Lucy Bonnett is a final year undergraduate student at the University of Leeds studying French and Mathematics. She participated in the Women in Business Programme, a three day paid work experience programme with PwC. Lucy was uncertain about her future career plans but took the opportunity to get an insight into professional services. As a result Lucy has secured a place on their Assurance Graduate Scheme. Read more about Lucy’s story.
Why I applied
My week at PwC turned out better than I could have imagined. To be completely honest, I applied for the Women In Business placement to find out more about professional services, mainly with a view to ruling it out as an area I didn’t want to work in. I had no idea what I wanted to do after university, so I had decided to do a few placements during my second and third years at uni to see what interested me.
The fact that the application process for the placement is identical to that of a graduate scheme was useful – at every stage of the application I thought “Even if I don’t make it to the next stage, I’m gaining valuable experience and application skills”. These skills definitely came in handy when applying to year abroad placements, and my experience allowed me to be relaxed and confident in interview situations.
Gaining an insight into PwC
The week itself was very insightful. We started with a day of training and introductions, easing us into the working atmosphere. I felt at ease in the office straight away – everyone I met went out of their way to make me feel welcome and to explain their roles to me. This itself was interesting, as I hadn’t even heard of some of the jobs and departments that exist in a company as big as PwC, and it showed me that there is plenty of opportunity for growth and change once you’ve joined.
After the first introductory day, I was shadowing a director in the Assurance department, following her from meetings to conferences to phone calls and looking over her shoulder when she was working alone. Karen was brilliant in explaining everything she was doing, and was happy to answer any question, however seemingly obvious. I was also paired up with a recent graduate, who talked to me about the first few years of life at PwC: the training and exams, her day-to-day routines, the atmosphere in the office. I think speaking to women at such different stages in their careers was incredibly helpful, as it helped me to understand both where a graduate would start within the company and where they may end up.
Securing a position
Everyone on the program was offered an interview at the end of the week, either for a summer internship or a place on a graduate scheme depending on how far through your degree you were. I was successful in my interview and was offered a place on the Assurance graduate scheme. This was so far from my original goal (ruling out professional services as something I didn’t want to go into after university) that I didn’t know what to think at first, and it seemed like a big scary decision to make about my future so early on in my degree. However, after some consideration of the offer and consulting friends/family/university advisors, I decided PwC is a fantastic place to start my career and I have subsequently accepted the offer. And, although I would in no way describe myself as a relaxed care-free fourth year student, I am able to concentrate on my studies and on achieving a classification that I will be proud of, rather than jetting off to assessment days every other week at the same time as striving for a grade that will make me attractive to employers.
I would recommend the placement to anyone: whether you have no idea what kind of career you would like post-university, or if you are looking to get a head-start on the application process!
And don’t forget if you want to discuss a career in the professional services sector or any other, the Careers Centre can help you explore your options and support you in your applications- learn how here.