Prashant is a 4th year undergraduate in the department of mechanical engineering. He is interested in most things mech and all things food. He spends most of his time talking to people, eating or watching movies. In his spare time, he is involved with organizational activities in the institute and editing random articles on Wikipedia. He did his internship at PwC, one of the “big 4” accounting firms.
What PwC is
PwC is an audit and tax advisory firm with revenues of 26 billion and upwards of 150 thousand employees. Its built along three main lines of service: audit, tax and advisory. The Audit LoS does statutory and internal audits for companies (remember the Satyam scam) and the Tax LoS works on what taxes to pay, how to reduce the tax you pay etc for clients. Advisory consists of consulting, Mergers and Acquisition, risk management and other forms of advice that firms may require in the process of business.
While most management consults don’t even look at taking undergraduate interns, the big 4 (PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG) are more than happy to take you on and more often than not you’ll know someone in one of them there, or you spam them till you get a response. They do not have a formal internship process for their non-tech consulting groups. [The technology and government related practices have started coming to insti for duals in a more formal internship setting].
Once you find a conti I guess you will need to be decently good resume wise, and be able to carry of an intelligent conversation with the people who interview you, on a field which most of us really have no clue about. Tell them why you want to try the intern out etc etc and let them choose the compensation.
Beyond all the glamour and money of consulting, for most undergraduates and analysts the intern is mostly a desk job. You will most probably play a supporting role in a team [or even to one] consultants and work on research or content creation assignments. Your work might range from formatting whole presentations, to making proposals to comparing the taxation structure of countries. Every assignment, however small, will be new and will probably involve a lot of learning, making it even more interesting. Work will be a series of peaks of crazy deadlines and long office hours with long dull interludes.
Offices are generally very very formal and very different from labs/classes/start-ups. Formals, ties and clean shave are a must and the setting is very very formal and staid. Expect to spend long hours staring at a laptop in the stuffiest clothing ever, even for Bangalore.
Your company on the other hand is mostly youngish IIM/IIT types with lots of paid lunches and dinners with cabs to drop you home, courtesy client. Hopefully there’ll be another intern or two so it shouldn’t be very drab.
If you push for a client side project and get lucky then you’ll get to work directly with clients at their offices and much more formal behaviour is expected of you. It should also be much more fulfilling so worth the pain.
The ‘big 4’ consulting arms, as opposed to the management consults [BCG, McKinsey] have teams built around the function verticals of clients [Finance, Operations, HR, IT etc] and teams almost exclusively concentrate on their area of expertise. I interned in the Finance Function Effectiveness practice, which almost exclusively concentrated on the CFO’s office and the finance department along with Shared services and outsourcing. In terms of work levels also, if McKay told you what’s happening on earth while standing on the moon and Accenture/IBM told you the same from the ground, PwC etc give you a bird’s eye view. My work involved finance, taxation, entity structuring, governance and outsourcing to name a few.
You get to give gyaan to CEOs/CFOs and other industry veterans, very satisfying. Every little job is all new and exciting. As an intern someone will always pay for you and there’s loads of free food and travel . Everyone always listens to you and any work is always held in high regard.
A little Advice
Err on the side of formal. Absolutely no place for any expletives. Always triple check your work for spelling and format. They’re very very serious about the content they develop. Stick to deadlines, you never know who’s depending on your work to come out on time. It could be a chai walla or a CEO. Never hesitate to ask, there’s a lot to learn as it’ll be a new field for you. Take advantage of the access you get to all the knowledge they have. No one gives the kind of free training they impart here.
What I think I want to do in life
To put it simply, I am not sure. One of the main reasons for taking this intern was to see if I liked the idea of working in a non-core company. If this turns out to be something I like and I get a good job during placements I will take it, or depending on how my BTP goes and the apps fare I might end up doing an MS. It’s all very opposite in direction I know, but it’s part of the general indecision and I’m simply hoping for the best.