How to land a PwC internship through networking
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I sat down with Gabby C., an impressive college student who got her foot in the door to a PwC internship by networking her way into their externship program, PwC Elevate. Her externship turned into an internship offer, which then lead to a full time position in PwC’s Advisory practice. Her advice applies to anyone looking to get their start at a Big 4 firm early on.
How Gabby landed her PwC internship offer through Elevate
James: Could you start by telling us a little bit about your experience applying for and participating in an externship program?
Gabby: So the first thing that helped me was joining our school’s Accounting and Business Association (ABA) the first week of my freshman year. And I’m now the co-president of the club. I got all of my externship opportunities through meeting the recruiters at our school’s career fair and at our ABA meetings when they would come in and speak.
At the end of each meeting I would just go up to the recruiter and talk to them and then they would give me information about when to apply and things like that. It helped to build and develop relationships with the recruiters, and I go to know them a lot better by having multiple bounces with them (at the career fair as well as the ABA meetings). I think that helped me stay in touch and stay memorable with them.
From there, I basically just followed their advice. I applied when they told me to apply and highlighted my strengths on my resume. I did a ton of research preparing for the interviews, and with enough practice I did well enough to earn a slot at PwC.
James: Did you get an internship offer at the end of PwC’s externship or did you have to interview separately?
Gabby: At the end of Elevate I got my PwC internship offer, so I didn’t need to re-interview or anything.
Why Gabby chose PwC
James: Why did you end up picking PwC over the other Big 4 firms?
Gabby: At that point, the reason I chose PwC was based on their practice areas. I knew I wanted to do technology consulting, and KPMG and EY didn’t really have as much of an established practice with that area. And PwC and Deloitte did. And then I was narrowing down between the Deloitte and PwC, and I just ended up liking the people at PwC better so I went with them.
Transitioning from her externship to PwC internship
James: How was your experience going back to school and then hitting the ground running for your internship the next summer?
Gabby: So then I just went on track like a normal third year student and went into my junior year with my internship. I did my internship this past summer and it was a great experience. We went to Disney like August 1st through August 3rd I believe, and that’s when they gave me a full-time offer. I was like in a bit of a unique situation because my team asked me to stay and continue helping them right after Disney, so I went back and continued working until the very end of the summer.
Gabby’s PwC internship experience
James: What kind of projects did you work on during your internship?
Gabby: I was working on a software implementation for a telecommunications company in Central Jersey. We were helping them transition to the cloud and implement Oracle Fusion, which is exactly the type of large scale project I was hoping to land on.
James: What were some of your favorite things about your PwC internship?
Gabby: I think my favorite thing about the internship was my team. They were very helpful but not on top of what I was doing, if that makes sense? I felt like they trusted me to actually do meaningful things and that was something that I really liked.
I’ve also been to a couple of PwC / client social events which were fun, and going out to nice team dinners is always a treat. But I think my favorite part was just the trust level that my team had with me and that I was able to build over time.
James: Anything you didn’t like during the internship?
Gabby: There honestly wasn’t really anything that I didn’t like. I think just like with anything there’s just an adjustment period. So learning how to use the PwC intranet and getting accounts set up was probably my least favorite part. Just a lot of paper / admin work. But that’s just comes with any onboarding process, especially in a large regulated company. Other than that there really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like. They didn’t have me doing coffee runs or anything like that. I felt like my work was meaningful and my team counted on me to deliver. I’m always happy to work when I feel like what I’m doing matters and makes a difference.
From internship to full time
James: So it sounds like you accepted your full-time offer?
Gabby: Yeah, so I actually just accepted on Thursday of last week.
James: Congrats! That should take some of the stress off of your last year at school.
Gabby: Definitely, not having to worry about the job search process will be a huge relief this year. It’s similar to how I felt after my externship and going into the year with an internship already lined up.
James: So what’s left for you to figure out?
Gabby: Honestly – I still have to figure out what my living situation will be like, something I hadn’t really considered before. I don’t know if I should have an apartment because I will likely be traveling extensively, so I’m not going to be there most of the time. So do I just go home to my parents house on the weekends? Do I suck it up and still find my own apartment? That’s something I’m still thinking through and talking over with friends and people in similar situations at PwC.
James: That’s a tough decision, especially in NYC. There are other people in similar positions starting out that are paying 1800 bucks a month for an apartment in a forced four bedroom with two fake walls dividing a normal bedroom into 2 shoeboxes. Plus maybe three or four rats running around as additional roommates. So I totally get the appeal and understand why some of my friends just stayed with their parents on weekends for their first year or two.