If you're interested in KPMG's People & Change (P&C) Consulting team, this article will give you an overview of my recruiting journey and summer internship experience and answer any questions you might have! **Please note that all views expressed are my own.
Through my time as a hockey referee and baseball umpire, I developed a love for problem solving and working in dynamic environments. Paired with my passion for learning and helping others, consulting seemed like a great fit for me! I decided to gain some consulting experience to verify that it was something I enjoyed doing. My consulting work with startups, small businesses, and nonprofits through Parkin Consulting (now Paragon Consulting), confirmed I did indeed enjoy consulting and could see myself doing it for a career after graduation.
Why KPMG's People & Change Consulting team?
Now that I knew consulting was for me, I needed to decide what kind of consulting I wanted to do. I took courses in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behaviour, and gained HR experience through nonprofit work, leading me to land on Human Capital Consulting (as opposed to Strategy/Tech/Operations/Marketing/etc.) because it better aligned with my interests.
After deciding on Human Capital Consulting, I began figuring out which firm I saw myself working at. KPMG's P&C Consulting team stood out to me for a few reasons:
People. Every coffee chat, info session, and interview felt very welcoming. Everyone was easy to talk to and the conversations didn't feel transactional or rushed.
Entrepreneurial Culture. The P&C team is growing rapidly and there are many opportunities to play a big role in business development, something I was very interested in. There is also a continuous improvement mindset where people can freely voice their new ideas and opinions.
People-centric Work. Within the P&C team, everything we do revolves around people and helps make people's lives easier, whether it be improving employee experience and wellbeing or helping employees navigate change. There is also a social impact presence through the P&C Impact team, something that very much resonated with me given my interest in the nonprofit sector.
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. KPMG is the only Canadian organization that provides both Inclusion & Diversity advisory services and has won Canada's Best Diversity Employers Award 13 years in a row. KPMG also has a Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer and won the Microsoft Canada Impact Award for Community Response.
Recruiting Process Format and Timelines
This section outlines the interview format and timelines from my recruiting journey. Please note these may change this year.
Round 1: (60-min interview, half behavioural and half case interview, interviewed by a Senior Consultant & Consultant)
Round 2: (same timing and format as Round 1, interviewed by a Senior Manager & Manager)
Networking & Research (April 2020 - Oct 2020)
Interview Preparation (Nov 2020 - Jan 2021)
Submitted Application, Received Interview Offer, and Paired with Interview Buddy (1st week of Jan 2021)
Round 1 Interview (2nd week of Jan 2021)
Round 2 Interview & Offer (3rd week of Jan 2021)
Internship (17 weeks, May-August 2021)
The recruiting process can seem daunting and sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin. I've broken down four steps you can take to help you with your preparation:
Research. Conducting research about the industry, company, and person you're speaking with can help you ask informed questions. For example, reading KPMG Thought Leadership and asking a question about how a specific trend has played out for KPMG and clients. This shows you are curious to learn more and are willing to take that extra step beyond asking surface level questions.
Network. Companies receive hundreds of applications with strong grades and experience. Networking can help you stand out! My advice is to speak with 1-2 interns at each company you're interested in to learn more about the internship experience, the company, and the industry. After that, you can speak with 1-2 working professionals at each company you're interested in to further your understanding of what a longer-term career could look like. I've developed a Networking Templates, Tracker, and Dashboard package to help you save time and increase your chances of receiving responses to your messages.
Mental Math. Magoosh and RocketBlocks are great resources to help you prepare for quantitative components of your case interviews. The ability to solve quantitative questions quickly and accurately can set you apart from other candidates.
Mock Cases. Practicing case interviews and behavioural questions with your peers can provide you with valuable feedback and ease your nerves going into interview season. There is no magic number of practice cases you need to do - I know people who have received job offers after doing anywhere from 8 to 50 practice cases.
Despite being fully remote, I seamlessly integrated with the team and felt very welcome. I typically spent about half my day on calls and the other half working on my own. I had multiple calls each day with my project teams, weekly calls with my buddy, weekly calls with my performance manager, and weekly calls with my fellow interns to stay connected.
