RBS vs PwC


Hey guys,

I’m very lucky to have two graduate offers on the cards and I’m trying to decide between them. I have Corporate Finance at PwC and Corporate Banking at RBS. The job roles appears to be very similar at both places despite being in different industries, including M&A, asset financing, debt management etc. I think the salary at RBS is higher but at PwC I would be studying for ACA so I’m unsure which is the best for future career prospects. The ACA is constantly recognised as a valuable qualification but I see it as more of an accounting qualification and I’m sure that I don’t want to be an accountant.

Basically I don’t want to go for the higher salary at RBS my career prospects are going to be better getting ACA at PwC - any thoughts?


Hey Sheephead,

Congratulations on the offers. I was/am in similar position as you (I received six different offers so far this year). After receiving very kind and insightful guidance from some of the people here; I have decided to work for RBS. Unlike you for my programme; I will be allowed to study for ACA and it is a three years rotational programme.

My understanding is that the Corporate Banking programme is only for 12 months; therefore if you can make a very good immpression in that time with any of the Global Banking functions (i.e. origination); then they will offer you a further contract. On the other hand; PwC contract should be for three years and you will be working in Corporate Finance. Working in Corporate Finance gives you a huge advantage over someone who works in Audit/Assurance. PwC is more secured and after three years it will be very easy for you to move across to an investment bank’s corporate finance/IBD department because you will have the knowledge, relevant experience and hopefully you will be involved with few headline grabbing mid-market transactions. The ACA is without a doubt a very advantageous qualification for the City; and none of the IBs or banks can compete with the study support the Big4 provide at present. In fact you will only be working 7.5 months during your first year. One very experienced person from here mentioned that; after three years with a Big4 Advisory division, one can even move to PE.

Personally, I feel the RBS offer is risky if it is only for 12 months, and I would probably go for the PwC contract. However, if it is a 3 years contract than I will choose RBS over PwC.

I hope this helps. Have a mery Xmas and prosperous new year.



agree with AJ
just curious
@sheephat as far as i know pwc even didn’t begin their interview for corporate finance how did you get the offer?btw i appied for it as well huh first assessment would be in jan.?


Presume he received an offer after an internship then.



Also should say RBS would have a lot to offer in terms of experience as well.

From what I’ve seen and been told, all RBS offers are permanent contracts so no need to worry about finding a job after the year is over unless you want the change, and if you impress there is opportunity to rise very quickly through the company. A family friend told me how a past graduate of a programme came to work for her then alongside her before being promoted ahead of her, even though she was consistently being rated as one of the best in her division.

And congratulations on the offer, wish I had been as lucky as you.



Hey guys,

Thanks those are really helpful comments.

Harryleo - I did an internship at PwC so got the offer in August dependent on getting a minimum 2:1.

AJ you’re right, all the literature for Corporate Banking says its a 1 year scheme but this year its been increased to 2 years so should give a bit more grounding and experience.

I also asked about progression at RBS and after the two years you are pretty much guaranteed a job with them - they don’t want to train people up to not keep them. I think I need to really look into the ACA to work out how valuable it will be for me in future. These comments are really helpful though guys, thanks.


UKCB is quite boring for graduates, and promotion in UKCB is more based on age rather than merit. If I were you, I would go with the PWC offer. Also, its becoming very difficult for RBS UKCB to compete with other corporate banks.


In terms of career progression opportunity with an ACA; google: ‘ACA M&A’ or ‘ACA Corporate Finance’ or ‘ACA IBD’. You can also contact Selby Jennings Recruitment Agency for some advice; they specialise on ACA recruitment. Good luck with your decision making.


If you are good with exams and able to do it for another 2 years or so, I would pick PwC Corporate Finance over RBS Corporate Banking.

I too did my internship with PwC Corporate Finance few years back and those who have moved on have entered investment management firms or IBs later on. Then again I may be biased since I haven’t done Corporate Banking before…



18 months on, and I’ve started my career so I thought I would update this in case anyone searched the forums with a similar dilemma.

In the end, I went for the RBS Corporate Banking job and I’m really enjoying it.

This was despite nearly everyone advising me to go for the PwC Corporate Finance role, which I think is largely due to HR at RBS not selling the Corporate Banking Scheme well enough. I thought I would explain a bit more about the scheme and clear things up about things I was worried about:

RBS Corporate and Institutional Banking (CIB) clients are those with £25m t/o and up. This includes RBS’ largest UK headquartered FTSE100 “Investment Banking” clients. For my 1st 6 month rotation, I was in Large Corporate Coverage (LCC), which was relationship management for those clients (£1bn t/o and up). There was a huge exposure to GBM (RBS’ investment banking arm) and I gained experience across Debt Capital Markets, Corporate Broking, Rates and FX hedging, M&A advisory etc.

My current rotation is in Structured Finance, which is leveraged and acquisition finance. This is in the mid cap space (around £100-£500m) and the great thing is the advisors for the deals are usually the Big 4 Corporate Finance divisions, so I get to see exactly what I would have been doing had I chosen that option!

