What advice would you give to students who have their hearts set on working for you? How can they enhance their job prospects?
Overall, I would treat the recruiting process like any professional network that you may have. It is important that you establish connections with people you might meet on campus, whether it be a recruiter or the client staff, partners, managers and directors who come to campus for the events. Begin building your network early and don’t be afraid to tell us why PwC is your employer of choice.
I think the other thing that sets students apart is coming to us with knowledge about what we do. They may know our brand – and it’s well-known across the world. But they also understand what we’re doing in our Advisory practice. And that information is available not only through the marketing we do on campus, but also on our website. I always encourage students to follow news articles, set up a Google alert, or whatever it takes so they know what we’re doing in that space. It’s really important for students to come armed with information so they can start a meaningful conversation with our practitioners. That leaves an incredible impression on our interviewers and our people on campus when they feel like students have done their homework and come to the interview understanding what we do.
Recruiting can be a two-way street. What has PwC done to make itself more appealing to MBA candidates? (i.e. new initiatives being rolled out)
The PwC Advisory practice has been recruiting MBAs in smaller numbers for several years. Different groups have recruited MBAs depending on their needs. Over the last four years, we’ve really grown and established our MBA recruiting function at PwC. We’ve gone from recruiting small numbers, maybe less than 20 [MBAs] fives years ago, to now bringing in over 200 full time hires a year.
The result is [my team] going to the business and saying, ‘what is the ideal candidate profile you seek? How do you envision the student adding value to our business?’ From there, you get into a discussion about, ‘How do you market this position? How do we think about our job posting?’ And then we begin to learn, ‘What is a typical MBA student looking to do?’ Most of them fit that profile and have several years of work experience prior to business school. And many are going back to business school to make a change and expand their network. And so we have to think about that as we think about how to position them in our business.
And then we think about, internally, how do we onboard and train them? We think about their internship and we really tailor all of those things to the MBA population. We have a separate onboarding and training program for MBA interns with a separate MBA curriculum during the internship. We recognize that this is a different population. This is not their first job. They’ve been in the professional world for many years and we value that. We want to respect that.
When we bring them onboard full-time, we bring them on with our experienced hires – because they are experienced hires. And we begin to help them build their network internally with those who may have a similar background and profile.
I’d like to highlight one of the things we’re most proud of this past year. We started an MBA-specific internship culmination event. PwC has long been known for our internship culmination event, which we do at Disneyworld for the undergraduates. The students love it and it has a great reputation and a great brand. We knew that MBAs were a different population – and [the Disney] event may not be the experience they were looking for after a successful internship. So we started a new program we call “MBA Engage.” [Here], we bring all the interns with offers following their internship to San Diego for three days, along with partners and client staff. We have three days of networking, relaxation and celebration as a reward for a job well done and to begin talking to them about the value of converting that internship offer into a full-time role. That’s the kind of thing that we’ve done, where we’ve separated it out and segmented it for a different population.
If an MBA was weighing an offer from PwC and another firm, what would give you the edge?
I think the type of student that it’s going to attract. Let’s talk about our culture and what we’re building in our Advisory practice and the type of student who’s going to be really happy here. Despite the size of our firm – we’re a big firm with a well-established brand – the Advisory practice really has an entrepreneurial aspect to it. We’ve experienced tremendous growth, both organically and inorganically, over the past several years. And we have seen this Advisory practice grow in ways that has surprised the industry and continues to impress both our clients and students we recruit.
So we offer that type of culture. Now, we’ve evolved into a world-class consulting organization. Our long-term clients will tell you the value we’ve brought to them. As we continue to build new clients, we find ourselves competing against very best consulting firms out there. It’s the type of place where, for those who are excited and looking for opportunity, it’s a great place to come. The leadership development at this firm is fantastic. We’re going to help you transition from being in school to consulting in a brand new practice area. We’re going to give you those skills and an unparalleled professional development experience to help you grow and really expand your career.
I wouldn’t compare it to other firms, as far as why you should join us versus them. We offer our clients strategy through execution. With the acquisition of Booz & Co. (now Strategy&), we bring to market a premier strategy consulting practice.