Getting a job with one of the Big 4: my graduate career with PwC- AMA

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Hello! I'm Lisa, a Senior Associate at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), one of the Big 4 accounting firms.

I currently work in the Assurance Team at PwC with clients in a range of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, utilities, and education. I really enjoy working here, as there is so much variety and interaction with different clients!

After completing my BSc, I decided to pursue an MSc in Business with Finance & Accounting at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. I believe business is a very practical subject to study, so if you only learn it from the classroom the benefit is restricted, and the course at WBS offered a combination of theory and practice. This helped me to stand out in the competitive application process at PwC and with support from the WBS CareerPlus team, I went on to get an offer from PwC UK.

Got any questions about how I got to where I am today? Ask me anything about applying and interviewing for PwC, life at PwC, what value my MSc has had during my career so far, and moving to and living in the UK as both a student and PwC employee.

Iโ€™ll be online throughout this week and look forward to your questions!
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Anonymous #1
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Hello,

Hope youโ€™re well? Here are my questions:

1. How was the application process for PWC like for you and how did Warwick Career Services and the course help prepare you for their competitive application process?

2. When did you start the graduate application process?

3. As an international student, what were the requirements for securing that graduate role and moving to the UK?

Thank you for your time!
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Fernanda Herrera
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Hello Lisa! Thank you for share, sounds amazing. ๐Ÿ˜€I am Fernanda, from Lima, Perรบ. Please tell us about your stay on campus, what facilities did you have? Did you live alone there? On the other hand, personally, I would love to work in parallel to cover my expenses. Any extracurricular work that you recommend us? What procedures do I have to carry out to work too? Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€
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Fox Hound
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Hi Lisa,

I'll be starting my role in the audit centre of excellence at the end of March. Would you be able to provide information on what exactly this department does? I'm aware that it specialises in the audit of pensions and tax but how else does it differ from regular audit?

Additionally, when will PwC allow us to come into the office? I would prefer working and learning there instead of being at home everyday.

Finally, how flexible is the company in allowing its staff to work in other departments? I would like to try working in other areas to broaden my knowledge and skills as I believe this would help me greatly in the long run.

Thanks for your time and have a great day!
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Hello,

Hope youโ€™re well? Here are my questions:

1. How was the application process for PWC like for you and how did Warwick Career Services and the course help prepare you for their competitive application process?

2. When did you start the graduate application process?

3. As an international student, what were the requirements for securing that graduate role and moving to the UK?

Thank you for your time!
Hi! Thanks for the questions!
1, When I applied it was online application> telephone interview> assessment centre > final interview. For every step Warwick Career Service had mock interview or advice sessions that I booked into. I think the Big 4 have more or less adjusted the process since I graduated but the idea should be the same.
I think the best thing WBS career plus team did was to stay with me in every step of the process. They understand it can be a stressful process especially for international students. When I look back, I think there are 3 important things in job searching: positive attitude, early planning and keep learning from the process.

2, It's a one year course and as someone coming from a different country, I had a lot to sort out when I just arrived in Sep/Oct time. I actually started in late Oct I think. It was not early comparing to some other students to be honest. However, I attended the career advice session the CareerPlus team held in July before enrolling and sent my CV for review before I started the course. This was important cause it allowed me to move very fast once I get all study and living stuff sorted.
I think the career service in WBS was just a lot more efficient in the area I was searching for than the Warwick Uni one that's available to all schools.

3, For international students, the most important thing was to find a company that sponsored your Visa at my time. I think the new PSW scheme would be very helpful. It was not available when I graduated so I don't know the detail. I think the career service knows very well about it
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(Original post by Fox Hound)
Hi Lisa,

I'll be starting my role in the audit centre of excellence at the end of March. Would you be able to provide information on what exactly this department does? I'm aware that it specialises in the audit of pensions and tax but how else does it differ from regular audit?

Additionally, when will PwC allow us to come into the office? I would prefer working and learning there instead of being at home everyday.

Finally, how flexible is the company in allowing its staff to work in other departments? I would like to try working in other areas to broaden my knowledge and skills as I believe this would help me greatly in the long run.

Thanks for your time and have a great day!
Hi Fox Hound(nice name),

Congrats and welcome!

Pension and tax have their separate rules and regulation that are normally an advanced area in audit. The centre of excellence will join different audit teams to work on these specific areas. Are you required to do a qualification?

At the moment our offices are closed, but you can apply to use some of them for specially need including mental health need. I know there are people going in to have a change of environment. The offices have strict covid rules.

