1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a full time student at Henley Business School (University of Reading) for all of first year, and for the autumn and summer terms of second, third and fourth years. For the spring term I am based at a PwC office working as an audit associate.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Both at university and during my placements I have developed and learnt many new skills, in particular I would include my teamwork, network building, independence, organisational skills and confidence. Furthermore, I'm working towards my ACA qualification and my BA (Hons) degree.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme has exceeded my expectations in all aspects. In particular I really enjoy being a 'real' student; I don't feel disconnected from my other friends at university and am happy to be getting the true university experience whilst working for PwC and towards my ACA at the same time. Furthermore, I've really enjoyed my first placement this year - I really felt like I was (and still am) 'part' of PwC and felt like a valued team member at each of the clients I worked on. It was great networking with other Flying Starts and the wider groups I was part of within the firm, and it was great to see that I could put what I had learnt at university into practice.
4. How valued do you feel by PwC?
As a Flying Start student I feel very valued by PwC as they are investing in my future at the firm at every stage of the programme. The university modules and pre-placement training are specifically geared towards our accelerated path to joining PwC and completing the ACA qualification, and during placements we do 'real' work which is always valued by the teams we are sitting in. Also, we regularly receive feedback to help us continually improve both during placements and whilst at university.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme has a very clear structure set out from the beginning, and is well organised both at a university and PwC level. We have regular contact with the Flying Start team at PwC, and also at university there is a clear support network i.e. personal tutors/lecturers etc., that is always accessible for any issues. Before each next step on our course we receive a detailed induction from the PwC and university teams, and before each placement we receive specific training at university from PwC employees to ensure that we are properly prepared.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Personally, I have received a great deal of support from my 'Personal Tutor' at Henley Business School throughout my degree so far, and she has always been more than happy to help with my queries or find out who I am best to contact. Also, the Flying Start team at PwC are always accessible if we have any queries about the course or placements specifically. Furthermore, the ICAEW has been involved in our training from day one and are happy to talk through any question we might have.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The Henley Business School Flying Start team are really supportive throughout the degree programme; they are proactive in trying to solve any issues we may face and are always accessible for if we have any other questions/requests. Each Flying Start is also allocated a 'People Manager' who is a great contact to have for any queries during placements, but also throughout the academic year. PwC's HR team is also easy to contact and always happy to help.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is very competitive, particularly given that if you do not live within commuting distance of your placement office PwC will pay for your accommodation costs there. Furthermore, travel to/from clients is covered by the firm. The salary means that it maybe is not so important to have a part time job during term time, making it easier to concentrate on university work and achieve the best mark possible.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
During placements there are many opportunities to get involved with events outside of day-to-day work. For example, there is a nationwide volunteering initiative, with specific programmes for each office, that Flying Starts can get involved with. Furthermore, there is a great social side to working at PwC, e.g. at my office we had monthly socials as an office, and also events as a department a few times during my placement. Each of my individual client teams also had a social event to celebrate the accounts were signed. There are also many opportunities to get involved with PwC's sports teams.
9a. Would you recommend PwC to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
As a student, this programme offers an unrivalled opportunity to work towards the ACA qualification whilst still getting the real university experience. However PwC specifically offers a vast number of opportunities (all around the world) at the firm post-graduation; even if you decide not to stay with PwC after your degree then having them on your CV will massively boost your employment opportunities.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to PwC? *
When I was applying I would have liked to have been told: 'Don't let being intimidated by the application process affect your decision over whether this could be the right course for you!'. Although the application process is more complex than a normal degree application, simply going through the process can help you to make the decision for yourself, and when you take it step by step it makes it seem a lot less frightening! It's worth investing the time to complete the application, otherwise you could be missing out on a life changing opportunity. Also, remember that there isn't a commitment to join PwC after the degree programme, so if it turns out that during your degree you realise that you'd like to follow a different career path then you still can!
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