PwC interviews consist of case interviews, written case interviews, group case interviews, and behavioral or fit interview questions. The office and group that you are interviewing for will determine which of these types of interview questions you will get.
PwC’s consulting business is divided into four different groups:
- Strategy& (Strategy Consulting)
- Management Consulting
- Technology Consulting
- Risk Consulting
Strategy& (Strategy Consulting): PwC acquired management consulting firm Booz & Company in 2014 and eventually renamed the group Strategy&. This group does the type of consulting work that is most similar to McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. Strategy& does projects in corporate and business strategy, people and organization strategy, operations strategy, customer strategy, and technology strategy.
Management Consulting: This group helps clients translate strategy into execution. They provide solutions focused on mergers and acquisitions, operations, customer, sales and marketing, human capital, and change management.
Technology Consulting: This group helps clients transform their business through technology. They focus on providing solutions through cloud computing, extracting value from enterprise data, and securing intellectual property from cyber-attacks.
Risk Consulting: This group helps clients take and manage risks to become more resilient. They focus on risk considerations across corporate cultures, governance, management processes and controls, and executive and board reporting.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- The interview process for each of these groups
- The 6 steps to solving any PwC (Strategy&) case interview
- How to ace the PwC written case interview
- How to ace the PwC group case interview
- The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions
PwC and Strategy& Interview Process
Strategy& Interview Process
If you are applying to Strategy&, the interview process typically consists of two rounds. Each round has two 45-minute interviews.
These interviews will be focused on:
- Case interviews
- Behavioral or fit interview questions
Roughly half of the time will be spent on the case interview. Your interviewers will try to save the last 5 to 10 minutes of each interview for your questions.
It is important to know that Strategy& emphasizes behavioral and fit interview questions much more than the average consulting firm. You’ll spend a bit more time answering these questions than you would at firms such as Bain, BCG, Deloitte, or Accenture.
Interviewers want to ensure that candidates that are interviewing for Strategy& actually want to work there. They want to screen out candidates that are treating Strategy& as a backup firm to McKinsey, BCG, and Bain.
PwC Management Consulting, Technology Consulting, and Risk Consulting Interview Process
If you are applying to Management Consulting, Technology Consulting, or Risk Consulting, you may have up to three rounds of interviews.
- First round: 30-minute interview with a recruiter focused on behavioral or fit interview questions
- Second round: Two interviews focused on case interviews and behavioral or fit interview questions
- Third round: Three to five interviews focused on case interviews, behavioral or fit interview questions, a written case interview, and/or a group case interview
There is a lot of variability in the types of interviews you could get in your last round of interviews. Depending on the office and group, some candidates may get a written case interview or a group case interview. Others may just get normal case interviews.
In the following sections, we’ll cover exactly how to prepare and answer the four types of interview questions you may see in your upcoming PwC or Strategy& interview:
- Case interviews
- Group case interviews
- Written case interviews
- Behavioral or fit interview questions
6 Steps to Solve Any PwC (Strategy&) Case Interview
PwC and Strategy& case interviews are all candidate-led. This means that you will be expected to drive the direction of the case. You will suggest what areas to explore, what analyses to do, and what the next step should be.
On Strategy&’s website, they state that there is no single correct way to answer a case. If you show your thought process and develop logical and reasonable conclusions, you will have successfully solved the case.
Follow these six steps to solve any case interview.
1. Understand the case
The case will begin with the interviewer giving you the case information. While the interviewer is speaking, make sure that you are taking meticulous notes on the most important pieces of information. Focus on understanding the context of the situation, the company, and the objective of the case.
2. Verify the objective
Understanding the business problem and objective of the case is the most important part of the case interview. Not addressing the right business question is the quickest way to fail a case interview.
Make sure that you ask clarifying questions to better understand the business situation and problem. Then, confirm that you understand the case objective with the interviewer. This ensures that you start the case on the right track.
3. Create a framework
Develop a framework to help you tackle the business problem. A framework is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. With a framework, you’ll be brainstorming different ideas and organizing them into different categories.
Afterwards, walk the interviewer through your framework. They may ask a few questions or provide some feedback to you.
