Mazars Interview Questions
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Mazars is a global organisation specialising in audit, consulting, accounting and tax services.
It offers clients a wide range of services, which are reflected in its graduate training schemes.
- Chartered Accountancy
- Financial Planning
- Governance Risk and Internal Controls (Internal Audit)
- Outsourcing Services
Mazars seeks hard-working candidates with a desire to provide technical excellence and outstanding customer service. Its schemes include a full-study package to gain professional qualifications as well as practical work experience.
Mazars has a reputation for being a friendly and pleasant place to work (while maintaining high professional standards) and many candidates report finding the selection process pleasant and supportive. Mazars is a very values-driven organisation and will refer to the values throughout the selection process. You can find out more about the values here, which comprise:
- Respect for individuals
Graduate jobs at Mazars start in September each year. There are four main graduate schemes available at Mazars:
- Chartered Accountancy
- Actuarial Services
- Financial Planning
Chartered Accountancy Training Scheme
Mazars recruits about 100 people each year to train to become chartered accountants. The firm supports you through your exams, which usually take three years. You’ll work primarily in audit, but will be exposed to other areas such as tax, assurance and advisory services.
Actuarial Services Training Scheme
The firm recruits two people each year to join their actuarial business. The scheme includes support and study leave to help you qualify as a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. You will be involved in a broad range of assignments including life, general and health insurance, and consulting in pensions and investments.
Mazars Financial Planning Training Scheme
Mazars takes on five people to join its financial planning business. You'll study for your Financial Planning Certificate (two years) and then go on to gain full financial adviser status in five years with the Advanced Financial Planning Certificate (AFPC). To begin with, you’ll work as a ‘financial planning assistant’ supporting one of the firm's financial advisers with their portfolio of private and corporate clients.
Tax Training Scheme
On this scheme, you’ll train to obtain a Chartered Tax Adviser qualification and will be fully supported through your exams. You’ll also gain experience supporting corporate and personal tax clients.
The process typically includes the following:
- Online application form
- Online psychometric tests
- Assessment centre
As you would expect, you need to complete an online application form when you apply to work at Mazars. This is a reasonably standard form, which includes both motivational and competency-based questions as well as ensuring that you have the minimum entry requirements necessary.
These are achieving at least a 2:1 (although the subject is not important), having at least 280 UCAS points (excluding General Studies) and Grade B or above in GCSE English and Maths.
If you have (or are expecting) a 2:2 in your degree, you can still apply. However, you’ll need to show evidence of particularly strong achievements in a different area. If there were extenuating circumstances that affected your result, make sure you tell the firm so that they can take these into account.
There is one exception. Because of the mathematical nature of Actuarial Services, you’ll need to have:
- An obtained or expected 2:1 or first-class degree in a mathematical discipline (Maths, Statistics, Economics or a degree with a substantial mathematical content)
- 320 UCAS points with grade A in a mathematical discipline
These questions have previously featured on the application form:
- Why have you chosen to apply for Mazars?
- Why have you chosen this specific training scheme (i.e. tax, audit)?
- Can you describe a situation when you have made a difference and demonstrated two of the core values of Mazars?
- Tell me about a successful group task or project you have been involved in where you played an important role. What skills and personal qualities do you believe were valuable in making it a success and how did you demonstrate these?
- What is your most significant achievement to date? How did you achieve it and what did you learn?
Online Psychometric Tests
If your application form is successful, you will be invited to take online numerical and verbal reasoning tests. These are provided by Kenexa and are quite standard in terms of content and appearance. Successful candidates will be re-tested at the assessment centre.
Mazars, rather unusually for a major graduate employer, conducts initial interviews in person. You will be invited to their offices and will spend around an hour with a representative from HR and a manager from the department you are applying to work in. This interview has two very definite sections:
The aim of this exercise is to measure your ability to quickly assimilate information and communicate that information effectively. You will be provided with a short document to read, which can be as brief as a single side of A4. The interviewer will explain what sorts of questions they will ask you and then leave you alone for 10 minutes to read through the information and prepare some notes.
