Flying Start 1 at PwC

Start Date:
London Central London & City
Programme Type:
Sponsored Degree Programme
£18,000 annually
Review Date:
April 2015

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1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


Placement 1: - Flying start 1 (equivalent of a graduate, associate 1). Work will be based in an office of your choosing across the UK in the Assurance department.
- Clients will depend on the office, can be anything from manufacturing, service firms, government, FTSE 100/250 companies, to more specialized clients such as banks or insurance companies.
- Size of the team can vary from 4-30 depending on the size of the client.

Day to day role: You will be working with real accounts and real clients from your first placement. You will be empowered from the off to talk to clients and acquire working papers from them. This will be done with as much or as little support as you feel necessary. - You will have a laptop and will be working on software specific to auditing (which you will be trained in) as well as Microsoft excel and word. - Within the team you will attend meetings to divide up work, you will attend meetings with the client. As you go through the three placements the responsibility you undertake will increase dramatically, as will your skills. You will work in the firm during 'busy season', thereby being exposed to the most challenging part of the year which gives you a great opportunity to learn.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?

  • ACA: You will graduate with 12/15 ACA exams completed and over half of the required working hours completed for the ACA.
  • Flying Start Alumni will give you lectures on what placement will be like throughout the first year, as well as always having a week long pre-placement training before you go on placement. This training will be led by someone of at least manager grade from PwC.

  • Your excel skills will the most significant transferable IT skill you will acquire. Some pre knowledge of the very basics of excel would be useful although not essential.

  • You will also complete mandatory elearns once you receive your laptop before going on placement. You also have access on your work laptop to a whole library of optional elearns that you can also complete (for free).

  • I worked in banking and upon joining the business unit we had banking specific training which was particularly useful.

Skills: - The degree will build your confidence in a business environment, both working within a team where you can work with people of all grades (from people 1/2 years ahead of you to partners). - The client facing interaction will give you the skills to learn how to interact with clients. - You will learn to work to tight deadlines when necessary, having to manage your workload and communicate where you can take on more work or need assistance.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


The programme fosters a very good team environment both at work and university. Being a small cohort at university (around 50 per year) you get to know each other very well. On top of this once you are assigned your office, you will meet the people in the years above who are at that office up at university.

At work, the emphasis is very much about working as a team, problem solving together and sharing the workload. There are many social events to get involved in, including treats on a friday afternoon or monthly socials.

The programme my expectations and I would choose to do it again if I were to choose again.

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4. How valued do you feel by PwC?


PwC demonstrate value through a number of ways - every manager/senior is different, however all I have encountered will praise you if you have worked hard and done a good job. - Further to this, as a business unit you can be nominated for a weekly/monthly recognition reward which goes in the monthly newsletter email to the business unit and you get given vouchers. - Additionally there is a new overtime recognition scheme for those who work over a certain number of hours.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


As mentioned earlier, the degree at Newcastle has been going for 10 years meaning the link between PwC and the university is very strong. The process of interviewing, choosing your office, pre placement training and support on placement is very well thought out.
- You are made aware of the expectations of your study from each module leader and the course leaders. Overall the course is very well organised.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


The lecturers from university will always be available to you throughout placement if you wish. They will provide questions to you over placement if you have the time to answer them.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


Everyone in the business unit knows your role, there is a positive reputation of flying starts and everyone's expectations align with the amount of experience you have. You will meet with HR to discuss client portfolio at the beginning and end of placement. You will have a buddy and a mentor (of manager grade) who will look out for your interests throughout placement, they will guide you through any problems you have which you may not want to discuss with the in charge of your job. The general attitude of people at work is to share their knowledge to help you get better.

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7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


The salary is not the same as a graduates salary however you do have your accommodation paid for while on placement. This is to the standard a full time employee would expect and so very good for student. You have enough money each month to either save or spend.

All work related costs such as travel to an clients office which is not your own office are covered. If you go on away trips your food, travel and accommodation are covered as well.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


There are the opportunities to join in with company socials as well as voluntary activities the business unit does. You can also apply to go back to school and UCAS events to promote the programme. The business unit may also have sports teams which you can get involved in. I got involved in the rugby team in London and had the opportunity to go to the annual six nations tournament hosted in different years by Ireland and Luxembourg.

9. Would you recommend PwC to a friend?


9b. Why?

PwC is a great firm to work as as a graduate. You get worked hard, which comes with the opportunity to develop professionally in a team environment.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to PwC?

Do your research beforehand, know what PwC are looking for in an applicant which is highly visible from their careers website. If you have the opportunity to speak to people already at the firm then I would recommend that too.

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