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  • Name: Michael
  • Job Title: Associate
  • Location: Leeds
  • University: Birmingham
  • Degree: BA History
  • Areas of Specialism: Audit and Assurance

As clichéd as this sounds, PwC is all about ‘people’. You’ll find someone rooting for you whichever way you turn, and that’s what makes the PwC such a wonderful place to be!

What does risk assurance at PwC do?

In a nutshell, we support almost all areas of the business within PwC, taking our skills and knowledge and employing them in a way that benefits not only our clients, but our colleagues as well. In today’s economic climate, businesses are looking to be profitable and survive amongst the tough competition in their industries. That’s where we come in. In Risk Assurance we look at the bigger picture and help our clients identify existing and potential problems. Then we help solve them; that’s where the fun comes in!

How did you get your job at PwC?

After graduating from university I worked in industry for a year within marketing before realising exactly what I wanted to do. When I did decide, I knew that audit was the choice for me. More specifically, risk assurance. The recruitment process involves completing an online application form, completing a series of online tests, participating in an assessment day and a final interview.
Reading that back makes it seem like an extensive process, but for me the whole thing flew by. It really isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It’s normal to feel nervous when you go through processes like this, but at every stage, PwC made me feel comfortable and confident. This gave me a huge amount of motivation.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the diversity that comes with my role. From professional qualifications to client work, no day is the same. The support you get at PwC is amazing. Whichever way you turn there is someone behind you. There’s also a very relaxed atmosphere in risk assurance. I feel like I can comfortably talk to managers, actively contribute in discussions and feel valued. I actually quite enjoy college too. At the start of the year my graduate intake bonded in such a way that we now feel like a big PwC family. This means time spent at college is a lot of fun. Of course there’s hard work involved, but anything worth having is worth working hard for.

What are the most stressful parts of the job?

Most would answer that college is most stressful. However, there’s an immense feeling you get once exams are over and you know that you’ve worked hard for your results. Other times you might feel most stressed when a new piece of client work comes up. But this feeling doesn’t last very long since your senior team members are always on hand to coach you through any difficulties. Your team encourages and expects questions from you. By the end of the assignment you feel as though you’ve conquered the mountain that first lay before you, and feel fully prepared to do it alone the next time.

Advice for the interview process?

Relax, smile and be inquisitive. The first of the three is extremely important. Nerves can often get the better of you. Just remember that you got as far as the interview, and that it’s your chance to do yourself proud. I am by nature of a nervous disposition but this piece of advice was invaluable when given to me.
I am now doing something I truly enjoy and it’s all because I was confident when I stepped into that conference room for my interview. The last of the list should be with you at all times, because at PwC you get out what you put in.

What ‘soft skills’ have you found useful?

The ability to talk comfortably with new people is undoubtedly one of the most valuable skills you can possess. Gone are the days when auditors were intimidating and intrusive. We’re now recognised as a breed of approachable professionals with something genuinely useful to offer our clients; our passion and insight.
This is exactly what PwC’s about. My ability to empathise with clients is incredibly valuable as it helps me understand the issues they face and work with them to devise workable solutions. Listening skills are also top of my list as it can be easy to miss the minutiae of a conversation. Being able to pick up the little things during a conversation with a client will give you the ability to offer something over and above what’s expected.

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