We recently caught up with Richa about securing a Digital Analyst role with PA Consulting, how she built her commercial awareness before the interview and her top tips for Bright Network members looking to follow in her footsteps.
What stood out to you about PA Consulting?
Working towards a degree in Computer Science, I wanted to secure a job with a company that would be able to expand my knowledge of technology even further. PA Consulting stood out compared to other consultancies because of its large emphasis on using technology and ingenuity to help organisations adapt and succeed in the digital age. PA Consulting also does extensive work within the Healthcare and Life Sciences sectors and helped to contribute towards the COVID-19 ventilator challenge; it's nice to know I'll be working for a company that is making positive contributions to society.
How did you build your commercial awareness before the interview?
I think one of the most important things to do to prepare for an interview at any company is to know as much as possible about the company - i.e. the sectors they work in, some recent projects they've worked on in the past, and why these projects were so important. All of this information is easily accessible on the company website. As PA Consulting complete projects across multiple sectors (such as Energy and Retail), I also made sure to keep up to date with the latest news in these sectors.
What would be your top tip to members going through the application process?
My top tip is to try and relax on the day before your assessment centre! I know they're extremely nerve-racking, but I honestly believe you'll perform best if you're relaxed and well-rested. I attended a few assessment centres for different companies before securing a job with PA, and I remember being stressed and trying to cram as much knowledge into my brain as possible the day before them. This led to me getting barely any sleep and not performing very well on the day of the assessment centre. The day before my assessment centre with PA, however, I decided not to do any more research or preparation. Instead, I spent my day getting on with Uni coursework, and I went on a run to clear my head (and tire me out). That evening I slept like a baby and performed much better during the assessment centre because of this.
How did Bright Network help you secure this role?
Without Bright Network I never would have known that PA Consulting existed! Bright Network's website makes searching for graduate roles that suit your preferences extremely easy. It can be quite stressful and time-consuming searching for that perfect role and trying to figure out what job matches your skill set, but Bright Network is a great resource that compiles pretty much all you need to know about securing a graduate role into one place, making it a lot easier to digest. What's more, they have company profiles and advice articles so you can learn as much as possible about the company you're applying to, and how to impress them.
What’s been the toughest interview question you've faced and how did you tackle it?
The toughest interview question I've faced was "Tell me about a time you've been pushed outside of your comfort zone". I think this was the toughest question I've faced because it's one that I'd never been asked before up until that point. I'd always have some sort of answer prepared if an interviewer asked me why I was passionate about tech, or to talk about a time I'd received feedback, and other standard interview questions, but this one caught me a little off guard. In the end, I tackled it by being completely honest with my interviewer and discussing the time I made the difficult choice to drop out of the first university I went to. I normally avoid talking about the topic, but I think the interviewer really appreciated my honesty - I managed to secure a job with them after all!
Did you use Bright Network Academy in your career search and if so, how did it help you?
Bright Network Academy was so helpful in developing my commercial awareness and preparing me for the application process. It helped me to learn about things that you don't get taught at university. It's great that the courses are free and are organised in partnership with real companies so you know you're gaining valuable skills by taking them. For example, I completed the guide to acing case study interviews, in which I learnt from a graduate who had been through the process himself why companies value case studies and practised the sort of questions you might encounter in one.
What top three tips would you give Bright Network members looking to follow in your footsteps?
- Don't be discouraged if you get rejected a few (or more) times - it's all about statistics! Stay positive and keep on applying; practice makes perfect!
- Make sure you really know the company you're applying for. Interviewers love it when you show a genuine interest in their company.
- Use the interview as a chance to make sure the company is the right fit for you - ask as many questions as possible.