I think we are generally very flexible. Generally speaking the more work experience you have the higher flexibility. I suggest talking to as many people as possible once you join, and it's likely that you find someone that had done similar things before and would be able to give you advice.

Hope this helps!
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Hi Fernanda!

I lived in an off campus property in Coventry managed by the university. We had 9 people from different countries and different department living together. It was super fun. I got a theoretical physicist to help me with my big 4 telephone interview, an Italian guy to discuss cooking skill with and a Malaysian guy to learn skateboarding from! I do miss that time.

I don't recommend living alone even if you can afford it. I think flatmates are an important information source where I got new skills and perspectives from. It's not saying there are not disputes(there's always gonna be a very clean one and a very messy one lol), but I think these are all important experience that we should not miss.

For work experience, I think if you are doing undergrad I'd absolutely recommend that. I have friends who've done all sorts of part-time jobs: from university ambassadors to translators for investment groups from their home countries. For postgrad like me who are only doing the 1 year course I found it a bit hard to juggle everything if I worked as well. I feel generally the opportunities published on the school's websites are a lot better than the random ones you get outside, unless you have your own connections already.(Some of my previous classmates had work experience before enrolling and had continued to work for their old bosses on a part time basis.)

I did some volunteering with the university. There are loads you can choose from. I tried some new sports(climbing, slack-lining, skateboarding), and I leant how to do drunk dance in a house party
(Original post by Fernanda Herrera)
Hello Lisa! Thank you for share, sounds amazing. ๐Ÿ˜€I am Fernanda, from Lima, Perรบ. Please tell us about your stay on campus, what facilities did you have? Did you live alone there? On the other hand, personally, I would love to work in parallel to cover my expenses. Any extracurricular work that you recommend us? What procedures do I have to carry out to work too? Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€
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Hello Lisa,

I wanted to ask, what is your average day like? What sort of responsibilities, tasks are you allocated please?
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achieve526kk
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(Original post by TSR Talks: WBS)
Hello! I'm Lisa, a Senior Associate at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), one of the Big 4 accounting firms.

I currently work in the Assurance Team at PwC with clients in a range of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, utilities, and education. I really enjoy working here, as there is so much variety and interaction with different clients!

After completing my BSc, I decided to pursue an MSc in Business with Finance & Accounting at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. I believe business is a very practical subject to study, so if you only learn it from the classroom the benefit is restricted, and the course at WBS offered a combination of theory and practice. This helped me to stand out in the competitive application process at PwC and with support from the WBS CareerPlus team, I went on to get an offer from PwC UK.

Got any questions about how I got to where I am today? Ask me anything about applying and interviewing for PwC, life at PwC, what value my MSc has had during my career so far, and moving to and living in the UK as both a student and PwC employee.

Iโ€™ll be online throughout this week and look forward to your questions!
excuse me lisa how hard is it get into PWC those online cognitive assessment are so challenging, need help numerical reasoning skills are so challenging, any advice would be beneficial what traits attributes PWC is seeking.
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Fox Hound
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(Original post by TSR Talks: WBS)
Hi Fox Hound(nice name),

Congrats and welcome!

Pension and tax have their separate rules and regulation that are normally an advanced area in audit. The centre of excellence will join different audit teams to work on these specific areas. Are you required to do a qualification?

At the moment our offices are closed, but you can apply to use some of them for specially need including mental health need. I know there are people going in to have a change of environment. The offices have strict covid rules.

I think we are generally very flexible. Generally speaking the more work experience you have the higher flexibility. I suggest talking to as many people as possible once you join, and it's likely that you find someone that had done similar things before and would be able to give you advice.

Hope this helps!
I'll be studying ICAS over the 3 year contract. It's great to hear about the flexibility and the option to be able to work in the office. Thanks again for taking the time to answer.
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Hello Lisa,

I wanted to ask, what is your average day like? What sort of responsibilities, tasks are you allocated please?
Before to the lockdown I'll work from the client's place normally. There'll be several catch ups with client and team. Other time of the day I will be going through my own area while helping others on the team. There will be a few more formal meetings each week when senior members from the client and engagement leader/managers from our side join us and discuss progress/issues in the audit.

It's a mixture of working with people and working by yourself I think.

