• Role: Management Consulting Associate
  • Location: London
  • University: -Non UK-
  • Degree: Business and IT
  • Organisation: PwC

Jer Lau

I graduated from a double degree in Business and IT at Monash University (some people would call it the ‘Oxford’ of Melbourne) last year. I travelled around Europe for seven months and then moved from Australia to England to start my career as a Management Consultant with PwC in London on their two year graduate programme.  I wasn’t too sure which area I wanted to specialise in, so I thought this rotational programme would be perfect, as it gives you exposure to a range of industries and business areas.

How did you get your job?

I applied directly to PwC in the UK via their online application form while I was in my final semester in Melbourne. I had the first round interview over the phone which, went very well and evidently got me through the next round.

I managed to time the assessment centre and final round interview with the beginning of my European tour. PwC were very accommodating, they were aware I was only going to be in London for a week so they kindly organised my final round interview for two days after the assessment centre. This would normally take place a couple of weeks after.

After the intensive week in London, my best friend and I began our road trip around the UK. During our drive through Wales, I received a phone call from the Recruitment Manager (who also happened to be from Melbourne) offering me a graduate Management Consultant position to start work in London, March 2012. This certainly brightened my day.

Any advice for the interview process?

  • Be confident in yourself and your achievements.
  • Draw on multiple experiences that may not necessarily be in a corporate context such as university clubs, sports teams, part time jobs and extracurricular activities.
  • Apply the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action and Result) or similar, to structure your answers as that will help the interviewer to quickly identify and understand what you have accomplished.
  • Prepare and practice! What I found useful was preparing answers to questions that may be asked then role playing them with a friend or family member. However, don’t feel as though you have to write a script just jot down points to help jog your memory. It’s important to be natural as well.
  • Use the resources available online. Firms usually give tips on their recruitment sites on how the process will take place, what kind of questions may be asked and the attributes they seek in their employees. There are also practice psychometric tests that came in handy during the earlier stages of recruitment.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I can’t pinpoint one thing that I enjoy most but it would have to be a combination of the people that I work with and have met; the dynamic environment; and the ability to continuously learn and develop myself both professionally and personally.

The people
I enjoy being surrounded by inspirational and motivating people who are not only continuously striving to be the best that they can be, but are also driven to help you become the best that you can be. I feel comfortable in expressing my objectives and goals as I know that there will be support to achieve them.

On my first project, I assisted with co-hosting a WebEx training session, after which I made it a goal to be able to host a session on my own. WebEx is a web conferencing tool that allows you to hold interactive meetings that can be recorded and files can be shared. I expressed this to my Manager and without hesitation she shared the contact and links to enrol in the training so that I could qualify to host these sessions independently.  My manager was very supportive of my desire to participate in this additional training which has added value to my skill set and helped me achieve my learning objective.

The dynamic environment
The beauty of working as a consultant for PwC is that the environment that I work in is always changing. You are always meeting new people from various backgrounds, working on different projects in various industries, facing new challenges and developing new skills.

For example, I was working on an internal Learning & Development project for two weeks and by lunch time on the Monday (which would have been my third week on that project) I was out at client site working on a Finance Project.

When I tell some of my friends that I work at PwC, they automatically think it’s a boring, paper-pushing 9-5 office job. They couldn’t be more wrong! Consulting certainly offers variety and that’s something that I appreciate about my job.

Learning and developing
As cliché as it sounds, every day I find myself learning something new; whether it’s from the project I’m working on, the people I work with (both clients and colleagues), the various training and learning opportunities available or simply learning something new about myself.

I think it’s very important to take time to reflect on what you’ve learnt, your experiences, the mistakes you’ve made, how you overcame them and how this has contributed to both your professional and personal development.

One of the valuable lessons that I’ve learnt so far is that it’s important to understand and consider various working styles. Everyone has their different style of working but it’s vital to find a balance between adapting to your environment and maintaining the way in which you operate and work.

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