Just completed PwC Application process (and others) and got offer, anyone have any questions?

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30 November 2011 - 12:19pm

Having just went through the application process for:

PwC (Got an offer) KPMG (Got an offer) Grant Thorton (Got to telephone interview stage) Ernst & Young (Only passed online tests)

Got a large amount of information from this website regarding these application processes and I would be happy to answer any questions.

Some specifics, all Belfast applications.

PwC was for Tax, although auditing is the same process KPMG Audit Grant Thorton Tax E&Y Tax

starting september.

Ask me questions!

30 November 2011 - 12:29pm

Well here's a slightly silly one, but I did the online tests fpr PWC two weeks ago and havent heard a peep out of them since. Do you know if thats normal? I know you probably arent the best person to answer but I am a bit worried, would they have at least emailed me if I had failed?

30 November 2011 - 12:42pm

PwC are very good with replying with whether or not you passed, promptly, from my experience. So I would say that it is not normal. I would check your account and ensure that you don't still have the task pending completion through some technical fault on PwC's side, if you don't have any tasks to complete I'd suggest emailing them.

30 November 2011 - 1:58pm

Hi, I have to attend an assessment centre soon and have been told that I will have to give a 5 minute presentation, however I won't be told what the topic is until the day of the assessment. Did you have to give a presentation and if so what topics were you asked to speak about?

30 November 2011 - 2:17pm

Hey, I'm sorry to say that my assessment centre did not feature a 5 minute presentation, however I would expect that you would not be required to go into detail on anything too complicated as they recruit people with any background, not just finance degrees etc.

for reference, at my assessment centre i done the following:

Read a booklet and write a report - 20mins Numeracy test - 20mins Pattern recognition test, logical reasoning I think is the proper name - 20mins

50 minute group discussion.

let me know if you want any further details

30 November 2011 - 2:42pm

Hi PWC Trainee

Congrats on ur offers.

I have a telephone interview with pwc soon. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Thanks a lot :)

30 November 2011 - 3:15pm


I have a telephone interview coming up too, I will appreciate if you can help with what to expect.


30 November 2011 - 3:18pm

To, MildlyFedUp

I completed the online tests (start of September) and didn't hear back after three weeks ( did apply for other places while waiting ), bumped into some promotional guys around my campus for PwC and they said they would find out for me. E-mailed me that day and told me I failed, it was unusual that I didn't hear back but I would say the same thing looks like it has happened to you. Phone or e-mail anyway. I wouldn't fret, he told me you could apply three months later and see it as, if you haven't passed their tests you obviously aren't suited for each other. I have sat many tests and failed most of them, but two I am going to the next stage for.

Aw well!

30 November 2011 - 3:59pm


I maybe should have pointed out that it's an IT position I have applied for and perhaps explains why my assessment day is structured differently from what you have described. The one I have to attend consists of 2 interviews, one of them being a competency based interview, a presentation and a group excercise. Thanks for your reply anyways.

30 November 2011 - 4:56pm

Hi guys, in regards these telephone interviews, I never actually had one. However at the final presentation night I was given very good advice that I used in my final interview.

PwC have, on their website, 8 competencies and they stressed very clearly that if you knew these you'd be fine.(have an example ready for each)

i.e. Q: Tell me a time when you demonstrate courage and integrity, etc

Also make sure you know a bit about PwC AND about the qualification you'll be studying for, and how you'll be studying for it. (likely ACA)

My entire application process was a follows: 2 Online tests, and 2 online questionnaires about how i'd behave etc.

Meeting in PwC office, informal

Assessment day Report Numeracy Patterns

Group discussion

Meeting at Hitlon hotel, pretty formal

Final interview.

2 December 2011 - 8:53pm


congrats man...

i have an assessment centre on 19 DEC can you tell me any tips for the diagrammatic tests? was there any particulalry helpful and useful resources which you used to revise???

