. The next stage of the AC was the group exercise, I actually enjoyed this part of the day. It involved communal information with each individual had a different proposal to the problem or task. The problem / task is somewhat irrelevant, the task is communicate the individual you have been given clearly and succinctly, explaining the benefits, disadvantages and risks. I was told I did well at taking notes, keeping eye contact, listening to others, moving the discussion on and picked up very well on key differences in each proposal. which shows what they are looking for. I’d say its key to keep track of time and keep the discussion moving by encouraging decisions when you feel you’re taking too much time (I forgot to take a watch, and had to ask someone else how much time we had left, pretty sure I lost easy marks). Also I found constantly reading the purpose of the meeting, specifically the meetings goals helped me focus on moving the conversation around to right topics. Its easy to read this advice, and others like it online and plan to do it in the discussion, however, once there, under pressure, with two assessors present and with 5 strangers also trying to get the best mark, it can be difficult. My advice would be to be yourself, relax, if someone is dominating, let them, but when you do get your chance to speak ‘make an impact’ with what you say, be clear and to the point and come up with logical arguments and the assessors will notice you. The day finished with lunch with a few guys from the office who came for some free sandwiches, as you can imagine with 12 people wanting to be stood where they are, all asking questions about a job some of them only started 3 months ago, it could get a little awkward. But if you do have questions, thats your chance, they’re certainly not assessing you. I found out later that day I’d passed.
The final interview: I was lucky to have mine 3 weeks after my AC with a senior partner, I’ve read some stories of people who are waiting 6 weeks and counting. When I arrived in torrential rain, umbrella inside out and soaking, the lady in charge of AC’s and interviews that day just laughed at me, which put me at ease. When I met the man interviewing me he revealed he’d actually eaten in a restaurant where I had worked, so we instantly had common ground, lucky again! After introducing himself and me being suitably impressed, he asked the basic q’s, why pwc? what do we do? we’re not the cheapest, how do we justify this? and there were also more in-depth q’s on my service line, Management Consulting in my case, he asked what is management consultancy? to which I replied ‘well your website says …’ which he found funny. and he was generally quite humorous t and jovial throughout. He then moved onto 10 competency base Q’s, this was quite set but he did probe quite a lot around the examples I gave, again I had to think on my feet (well seat this time) but if your thinking of borrowing a friends story or twisting your own, I wouldn’t as he asked for details, and wanted to understand around the examples I gave to get the context etc. Again all the competencies he was testing are available to see online, but he was a really nice man and put me at ease throughout. I then had the chance to ask him some questions, and I was given some advice before the interview to get the interviewer to talk about themselves, not only is it interesting but you’ve just talked about yourself for 45 mins! I had some good q’s lined up and I think it helped, for example ‘What’s the main reason people don’t progress through PwC?’ ‘what characteristics to those who progress quickly generally have?’. If your genuine about joining then the questions should come easily. overall he was really nice, wasn’t there to trip me up, he was obviously busy but don’t be afraid to try and enjoy it and have a laugh and a joke, as I’m sure they will want to too.
One of the best things about PwC’s process is that everything I’ve described and the advice I’ve given, is all available on their website, but these were my experiences. Another good thing is that they ring you to tell you your results, which is much better than an automated email, I was called the day after the interview to let me know I got the job! yey! but if they take 5-6 days, I wouldn’t panic.