Maciko Chan: Placement at PricewaterhouseCoopers
Featured Success Stories
March 02, 2020
Maciko, from Indonesia
I am currently a law student at the University of Leeds. I am currently on a Placement Year and I work in the Claims Operations Department. I did the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme back in Indonesia.
I Chose The UK In The End Because Of How Diverse The Country Is’
What made you pursue higher education in the UK?
Maciko: The reason I chose the UK was that two of my cousins went to the UK to go to University, so my family was kind of geared towards the UK side. I chose the UK in the end because of how diverse the country is, but also because of how the job prospects are after graduation. And also how the University- Esp the Rusell group Universities have a good teaching quality. I know UK really prioritises academia that's why I like their teaching styles and how the professors address themselves in lectures.
Were you aware about the visa sponsorship element of the job application process?
Maciko: I knew that the recruitment process is different for international students, but I did not know specifically how the sponsorship and Tier 2 VISA works, and the fact that not all companies have that sponsorship. So I did not know it back then that only big MNCs usually have this sponsorship.
‘Unless You Are Really Intelligent Or Prove To Be A Unique Asset For The Company They Will Not Sponsor You’
How and what did you find about visa sponsorship?
Maciko: At first, I found out about the sponsorship process through a presentation I attended at the University that addressed the Tier 2 VISA process for international students.
I found out that there are specific companies that have this sponsorship and even applying for this sponsorship is a really long process for the company. So here’s how I registered this in my mind: unless you are really intelligent or prove to be a unique asset for the company they will not sponsor you.
Before Student Circus, I used to visit the Careers pages of law firms, even in the case of PwC. Usually, companies specify on their Careers page whether or not they sponsor international students. However, the smaller law firms don't really specify this on the page so I had to email the graduate recruitment team, inquiring about the sponsorship. To my dismay, I found out that some of the law firms actually do sponsor but not every law firm does.
I came across Student Circus from the University of Leeds email from the Careers Advisors in the School of Law. It was advertised as this platform that has the University Careers Services had collaborated with in order for international students to be able to find jobs. Of course, my instinct was to check it out because it sounded so useful. And it indeed proved to be.
‘Even For A 3-Day Placement, The Application Process Was The Same As For Summer Internships’
How was your job application process?
Maciko: In the first instance, they directly gave me a situational judgement test and a game-based interview which comprised of numerical and logical components. Once I passed that benchmark, I was then asked to do a video interview. It was like a virtual interview recording, unlike one-on-one with someone over skype.
If they are satisfied with the answers, then you are invited to the assessment centre (AC), which was a half-day affair. Then I got the internship offer. This internship was technically not a conventional internship - it lasted all of 3 days - even though the application process was just as rigorous. We had the same AC as for a wide umbrella of applicants - summer interns, us, placement etc. Therefore it would be good for future applicants to know that even for a 3-day placement, the application process was the same as for summer internships.
From my experience, I would say the timelines should begin with you researching through September-October. Apply during the November- December period because most of the deadlines are in January. And then January onwards, they will invite for interviews. I’d say start early because most of the firms here in the UK recruit on a rolling basis which is annoying to handle with everything else but that's the way it is.
‘I Strongly Think That Speaking To Someone Who Has Already Gone Through This Gives Crucial And Unprecedented Insights Into The Whole Process’
What tools and resources did you use?
Maciko: The Career Services team is very helpful. I did a mock interview for my placement year interview and an application review.
They have also provided great guidance in exploring different career routes and helped navigate the various opportunities available in the market.
My Uni also has this portal called MyCareers where they advertise job openings.
As for the resources that helped me during the various application stages, I would practice for the online tests beforehand. I also spoke to my seniors about the overall process to get an insight into the types of questions asked. I strongly think that speaking to someone who has already gone through this gives crucial and unprecedented insights into the whole process.
This wasn't my first application as such, but this was the first application that I went through all of the stages of the application process for. I would also say practice makes perfect and it was one of the factors - because when I first started applying, prior to PwC, I realised what bits of my application was not okay. It gets better the more you do it.
‘Interacting With Someone In A Professional Setting Does Bring In A Lot Of Lessons’
How is a day at the office like?
Maciko: In the placement, I was assigned with a buddy who was an associate. I could ask her any questions - informally and formally. I shadowed her for the first day. I was in the tax department and she made calls to the HMRC. I also attended several meetings about what partners, managers and associates had to say about particular issues. I also attended a client call. The first day was mostly insight into what a typical day would look like if you were in PwC. Come Day 2 and I was cross-checking invoices in the direct tax department. I was also told to research a potential client that they might take up and had to report on that. So I was polishing my research skills but also organisation and communication skills. Interacting with someone in a professional setting does bring in a lot of lessons.
‘Student Circus Really Helped Me But A Lot Of International Students Are Still Just Getting To Know About It’
Any advice for the incoming cohort of international students?
Maciko: My peers are also definitely struggling because the process is so complicated, especially with the VISA, and UK recruiters will only see the top and brightest talent because sponsorship is expensive. I feel like Student Circus really helped me but a lot of international students are still just getting to know about it.
I would definitely advise anyone coming here to research the VISA process because I was naive, not knowing how competitive it is and how complicated it is. Two, I would also suggest students polish writing and communication skills because that counts in their applications, CVs, and even public speaking. Juggling all the things - school work and applications is hard. On top of it, there's a pressure of sponsorship which aggravates it for international students.
Third, research about how UK recruitment process works. Because I know recruiters in Asian countries follow a very different process.
I think Student Circus has helped me not just by advertising the companies that sponsor the VISA but also with information on VISA sponsorship that international students are clueless about. Student Circus explains that really well.
Maciko: I am currently doing a placement year. So, I will be applying for summer internships and eventually for graduate roles. I am also applying for certain graduate roles now because it is the 2022 intake. Eventually, I want to work here and get a Tier 2 visa, so Student Circus is how I am going to access these opportunities.