I was worried that at RBS I would be doing “retail banking” but for corporates, so it has been a really pleasant surprise. In fact, both my rotations have recently moved into CIB from GBM, and other banks hold these functions in their investment banking arm, so the scheme is actually much more “Investment Banking” than “Retail”.

The rotational aspect is really beneficial too. The scheme is 18-months with three 6-month rotations, so you get a lot of exposure to different parts of the bank but have a bit more security with the scheme now being longer than a year. At the end of the 18 months we put our preferences in for the area we want to join permanently, and whilst not guaranteed you will get your first choice, you will be offered a role if you have performed well.

Another thing that was pulling me to PwC was the chance to study for ACA. I didn’t think you could study at RBS, so I was really surprised when I found out that I could do the ACA here in my role (the work counts towards the time qualification of the ACA) as well as having the option to do CFA, ACT and others. I haven’t started studying anything yet (and I don’t have to study anything if I don’t want to) but I think I will start my ACA in September. Whilst it’s great there is more flexibility at RBS, the Big 4 still have the edge on professional qualification training, as the support from them is great. So I think if you know you want to do the ACA, I would go for a Big 4 firm but if you’re not sure or would prefer to do CFA, RBS is the best choice.

Having interned at PwC I can say the culture is pretty similar at both firms - both are friendly and people are willing to support and develop you. In terms of progression, PwC is much more set (as in you qualify, do 2 years as an associate, then 2 as a manager etc.) whereas it’s not as clear at RBS. This can work for or against you, as you could end up at the same level if you’re complacent but if you can also rise up quickly without doing the time if you push yourself.

So all in all, I am very happy with my choice and think there are good prospects at RBS but I think PwC CF would also be a great place to start a career and neither of them would be a wrong decision. HR at RBS need to sell the scheme a lot better than they do, because its clear from the feedback I got when I was looking that RBS CIB doesn’t have the kudos that PwC does. There is more variety at RBS but there is more structure at PwC so it depends on what you’re looking for. And you can study ACA at both but you will get more support (and pressure) at PwC but you get paid more (at least as a graduate) at RBS.

So good luck to anyone who is choosing and thanks to everyone who gave me advice.


Hey Guys -

I was reading the thread and I liked all of your opinions - I think you are all well placed to help me with a dilemma that I have. I have 2 offers and I’m stuck as to what offer to pick.

  1. JP Morgan - Finance graduate scheme (middle office). This involves 3 rotations over 3 years and the opportunity to obtain a CIMA qualification.
  • After 3 years, I could either be a chartered management account with 3 years experience at JPM with the options to stay in industry, or move outside banking e.g to head up a finance team at Pepsi
  1. PwC Corporate Finance (Government & Infastructure) graduate scheme with opportunity to gain CFA.
  • After grad scheme I could be CFA qualified with experience at PwC and try and get into Front office in a bank or boutique firm
    for higher wages / work on bigger deals

Some thoughts…

  • JPM is higher paid than PwC, and JPM is much less working hours
  • PwC work will be more interesting as its client facing / revenue generating and deal based, whereas JPM is an internal division
  • Both companies are world renown, but I would say JPM would stand out more on a CV

Any help/thoughts/comments would be much appreciated.

Thank you!




Well done on being offered two places mate, it’s a great position to be in.

Interesting dilemma. I agree with you that JPM would stand out more on your CV as it’s an amazing brand, but I think that you would be more confined to a middle office type role afterwards. Besides, PwC is still a really great brand on your CV!

Between the two qualifications, I think the CFA is the better one (I am currently studying CFA after being given the choice between CFA, CIMA and ACA) and I imagine that PwC will really support you through that with lots of time off etc.

By the sounds of it, you seem to be more attracted to a client facing role and I think that CF at PwC with a CFA qualification will set you up very well indeed - I still wonder whether I should have gone to PwC over RBS. With that experience you could go into Investement banking, asset management, PE etc. so I think there are loads of really great routes. Whereas you will be more confined to finance/accounting middle office roles with JPM.

So all in all, I would go for PwC, but either way, both are great places to start. I guess it depends how much more JPM are paying!

Good luck.


I am in the EXACT same position right now. Were you able to move over to investment banking in the end?


Very impressed by this thread! Thanks sheephead for keeping us informed. I also have the choice between PWC CF and RBS M&IB. Would you still go for RBS?? How do you feel about the future of the bank?



This thread is very similar to my situation - I have offers for PwC in Corporate Tax and at Barclays Corporate (2.5 years rotations front office). Again, the advantage of PwC is the ACA, however Barclays pays a lot more initially and has great opportunities should I want to move across into IBD or rise in Corporate. I would say PwC is the safer bet judging by job security in the banks nowadays, but I wanted to find out what long term careers paths exists in Corporate banking and can you ever reach the equivalent of Partner at PwC or do you get stuck at a senior manager level until you retire? Also is an MBA as good a qualification in the banking world as the ACA?