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Campus and graduate recruitment

Starting your career

Your role at PA will be diverse and exciting. Typical activities include gathering and manipulating information, presenting conclusions to the rest of the team, managing project plans, assessing risks and documenting client requirements. These are just a few of your potential roles – your duties will be fluid, changing to meet the client’s requirements. Our Consultants find they learn and grow with every project as they work closely with clients and more experienced colleagues.

As your skills develop and you move up the ranks, you could find yourself leading a major change programme for a FTSE 100 company or working in a foreign country designing IT strategies for its government. You could even become a recognised industry expert in your field. Here, you create your own opportunities.

The majority of our campus/graduate opportunities are based in the EU and the US, and most new joiners begin between September and March. In the EU we traditionally hire Analysts straight from university, while in the US we hire undergraduate and graduate students into the ranks of Analyst, Consultant Analyst and Consultant. We are looking for people who show quality, integrity and commitment. This is a rare combination, but if you have it, you will want to be part of an organisation where others have it too.

To work here, you have to be confident and assertive. You must be able to drive your own development and push yourself forward for projects. If you are intellectually astute and like dealing with complex business issues and strategies, our graduate programme is for you. 

 

What we look for 

We are different to many other firms because we offer significant responsibility early on and encourage you to develop your career in the direction you want.

The competencies that make our consultants the very best are the same qualities we look for throughout the recruitment process.

You should make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses before submitting your application, and compare that list with the below competencies to see if they match:

Drive

Time pressure will be something you will quickly become used to as a Consultant. You will be asked to juggle many tasks at once and must learn how to prioritise them. You will need to be driven and resilient to succeed.

Communication

Explaining your ideas clearly and concisely is a core consulting skill. You might have produced extremely valuable analysis, but if you can’t communicate this to your team or the client it is not going to be useful. Strong oral and written communication skills are essential.

Problem solving

From day one, you’ll be presented with problems which you will be expected to analyse and find an intelligent solution to.

Teamwork

You will work in small meritocratic teams for the duration of your assignments. You will need to be able to work effectively with colleagues and clients at all levels.

Selling and influencing

The ability to convince others to your way of thinking and gain their agreement is a fundamental skill and key to mastering your progress in your career as a Consultant.

 

Assessment process 

Our assessment process is designed to test candidates against our skills and competencies. At the same time, it is your opportunity to meet us, experience our culture and find out more about the role.

Online application

To apply for one of our roles, you should submit your application online by uploading your CV and cover letter. Read our hints and tips section for some guidance on what we are looking for.

  1. Verbal and numerical online testing
    Shortlisted candidates will be asked to complete a verbal reasoning and numerical test at a time which is convenient for them. The verbal reasoning test is designed to measure your ability to understand written information and to evaluate arguments about this information. The numerical test assesses your understanding of tables of statistical and numerical data, as well as your ability to make logical deductions.

  2. First round interview
    Our first round interview lasts around 30 minutes and focuses on particular areas of interest from your CV. In the UK, these interviews will take place over the phone, while in the US they typically take place on-campus at colleges and universities. At this stage, we will invite you to discuss real-life examples of your experience. Our aim is to understand your reasons for applying to us and for selecting the business area you have applied to.

  3. Assessment day
    The assessment day is designed to test your general business acumen and potential consulting skills. We don’t ask you to prepare anything in advance – all materials are provided on the day with preparation slots scheduled. We recommend that you are clear about your reasons for applying and for selecting the business area you have.

    This stage can vary according to the business area you have applied to. For instance, if you are applying for a developer role, you will be asked to complete a coding test. But most assessment days will include the below:
    • A welcome and introduction to the company and the practice you are applying to
    • A behavioural interview with a member of the business area
    • A case study preparation and role-playing exercise or technical interview, depending on the practice
    • A group exercise or group case study
    • An informal lunch where you will have the chance to chat with some of our current consultants.

  4. Final round interview with senior management
    This involves a 30 to 60 minute interview with a Partner or senior manager from the business group you have applied to. It is a chance for you to ask any remaining questions, as well as an opportunity for us to assess your suitability for the role. These interviews can take place in person or over the phone.

    We receive large numbers of applications and we will do our best to come back to you as soon as we can – always within three weeks of the date you submitted your application.

    Please note that we are not able to give feedback to those who are not successful at the online application stage.

    We are happy to reimburse reasonable travel expenses, but if you are travelling from overseas please check with us first.

 

Application hints and tips 

  1. Apply for the right role for you (US and UK only). We have lots of different Analyst opportunities and it is important that you apply for the role that best matches your skills and interests. Make sure you read the job descriptions and look at our practice insights on our website to give you an understanding of what we do and where your skills would be put to best use.
  2. Tell us about your passion. Say where you see yourself in the future or what inspires you. 
  3. Provide us with all the information we need. Ensure you include your academic achievements, including the breakdown of your module marks for each year (including the first year), even if these are informal marks. 
  4. Make the most of your covering letter. This is your chance to tell us why you want to work for us and why you want the role you are applying for. If you struggle to explain either, you might want to consider if it is really right for you.
  5. Look at our competencies. Make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses – do they match what we are looking for?
  6. Back up what you’re saying with fact and evidence. Make sure you list your achievements, not a list of skills you think you possess. For instance, we are looking for people who are driven, and will be looking for this quality in your application. Check that you demonstrate this by showing that whatever you do, you do it well and are an achiever. Don’t just state “I’m driven”.
  7. Be clear and concise. Try not to make your application too formal, or conversely, over-familiar. We will be most impressed if you explain yourself simply and clearly, and back up your points with evidence.

 

Analyst recruitment varies slightly depending on your country, so please click on the relevant region in the menu on the right. You can also open our dedicated pages from the quick links below:

Experienced professionals
Campus and Graduate recruitment

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