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Queensland University of Technology
Associate, Technology Consulting team, PwC
Kimberley Hilton studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Medical) and is an associate in the Technology Consulting team at PwC.
What's your name and job title?
Kimberley Hilton – I’m an associate in the Technology Consulting team at PwC.
What did you study? When did you graduate?
I studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Medical) at Queensland University of Technology. I studied full time for four years and graduated at the end of 2018.
Where did you grow up? Can you tell us about your education?
I went to both school and university in Brisbane. I completed my studies full time at QUT while also working as a sessional academic at my university. This meant I was involved with teaching engineering classes to other students. It was interesting being on both sides of the fence!
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I applied to PwC’s Graduate Program at the beginning of 2018 when I was starting my final year of university. I successfully made it through the application process and accepted my contract in April 2018, but only commenced in March 2019 after finishing off my degree. This timeline really worked for me because it meant I could relax during my final year knowing I had a graduate position locked in.
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
Despite my background being in engineering, I chose to go into consulting because I wanted a role that really gave me the opportunity to interact with and learn from others. There are many streams within consulting, but I realised that technology consulting would be a good fit for me based on my interests and STEM background.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
After some online testing and a digital interview, I was invited into the PwC office for an immersive assessment day, known as their Career Jam. This involved a morning of group work on a case study and then a one-on-one interview in the afternoon. My interviewer wanted to hear about my background, skills and interests. One of the main reasons I think my interview was successful was because I could clearly communicate what industries and types of work I was passionate about, and my interviewer was able to see how this could add value to the team.
What does your employer do?
PwC is a professional services network that is often referred to as one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, but they do so much more than people often realise. PwC offers a range of services including consulting, assurance and tax, and works with clients in many different industry sectors, from mining to healthcare.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As an associate, I get to work on projects as part of a broader team. My responsibilities vary drastically depending on the project, but my overall role is to support the team to ensure we reach the agreed outcomes with our clients. I might be responsible for specific tasks like taking notes in meetings or analysing data.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
Every work day is different in consulting. At the moment I’m analysing some client data to get an idea of how some aspects of business performance have changed over time. This is quite detail-oriented work which I do independently, but I meet frequently with my team and our client to check in and make sure everyone is on the same page.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
One of the best things about consulting is that you have a lot of flexibility to pivot into areas you find interesting. My passion is using digital and technological capabilities to make a difference in the healthcare industry, so I hope to get more and more involved in this area as I progress through my career at PwC.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely! Consulting relies on different perspectives coming together to solve problems, so it’s very common for people to have quite varied backgrounds. Academic backgrounds range from engineering, to economics and medicine.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t in consulting I could still make use of my engineering degree by working as a medical engineer. If I had to study something completely different I’d probably do a health degree of some sort because making a contribution to the healthcare industry is what I am passionate about and gives me a sense of fulfillment.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
Variety! Even if you’re working on one project for a long period of time, there are still ample opportunities to add some variety into your routine by getting involved with extra things going on around the office. You don’t need to be involved with everything but you can think about what’s important to you and seek out opportunities relating to that. I’m really passionate about the health industry so I love getting involved with any meetings or tasks relating to this.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
PwC has amazing policies on flexible working. This means they’re open to discussing different possibilities for how, when and where work is completed. Technology is utilised so that work emails and files can be accessed from your home on both your computer and phone. This can be really handy, but naturally, when everything work-related is so accessible, it can become a challenge to ‘switch off’ sometimes. Like anything, you have to be really good at managing your time well in order to maintain balance.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?
- Do as much work experience as you can: spending a few weeks or months at a company can really give you an idea if that sort of work is something you can see yourself doing long term.
- Think outside the box: even though I did an engineering degree, I’m not strictly working as an engineer. Industries like consulting appreciate diverse academic backgrounds so remember that studying a particular degree doesn’t mean you’re restricted to working in that area for life.
- Don’t be disheartened: locking in work experience or a graduate position can be tricky. If you aren’t successful straight away, keep trying and think about different pathways that can get you where you want to go.