• Role: Consulting Associate
  • Location: London
  • University: St. Andrews
  • Degree: English and Theology
  • Organisation: PwC

Laura

From performing as Prince Charming to developing a new digital methodology, being a Consultant at PwC has given me a truly diverse experience.

The graduate programme at PwC is one of the most thorough and diverse graduate training programmes in the country. We started with six weeks of intensive training, taught by Managers from our own business, which was a great opportunity to learn key skills, understand our business, and form friendships with colleagues that will last far beyond our graduate programme. After training, we began rotating through different parts of the business and gaining experience in a number of sectors, competencies and projects. I’ve worked with Sustainability and Climate Change, Technology, Finance, Operations and Customer & Digital.

PwC is more than just our clients; it’s also about our communities and our people. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting involved in sporting events, such as the London Triathlon – over 200 teams from PwC will compete. The opportunity to mentor two summer interns, Emma and Katie, was brilliant and I’m so excited that they’ll be joining us after finishing their final year at university.

Without doubt, performing as Prince Charming in Cinderella was phenomenal. PwC’s Pantomime is a unique charitable theatrical production that aims to bring joy to children everywhere, particularly to children from inner-city schools and charities. The production, which started out 28 years ago as a small show in a staff canteen, is now a full-scale theatrical production that runs for eight shows in London’s West End and this year, toured to Edinburgh for an additional four shows. Impressively, over 6,000 young people and their teachers are given the opportunity to see the show free of charge.

The show was a sure-fired crowd pleaser. Every aspect of the show is contributed to by PwC staff and Partners: band, backstage, wardrobe, makeup, technology, production, choreography and direction. It makes for a particularly impressive spectacle to see!

What was the application process like?

I applied to PwC through the summer internship programme, where you participate in the full application process during your penultimate year at university and join for six weeks during the summer. This was a great route into PwC as I had the opportunity to really experience what consulting was like first-hand. The best advice for this process is to start early as spaces fill up really quickly.

Be strategic about where you apply, try to gain the best idea of the companies you’re considering. I did this by attending university events, and taking opportunities to meet people. Remember – building relationships adds real value.

Applications are a hurdle, but they need to be done. The best way to approach these is to be concise, clear and straightforward with your answers. Keep CV’s streamlined and gain advice from your careers service. Friends, tutors and staff will be able to give you advice and guidance to approach any application. Practice your interview questions and prepare. You have control over 90% of the process (application responses, CV, and preparation), so don’t leave it all until the last day. Following applications, be sure to catch up with people who have helped you along the way – not just the person who was at your final interview.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to work in consulting?

Find your passion. The greatest thing about this industry is its flexibility. At its heart, we help businesses solve their most challenging problems and capitalise on opportunities. It’s the job that almost allows you to do anything. Because we work the hours our clients work, it’s vital to be wholeheartedly committed to your work – and the flexibility of PwC’s graduate programme allows you to seek out experiences that matter to you.

During my time, I’ve become incredibly interested in entrepreneurship and what this means for PwC. This passion has seen me research and understand the alternative-finance market (a big stretch for an English and Theology graduate), develop a PwC methodology for approaching digital projects, and contribute to the wider digital agenda at PwC. In addition, developing a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship has given me a fresh perspective on all of my client work. I’ve recognised opportunities to improve projects, understood the importance of cashflows, finances and accounting and gained a deeper understanding of the value that PwC brings to businesses.

Becoming a Management Consultant is about bringing your personal strengths to your day job and using those to help clients.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

A career in Management Consulting is a great way to start your career, and gives an incredible depth and breadth of opportunity that very few other paths can offer you so early on. In a year, I’ve had the pleasure of working across sectors, clients and departments I would have never imagined I’d be working on, and have been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed some of them.

With any graduate programme, job, internship or apprenticeship, it’s important to gain skills that will take you beyond the job description and into something you love. I’ve sought out the parts of my job that I love, played to my strengths and also used this time to identify where I could develop further, and make the most of the opportunities to put myself into situations to really stretch myself. In doing so, I’ve grown more in a year than I could have thought possible. Part of that is to do with the programme at PwC, some of that is a result of the incredible mentoring I’ve received within our business, and much of it is to do with the attitude and approach of our business, my colleagues, our clients and myself.

The road has not always been easy – there have been times where I’ve felt out of my depth. However, through everything there have always been people alongside me and I’ve really valued the support network that’s been provided to me.

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