Im having trouble in time managment aspects... how many questions did u answer ??? and do you know the pass marks boundaries??

cheers mate

3 December 2011 - 2:04pm

hi, i have my first interview with pwc for actuarial very soon. i have had a look at their global competencies and i am struggling with the "thinking outside the box" example and also an example of acting on principle, if anyone can give me any help it would be much appreciated. Also with the commercial awareness questions were you asked to discuss a recent business issue or a certain company that has recently been in the news? thanks

3 December 2011 - 4:08pm

I done the SHL practise test, then it's basically the same as the one you did on your online test.

I answered 27questions, out of 40, I only got time to lookat 34 of them.

Best tip really is that if you aren't seeing the pattern very quickly, move on. there are so many questions you'll be ok.

don't wildy guess, unless you can narrow it down, leave it blank. I know a lot of people who just guessed their remaining answers and they didn't get any further.

3 December 2011 - 4:14pm


you mention competencies, where are you applying too as that was not a competencies that I was advised to prepare for. I went with the 8~9 on the Uk website.

I was asked to discuss a recent business issue with the partner, I choose the eurozone.

It's a topic i'd recommend, as there's so much basic information and then any follow up questions they ask are easy to reply too.

I talked about italys situation, and how greece defaulting would cause contagion with italy and spain.

3 December 2011 - 5:39pm

cheers matey... i appreciate your time to anwer

any tips on the report exercise which we have to write... and any other further general tips during the assessment centre

thanks again

3 December 2011 - 7:35pm

for the report, look up the standard format for writing a memo, To/from/date/subject etc.

i done an introductory paragraph, writing about why the report is being written, then got stuck into listing the options,i only got through 2/4 then i ran out of time.

It's not about getting it finished, just make sure what you got done before hand is important.

no prior knowledge required for the report , except the layout.

group exercise really is simple, just speak up, and be nice.

5 December 2011 - 8:45am

thanks for the help mate... and thanks for the quick reply..

did you use assessment day by any chance for your revision?? if so ... how difficult are the questions from them tests to actual pwc shl tests? cheers

thanks again....

5 December 2011 - 10:40am

Hi PwC Trainee

Thanks for all the information so far.

My biggest worry is the commercial awareness part. The initial talking about a piece of business news seems simple enough, but how did you prepare for answering how your topic would affect PwC and what services PwC could offer in relation to your topic?

5 December 2011 - 12:43pm

in regards assessment day for my revision, i did not go over anything from the assessment day prior to the next stage (final interview)

The commericial awareness part, I was only asked to talk about an issue I was interested in, i.e. I got to choose, this made it very easy. Grant Thorton is tougher to prepare for in regards commercial awareness.

6 December 2011 - 8:22am

hey thanks again for your replies... i appreciate your time pal...

Il try to make this my last question for the AC....

do you remember how much time you spent reading your report ... and how much time writing?

do they make you do all your writing with pencil? ... i.e. the report and numerical and diagram tests??

and where did you write your answers for the tests... i.e. did you circle the correct answers ... or answer on a plain sheet of paper.

cheers mate

6 December 2011 - 12:07pm

we did our answers on one of those multiple choice pages that would be marked by a computer. the ones where u have to shade in each box according to the right answer

6 December 2011 - 4:34pm

how long do pwc take to tell u the outcome of your assessment day?

6 December 2011 - 5:27pm

cheers matey

7 December 2011 - 3:43pm

tests done on multiple choice paper, circle a/b/c/c etc.

spent between 5-10mins reading my report, and 10-15 writing.

I'd recommend finding out who it's too, and what the report is about immediately, then get that bit done, basic introduction/format etc. then read the options and write about them, in brief with 1-2 numbers thrown in.

can write in pen or pencil.

citychick, took me 2 days to find out.

11 December 2011 - 1:28pm

Thank you for everyone's advice so far.

I have my assessment centre coming up with PwC this week. I was just wondering how formal the report should be, did you write your report in the first person, i.e. I recommend... or in the third person for instance from the point of view of the company?

