Marcus De Pian
Degree: Economics, First, Royal Holloway, University of London
Year of graduation: 2004
Occupation: Assistant consultant in tax at PwC
What do you do in your job?
I advise clients – including household-name companies such as Mars and Amazon – on the tax implications of sending employees to work outside the UK. That involves meeting these clients to brief them on any necessary compliance issues relating to these international assignments. It also involves working with client contacts – specifically their global mobility teams – to ensure they are structuring the assignments effectively and benefiting from a tax perspective. Typically, I’m based at PwC, although I do spend a lot of time going to see clients.
What was your motivation in applying?
Accountancy seemed a natural progression from an economics degree, and I knew PwC would offer me valuable experience in working with a range of clients. Having researched several companies, I was particularly impressed with the excellent training that PwC offers. Once I started going through the application process, it became clear at an early stage that the tax job offered interesting opportunities.
What did the application process involve?
An online application, followed by a first interview. As I was successful in that, I was invited to a final assessment day, which involved another interview with someone who works in the team I’d applied to join and a range of tasks.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The client contact that we’re encouraged to get involved in from an early stage. I also like the fact that I was encouraged to attend and participate in meetings from the moment I started. Perhaps most of all, I enjoy the atmosphere within the company, which is very stimulating.
Most challenging part of your job?
The exams that I’m doing as part of my ACA qualifications [see box, page 37). As graduate trainees, we are contracted to pass these exams, and it’s definitely the most challenging part of the graduate scheme. That said, the tuition that PwC puts its graduates through is second to none.
Any qualifications involved?
I’ve just completed my final exams for ACA. As I started on a fast-track exam process, I got most of my exams out of the way in the first 13 months of the graduate scheme. It’s a time-pressured way of achieving the qualification. But the benefit of the fast-track approach is that it leaves the final two years of the three-year training contract to build up good client relationships. To make sure I would pass these exams, I studied full-time at college, typically in five- to six-week blocks, four times a year. Because I have to gain three years’ work experience as part of the qualification, I’ll fully qualify by September.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field?
Don’t be put off by not having a degree in finance. I’ve met people with such a diverse range of academic backgrounds that it should in no way defer people from applying. I’d also advise people to research their chosen areas as much as possible – through company websites, speaking to people, and attending careers fairs and presentations.