1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
The Business Insight Week was split into three parts. The first day of the week involved everyone participating on the week coming to the main central office in Birmingham. After all of the students had signed in, we started off with icebreaker activities to get to know everyone. We then participated in activities relating to the three main areas at PwC (Assurance, Tax and Consulting.) A session on personal branding was then conducted, before being given laptops for the week. The next day I was at a client site working on Assurance, asking client about different details about their accounts. In the next couple of days, I was in the regional office, carrying out similar work to the day before. I was also granted the chance of interviewing a partner, which was very interesting and he was happy to answer all of my questions. On the Thursday, I also had the chance to find out more information about the different departments and I have now decided that Assurance is the best topic for me. The final day involved working on a real client project with Teach First. The groups had to devise an idea of how business acumen should be improved within schools. I was an active participant within the group and we actually managed to win the challenge. The prize for victory is a lunch with the Head of Student Recruitment at PwC and the Head of Student Recruitment at PwC which I am thoroughly looking forward to.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
The main skill I have learned and improved is my Excel skills and I now know more tips and tricks that I did not know before. I developed this skill from analysing accounts and highlighting figures that did not fit a pattern. I was also able to calculate averages, to see which figures deviated from the mean. I also developed my numerical and verbal skills through the tests I had to complete to gain a place on the week.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I believe that this programme was crucial to my decision making for the future. Before I participated on the Business Insight Week, I was unsure whether I wanted to pursue a career in finance or not. The week has given me real work to complete and I also found out how to communicate with clients efficiently which I enjoyed. I am now almost certain I would like to pursue a career in finance.
4. How valued do you feel by PwC?
I felt extremely valued by PwC during the week. As I had invested a lot of time and effort into my application, tests and interview, I could tell PwC were willing to invest in me as a person. Every day had a clear structure and if I was struggling I always felt as though I had someone to go to. I had a buddy throughout the week who I shadowed as well as a coordinator who was in general charge of the tasks I was required to complete. What made me feel valued the most was that my buddy had organised an interview with a partner, who was happy to answer all of my questions.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
On the first day of the Business Insight Week, I was given a welcome pack which outlined what would happen on each day of the week. This gave me a clear indication of what was going to happen and gave the impression to me that the week was well structured. As buddies had been organised for each student, it was clear that PwC had put a lot of time and effort into preparing the week.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The training given was actually on the Business Insight Week than before the week. However, the first day was almost like an induction, with all of the students across the country coming together and being told what the week was going to look like. The training through the week was provided by the buddy, who was there to answer any queries I had about the work or PwC in general.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My buddy throughout the week was always available to answer any queries I had during the week which made me feel comfortable in my surroundings. By also having the partner around who I interviewed, this meant that if a buddy could not answer a question, then I could speak to the partner.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary of £9.15 per hour based on 37.5 hours per week was more than enough to cover my costs. In fact, PwC were happy to reimburse my travel costs and expenses, so the money was more of a reward for my hard work. In fact, many work experience weeks are not paid, so I considered my salary to be very generous.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
As my work experience was only a week long, I didn't get the chance to get involved in any opportunities outside of work. However, I know PwC do provide opportunities outside of work, such as sports teams and charity events. There are also chances to go on lunches with other employees. Some regional offices organise events themselves and an example of this is at the Reading office where a charity bike ride took place.
9a. Would you recommend PwC to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
The application process will pay off for me in the future, as I now know that there can be many parts to gaining the main goal of getting either work experience or a job. The psychometric tests teach you how to deal with situations under pressure. A telephone interview is always good practice and learning to express yourself without actually seeing the interviewer is a key skill. Gaining real work experience at the age of 17 can stand you in good stead and even if you do not pursue a career in finance, knowing what a business environment is like can help to decide what career path you want to take.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to PwC? *
When preparing for the psychometric tests, I would say practice, practice, practice. The time pressure can be daunting at first but the more tests you complete before the real test, the better results you will get. PwC can also provide you with information on how you did on the practice tests to see where you need to improve on. Before the interview, do as much research on the Business Insight Week and PwC as much as you can. Keep in mind of the future undergraduate schemes and graduate schemes that you may want to participate on in the future. Once you are on the week, ask as many questions as you can think off and remember no question is stupid. After the week, you may regret not asking the question and you do not want to leave with any regrets.
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