11 December 2011 - 6:01pm

third person, unless they specifically ask for your personal recommendation, try to avoid using I.

11 December 2011 - 6:02pm

third person, unless they specifically ask for your personal recommendation, try to avoid using I.

11 December 2011 - 6:37pm

Firstclassgraduate, I used "I" in my report and gave my personal recommendation and also passed the AC so I don't think it really matters either way if you can give a logical and structured report.

PwC Trainee, congrats on the job! I am start in September too... Do you know if there is a facebook group for all the new starters? All the other big4 firms have a group with a lot of members already so I find it strange that I can't find a PwC one.

6 January 2012 - 2:35pm

Hi PWC trainee,

just wondering roughly how many pages of information did you get for your report writting?


7 January 2012 - 1:04pm

maybe 15? but they were very sparsely filled. like 2 pie charts on one page etc

7 January 2012 - 4:28pm

I have a PwC partner interview coming up soon, but no confirmed date yet. After all this time, it will be an absolute disaster to fail it. Can you please tell me what they asked you for your final interview?

8 January 2012 - 5:25pm

an example of the 8 competencies listed on their site. - biggest thing. prepare good examples.

abit about the qualification you'll be studying for, why that one, how it taught, etc.

why you want this sort of job etc.

8 January 2012 - 9:04pm

i turned down PwC belfast because the salary was terrible = £14,000! no thank you!!!

9 January 2012 - 12:16am

I envy someone who has found something better, what company did you end up going with?

9 January 2012 - 9:42am

went for KPMG in London, i really needed the extra money tho (long story). Good luck in Belfast, i was gutted i culdnt take the offer

9 January 2012 - 4:59pm

As far as I'm aware you'll be starting on something around 26K?

enjoy the experience! I'm sure it would be more interesting in London.

10 January 2012 - 3:54pm

Hi everyone, I've got an assessment centre on the 27th for actuarial and have been scaring myself by trying the practice logical reasoning tests on Assessmentday.co.uk. Can anyone who's done the process tell me if they are the same difficulty? Thanks!

10 January 2012 - 6:06pm

the logical reasoning tests are far easier than the assessmentday ones. the only difficulty is time management, it's like 40 q's in 20mins (i think, could be wrong)

i was in the same boat as you and was pleasantly surprised when i opened the booklet to see the easy logical reasoning q's

10 January 2012 - 9:20pm

Cheers :-) That's put my mind at rest somewhat!

11 January 2012 - 2:12pm

had my tele interview on the 9th here are the questions I have got asked. commercial awarness: what happened recently regaring about the accounting industry? what is that to do with our business?( impact on our business) what do you know about ACA? WHY ACA?

Then straight to the competency questions:

Have different opinions while working in a team? followed by what is the result? how you convince them?

give me an example you are working in a team? followed by what did you contribute towards the team success? how did you motivate a team? how did you plan your project? Any challenge encountered?

Integrity question like when you raise a concern about something happened at work that you think is not very ethic( forgot the exact question)

Manage difficulty tasks in a project?

work with someone with different working style? followed by how did you approach him? how did he take your advice?

Adjusting yourselfinto a new environment? How did you feel about it at the first place?

working under less knowledge? How you gather the information you need?

learn something new

That is as far as I can remember about the tele interview. Good luck guys

14 January 2012 - 3:32pm

Hi everyone. Can any of you please provide me some tips on how to prepare for the partner interview?

Can you also tell me which could be the right answer to the question: "why have you chosen this office?"

Thank you in advance.

16 January 2012 - 2:17pm

PM'd you general advice, as for the office. make sure you include that PwC are huge company, know what they'r;e doing in terms recruitment and training new graduates. great step in your career, great experience.

make sure you can say why tax/audit etc, but that's for you to make up your own reasons.

17 January 2012 - 1:29pm

Hi PWC Trainee,

Could you also PM me your advice on the partner interview, and apart from the competecy questions, what other questions do they normally ask? and with regard to commercial awareness are they expecting you to know in detail of just one piece of news or a variety?

thank you in advance!!!

