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On the job with a Technology Consulting Associate At PwC
GradAustralia met with Akansha Kapoor to learn about life as a Technology Consulting Associate at PwC
Akansha studied a Bachelor of Business Information Systems at Monash University and graduated in 2016
What do you do day-to-day?
I’m a consultant, so my day changes depending on what job I’m on. At the moment, the project I’m working on is one of PwC’s start-ups — it’s called Airtax. So, for example, whilst I’m working on Airtax, I lead the operations and customer strategy for them.
I have some routine tasks that I do in the morning, like checking that the CRM is up to date and following up on the tax team that I line-manage. Other tasks I do include running experiments and doing analysis of our customer base to determine trends and tendencies. This then helps me create partnerships with other businesses.
Everything changes day to day, there’s a lot that just pops up randomly and part of my role is knowing how to respond to new tasks quickly.
What interested you in PwC?
I did Business Information Systems at Monash University, and one of the components of my course was that I could do an internship. Before this placement, I’d completed an internship at a place that I found didn’t really help me develop, and I think it made me really value how at PwC they’re really about growing their people and making sure that you as an individual are happy when you come to work.
They want to make PwC the best place to work for you — you’re not just a resource, you’re someone that has a lot of skill, so they try to really nurture you and look after you. I really appreciated that.
What are some of the coolest projects you’ve worked on?
One project that I worked on was for a government platform, where I created the IT strategy for a singularised digital platform for all government-to-citizen transactions. It’s really cool that it will be used by everyone! So if you want to apply for a license, or register a birth or a marriage, that will all be on one platform — and we did it!
Another one of my projects was for a large engineering company and they were upgrading one of their systems. My role was in the PMO (I think we should explain what this acronym is- it will mean nothing to a student) team, so I was looking after the overall running of the project and making sure that everything was going to plan and going to get delivered on time. That was really good fun.
I’m loving the role I currently have with PwC Ventures where I’m working in a start up environment and helping PwC expand it’s horizons to a whole new customer base.
What’s been surprising about your role at PwC?
If I had any preconceptions, it was that they are a big four, so there’s a chance they’re going to work you to the ground — you have to just say yes and keep powering through and that sort of thing. I was so surprised when I came in that it’s not like that at all, they really care about you. I don’t have to do crazy long hours. You work really hard but you play really hard too. It’s more output-focused than input-focused.
They’re not really hierarchy-based. I can easily go and talk to any of the Directors or the partners on our floor, and they will be happy to have coffee or lunch with me... and they’re happy to talk about silly things, not just work. They don’t look at me like “you’re just an associate, so you’re the bottom of the ladder”. They’re more like, “We’re one team here, and we’re building relationships.”
What does the formal support program look like?
When you join PwC you get a buddy, and that’s someone that can help you with your day-to-day questions. That’s normally someone who’s at your grade or a grade above you, so if you come in as a graduate they might be a senior associate or an associate too.
Then you get a coach, which is one of my favourite things. Your coach is normally three or four levels above you, and they help to guide your career, bounce ideas off and if you’re in a sticky situation they can guide you out of it.
Then you get a partner coach that you interact closely with, and if something is going really wrong or you’re really confused about something and you just want an opinion from someone that’s a lot more senior, you can go to them. They’re also the person that vouches for you when it comes to moderation or if you want a promotion, or if you want to stay at PwC- if you’re a vacationer PwC has an incredible support network. (does “-” above help this sentence?)
They’re also really understanding that when you first get assigned your coach they might not be the type of person you fit best with, so you can always change coaches along the way and they’re really open to that.
What’s challenging about life at PwC?
What I’ve found most challenging is you often get a lot of opportunities given to you and recently I was given three amazing opportunities and I had the power to make the choice, to pick which one I wanted to do. I had to weigh up what would develop me the most, and help me grow, what would give me the most value and how I see that in line with my future.
I had lots of chats with my coach and partner coach to help me decide what to do, but in the end it was down to me. It was challenging to know I had all the power to drive my career.
What advice would you give to graduates eyeing off this year’s intake?
What’s really important is to be authentic — to bring yourself to the table and show who you really are. They’re really keen on having different minds in the business, they don’t want 100 Akanshas! They want people to be different, because diversity brings different styles of thought, and that means we can move forward as a business. Alongside that it’s really important to look up what PwC’s values are, and they are really key; at PwC it’s the people that are really important.
To do that, you need to demonstrate the values — not just be able to recite them. It’s not about saying, “I know about your value ‘Hunger for Growth’, it’d be more like saying ,“In my extracurricular life I was debating captain and I really pushed the team to be the best in the league, and that’s because I’m really hungry for growth and it’s my passion and I really want to do that.”