Life On The Job: Associate

Lydia Kwan Li-Ya, Associate at PwC tells readers what it's like to be in her shoes!
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Lydia Kwan Li-Ya
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How were your university days like?

I’ve always had an affinity towards understanding the human psyche and the finer details that differentiate us from one another. This made psychology an obvious choice for me. My educational background has equipped me with rigorous research skills, statistical knowledge and soft skills tha ttransfer well to my current job.

What was your background?

I did not have any prior consulting internship experience, as my interest in the industry was only piqued after I graduated. As a component of my undergraduate degree, I had a half-year stint teaching at a home schooling centre. Although this experience is not directly related to my current job, it was nonetheless invaluable as education remains an area of interest to me.

How is your company and job?

PwC comprises of four primary lines of service, assurance, advisory, tax, and internal firm services. I am part of the strategy and execution division within the advisory line of service. To date, I’ve been on three projects, all of which were very different in nature.

The best and worst bits. 

The most enjoyable aspect of my job is its dynamism. There is no stock and standard ‘day in the life of a consultant’ and I love the fact that I get to learn something new with each project. On the flip side, it is sometimes difficult to achieve a good work-life balance.

Name your most memorable achievement at work.

My most memorable project and work achievement thus far are inextricably linked. The project was about a national agenda to increase the number of women on corporate boards. The most exciting aspect was meeting relevant stakeholders who were prominent people, and having stimulating dialogues with them.

How did you get the job?

Consulting interviews tend to be quite rigorous so I made sure that I was up to speed on current news and the evolution of the firm and industry over the past decade. Additionally, I read up on case studies and prepared myself accordingly. This preparation definitely helped as it enabled me to structure my thoughts well and be confident with my responses.

Be prepared for... 

Consultants are essentially in the business of providing innovative insights and solutions. Since achieving this end requires a great deal of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction, it calls for a great measure of flexibility and perseverance. There are times when the process is extremely invigorating, and other times when it can be somewhat frustrating.

What's your advice for graduates?

It is important to make a conscious effort to build your CV, not for mere superficial reasons, but because your accomplishments are a testament to good work ethics and a wide range of experiences. This will prepare you for the realities and demands of the working world.