The following sections will provide more details about my internship experience:
KPMG Summer Shakeup Initiative
KPMG gave employees five additional paid days off and $500 this summer to counter the negative mental health impacts of COVID-19. This gave me the chance to spend more time with family and friends, and make some additions to my home gym!
PowerUp Internship Program
KPMG's PowerUp Internship Program provided a wide range of events over the course of the summer to provide learning and team bonding opportunities.
Social Events (virtual escape rooms, online games, yoga, mental health, mindfulness, etc.)
Power BI Training (learned about data analytics and visualization with Power BI)
Panels (events featuring partners, employee resource groups, innovation leaders, etc.)
Innovation Challenge (worked in a cross-functional team to address "What will the future of gas stations look like in 2050?")
I spent most of my summer on one main client engagement while supporting three additional engagements. I was given ownership and autonomy when developing deliverables while also having the opportunity to work on projects that aligned with my interests and development goals.
Client Project A (Inclusion & Diversity Project)
Developed a playbook to address systemic racism and barriers that Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour face throughout the talent processes (recruitment, development, engagement, performance management, and succession planning)
Client Project B (Learning & Development Project for a Financial Institution)
Worked with the customer team to develop employee training materials for a financial services institution that was rolling out a new product offering
Client Project C (International Quality & Risk Management Project)
Conducted stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis, and document review across 7 countries to develop a Quality and Risk Management playbook of best practices
Client Project D (Org Design Project for a Municipal Government)
Created best practice job descriptions to support the organizational redesign of a municipal government
Competitor Analysis and Value Proposition Development
Analyzed competitors and supported development of value proposition for a service offering
Co-led development of an employee experience methodology to bring a service offering to market
Contributed to 5 proposals to help land new clients. Proposals included:
Reviewing recruitment, promotion, and succession planning programs to ensure accountability, fairness, and transparency for employees
Organizational Assessment and Culture Audit to inform an Equity Framework and Multi-Year Implementation Plan
Current State Assessment and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy Development
Diversity and Inclusion Review
Mainstreaming Gender Considerations
Co-chaired GTA Social Media Intern Committee, creating content for our employer brand team
Lead Campus Ambassador for Ivey
Everyone says consulting has a steep learning curve - they aren't kidding! I learned a lot this summer and wanted to highlight a handful of these learnings for you:
Attention to detail. Little things such as having periods at the end of some bullets and not others can stand out like a sore thumb. Your ability to catch minor details like this in your work and your team's work can help you thrive in any workplace setting.
Managing up. Managers, Senior Managers, Directors, and Partners are often juggling multiple projects, so do what you can to make their lives easier. Whether this be taking the lead on scheduling meeting invites or creating concise update emails, you can provide some relief, save them valuable time in their days, and help them prioritize their time.
Learn to say "no". As students, we often have an overwhelming amount of competing opportunities, and in consulting it is no different. I learned to find a balance between being helpful and learning to say no when I reached my limits. It is better to focus on producing quality work for three things than to produce mediocre work for five things.
Speak up. Everyone brings unique experiences and ideas to each situation. If you have an idea, don't be afraid to make it known to your team - there is no such thing as a bad idea.
Don't get attached to your work. Don't take it personally if someone redesigns a slide you made or rewrites a handout you wrote. Your work will go through many iterations, and over time there will be fewer changes made as you better understand the preferences and working styles of your teammates.
Check out my Mornings With Matt Career Services if you need support with your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, or interview prep. I've screened 250+ resumes/cover letters, conducted 250+ interviews, and helped my clients land interviews and offers at McKinsey, Bain, KPMG, EY, Deloitte, BMO, Capital One, Scotiabank, and more!
If you have any follow up questions after reading this article, please don't hesitate to message me on LinkedIn and I'll respond to you as soon as I can! Best of luck with your job search and remember to follow me and #morningswithmatt so you don't miss any content!