4. Develop a hypothesis
After creating a framework, you should develop a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess on the answer based on the data and information that you have so far.
Your hypothesis does not need to be correct. You’ll be continuously testing and refining your hypothesis throughout the case. The purpose of having a hypothesis is to guide your analysis and ensure that you are spending your time answering the right questions.
5. Test your hypothesis
The majority of the case will be spent testing your hypothesis.
After stating your hypothesis, it is up to you to lead the direction of the case. Depending on the context of the case, you may want to ask for data to do some analysis. You may also want to explore qualitative questions that you have. As you uncover more information, your hypothesis will likely have to change.
Sometimes, your hypothesis will be completely wrong and you’ll need to develop a completely new hypothesis to test. Other times, your hypothesis may be on the right track, but you’ll need to refine or narrow it down further.
Throughout the rest of the case, you’ll be answering a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions. Make sure that after each question, you explain how your answer impacts your hypothesis or answer to the case.
6. Deliver a recommendation
In the last step of the case interview, you’ll present your recommendation and provide the major reasons that support it. You do not need to recap everything that you have done in the case, so focus on summarizing only the facts that are most important.
It is also good practice to include potential next steps that you would take if you had more time or data. These can be areas of your framework that you did not have time to explore yet or lingering questions that you do not have great answers for.
PwC (Strategy&) Group Case Interview
For some offices, PwC (Strategy&) uses a group case interview in their final round of interviews. This special type of case interview focuses on assessing how well you can collaborate and work with other people. Teamwork is an essential skill to have.
Here’s what you should expect:
- You’ll be put into a group with 3 to 5 other candidates
- The interviewer will hand out the case background materials
- You’ll have 10 to 15 minutes to review the materials and prepare
- The group will have an open discussion for 15 to 20 minutes
- During this discussion, interviewers will be observing candidates and will not interfere
- Afterwards, the interviewer will ask the group specific questions for 15 to 20 minutes
Your goal in a group case interview is to add value to the group. There are six different ways that you can do this:
- Lead or facilitate the discussion: You can propose what topics to discuss, the order they should be discussed in, and how much time should be allocated towards each topic. If the group gets off track, you can bring the group’s focus back together.
- Expand upon other people’s ideas: If a group member suggests a great idea or raises a good point, build upon it and make it even better.
- Synthesize information: You can summarize information that other people have said and reconcile different viewpoints and ideas together.
- Keep track of time: You can volunteer to keep track of time and make sure that the group is on track.
- Play devil’s advocate: You can help your group develop strong ideas by testing the team’s thinking by considering potential risks or downsides of their ideas.
- Take notes: You can keep track of what other people are saying so that you can recall what has been discussed if any group members have questions.
An important thing to remember about group case interviews is to treat your group members as teammates instead of competition. This is not an exercise in which you are competing with others.
Interviewers are trying to determine whether you would be a great teammate. Multiple people or even all people in your group can receive job offers. Therefore, focus on adding value to the group rather than on making yourself look better than your group members.
PwC (Strategy&) Written Case Interview
For some offices, PwC (Strategy&) uses a written case interview in their final round of interviews. This special type of case interview focuses on assessing how well you can analyze information and communicate your insights.
Here’s what you should expect:
- PwC (Strategy&) will provide you with case background material
- You will have an hour to review the material and prepare 3 to 5 slides
- You will have 30 minutes to present and discuss your recommendation with the interviewer, who will challenge your assumptions and ask follow-up questions
To solve any written case interview, follow these eight steps.
1. Understand the business problem and objective
The first step in completing a written case interview is to understand what the objective is. What is the primary business question you are trying to answer with the data and information provided?
2. Read the list of major questions
Some written case interviews will provide you with a list of 3 – 4 key questions that you will be expected to address or answer. Read through these questions first since these will be the questions that you will want to prioritize.
If the written case interview is more open-ended and does not provide you with a list of key questions, skip this step and move onto the next step.
3. Skim the materials
Next, flip through the information packet that is provided to see what information is available. Identify what data you have and what data you do not have.
The goal in this step is not to read and analyze every slide. That would take too much time. Instead, by seeing what information exists, you will be able to better prioritize what you spend your time reading and analyzing.
