Key points on the KPMG 'immersive' assessment centre
This section covers the structure of KPMG graduate and intern assessment centres.
KPMG’s ‘immersive’ assessment centre
Described as ‘immersive’, the KPMG assessment centre focuses on placing applicants in scenarios that will relate directly to their work. All the tasks are very practical; at the start of the day, candidates receive information on a fictional company, based on KPMG, which will relate to all the tasks throughout the rest of the assessment centre. This is how the day is likely progress:
- Virtual office exercise: This is a laptop-based exercise which tests the candidate’s ability to prioritise. A series of emails and voicemails will need to be dealt with within a time limit. Led through by a 3D virtual assistant, the exercise will last around an hour and candidates will need to keep to deadlines and rework their priorities on the spot as new information comes in about a project.
- Analysis exercise: This is a written exercise in which candidates have to produce a report from detailed information they are given. It takes approximately an hour.
Your KPMG assessment centre analytical written task will take the form of a report. You are provided with information in a booklet and will be asked to compile a report on the content therein. The booklet can be used for all the tasks throughout the assessment day. The report you create needs to consider what the client company is doing well, what could be improved upon and the challenges it will face in the future.
- Lunch: This is not assessed – it is an opportunity to meet with KPMG employees currently on the graduate scheme.
- Two simulated meetings: These are very similar to the kinds of meetings candidates would have if they were working for KPMG – one with a ‘client’, the other with ‘colleagues’.
Following each section of the assessment centre you are given 10 minutes to comment upon your performance.
The KPMG virtual office exercise
Something KPMG are particularly proud of is the new virtual office exercise. Candidates are greeted by 3D Avatars (Lucy, Charlie and Sam – similar in visuals to the protagonists found in games such as The Sims) and are introduced to various tasks. Much of this is about responding to emails and prioritising information as it comes in.
Tasks in the past have included looking into a client’s financial controls and the effect of governance structures upon it. In short clips you are given a lot of information, such as contact names, an outline of project goals, and timescales.
How to ace the written tasks at a KPMG graduate assessment centre
The analytical report
You’ll be given a booklet containing information on a client company. You’ll be referring back to this throughout the assessment centre, but for the purposes of the reporting task you need to collate the relevant information and produce a report to a specified brief.
How to approach: You’ll be given an hour to write your report. The key is to keep it simple – the brief given to you by KPMG is likely to be quite short, but the content very dense. The whole point is to break your report down into easily manageable chunks.
You need to think about how you would produce a report for a manager at KPMG. If you were working for Clinton Cards, a company that requires KPMG’s assistance after suspending its shares on the stock market, for example, then there are a lot of different factors for a team at KPMG to consider. You may well be asked to compile a report summing up the major services KPMG can offer the company. This would likely be for your line manager to present to management above him, and therefore needs to be concise and structured in a way that can be immediately absorbed and understood.
Your ten minutes of self-reflection
After each task at the KPMG assessment centre you will be given ten minutes to comment upon your own performance – essentially writing a mini-report on yourself.
How to approach: If we take the example of Clinton Cards, above, once more, you may well have found that you missed pieces of information or failed to prioritise certain elements ahead of others. The task here is not necessarily to say what you did right or wrong – in fact, there’s little point stating what you’ve already done right as KPMG assessors can see that from your report. Instead, think about not what you did wrong, but focus on what you would have done with an extra 30 minutes. Would you have highlighted that Clinton Cards had just gone through a strategic review to try to amend some its lost market share already? And if so, why?
'The day starts with online assessments and there will be a facilitator present with the candidates. Once these have been completed, we have two simulated role plays. Assessors attend these to observe and record what the candidate says.'
KPMG graduate recruitment team