PwC Internships

Why should I consider an internship with PwC?

PwC offers summer internships in a wide range of business areas. As one of the Big Four accounting and consultancy firms – alongside Deloitte, EY and KPMG – it’s a fantastic opportunity to get experience at the very top of the field.

It’s difficult to imagine a better place to learn the ropes than a Big Four company like PwC, working with some of the biggest clients around the world in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

Why PwC instead of one of the other Big Four Firms?

One immediate answer is: its clients. Do a Google search to find out who some of its major clients are. Do they appeal to you? Would you like the chance to work with clients like them? 

While all the Big Four have great opportunities for progression and learning, they also have their own cultures, which suit different people. 

This is very personal to you, so it’s best to get a feel for it yourself during the interview process. At the assessment centre there will be a lunch with current trainees, which can be an excellent chance to find out about the company culture and what it’s like to work at PwC. 

That said, a good indication can also be lists like The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers. PwC scores very highly in this year after year, and often tops the list.

What does an internship with PwC involve?

It varies from business area to business area, but each has a general structure and is 6-8 weeks long.

The first week will most likely be a residential training course, designed to get you up to speed with the internship, the skills you’ll need, your clients and some of the people you’ll be working alongside.

You’ll work on actual, live client projects in your business area, alongside a team of trainees, seniors, managers and so on.

Most reviewers on websites like GlassDoor and RateMyPlacement find themselves surprised by the amount of responsibility they’re given, and at how much they were treated as a valuable member of the team rather than as ‘just’ an intern. 

Of course, this might vary from team to team. But on the whole, PwC has a strong reputation for providing internships that are of real value. You should learn a lot but also have a chance to contribute meaningfully to  projects.

How do I apply for an internship with PwC?

PwC runs its own job listings on its website. For internships, take a look here. You can change the filters to search through all jobs listed. 

For internships, PwC is looking for current students either in the penultimate year of their undergraduate degree or their final year with a one-year postgraduate degree place confirmed. In short, you should be in the second-to-last year of your studies.

To be fully prepared, it would make most sense to start thinking about this in your first year for a typical three-year degree, or in your second year for a four-year degree or if you’re doing a Masters degree afterwards.

This is because you’ll need to keep an eye for when applications open. And, when they do, you’ll need to know which stream you’re looking to apply to and you will of course need to be prepared for the selection process.

PwC typically opens applications about a year in advance, or a little less than a year. For instance, an internship for summer 2018 will most likely be advertised in the summer or autumn of 2017.

You should also be looking at getting a 2:1 degree or higher. The basic academic requirements for each stream are:

  • Actuarial: on course for a 2:1 in any subject and UCAS tariff of at least 320, including a B in A-level maths (or equivalent).
  • Assurance: on course for a 2:1 in any subject.
  • Economic Consulting: on course for a 2:1 in an Economics-related degree and UCAS tariff of at least 340 (or equivalent) OR on course for a 1st in an Economics-related degree and UCAS tariff of at least 240 (or equivalent).
  • Management Consulting: on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject.
  • Strategy Consulting: on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject and UCAS tariff of at least 340 (or equivalent).
  • Sustainability and Climate Change Consulting: on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject plus a Masters in a Sustainability or Environmental field, or International Development and UCAS tariff of at least 340 (or equivalent).
  • Deals: on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject.
  • Tax: on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject.
  • Technology: on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject.
  • Legal: on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject.

When it's time to apply, head to PwC's website and select the internship you are interested in. You will then need to fill in your details on a page with tabs for experience and education, and a section for attachments to be added.

A CV and cover-letter manager allows you to upload up to five versions of each of these. Keep them up-to-date on your profile.

You might also encounter some longer-form questions, between 50-200 words. These will ask you relatively simply questions such as why you chose PwC, your business area and what your career motivations are.

Which PwC business areas offer internships?

Actuarial

Actuaries deal in risk. You’ll need to enjoy working with complex numbers and projections, since the bulk of your work will involve using statistical models to estimate the potential impact various events can have.

For instance, you might look into the impact of legislation on a pension scheme, or of a major political shift on insurance premiums. You could also be weighing up the likelihood and potential cost for a natural disaster on an office building. It’s a diverse field, but all to do with assessing and predicting the future as best you can.

You’ll also need to be able to communicate your findings to colleagues and clients. They’ll want to know, in terms they can understand, exactly what you think the impact of x risk might be on y business, or z project. And you’ll need to tell them simply and concisely.

Assurance

Getting right to the heart of a business, assurance is about making sure businesses and organisations are accountable, sustainable and transparent.

Numbers are a part of it, of course, but assurance looks at things holistically. You’ll be working with companies large and small, providing leading audit services.

Assurance is a very client-facing role, and you’ll spend a lot of time travelling to meetings and working to tight deadlines.

