We caught up with University of Exeter student, Stephanie, to discover what attracted her to PwC and how she managed to convert her internship into a graduate role. If you're looking to follow in Stephanie's footsteps, check out PwC's live opportunities right here.
Why did you choose to apply to PwC?
I chose to apply to PwC because I have been extremely interested in joining a multinational public accounting and professional services firm to kick-start my career in Tax consulting and advisory. Having spoken to PwC associates at career fairs, I knew that PwC had a great working culture which would allow me to develop excellent bonds.
Furthermore, PwC has been consistently recognised as one of the world’s best employers and one of the world’s most valuable brands. I wanted to be part of a progressive network where partners and employees have pioneered the audit and tax sectors and to help global clients that I recognised.
How did you find the application process? Were there any stages you found particularly enjoyable or challenging?
I had received a graduate role offer after my summer internship at the firm, however, both internship and graduate applications are the same. The process was the same as any other accounting or finance firm, where there are online psychometric tests, a video interview and the assessment centre, which consisted of group discussions, an individual task and an interview.
The most enjoyable part of the process was the assessment centre, where we had the opportunity to see a PwC office and talk to a few employees to understand what their day-to-day tasks consisted of. I did not feel like it was a ‘cut-throat’ environment nor was it intimidating – the tasks were designed to find those that would fit well into the firm and tested the way you think, how inclusive you are of other people’s logic and how you concluded a task together.
The most challenging part of the process was trying to stand out, especially at the assessment centre. Since all the candidates were equally as qualified, I had to understand where my strengths were and make sure that I used them – in my case, it was to show my global and business acumen and knowledge on markets and geopolitical events.
What was the toughest interview question you faced?
There were two interviews in total: the video interview and the final interview. The video interview consisted of behavioural questions so it can be prepared for in advance. In terms of the final interview, it focused on being reflective on your performance during the assessment centre. The toughest question was “how do you think you could have improved today?” as it is hard to consider how to improve when you were busy doing the tasks.
How would did Bright Network help you secure this role?
Bright Network helped me during the application process as I could find information on when the application deadline was, what was needed of me during the process and what PwC looked for in their applicants.
How would you summarise your experience at PwC?
PwC is seen as the “friendliest” out of the Big 4 and it definitely lives up to this reputation. From day one of my summer internship I was given work and everybody was happy to chat to me whether they were a senior manager, associate or director. I participated in a few of the social events such as the Golf Day, where I was able to expand my network.
I was exposed to various teams within the Tax line of service such as VAT, transfer pricing, corporate tax and international tax. I was able to see where I wanted to specialise once I start doing my ACA. I was actively included in large client projects and as time went on, people trusted me to complete larger pieces of work. My work was varied as well, some examples include financial statement analysis, assisting with transfer pricing documentation and solving VAT disputes.
What three tips would you give to BN members looking to follow in your footsteps?
1) Learn how to do a SWAT analysis: this will be important during the assessment centre tasks where you have to analyse what decisions would be best in different scenarios.
2) Be able to work through large piles of information: you will be given a lot of information on tasks during the day and you will have limited time, so it is important to work quickly. This is not something you can prepare much for, but make sure to stay calm and collective so you can work under pressure.
3) Contribute a lot during group discussions: don’t over-dominate and don’t remain quiet - group discussions show how you can work together. Know your strengths, so if you have a lot of market knowledge or marketing, find a way to incorporate that into your contributions.