PwC Graduate Cecilie helps companies ensure their numbers add up

21/12/2020 Graduateships Min.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’m born into a farming family just outside of Roskilde in Denmark. I travelled to Copenhagen to study my B.Sc. in Economics and Business Administration at Copenhagen Business School and completed my M.Sc. in Accounting, Strategy and Control – also at Copenhagen Business School. I did my M.Sc. in English to make sure I mastered the English language in a professional setting as well. I had a number of part time jobs while I studied. The first one was as a HR assistant in Ramboll’s HR department before I pivoted to more financial roles in Jyske Bank and GoGift. Now I have been with PwC a bit over a year where I’m a consultant in our CFO Service division.

 

➔  Hiring!  PwC are hiring graduates right now. Click here for more details on the programme.

 

What attracted you to the company and their graduate programme?

I was one of those graduates that didn’t have it all figured out when it came to finding my first full time role. Naturally, graduate programmes appealed to me as it gives you the opportunity to try out different things and experience it together with other graduates.

 

Regarding PwC, I really liked the fact that it was only 12 months and not 24 months as most other programmes. I didn’t like the idea of being “locked” in for two years if I didn’t like the role. In addition, it also gave me a sense of security to know that I would be a full-time employee with PwC from day one. I know of other graduate programmes where the terms of employment can be more temporary. 

I had always been curious about the consulting world and when I read about PwC’s programme I got the impression it would be a good match with my background and also in terms of values. The CFO Service team also deals with a relative broad range of financial topics which would ensure I got to try out many different projects and tasks.

What does a typical day look like?

During my 12 months in the graduate role I had two projects both lasting 6 months. Your typical day will depend on the projects you are allocated to. One thing that’s common regardless of the projects you are allocated to is that you get to participate on equal terms compared to full time consultants. You really feel like you are part of the team and adding value almost from day one.

 

Your tasks with clients are quite similar to what you would expect from the consulting work. As a graduate in CFO Service, I typically help with accounting, optimising internal processes or sometimes replacing a team member for a period of time if that is needed.

 

What has been the most exciting project you have worked on so far?

I was allocated to a “clean up” task for a client. The client had asked us to help them ensure that their accounting from previous years were also adding up to the current years. It’s quite normal to have some minor issues from the previous years which might mean the numbers don’t add up fully.

It was a very interesting task for me to be involved with to ensure that the books were accurate. The client I worked for was happy with our contribution and has asked me to come back which was also a very nice experience. I like to work for the same clients as you are familiar with how they work and their teams.

It’s not all about the grades, but also whether or not the individual is someone you would feel comfortable sending out to clients. You shouldn’t worry that much about if you have the ideal education or part time experience as consultants come in many shapes and sizes.
Cecilie Fischer Ilsøe, PwC Graduate

What has been the biggest challenge as a graduate?

I guess the flipside to what I described earlier regarding responsibility. You are given a lot of responsibility very early on, so while that is exciting it’s also challenging to be alone with clients and ensuring that you deliver in that role.

 

It’s important that you are comfortable being sent out to clients on your own and can handle that situation. You will of course receive training and guidance and will always have your manager to assist you, but building out that independence and confidence is important.

 

What has been a thing that has surprised you about the programme?

I have a very close relationship with my colleagues. One might think that consultants are focused on their individual goals, but I have actually experienced the opposite and we spend a lot of time together – both at work and outside of work. I enjoy the flexibility as well. You are able to plan your own schedule as long as you meet objectives and it doesn’t impact your clients.

Why do you think you made it all the way through?

I haven’t received specific feedback on that, but I think the below are important areas: First and foremost, I think it’s important that you are excited about the potential to become a consultant at PwC. You need to have that desire/drive to learn the skillset and be excited about the potential to help our clients.

 

I also think that soft skills (communication, interaction skills etc.) are very important. It’s not all about the grades, but also whether or not the individual is someone you would feel comfortable sending out to clients. You shouldn’t worry that much about if you have the ideal education or part time experience as consultants come in many shapes and sizes. My team consists of profiles with very varied backgrounds.

 

Fun fact about yourself?

Being a farmer girl, I’m quite capable when it comes to managing a farm and all the animals in it. Although I’m not sure I will take it on if my dad decides to retire.

 

Did you apply for other graduate programmes?

Yes I did. 

 

➔  Hiring!  PwC are hiring graduates right now. Click here for more details on the programme.