18 January 2012 - 11:35pm

Did anyone receive a phone call 2days before the AC that first of all offered the feedback about the tele interview and then asked you about your feedback of the interviewer and then finally provied you the day schedule about the AC?

Many Thanks

20 January 2012 - 1:38pm

I have my partner interview on Monday and any advice on what questions will be asked would be greatly appreciated!

21 January 2012 - 11:12pm


22 January 2012 - 11:23pm


I also have a partner interview for PwC coming up, haven't got a confirmed date yet. Was just wondering whether the interviewer used the information given in the original application form, where we had to write 200 words describing hobbies and interests? Or whether we have complete freedom in the examples we can choose for the competencies? Also any tips about likely questions would be much appreciated. Congrats to anyone who's got an offer!

23 January 2012 - 1:04pm

first, it seems that anything said in the application process is somewhat disregarded, this is basically that i went on:

they let you choose what you talk about. make sure it's a topic you understand.

the big thing about the interview is that they will ask you follow on questions to the ones you answer.

so if you say you're very interested in the eurozone crisis, and talk about it for 5mins, good for you, but then they ask you for your recommended solution, and you're dumbfounded, that's no good.

also, make sure you know a good example for each of the 8 competencies listed on their website, and try relate them to everything you've ever done. for example. if you've done three years charity work in africa but FORGET TO MENTION IT in your interview, then it's worth absolutely zero. they may have it on paper, but you need to say it during your 45 min interview for it to count.

i.e. One time when you used your intiative? well. one time is when I really wanted to do something good. so I took it upon myself to look up ways of making a big difference, and registered myself to go to africa and spend time out there.

there, a good example of intiative and you worked in something good about yourself.

24 January 2012 - 9:59pm

Awesome. Have my Pwc AC on the 2nd Feb. Lots of good advice here.

20 February 2012 - 11:01am

Hey people!

Ive got an AC coming up next week and im a little nervous to say the least. Coming from a non-business background, do the report/ group task require a great deal of business acumen?

How do you set the report out?

Do i need to research Pwc properly (i obviously researched to get through telephone interview but i mean in depth such as "my ideal client" or "what i think pwc should do next" etc) The partner interview isnt on the same day and you only get invited if you pass the tests, so is there much point me spending ages prepping about the company?

Is there anywhere i can practice numerical reasoning? i just suck at them! Ive done the SHL ones loads of times now and the assessmentday.co.uk ones are pretty hard compared to the SHL ones.

Lastly i would be grateful if someone could start a dialogue with me (via pm?) about the AC so i feel a little more prepared :)

Thanks Guys!

20 February 2012 - 11:21am

Hi there,

I passed my AC a few weeks ago and have subsequently been offered a job. It was my first AC so I was nervous too but this thread already has pretty much everything you need to know in it. I'm from a non-business background too and had no trouble with the written and group tasks - it's just a case of gathering and presenting facts. I was criticised for formatting my report as an email to the manager, so set it out as a proper report - Intro, pros/cons of each option, recommendation and perhaps a conclusion. Spend no more than 10 minutes reading for the written task as it's very time pressured. For the group task, make sure you do any calculations in your reading time, especially for the bits of info that only you are given.

I researched PwC quite thoroughly for my phone interview and was pretty convinced by the AC that I only really wanted to work for them so read a lot of their website out of natural curiosity. You don't really need any knowledge of PwC for the AC but I would warn you that my final interview was only a week after my AC and I only had 2 days notice so I was pretty glad I'd done the reading beforehand. I got the job based on my motivation to work for the company and in my chosen area so the more you can talk about what PwC do and how it is set apart from its competitors the better.

If you passed the online tests you should be fine with the AC tests - I used assessmentday fanatically for about a week before my AC because I was really worried about the diagrammatic tests. They are harder but then again that will help you be as prepared as possible and I'd definitely recommend you do as much practice as you can.

Good luck with your AC and keep us informed of your progress :-)