Maths student wins PwC interview competition

PwC recently invited Swansea University students to take part in their interview competition with the chance to meet one of PwC’s directors and compete for a £500 cash prize. We are delighted that Amy Sutherland, one of our final year MMath students, was chosen as the winner and awarded this fantastic prize.

Careers PWCStudents were asked to send PwC a few paragraphs about their career ambitions and what they hoped to gain from the interview process.  PwC were overwhelmed with entries and shortlisted the top twenty-five entrants to attend an initial interview with Matthew Weston, Student Recruitment Officer and Alex Spaven, West and Wales Student Recruitment Manager, in January this year.  Following these preliminary interviews, three students were selected for a one-to-one interview on the University campus with Ian Clarke, a director at PwC’s Swansea office.

PwC were the sponsors of our last Careers Fair in October 2013, and they regularly advertise internships and graduate jobs in our vacancies database which you can access at  Or go direct to PwC’s career pages at

Amy said: “When I first saw the advertisement for the employability week competition, my first thought was obviously about winning £500. And whilst that has been an amazing bonus, the practice I got from the whole experience has helped me undoubtedly. The initial stage was an online application form, filled out within twenty minutes, mostly basic information but a short question at the end asking for details about why you’d be interested in PwC. This question is similar to those which can be found on many an application form, requiring research into the firm and the line of work you’d be interested in.

The next stage was a 45 minute interview consisting partially of questions about what I do at university and what I would like to do after I have finished. There was a lot of focus in this interview on competency based questions. Although there is no right answer to these sorts of questions, it can be very difficult to answer them in the way that employers want. I have had experience with competency based questions before and although I felt relatively confident in my responses, I received some feedback from my interviewer, Matthew Weston, about things that I hadn’t considered to be of great importance. This definitely made me rethink my technique and apply this advice to improve my replies to the questions.

Finally the second interview, which was the last stage, was more of a focus on my CV, previous employment and skills I have acquired through my experiences. Ian Clarke, the interviewer for this stage, went through my CV section by section, enquiring about the things I have learnt from having each job and the interests I had listed. It was a shorter interview than before but overall very pleasant and relaxed.

Overall the whole experience has given me confidence in my ability to succeed at interviews and even if I had not got past the first interview I believe the feedback that I was given was extremely useful and that it would greatly improve my performance in these situations. I would also like to extend my thanks to the career department of the library for organising the competition and giving me the opportunity to take part in it.”

Image:  Mathematics student Amy Sutherland, centre, receiving her prize from Ian Clarke from PwC and Pauline McDonald, Head of Careers & Employability.

Story by Jo Davies, Waterfront Magazine