Are you graduating this year? Do you know what you’re going to do next? Have you considered a graduate programme?
When you’re in college, you’re so focused on getting through those three or four years that you often don’t think about what happens next. Then you graduate and suddenly you have to actually find work. That’s not always easy, but graduate programmes can be an ideal stepping stone between college and the working world.
Here, graduate Cliodhna Kelly tells us about her experience on the graduate programme at Big Four consultancy firm PwC.
What did you study in college?
I studied for a bachelor’s degree in commerce at University College Dublin, followed by an MSc in digital innovation at the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business.
With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?
Yes, I now work on the technology consulting team within PwC.
What drew you to this company when you were seeking work as a graduate?
PwC is a hugely respected firm with a global presence. I knew that, by joining PwC, I would receive the best training and on-the-job learning, working alongside industry experts and with large multinational companies. Furthermore, because of the scale of the PwC network, many new joiners are given the opportunity to travel with their roles.
What expectations did you have before you began the programme?
PwC has an excellent recruitment process and I got to speak to many of the graduates before I actually started working here. This allowed me to gain a lot of insights into life at PwC and it reinforced my perception of PwC as being a great place to work – one where you are given excellent training and plenty of opportunities to prove yourself.
What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?
When I began working at PwC initially, I was part of a project management team for a large client. This programme oversight was excellent, and I got a bird’s eye view of how large-scale projects are managed and run. I was given more and more responsibility as I learned and improved, continuously being challenged.
Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?
Yes. As the project progressed, so too did my role within the team. I was given a broader scope of responsibility and got to work alongside senior people, both internally and from the client side. I was always asked for my inputs, and felt that my contributions were valued and taken on board.
Can you describe a typical day in your role?
It’s a bit of a cliché but there really is no ‘typical’ day for a consultant. I have worked on various projects and proposals since joining the company and each day I do something different. As a project progresses, so too does the role and the challenges faced.
How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?
In PwC, you are given work according to your capabilities, not how many years you have worked in the company. I have been very fortunate since I joined in that I have had the opportunity to work with a range of people who continuously offer me feedback and ways to improve. We have a very flat structure, which means that I have been able to observe how senior staff members work, and apply this to my own approach.
Do you feel more prepared for your future career?
Absolutely! I would encourage any graduate thinking of entering consulting to look at PwC. I am receiving the best training, getting great experience with international and indigenous companies, and working alongside bright and talented people. The role is client-facing and you quickly learn how to adapt to working in a variety of environments on a number of tasks. PwC definitely gives new graduates a sound foundation on which to build their careers.
Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at this company?
There are many reasons why new graduates should join PwC. The training you receive is second to none. The PwC brand is recognised globally and brings with it an expectation of quality. You work alongside some of the brightest and the best. The work is varied and the clients are some of the biggest multinationals in the world. Finally, the people are some of the best, and I have no doubt that I have made friends for life since joining the firm.