We are launching a new run of Summer Internship in Technology Consulting. In a team where every project is a bit different, business and technologies are always connected to each other. I talked to Filip Laštovka, Senior Consultant, who joined PwC nearly three years ago, about the experience people can get from a simple summer internship. Even his journey towards technology projects started by him responding to an internship offer which he was happy to accept even though it meant travelling from the Durham University in the UK.
The Technology Consulting team consists of people with very diverse life stories. How would you describe yours?
My story was very international. I studied at a high school in Brussels, but at a university in England. Although I’m involved in Technology Consultingnow, I have a bachelor’s degree focused on sports management and a master’s degree at Durham University where I graduated from the field of management and finance. On the other hand, I must say that a career in consulting was very appealing to me even during my studies and that I had been looking for job opportunities precisely in this area.
What exactly did you find interesting about consulting?
Actually, there were several reasons. I knew I could get a lot of experience during quite a short period of time. That I could try to work for several clients on diverse projects. In this area, you have an opportunity to solve strategic issues that the companies’ top management must deal with. There are always new challenges you need to face. All that was confirmed at PwC.
Spending your whole study time in the west of Europe and then moving to the Czech Republic, that’s not too common. It tends to be the other way around, actually. What brought you to the idea of working Prague?
In fact, it was quite an easy decision. At the career site of the uni, I found an ad by the Czech PwC, offering an internship in the Technology Consulting team. Combining technologies and consulting is something I found attractive even then. Along with the ESG (environmental, social and governance) initiative, I consider technologies as something to be forming the future of business in the next few years. Moreover, I consider the Czech market very interesting and offering a lot of opportunities and potential. In the end, after all the years spent abroad studying, it was a nice kind of homecoming.
You hadn’t studied the field of technology, though. Was that a problem?
For me, the advantage was that I had been interested in technologies even during my studies. I kept monitoring the news in digitalisation, especially with banks and insurance companies, and I chose the trends in insurance even for the topic of my diploma thesis – in particular, I focused on startups in the insurance industry, their products, services and business models. Despite not having technical background, I had been well aware of the newest trends. However, PwC welcomes even people without any technical education, as they often bring a new insight to the work.
All that sounds very ambitious. Did you believe for your summer internship to be as important?
It’s important for students to get work experience and to show their potential. I was no exception to that; an internship at PwC is priceless, as it can be used anywhere. At that time, it was very important to me to be flexible and to have the time for completing my diploma thesis. In this regard, PwC was very forthcoming. During the course of the 8-week internship, I worked full-time and then I had two weeks to complete and hand over my thesis. In the end, I even got enough time to go back to England to pack my stuff and return to the Czech Republic, as during the internship I already got a permanent offer to become a consultant which I was happy to accept having no doubts at all.
What did you learn in those eight weeks?
The great thing was that I was in the same position as a consultant-beginner. There are no differences made between interns and consultants. At the end of the first week, a decision was made that I’d work with a large bank client on the implementation of an online platform to help arrange loans through third parties. The client needed some capable people to help them with analysis of business and technical requirements of the platform, with the definition of the interface and the preparation of associated back-office processes. Along with a more experienced colleague of mine, we formed a successful two-member team and helped manage the external suppliers as well as the whole project.
Working on such a major project with an important client is really demanding. How did you manage?
There are two things that matter the most with our new colleagues – their interest in working with technologies and their willingness to learn new things. Every client is different and you need to find your bearings in their infrastructure really fast. You need to be able to ask, listen and soak up what you learn. I’d recommend the internship to everyone who is capable of that and who wants to get interesting experience with a global firm with an excellent reputation. No university in the world can prepare you for what you experience here. You need to see for yourself. It’s about the experience and what you learn from it. Consulting can guarantee you the so-called “steep learning curve“; when it comes to technology consulting, this proves twice as true.
So what about the technologies in your team? Do candidates for an internship need to dedicate their diploma thesis to bank digitalisation, or are the prerequisites of a more general nature?
Not at all. Over a half of our team has no technological background. Our job is to connect the world of business with IT. That’s why we need colleagues with great analytical and communication skills as well as a common sense and a friendly personality. At the same time, we value people who can show some initiative. Technical background is not a must, but it’s practical, obviously. All new joiners can take advantage of a broad range of trainings focused on various fields directly from technology consulting, such as Application Analysis, SQL, Project Management, Design Thinking or soft skills, too.
What do you enjoy about consulting these days? Did your homecoming live up to your expectations?
I’d say so, definitely. I like the fact that consulting keeps me always on guard and, due to the nature of the field and the opportunity to change clients’ views, it also keeps me a bit beyond my comfort zone, so that’s exciting. During the three years spent at PwC, I had the opportunity to work on 8 different projects in two companies. In the end, I’d say that the studies abroad as well as the decision to come back have paid off. Thanks to the studies, my English is good, I learned to stay on top of things, to build good relationships and trust, and to understand the needs of our clients much better. Coming back, I had the opportunity to perceive the position of the Czech market a bit better and to look into our competitors from the west.
That outperformed my expectations. Even during the internship itself, I was excited about the friendly atmosphere. Everyone is on first-name terms, which is not very common with our clients. The atmosphere is great and the approach is always very open and supportive. It’s not about any hierarchy – the structure of our team is more horizontal and, moreover, very young. Work-life balance is something well-handled here and, in our team, we even get the chance to do some after-work activities together. We work in the BXT mindset – combining business, user experience and technologies – that gives us the opportunity to perceive the projects from various angles and comprehensively. Not only do our solutions fulfil their business vision, but they also provide a technological function and good user experience to our customers. Our clients include major companies of various fields and the diversity of our projects is enormous, so there’s no chance I would ever find the job unattractive.
PwC Content Specialist
Are you interested in career in Technology Consulting and would you like to give it a go? Sign up for our Summer Internship. We are looking for new colleagues right now.