Qualified with PwC in Sep 2015 - Ask me anything!


#1

I started with PwC in September 2012 in London. I did the Assurance/TS split scheme so it was a mixture of auditing and due-diligence work. Overall a great experience despite the difficult moments, as you get with every job. Happy to answer any questions you may have.

A few points:

  • The people were great. Lots of banter especially in the first year.
  • It’s hard work. Busy season is Jan - Dec.
  • The better you are, the more opportunities you’ll have.
  • You’re thrown in to the deep end pretty quickly.
  • Exams are tough but manageable. Surprisingly the people who failed were often Oxbridge students.
  • People skills are very important to progress.

#2

Going into an assessment centre within a week. What advice would you give me?


#3

Hi Danyal,

I made a couple of mistakes during my assessment centre. I hadn’t finished the numerical reasoning test by the time the invigilator said “finish up”, so I furiously ticked random answers for the five remaining questions. She pointed at me, shouted “I said stop!” and came over and demanded to know which answers I had just marked. She promptly voided them before taking my answer sheet. I still passed that test somehow and joined the firm.

Later, when I was writing the report I just wrote paragraph after paragraph and didn’t really pay attention to presentation. I was informed afterwards that PwC considers presentation to be just as important as content. Make sure you use subheadings and give have an executive summary.

The group discussion stage is an area where lots of people fall down. Some people will be focusing on the calculations, and others will just be talking because they think the more they talk the better the chance they will have of passing. Identify the people in your group who haven’t contributed - maybe they’re shy - and ask them what their opinion is and make sure the rest of the group is listening. This is a good way to show you’re a team player.

Hope that helps and good luck. Apologies for one block of text, wikijobs doesn’t seem to be allowing me to format this.


#4

When you say you’re thrown in to the deep end quickly, did you feel you had enough support and information to do the work you were being given? Did they expect a certain amount of knowledge from you in terms of accounting, business and the sector you were working in, say financial services, before you started?


#5

Hi Danyal,
I made a couple of mistakes during my assessment centre. I hadn’t finished the numerical reasoning test by the time the invigilator said “finish up”, so I furiously ticked random answers for the five remaining questions.

She pointed at me, shouted “I said stop!” and came over and demanded to know which answers I had just marked. She promptly voided them before taking my answer sheet. I still passed that test somehow and joined the firm. Later, when I was writing the report I just wrote paragraph after paragraph and didn’t really pay attention to presentation.

I was informed afterwards that PwC considers presentation to be just as important as content. Make sure you use subheadings and give have an executive summary. The group discussion stage is an area where lots of people fall down. Some people will be focusing on the calculations, and others will just be talking because they think the more they talk the better the chance they will have of passing.

Identify the people in your group who haven’t contributed - maybe they’re shy - and ask them what their opinion is and make sure the rest of the group is listening. This is a good way to show you’re a team player. Hope that helps and good luck.


#6

Hi Bobahed,

With the exams, training, prior year files and colleagues there’s usually enough support to guide you through the work. Sometimes you’ll be faced with obscure issues that require your judgement. Partners and other senior staff will expect you to do some research and bring an opinion to them - even if it’s wrong, it’s a starting point for thought.

No prior knowledge is expected before you join. Reading the FT will help though to give yourself a head start.


#7

May I ask what degree you come from? Mine is unrelated and I’m wondering if my lack of knowledge on financial services and finance in general will be an issue…


#8

I studied Accounting & Finance but the majority of people at PwC didn’t study finance-related degrees. Many of the partners studied chemistry, physics or liberal arts type degrees. I wouldn’t worry about your lack of finance knowledge holding you back. Just get in to the habit of reading the news so you’re aware of whats happening in the business world. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from current affairs.


#9

Thanks :slight_smile: coming from a science background I feel like I’m completely out of the loop, but if it’s not too uncommon that makes me feel better! Do you think it also helps to be current on political issues (both UK and worldwide) in addition to business news?


#10

Many of your clients will have international operations, or indeed be international. Before I joined PwC I didn’t know anything about Kazakhstan but many of my clients were based there and I now make an effort to keep up to date with the latest Kazakh economic and political news. I find the FT is great - good balance of politics, business, science and arts. It has really built up my knowledge over the last five years.


#11

That sounds interesting, have you ever had the opportunity to travel there? Do you just subscribe to FT online services? It’s expensive enough for that alone!