The topics covered are often common everyday issues. Previous candidates have been given case studies about childhood obesity and school meals, insurance fraud, and people not wanting their elderly parents to live with them.
When the interviewers return to the room they will ask you some questions about the case study. Previous candidates were asked questions such as:
- What are the main aims of the article?
- Who are the main stakeholders?
- What are the main problems presented?
- What solutions can you think of to solve these problems?
- Do you think the solutions are effective?
- What is your opinion on the topic?
- Do you think X and Y are fair?
- How would you go about solving the problem?
The second section of the interview is more traditional and the interviewers will ask a range of competency-based questions, as well as exploring your motivation, knowledge of Mazars and the role you have applied for. Previous candidates have reported that questions are closely linked to the values of Mazars, so it's worth taking a good look at these.
Previous questions asked include:
- What do you know about Mazars?
- What difficulties is Mazars facing at the moment?
- Why are you interested in audit, tax, etc.?
- What do you know about the ACA?
- Do you know anything about the qualification you’ll be doing?
- Why did you choose your university?
- What was your biggest challenge?
- Could you tell me about a time you worked in a team?
- Could you tell me about a time where you demonstrated leadership skills?
- What about a time when you had to work under pressure?
- Tell me about a time you had conflict with someone else’s decision
The final stage of the selection process is an assessment centre. This lasts from 8.30am to 4pm and candidates report that it is quite intense. There are four exercises to complete (although the order in which they are presented varies between candidates and you will be provided with a timetable to follow). Those four exercises are:
This lasts around 90 minutes, with many candidates reporting it quite difficult; time management is particularly important. There is an overarching theme for the exercise (previous candidates have been presented with the scenario of needing to make proposals for a conference and dinner) and you will be provided with a large number of (paper) items to deal with such as texts and emails. The exercise is then split into three sections:
Task 1 (30 minutes): Understanding the information. You need to categorise and prioritise the material. This includes identifying what is urgent and what is not, and identifying and addressing any links between the documents. Finally you need to set out a plan of action for responding to different items, including emails and texts.
Task 2 (40 minutes): Using the information. This task requires candidates to use the information provided to plan a conference or develop a programme, and then create a budget for a food menu based on the information provided. Candidates must show how they are using the information and explain any assumptions they make.
Task 3 (20 minutes): Communicating the information. You need to write a letter to encourage managers to attend your programme, conference or dinner.
In this short exercise you will be asked to create a brief presentation (around 5 minutes long) and given only 10 minutes to prepare for it. Previous candidates have been given topics such as ‘describe yourself’ or ‘who is your hero?’ Some candidates were even asked to decide on the topic themselves. You will then deliver your presentation to the group and they will have the opportunity to ask questions.
For this you will be split into a team and provided with a case study scenario and a set of solutions to choose from. As a team, you must discuss the possible solutions and decide which is the most appropriate.
Previous candidates have also been asked to identify three problems with the option they have chosen, and then five solutions to these problems. The case study has in the past focused around a recruitment scenario, with the group given some candidate profiles and asked to decide who is the most suitable for a particular role.
It is more important that everyone participates rather than what the final decision is. The most important thing is to make sure that you express your views but also listen to what everyone else is saying. You need to be able to persuade others to your point of view but also notice when others have good points of view.
This interview is similar to the first interview and previous candidates have reported that it felt more like an informal conversation than a formal interview (although with some quirky questions). Questions have included:
- Tell me about a time you had to do something creative
- Give me an example of a time when you were a role model and what being a role model means to you.
- Why do you want to work for Mazars?
Usually, the assessment process includes a buffet lunch. This is informal and allows an opportunity to meet the partners and managers, and ask questions about Mazars.
You will be informed within two weeks if your interviews have been successful.
Your training starts with a one-week residential course where you will be introduced to Mazars. You will meet senior partners and talk about what you want from the training scheme. You will find out about auditing techniques, client handling, problem-solving and how to deal with fraud and money laundering.
Graduate trainees are able to spend time working in offices all around the world, including France, Spain, the US and Australia.
Secondments are popular. You will need to perform well once you start work at the firm and have adequate language skills to be able to spend time on secondment.