I have really enjoyed my year at PwC, we were given training straight away when we joined so there wasn't any menial tasks like making coffee or photocopying so we got to take part in meaningful work quite quickly and there is a strong preference towards learning on the job and having a go at it. We also started the ACA exams quite early on so we were kept busy right from the start
As a placement student, you complete the same work as if you were a first year graduate associate. We received the same training and completed the same exams so we weren't treated as just an intern. As I learnt more I was given more areas of responsibility and accountability which helped me to feel valued.
Managers and in-charges know that you are completely new to the job and nobody expects you to complete a whole project on your own in your first week. It's okay to ask questions even if they seem small and silly because that is the only way you're going to learn. Especially because of the Covid situation it meant the last couple of months of my placement were virtual. But managers and in-charges would still make an effort to schedule video calls and walk through things if you don't understand. As long as you show a willingness to actually listen and take it on board then you can ask as many questions you can think of
It can vary depending on the type of job/client/time of the year. Compared to a lot of other industries, I was very busy and you are expected to work long hours quite frequently. During the busy season months (Jan-March), I was working on a big client with a large team so I was working really late hours whilst also having to manage my time to revise for exams. I would also be revising at the weekends as well so there isn't much time to just sit back and relax but it can get quieter during the non-busy months
At the start it's difficult to be given large areas of responsibility because you are so new, it was more focused on helping out other people and just seeing how they do things. However, towards the end I was responsible for multiple areas of the financial statements and was trusted to be able to complete that to a high standard and by the deadlines.
The training I received, particularly from the ACA exams, will be really helpful in final year because the modules are kind of similar. I also did other types of e-learns about different laws, ethics, corporate reporting standards etc. which is really useful to know. Also, by working in depth over parts of the financial statements you are able to understand each part thoroughly which is helpful.
I was in a smaller office compared to the bigger hubs like London or Birmingham but I preferred that. You knew everyone in the office so if you came in one day you would definitely be able to find people or your friends which gave a more community feel. And it also meant you could make better friends because we all went on socials together. There is also a young atmosphere because a lot of people were in the mid 20's so everyone was quite similar, so it felt a little bit like uni and getting to hang out with your friends. The social atmosphere is definitely the highlight of working at PwC, particularly when you're working long hours during busy season you need each other to get through it.
Generally it was very well organised, we had a Career Coach who is your go to person for any questions and to help you out. I did think at times there was a bit of confusion and it would have been good to have one central team or person you could ask business placement specific questions to. It seemed sometimes there was a long process of asking different people to get the right answer in terms of what placement students need to do for performance reviews, feedback, training etc.
I was working in the audit line of service, and you are required to also take some exams for the chartered accountancy qualification. PwC essentially pay for you to do that, and there was a balance between actually working and being in college. Especially in the first couple of years, college takes priority over actual work because they want you to pass. So they invest so much into you in terms of training and development, it's definitely not lacking.
If I am offered one, I am planning on taking a graduate role with PwC and to come back after I graduate to finish off the ACA exams and get qualified. And in the future, there is so many opportunities to try out different lines of service with the organisation as well as expanding to different countries which I definitely want to explore
There were three placement students during my placement year, but we were with the other first year graduates most of the time as we were in training and college together. So you bond really quickly and well but it can depend on the in-take. My year was quieter than previous years but it can vary each year. There was still a good social atmosphere though and we all got on well.
I was based in Cambridge which is quite pricey but it's also a really nice area especially in the summer. There aren't many big clubs but pubs/bars are a big scene and socials would often happen there. You're also less than an hour by train from London so it was easy to get around.
Cambridge isn't known for the big clubs, but we would often socialise in bars and pubs which I preferred because there's a more chilled vibe and you can just have a laugh and socialise better. Everything is also a walking distance from each other in the city centre. For the big clubs London isn't that far to get to by train.
I was quite involved with sports outside of work so I joined a tennis club, gym and kickboxing club. And that's also a good way of socialising with different people outside of work, especially if you are new to the area.