PwC’s 3,500 summer interns set for virtual internship

The impact of Covid-19 has resulted in PwC US shifting its summer internship program to the virtual space.

The pandemic has forced the shutdown of non-essential businesses as governments seek to slow the spread of coronavirus. For office environments, such as in the professional services sector, social distancing policy has resulted in a wholesale move to remote and virtual work.

Many college students have been hit by rescindment of employment offers or the cancellation of internship programs, as companies either no longer have the need for new employees as demand crashes, or don’t have the digital infrastructure to effectively onboard, manage, and use new recruits.

Larger companies with adequate technological infrastructure, however, are pushing ahead with virtual internship programs. Big Four accounting and consulting firm PwC US is one such company.

PwC's 3,500 summer interns set for virtual internship

“We feel good about our technology,” Rod Adams, US recruiting lead for PwC, told publication Poets & Quants. “We’ve invested quite a bit in our technology and infrastructure as a firm over the last few years. That investment definitely has positioned us well for our people who are here to work virtually. That investment will help us with the interns as well.”

Though the firm considered cancelling the summer internship, it eventually decided to move forward with a remote experience. PwC annually hires approximately 3,500 undergraduate and MBA students as summer interns.

The program has been moved back from June 1 to July 1, and will last six weeks. Working virtually, interns will still serve clients and work with engagement teams.

A typical career progression with the Big Four firm starts with an internship, with the summer hires supporting the company’s associates on project work. Then, the successful interns come back as associates themselves.

PwC is ultimately confident that it can provide a worthwhile experience for interns despite the altered nature of the program. Adams says interns will still be effectively monitored for how engaged they are and what ideas and value they bring to the company during the six-week program.

Interns, meanwhile, can still get a feel for the culture and community of the firm by meeting people virtually and asking questions, according to Adams. After-work social events, however, will have to wait.

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