We moved everything online after the lockdown. The communication's harder but at the same time we don't have to travel.
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(Original post by achieve526kk)
excuse me lisa how hard is it get into PWC those online cognitive assessment are so challenging, need help numerical reasoning skills are so challenging, any advice would be beneficial what traits attributes PWC is seeking.
For numerical reasoning you don't need to finish everything. You need to go through like a 70%-80% of them while get a high proportion of them correct. That's how I feel about it when I did it. My advise is to practise a lot before you do the real one. I think the math in those questions are secondary school level. It's just the high frequency, multiple choice and time pressure style of the test that a lot of people are not used to, but this is how it works generally in the business world. Try something like GMAT, just the Math part. They are both business based math.

I think WBS career did offer some help I can't quite remember the detail.
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Ten-Ten
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What did you study for your bsc?
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(Original post by TSR Talks: WBS)
Hello! I'm Lisa, a Senior Associate at PwC.

I currently work in the Assurance Team at PwC with clients in a range of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, utilities, and education. I really enjoy working here, as there is so much variety and interaction with different clients!
Hi Lisa,

Do you find the wide variety of clients will be more beneficial for exit ops vs working with financial services firms? Do you travel a lot outside of the U.K.?

Cheers.
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(Original post by Ten-Ten)
What did you study for your bsc?
Hey I did Statistics.
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achieve526kk
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(Original post by TSR Talks: WBS)
Hey I did Statistics.
what type of mathematics do u utilise for pwc statistical analysis wise hypothesis testing etc random walk variable binomial Poisson and normal distribution etc
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(Original post by SkanPad)
Hi Lisa,

Do you find the wide variety of clients will be more beneficial for exit ops vs working with financial services firms? Do you travel a lot outside of the U.K.?

Cheers.
The exit ops depends on what kind of client you do when you are working with the big 4 and also your other skills and interests. Larger offices(London, Birmingham, Manchester...) will give you an particular industry to focus on in terms of clients. For smaller offices it's more to have a conversation with the manager on the job and see if you can get onto a client you are interested in.

We don't travel a lot outside the UK, only occasionally.
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(Original post by achieve526kk)
what type of mathematics do u utilise for pwc statistical analysis wise hypothesis testing etc random walk variable binomial Poisson and normal distribution etc
Oh it doesn't work that way. Audit testing are based on financial risks each item carries. In my daily work I don't normally consider what distribution I will be looking at, because very likely they don't follow any. What we are facing are man made data so it's much more efficient just go ask the client to explain how they made it and go from there.
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(Original post by TSR Talks: WBS)
Hello! I'm Lisa, a Senior Associate at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), one of the Big 4 accounting firms.

I currently work in the Assurance Team at PwC with clients in a range of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, utilities, and education. I really enjoy working here, as there is so much variety and interaction with different clients!

After completing my BSc, I decided to pursue an MSc in Business with Finance & Accounting at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. I believe business is a very practical subject to study, so if you only learn it from the classroom the benefit is restricted, and the course at WBS offered a combination of theory and practice. This helped me to stand out in the competitive application process at PwC and with support from the WBS CareerPlus team, I went on to get an offer from PwC UK.

Got any questions about how I got to where I am today? Ask me anything about applying and interviewing for PwC, life at PwC, what value my MSc has had during my career so far, and moving to and living in the UK as both a student and PwC employee.

Iโ€™ll be online throughout this week and look forward to your questions!
What A-levels/degree results did you have?
What work experiences/internships did you have on your application?
Did you apply for all big 4 firms/other big business services firms? how did your recruitment with other places go?
Would you recommend PWC?
Have you undertaken any international secondments?
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(Original post by mnot)
What A-levels/degree results did you have?
What work experiences/internships did you have on your application?
Did you apply for all big 4 firms/other big business services firms? how did your recruitment with other places go?
Would you recommend PWC?
Have you undertaken any international secondments?
Hiya,

I did all my pre-WBS degrees in China, probably not that helpful if you ask me A-level but I'll list them down here anyway.
My undergrad GPA was 3.7/5, ranking top 10%, GMAT 750
I did 3 internships before coming to Warwick, one in a big 4 in my home city, one in a local accounting firm and one in a local bank.
I had some undergrad academic scholarship and volunteering experience.

I only applied for 3 out of the big 4 cause I think Deloitte did not accept international applicants in my year. I also applied for BDO and Grant Thornton.

I think it depends on what you are looking for really. I think Big 4 is an open-end choice, cause you can go from here to a lot of places. I like meeting different people and the environment in the firm is great for this.

Nope I haven't done any secondments, might consider in the future.

Hope this helps.
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