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University of New South Wales
Associate, Consulting - Risk and Forensics at PwC
Brian studied a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Finance and Accounting at the University of New South Wales
Where did you grow up? Talk us through your education.
I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. University was the most important stage of my life as I was working full-time at a mid-tier Tax Accounting and Audit firm whilst studying part-time. I learned a lot during this time such as how to organise my time effectively and how to have a good work-life balance.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
While I was studying at uni, I joined PwC’s Vacation program. I got this opportunity by applying through the PwC careers website and going through the interview process which involved online assessments, an online video interview, attending an assessment centre and face-to-face interviews. I have now returned as a Graduate in September 2017 and have been in my current role for nearly 1.5 years.
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
Initially, I applied to work in another team but after talking with a lovely campus recruiter, I came to learn more about the Forensics team and was advised that given my previous experience working in Audit, this would probably be a great fit for me. I am glad I made the switch as I am loving working in Forensics. Each day is never boring and every engagement is different and exciting.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
My interview was surprisingly very casual. The interviewers asked about my previous work and education experience and made me feel relaxed. It was definitely the most relaxed interview I ever had and we even joked around! It was with a Director and Senior Manager.
What does your employer do?
PwC provides an extensive range of professional services to various industries in the market.
What are your areas of responsibility?
The Forensics team look after Investigations, Forensic Accounting and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML CTF).
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
A typical day for me would involve conducting due diligence on various parties of interest and meeting and planning investigations with the team. The most recent engagement I worked on related to a person of interest manipulating KPI’s within a call centre. The majority of the work I do is highly confidential and hence I cannot go into much detail.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
Forensics consulting can open many pathways in both the consulting and financial crime space. Ideally, I might like to work with law enforcement agencies as I would like to use my skills to help make the world a better place.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
I have a colleague who graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science – as long as you have an open mind and are willing to learn then you have what it takes to be in the Forensics team.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I wanted to be a police officer when I was younger but never pursued this. Whilst in university, I wanted to work in Financial Services due to my growing interest in my finance major. I also wanted to work in a startup due to the sudden increase and interest in being an entrepreneur and having innovative and creative ideas. Now, I work in Financial crime so it is quite like reliving my childhood dream.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
The variety and opportunities that comes with the job. Each engagement is different, and the strategy is different – it never gets boring. PwC is such a big firm and their clientele is extremely large which allows an abundance of opportunity for all PwC employees.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are the stress levels high?
Some investigations have short deadlines due to the sensitivity of the job. However, I haven’t had to work long or extensive hours as yet. I think it would be great to experience it once and awhile!
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?
- Don’t be afraid to give it a go – Why ponder on the thought of doing something? Just do it! And you won’t regret it because at least you tried. I honestly did not think I was going to get a job a PwC but with the support of my friends and family, I decided to do so and couldn’t be happier with my decision.
- Practice makes perfect – No matter who you are, you need to be able to practise in order to be good at something! Beethoven was not born a composer, he practised night and day. McGregor was not born a professional UFC champion, he worked his way up from the bottom. I was extremely bad at public speaking, I was even afraid of talking to my tutors at university. But I practised delivery, I practised eye contact and I practised to be confident.
- Set goals and track them – I try and set achievable goals for myself. Whether that’s reading one book a month or picking up a new hobby, you feel successful when you achieve something, especially when you are more productive with your time, start something new or do more of what you love.