I had a partner phone call yesterday offering me a position at Deloitte for the autumn 2009 start. I am sure that all the many helpful threads in this forum played a fundamental role in my success, and so I just wanted to contribute with an account of my own experience.
I am an international student with a degree and an ongoing PhD in popular music studies. So, all those threads about universities and degrees can be misleading. Simply, to successfully apply to a Big 4 you need to meet the minimum requirements, fulfil the company’s core competencies, and fit into the working culture of the company.
I started to do my research on professional services probably around May. This forum, the wiki job page, and the career service at my university were of great help, as well as all Big4 websites. To learn about the current market situation and to keep up with financial news I downloaded the wake up to money podcast from the BBC page. I have listened to most of them since June. I occasionally also looked at the guardian online, especially before interviews.
I sent out my application to Deloitte on the 7th of August. I also sent an application to KPMG shortly before that. To fill in the application forms I researched each company’s website, and I tried to tailor my answers to each individual firm as much as I could. I was quickly invited to sit the online tests at KPMG. In between sitting the tests and receiving the results I was invited for an interview practice day in Reading. I was given very positive and useful feedback which boosted my confidence in the real interview. I strongly recommend you take this opportunity if you get it offered. KPMG contacted me via email with very little notice. As I had imagined, I failed the KPMG tests. Failing the tests really encouraged me to carry on. Don’t let psychometric tests put you off! There are plenty of books and online exercises which can help you pass them. I was invited for the online tests at Deloitte around the 11th of September, and so I had to complete them in 72 hours. Because I was going to be away at a conference during those days I phoned them up and asked them to re arrange the deadline which they did no problem.
I was invited for a first interview shortly after passing the tests. The interview didn’t take place until the 9th of October… or so. The interview was pretty much like a lot of people have said in this forum. At first the conversation was a little distant but I managed to attract the attention of the interviewer and we ended having a nice dialogue-type interview. There wasn’t a lot of time to talk about business news or why Deloitte, I felt… This is not to say that you should underestimate this section. You should have a clear idea of what you will be doing in your first year and why you want to work for the company you are applying for. At partner interview, the partner mentioned that from my first interview it seemed that I had done good research into the company and role I was applying for.
I received an email around 7 PM on the next day saying I had passed the first interview and that I should ring them to arrange a final interview. Because I had to travel abroad the coming week, the final assessment day had to wait a little. When I was back from holiday I was told that all positions at Audit were filled in and I was given the opportunity to apply for Entrepreneurial Business. Somehow EB was what I had wanted to do from the start… and I’m not sure if I pressed something wrong at the time of filling in the application or if the error was elsewhere. In any case, at the end I was going for the position I originally wanted to go for. Before I could go for the interview I had to re write the last two questions of the application form. I had to write them thinking carefully about EB. I’m glad things happened this way… perhaps my initial answers were more audit oriented.
In the meantime, I found out Deloitte were holding an information event in a local hotel. I attended this event –it was indeed helpful because I could learn more about the company and the other service lines. I approached many people and asked various questions. Particularly interesting was a long chat I had with the partner who introduced the event. She talked me over the whole process of the final interview, it was so useful! She said what the competencies were and how the day would be structured. We also talked about other things concerning Deloitte and her experience in the firm. So, in my experience, don’t be scared of approaching people at these events, even if they are partners.
My final assessment day took place on Tuesday the 11th of November. I arrived at the office a little earlier than 9 30. I was taken into the same room the first interview was held, and was given PC a laptop. At this point I dealt with the Graduate Recruitment person with whom I had been in touch via emails. She was very nice and read the instructions of the exercise as they were on the screen. This I am sure will reassure people whose first language is not English. My English is pretty good and I’m good with understanding accents, but having things written on the screen as they were read out was definitely a plus. The e-tray exercise has been extensively talked about in other threads. I certainly recommend putting the task bar to one side and having all the background information files opened. Bear in mind you might have to unlock the bar. I spent the first 10 minutes reading the background information to the simulated project I was involved in. I actually finished the whole exercise with 12 to 15 minutes to spare. Maybe I rushed too much… I just kept seeing incoming emails and got a little nervous. So, please note… when emails say INFO before them, they are usually answers or thank yous to other emails you have replied to. Once I started getting these INFO mails I did not get any other ACTION emails (where you have to respond). Of course, I only realised this when I had replied to all ACTION emails.
After 60 minutes of E Tray exercise I had to do a longer written exercise. The written exercise lasted 40 minutes, after which the computer was taken away. I had a short toilet break and then I was given 10 minutes to make notes for the partner interview.
The first part of the partner interview involved me presenting what I had done in the written exercise. Partner interviews will vary I guess from partner to partner. In my case after I presented and backed my option, we did a detailed analysis of all the various factors to be considered at the time of decision making. She actually went through all possible details concerning the data I was given, on which I based my decision. It felt like a little interactive seminar, in the nice sense of the word. Many of the questions she asked I hadn’t thought of at the time of the written exercise, which I told her. However, I did think through her questions and gave her answers. Although at two points maybe I just acknowledged that I didn’t quite know. She said that that was the whole point of that section, and that it was ok to say that I hadn’t thought about it before, but had I thought about it I would have said “so and so”. We spent about half of the partner interview talking about the Etray and written exercises, it was quite exhaustive. The second part of the partner interview really was about me… she asked me a very specific question about my academic experience. I clarified a few things that perhaps were misunderstood in the first interview. At the end she asked me if I had any questions. I asked her about her job, about her worst day in the firm, and about gender equality. After this I was taken out for lunch by an Audit trainee. She was very nice, we went to a Pizza restaurant close to the office.
I received a phone-call from the partner on the next day at around 3 pm with the good news.
Mod edit: taking out specific questions from interview.
I've received an offer for tax 2009 and want to accept it. Is there any way I can accept the offer online or do I just have to wait for the forms to arrive in the post? What did you do?