3 days of shadowing
I took part in the Women in Technology placement at PwC in April 2019. This placement opportunity was well-rounded and helpful in the pursuit of greater knowledge about what it is like to work at PwC but also in a broad sense to see the range of work available for graduates. Whilst the programme is only for 3 days, 2 of which you are shadowing a manager and it would have been wonderful to extend this to a week or so, the days you are given are well structured and thoughtful.
Considerable effort was made to provide us with the opportunity to talk to staff from a range of technology backgrounds, whilst the smaller nature of the shadowing group also provided greater opportunities for your own questions to be engaged with by speakers and employees. After the first day (lots of presentations about technology at PwC), you are placed into a smaller team where I was the only person from the cohort shadowing. This gave me a lot of time to get to know and talk to these team members, and I was included from the start, contributing to projects the team was working on.
Everyone made themselves very accessible for my questions and discussions, taking the time to have coffee with me and give me more background about their roles and the structure of the company. I felt comfortable asking questions about anything I was unsure of and was given individual feedback in a way that made me feel as though I was a peer and not just a student.
The skills and insight I gained from this placement were most useful in preparation for the graduate interview. I was able to engage with managers expectations for what type of graduate they are looking for. This further heightens motivations for academic achievement to ensure I am a good candidate and well prepared for challenges on the job.
The team that I was shadowing provided me with itineraries for the time I was with them, ensuring I was able to gain the most insight from the shadowing experience. The insight I received was largely dependent upon the questions I had for the employees and so was structured around my own interests.
I felt included within the team and enjoyed interacting with them. The atmosphere at the company was very positive and inspiring, the staff were friendly, the activities prepared were insightful. This further contributed to my decision to apply for the graduate program as the work environment seemed enjoyable and not just high-stress.
I was given the opportunity to interview for the graduate programme. I was successful in this process. This felt linked to the investment of interest and knowledge I had encountered during my shadowing experience, particularly as I have been successful in my application to the team I had initially shadowed.
A lot of my shadowing was structured in a way that would not be dissimilar to a working day. I was placed on the same desk as the team I was working with and was able to listen into meetings and phone calls to further develop my understanding of the relationship with clients that is so central to full time work at PwC.
The shadowing programme confirmed a lot of my perceptions about the culture at PwC. I felt as though I was valued as an individual and not just a cog in a machine. There was even a lunch on one of the days discussing mental health in a very candid way that I was not expecting.
The programme reiterated my interest in the graduate role, confirming this was something I would be interested in doing. This led to me continuing with the application to interview for the graduate role. The experience also made me realise I was capable of becoming involved in the tech industry despite not studying traditional tech courses.
A large part of the shadowing programme was encouraging us to talk to employees and ask questions. On the first day a number of different teams presented the work they do to the cohort and we were able to ask questions. There was also a lunch provided that hosted more networking.
Involvement in other activites was something I asked about. Even the women in tech programme itself is linked to personal passions of certain employees to address inequalities within the tech industry. I was also made aware of paid volunteering opportunities and other social events organised such as sports teams and a pantomime.
I would recommend this insight to a friend, I think it is another good option to participate in if you are keen to find out more about PwC and the sort of work available to graduates. This is also not as long as an internship so might also be beneficial to those who just want to try it out.