You can also choose one of three specialist areas to dive into:

  • In Government and Public Sector Assurance, you’ll be keeping a watchful eye on how taxpayers’ money is being spent on public projects and in public sector companies.
  • An internship in Risk Assurance focuses on helping businesses make the best of their strategy, from their IT systems to their people.
  • For Technology Assurance, you’ll work closely with Risk Assurance, to help clients plan for the future of their IT systems, identifying risks and threats.

Consulting

Consultants work alongside many other areas of PwC to help develop businesses of all sizes – from small ones to household names – to grow and become better and more efficient.

Consulting as a field sounds fairly vague, but that’s because it sort of is. It’s vague because it’s essentially about discussing a client’s business, what its issues are, where its opportunities might lie and how they can take things further. And that’s going to be very different for each company – even within industries, let alone between different industries.

There are four areas you can take an internship in:

  • In Economics Consulting, you’ll be working with complex data and cutting-edge economic theory to help high-profile businesses address some of their most fundamental problems.
  • Management Consulting takes a closer look at structural and organisational aspects of businesses, to see how they can be improved to allow the company to grow.
  • In Strategy Consulting, you’ll work with companies on a local and global level to develop workable strategies that inform their next steps. 
  • And finally, in Sustainability & Climate Change Consulting, interns will join the teams that help ensure that companies take a greener approach moving forward, as well as working with international aid agencies that are trying to tackle some of the world’s more pressing issues.

Deals

Deals is an exciting part of the business to enter, dealing with some of the most high-pressure situations any business has to face.

There are four areas you can intern in:

  • For businesses on the brink, Business Recovery comes in to help. You’ll help advise under-performing companies on how they might pull themselves back up or mitigate damage by restructuring, refinancing, merging, or insolvency. You’ll need to understand their particular problems well, to give the most helpful advice to businesses going through tough times.
  • Businesses going through slightly better times will want to make use of Corporate Finance. In this part of the business, you’ll help advise on acquisitions, infrastructure, energy and other aspects needed to take a business to the next level.
  • Forensics dig deep into businesses, getting to the real root of risks and issues. Public enquiries, allegations of rogue trading or bribery, and commercial disputes are all things you could be involved in.
  • For Valuations, you’ll help businesses make key decisions and crucial points by using your technical and industry knowledge to accurately value a business, advising them on how to proceed.

Tax

Tax can be complicated even just on an individual level. On a corporate level, tax becomes an unwieldy mangle of rules and categories and thresholds. In a tax team, you’ll help clients understand the rules and regulations that apply to them.

You’ll also help advise them on how future developments in tax legislation or in their business might affect their tax statuses.

The three areas you can join as an intern are: Corporate Tax, for looking into tax risk and complex, multinational legislation; Indirect Tax, which looks at how rapidly changing taxes such as VAT will impact upon a business; and People & Organisation, which covers salaries, pensions, benefits schemes and so on.

Technology

In a very diverse and fast-growing field, technology interns will work with businesses and their, well, technology. Precisely what technology depends on the area you join:

  • There’s Cyber Security, that helps businesses react to some of the most pressing and challenging threats.
  • Or Data Analytics, in which you’ll work to help businesses build tools that gather the data they need to get the insight they want.
  • You can work in Forensic Technology Solutions, to help clients manage their data and access it quickly and legally in critical times.
  • There’s also Digital Trust, which looks strategically at business strategies and managing the risks of new technology in business including governance, business continuity, and security.
  • Or finally, Technology Consulting, in which you’ll help businesses make the most of their digital investments as a part of their wider strategy.

Legal

Legal interns will often work alongside other business streams, giving them the legal advice needed to develop strategies or conduct audits, and so on.

You’ll have the opportunity to work within the areas of law you’re interested in, but also gain experience in new areas.

The areas they cover include: banking, corporate structuring, commercial, commercial litigation, commercial fraud, company secretarial, cyber security, data protection, mergers and acquisitions, employment, intellectual property and IT, immigration, pensions, private client, real estate, and tax litigation.

PwC Talent Academy

This doesn’t relate only to internships, but the PwC Talent Academy can still be an awesome way to get prepared.

It’s a two-day residential course located regionally and focused on Assurance and Tax streams. You’ll get some hands-on experience and inside knowledge about these areas, as well as a taste of what PwC is like.

Do well enough, and you might even be offered an internship or work placement.

The Talent Academy in England is open to:

  • First-year undergraduate students
  • Second-year undergraduate students on a four-year degree course

The Talent Academy in Belfast is open to:

  • First- and second-year undergraduate students
  • Third-year undergraduate students on a four-year degree course

To be considered for a spot, you’ll also need to hold a C or above in GCSE Maths and English, and you’ll need to be on course for a 2:1 in any degree subject.

It’s a fantastic use of two days in the summer, so it’s well worth considering.

Further Reading

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