PwC Preparing Interns for Its New Virtual World

July 13, 2020 | By NACE Staff

The abstract concept of digital networking.

TAGS: best practices, coronavirus, Internships, nace insights, operations,

Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

Although the coronavirus pandemic disrupted PwC’s internship program for this summer, the firm ensured it did not diminish the quality of its program or tamp down its expectations. In fact, PwC is providing its more than 3,600 summer interns with an experience that is preparing them for the new virtual world.  

“Our goal is to give all our interns and entry-level hires the quality experience they deserve, despite the fact that this will be the first time they will not be able to experience our offices in person,” says Rod Adams, U.S. and Mexico talent acquisition and onboarding leader at PwC.

“PwC’s mobility as an organization and our robust technology infrastructure allowed us to pivot quickly in making the decision to transition to a virtual internship program. The interns are provided access to PwC’s suite of digital assets, including our online collaboration tools and learning modules.”

The recruitment process did not differ much from previous years, since PwC extended nearly all offers prior to quarantine.

“With that being said,” Adams points out, “our Start and M.B.A. interns will be evaluated using criteria called the PwC Professional, which is our global framework for defining and encouraging leadership at all levels, including interns.”

PwC will evaluate the interns on how well they perform key attributes: whole leadership, business acumen, technical and digital capabilities, global and inclusive behavior, and relationships.

“This framework describes the capabilities we need—who we need to be and the behaviors we need to adopt—to meet the expectations of our clients, colleagues, and communities in today’s changing global marketplace,” Adams says.

This virtual experience exposes interns to the digital upskilling curriculum and trainings that are representative of PwC’s new way of working and that prepare them for future success at the firm, he explains.

“We put a lot of thought into our redesign,” Adams points out. “Interns have the opportunity to build digital skills that will help secure their future, including learning key tools and digital topics that are driving digitization at PwC.”

For example, he says that a digital badge program allows PwC team members to earn digital credentials for mastery of in-demand tech skills, including digital acumen, data visualization, business analytics, and artificial intelligence. “Digital academy” courses are a strategic investment to build PwC employees’ capabilities in data analysis, visualization, and automation and are available to all staff, including interns.

“In addition,” Adams adds, “we identified ways for our interns to connect and network with their fellow interns and develop relationships with partners and staff within our firm.

“With all of the disruption, we want to give all our interns and entry-level hires the quality experience they deserve. Interns and entry-level hires are critical to the future of PwC—it is very important that we do right by them.”

Furthermore, while PwC is offering its interns value in the current environment, it is also taking a long view toward workforce preparation.

“The key is preparing our future workforce for our new virtual world and ensuring that they understand what to expect when they take on a virtual role,” Adams explains.

“New digital tools and remote arrangements are changing the way that we work, and it’s important to help these individuals understand the concepts and resources that they should be familiar with upon entering the workforce.”

To aid in this, PwC is offering its Digital Fitness App free of charge to anyone interested. The app, Adams notes, helps users understand new technologies and their impact on learning and on the ways that the firm’s employees work and solve important problems.

“As we transition to an increasingly virtual and tech-enabled work environment,” he adds, “helping interns to understand which digital skills will benefit them in the workplace is an important part of the internship experience.”