Name: Sam Tao
Degree and university: Chemistry Masters, Oxford.
Work Title: Executive, PwC, Business Recovery Services, London
Can you describe exactly what it is you do?
The work that I do varies from project to project. For example, ensuring that the creditors are paid correctly in an administration and monitoring the processes of the agent which we employ to perform the administration. I’ve also worked on building financial models that indicate what creditors may get paid back in a bankruptcy. I also help out with marketing which involves preparing pitches to deliver to clients, researching potential companies which may benefit from our services using news through analysing their financials and their latest news.
Would you ever do more qualifications to further your career?
Yes – although not at the moment, as I’ve only just completed by Chartered Accountancy qualification!
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides?
I like the variety the most and the fact that each client is different and that your role will be slightly different on each project. You also get to work with lots of different people; both within PwC (as more of out work now involves other PwC departments) and outside PwC, be it lawyers or other advisors and stakeholders. There is also a lot of client contact which makes the job more challenging and interesting.
As the work is project based, there are peaks and troughs in terms of how busy you are. If steady defined hours are the environment that you are looking for then what I probably isn’t most appropriate.
Where do you ultimately see yourself going in this career?
Difficult question – in the short – medium term, I see myself developing my experience and skills further as your career really begins once you qualify (prior to that, your focus is really your exams).
What qualities do you think you need as a person to make a success in this business?
Flexibility to adapt to different circumstances (as each project is different and you may be working with different people), being able to build good relationships with people (this is important as we can work with so many different people on a project) and real enthusiasm for getting involved with not just the project work that we do but also the other work the we do internally such as training courses, marketing, organising social events etc.
What would be your best piece of advice for people wanting to come into this sector?
Make sure you understand what the exams involve and how much time you will need to dedicate to doing the exams. Go to the careers fairs where PwC attend and speak to the PwC people there. Ask them questions about what they actually do, what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy – find out as much as you can from them as it’ll be ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ and it’s the kind of information you can’t get from the website or brochure. Finally, ask yourself what kind of environment you like to work in. Will you enjoy project work? Do you prefer steady hours or variable hours? Are you comfortable working with numbers? Would you mind having to travel?