4. Create a framework
Before you begin reading and analyzing the information in the slides in more detail, you should create a basic framework to help guide your analysis. If you are provided with a list of key questions or pre-filled slide templates, then this will likely be the foundation of your framework.
Otherwise, based on what information exists in the information packet, identify the three to four key questions you need to answer or investigate.
5. Read and analyze the material
Afterwards, read and analyze the information that is relevant to each area of your framework. As you begin answering questions and drawing insights, make sure to write a one or two sentence summary. This will make it easier to decide on a recommendation later.
6. Decide on a recommendation
Review the list of key takeaways that you have summarized from answering all of the major questions in your framework. Decide on what recommendation these findings collectively support.
Remember that there is typically no right or wrong recommendation. As long as your recommendation is supported by data and evidence, you will be in great shape.
7. Create your slides
Once you have a recommendation, it is time to start filling in your slides. You should use the following structure when creating your slides:
- Slide 1: Present your recommendation and the three reasons that support it
- Slide 2: Present your first reason and the data that supports it
- Slide 3: Present your second reason and the data that supports it
- Slide 4: Present your third reason and the data that supports it
- Slide 5: Summarize everything that you’ve covered so far
- Slide 6: Propose potential next steps
8. Prepare for potential questions
If you have any time remaining, brainstorm potential questions the interviewer may ask you during your presentation. They may want to know how you performed your analysis or how you reached your conclusions.
Preparing for these potential questions will help your presentation go much more smoothly. You will also feel much more confident while presenting.
The 10 Most Common Behavioral or Fit Interview Questions
In addition to case interviews, you will likely be asked a few behavioral or fit interview questions. There are ten questions that are most commonly asked.
1. Why are you interested in working at PwC or Strategy&?
How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at PwC or Strategy&. You could mention that you loved the people that you have met from the company so far. You can talk about PwC’s massive global presence and expertise in nearly any industry or function. You can speak to how PwC provides strategy and implementation, so you can see the impact of your work.
2. Why do you want to work in consulting?
How to answer: Again, have three reasons why you’re interested in consulting. You could mention the fast career growth opportunity, the opportunity to develop soft and hard skills, or the level of impact that you can make by working with large companies on their most challenging issues.
3. Walk me through your resume
How to answer: Provide a concise summary of your work experience, starting with the most recent. Focus on emphasizing your most impressive and unique accomplishments. At the end, tie your experiences to why you are interested in consulting.
4. What is your proudest achievement?
How to answer: Choose your most impressive, unique, or memorable accomplishment. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work.
5. What is something that you are proud of that is not on your resume?
How to answer: This is a great opportunity to highlight an accomplishment that is not related to your professional work experience. Perhaps there is a non-profit that you volunteer at, a side project or business that you work on, or a hobby that you have won awards or recognition for. Choose something that is impressive and interesting.
6. Tell me about a time when you led a team.
How to answer: If possible, choose a time when you directly managed a person or a team. For this question and the following questions, make sure that you structure your answer. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work. This is known as the STAR method and is commonly used to answer behavioral or fit interview questions.
7. Give an example of a time when you faced conflict or a disagreement.
How to answer: When answering this question, focus on emphasizing the steps you took to resolve the conflict or disagreement. Speak to the interpersonal skills you had to use in order to mediate the situation. Interviewers want to know that you are a great mediator and that you can handle conflict in a constructive way.
8. Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone.
How to answer: Choose a time when you were able to change someone’s mind. Focus on emphasizing the steps that you took to persuade that person and what impact and results this had. Interviewers want to know that you are a great communicator and a good people person.
9. Describe a time when you failed.
How to answer: Choose a time when you failed to meet a deadline or did not meet expectations. Focus on emphasizing what you learned from the experience and how you used that experience to deliver even better results in the next opportunity that you got. Interviewers want to see that you don’t get discouraged from failure and that you treat those experiences as learning opportunities.
10. What questions do you have for me?
How to answer: This is a great opportunity to get to know the interviewer on a more personal level. Ask them questions about their experience in consulting or their career. Express genuine interest in what they have to share and ask follow-up questions. The more you can get the interviewer talking about themself, the more likely they will have a positive impression of you.
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