What PwC Seeks In An MBA Hire

PwC consultants going to a client presentation

PwC consultants going to a client presentation

When you hear the name PricewaterhouseCoopers, what comes to your mind? Chances are, you don’t picture pink bunnies or exotic vistas. Instead, certain qualities like “value,” “reliable,” and “knowledgeable” pop into your head. You probably picture a rock solid firm that focuses on fundamentals like building relationships and solving problems. PwC may not be brash and fancy, but they’re not stuffy, either. They’re comfortable with who they are. And they’re great at what they do.

That’s one reason why they are popular among professionals, especially MBAs. In 2014, Universum ranked PwC as the third-most attractive employer, just below Google and Ernst & Young. But greatness, in PwC’s culture, is defined by mastering the small things that can be easily taken for granted. PwC excels in the fundamentals: listening, formulating, and executing. They strive to intimately understand each client’s whole business – not just one isolated function. In doing so, they deliver on their brand’s promise: value and results.


In recent years, the concepts of growth and opportunity have become increasingly associated with PwC’s brand. Five years ago, the Advisory practice was recruiting 20 MBAs a year. Fast forward to now and the change is astonishing. In 2015, PwC’s consulting arm intends to hire 200 full-time MBAs over the summer and fall, a 20 percent jump over the previous year. The division also plans to add 150 summer interns (a 15 percent increase over 2014). Based on their selective recruiting and expansive intern training program, PwC extends full time offers to the majority of their overall intern class in the Advisory practice.

Why is PwC attractive to MBAs? For starters, they treat them like professionals. Full-time hires are brought on as senior associates and immediately placed in project leader roles. And that stems from PwC’s respect for their background and credentials. “We have to see them as students who can advance their career paths within a couple of years,” says Ryan Rogers, the MBA Advisory Recruiting Leader at PwC. “They are really at the high end of that senior associate band. We value all hires—across campus and MBAs. We respect they’ve been in the professional world for many years and we aim to maximize the education that they are getting from the top business schools in the country.” As a result, PwC has also customized a higher level training curriculum specifically for MBAs.

These are also exciting times for PwC’s consulting practice, which includes both traditional areas like strategy, technology, and finance and cutting edge fields like analytics, sustainability, security, and change management. And the opportunities for MBAs will only grow with PwC’s 2014 acquisition of Booz & Company (now Strategy&). Coupled with PwC’s assurance and taxation arms, this means that MBAs have an unprecedented networking and support system to ensure their success.


“The advantage of joining a firm like PwC,” Rogers notes, “is that we do think of ourselves with a one firm mentality. We do leverage the expertise of all 40,000 PwC employees. So if there is something that you haven’t seen or done, there’s certainly someone here who has – and that can be incredibly powerful.”

Rogers himself is no stranger to the consulting business, spending eight years at Booz before joining PwC Advisory four years ago. Recently, he sat down with Poets&Quants to discuss PwC’s philosophy, hiring practices, and expectations for MBAs. Here are some of his thoughts on how you can increase your chances of working for PwC.

What do you look for in a resume and background that many candidates might not consider?

For MBAs in general, we’re looking for a minimum of four years of work experience prior to coming here. We hire MBA candidates in as senior associates – and we look to those senior associates as subject matter experts in their line of work, someone who can (when they join) hit the ground running and (in some cases) help us drive business depending on their background and experience.

What kinds of skills does PwC anticipate needing in the coming years that you may not possess enough of now (Languages, Technical Skills, etc.)?

We are a professional services firm that focuses on addressing our clients’ biggest needs. Every year, we poll CEOs on what are the biggest issues on their minds and what are the biggest challenges in their business in the coming years. And one of those things is how technology can transform their business over the next several years. As we continue to grow our Advisory practice, we’re really building our technology consulting space to help those CEOs with their technological needs. I think we’re seeing the world of technology consulting going from what previously may have been back office coding and the implementing of contracts to really being in front of CEOs and asking them what their technological challenges are.

So we’re thinking strategically about technology and helping them solve issues that [they’re] facing. Before, we may have been focusing on solely the IT function. Now we’re helping our clients across all functions in their business. As we continue to grow that practice, we’ll continue to look for people who have those skills that they can bring to our clients.


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