Graduate insight into securing a placement year in technology consultancy with PwC

Created on 27 Apr 2017

Bright Network member Jimmy is currently studying Maths at the University of Bath. We caught up with him to hear about his experience attending Bright Network Technology Top 150 and successfully applying to top Professional Services firm PwC.

Can you tell us a bit about the role you applied for?

I’ve managed to secure a year-long placement in technology consultancy with PwC in Northern Island.

How did Bright Network Technology Top 150 help?

The Bright Network Technology Top 150 event really opened up the idea of Technology Consulting for me; it was a field I hadn't thought too much about before. I was able to chat with careers teams from a range of companies and that convinced me that it was an idea worth following.

Why did you choose PwC?

My university has a strong affiliation with PwC: I had been to two networking events on campus and I also had training from them through the student union. I was familiar with their staff and their work ethic, and I also knew what the company is about and what sort of people they look for.

On the PwC website there is a list of all open applications and their locations - for technology I had a choice of either London or Belfast. I decided that I didn’t want to go to London because I think you have greater freedom and responsibility starting in a regional office.

What can you tell us about the application process?

I had a slightly different application process to mainland offices. I had applied for insight scheme previously, which involved online tests and a video interview but this time it was just an application form on the website and then I went straight to assessment centre and partner interview.

The form itself was a covering letter split into various questions such as competency questions, “Why would you suit PwC?” and “Why do you want to work with us?”

The assement centre was with about 50 people. We sat a numeracy and logic test; the kind that would normally be done online but this was done in a classroom from a booklet.

We also had to write a report, reading through some information and then writing up an assessment. They didn’t give you a start time, so unless you remembered to write down the when you began you didn’t know how long you had left. I didn’t write it down and so wrote down less of the answer than I hoped.

This was followed by a group exercise. We were all given different bits of information and had to present it to the others. We then had to decide on a course of action. Halfway through we received news that meant we had to change our plan, so it tested your ability to work together and adapt.

The partner interview was with two experienced team members. They both gave a précis of their background, which helped show the range of possibility to change and move in this big company.

It was mostly general questions, testing my research and preparation, wanted to check you had done a bit of everything. It was hard to tell how it went though: poker faces all round..

What was the hardest part of the process?

The hardest part for me was maintaining my confidence in the interview when I had to ask for a few moments to think of an answer.  It’s important however to allow yourself time to think rather than jumping in with a half ready answer.

What was the most enjoyable part of the process?

The interview was great chance to meet people who had been there a while and who respected the company because they had been there so long. They think that change is a positive thing at PwC so it was great to discover more about the company.

How did you prepare for your application?

The resources on the Bright Network website were one of the main ways I prepared, using the articles on technology consulting.

I also had been to sessions at university and had tips on interviews, which helped. On the day I spent time researching various facts on company, their CEO, business practices, their strengths among the Big Four.

What three tips would you give to someone following in your footsteps?

Tip 1: “Why” is more important than ‘What”

Focus less on what you will be doing on the job and focus more on why that firm. In the earlier parts of the process, the questions you have to answer are all about working out what is different about that company and why that appeals to you.

Tip 2: Practice makes perfect

Prepare for the tests in advance, the only way to get better at them is to practice.

Tip 3: Read widely 

Make use of all the resources out there, whether at university or Bright Network.


Looking to follow in 's footsteps? Discover live graduate opportunities with PwC.

Bright Network member, James (Jimmy)
James (Jimmy), University of Bath
PwC, Industrial Placement