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This article is written by Aarchie Chaturvedi, a student of NUSRL, Ranchi.

Joginder Singh is a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young, India who solves complex business problems and enterprise risk, using data analytics and business intelligence expertise. He has demonstrated a history of forensics & integrity investigations. He investigates modus operandi and does root cause analysis across sectors like E-Commerce, Banking, & Financial Services, Manufacturing, Auto, Steel, Payments, Tobacco, Healthcare, Analytics, IT & ITES, Telecom, Government & Public Sector, Medical Devices, and Alco-bev et. al. 

Once a student of humanities, law, and management, Mr.Singh later turned into a Business Analyst having expertise in tools and languages including Python, R, SQL, C, C++, Advanced Excel, VBA, Tableau, Qlikview, Altryx, Intella, Relativity, Brainspace, Kroll, Ringtail, Documatrix, Xerox OmniX, Stratify, Clearwell, LexisNexis, Westlaw, Manupatra, and Factivaet. al.

He was invited for a session with LawSikho on the topic, how can government college students crack a big 4 firm job. The session was moderated by Ankit Vaid, Senior Sales Assistant & Startup Growth Hacker, LawSikho.

Scoring a job at one of the big 4 firms (Deloitte, KPMG, EY, PricewaterhouseCoopers, etc) matters to everyone, and almost every person dreams about it. In this session, Mr. Joginder Singh who did this on his own shares his experience and learning on how to score a big 4 firm job.

Following are the questions to which Mr.Singh gave succinct answers during the course of the webinar

Table of Contents

How can a student from a government college secure a job at the big 4 firms when there are no placement cells in such colleges?

Mr. Singh affirms to the fact that there are no placement cells in government colleges or even if some of the government colleges have placement cells, they hardly work. They are not able to attract the big 4 firms as the NLU’s and other private colleges are able to.

However, students from the government colleges can still join the big 4 firms. They can start by looking up for opportunities at the career websites. These big 4 firms generally post their vacancies on the career websites which can be easily looked up for. Some examples of these sites can be Glassdoor, naukri.com, etc. Apart from this, students can also follow the LinkedIn and Facebook pages of these sites as these pages are very responsive. He advises that instead of applying to each and every company, one should shortlist companies based upon one’s desire, and the level of experience required by the respective company.

What are the particulars that one should mention in their CV for getting a call for the interview?

For getting your CV shortlisted a few things that must be kept in mind are:

  1. Don’t copy, paste things from another CV.
  2. Your CV should be of appropriate length (i.e 2/3 pages); it should not be too long or too short.
  3. Your CV should mention the co-curricular activities you participated in, your papers that were published in some reputed journal, your academic grades, your literary achievements, your internships, and other projects undertaken by you. Any computer skills that you have acquired is a plus point and it should also be mentioned in your CV. 

What are the different grounds for getting a job?

As compared to other companies, the big 4 firms receive a huge number of applications. If one’s CV is shortlisted, then it will go through duplication checks. After the checks are done, the HR shares a pre-interview form with you in which you have to fill in your basic details. However, in today’s time and age, the big four like all other firms have automated themselves, and candidates can simply fill and submit the form available online on their websites. Once this is done with, then you will be called for two/three rounds of interview. The first round of interview is conducted by the HR department in which one is questioned on one’s preferences, interests, and learning abilities. This round is basically for assessing your personality and checking whether you are suitable for the corporate culture or not. 

After this round of interview, a technical interview takes place. For example, if they are hiring you for contract drafting, then they will question you on the Contract law like what are the essentials of the contract, what are the clauses of the contract, etc.  

He also mentions that one’s research skills will also be tested. Research skills related to the usage of various platforms are required to clear these interviews. 

Can you give our audience some examples of questions asked during the HR round of interview?

  1. Tell me something about yourself- this is the very first question in the interview. Mr.Singh advises the candidates to aptly handle this question as through this question one can mold the course of the interview. One can tell the recruiter something about one’s achievements which are related to the post one is applying for. Mr. Singh also asks the students to refrain from answering such a question with answers like “everything is written in the CV, what else do you want to hear for me”. He suggests the students not to include the details of their personal background in their answers unless asked for. 
  2. Why do you want to work for the big four?; It is important for you as a candidate to know about the company’s mission statement prior to the interview. One should have done all the research they can, on their part, on points like what services the company provides, how many people are working in the organization, what type of work they do, and what type of clients do they handle. Researching these points will provide you with ideas on how to reply to a question asked during the interview. 
  3. Why do you want to work for our company?
  4. What are your salary expectations?
  5. What are your greatest weaknesses and strengths?
  6. Are you willing to travel?

For law graduates, what are the verticals in these big 4 firms to which one can apply?

In the big 4 firms, there are three to four verticals to which a law graduate can apply. First being, the risk advisory where a law graduate can apply for contract management as well as compliance. In contract management, right from selection of contract template to post-signing of the contract,  the payments, and the renewals; everything that happens in a life cycle of a contract requires the presence of professionals who are law graduates. Thus there is a huge demand for contract management specialists. 

The second vertical is GSO support, which is also a legal department. All the companies under this department have their in-house counsel requirements for which they again need law students.   

Another vertical is the investigation department. A maximum number of law students are hired under this department. 

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If somebody wants to intern with big 4 firms what is the procedure? 

The big 4 firms keep on taking interns on a regular basis. They keep on posting for intern requirements on websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc. Talking about EY, in particular, Mr. Singh says that if at some point in time one is unable to find any vacancy in the EY then he/she should reach out to the EY’s official career page, and search for the Join Us option. Under Join Us, there is an option to apply for student internships. One can upload his/her resumes there. From there the CVs will be picked up by the  HR of EY and then they will definitely revert back to you whenever the need for interns arises. He furthermore tells that all big 4 firms pay a stipend to the interns as well. 

What is the average salary, one can expect if he applies for a job here?

Salary depends upon the position you have applied for and the department you have applied in. For instance, under risk management one is paid higher than if one was involved with the investigations department. 

Do you find any biasness when it comes to the selection of both interns and job aspirants at the big four firms, from among candidates belonging to  NLU’s, Non-NLU’s, and government colleges?

For shortlisting done by the HR of the company, there is no bias. Hardly any bias exists at that level. Your CV is the only criterion to judge you at the initial stages. However, in the interview round,  there might exist a bias for selecting a candidate depending upon their college. There might be a soft corner for people who come from NLS,  NALSAR, or other reputed colleges. But not all interviewers are paying heed to this fact. It depends from person to person. 

How can someone from a non-NLU background or from a not so reputed college come at par with students from these colleges?

Mr. Singh advises that in such cases, students can present before the recruiters their ability to learn things. One should present his/her trait of learnability to the people interviewing him/her, which will show that one is capable enough to compete with people coming from other premier law schools.

How do you negotiate your salary with the employers at big 4, once you are selected, as students who are from non-NLU’s or students who don’t have any mentor tend to face discrimination in terms of receiving a lower salary?

Mr. Singh says that if you are a fresher there is no such discrimination. So there’s hardly a need for negotiation. Otherwise, also, he informs, that the big 4 firms generally offer such salaries that candidates hardly feel the urge to negotiate with them. Even then also, if someone feels that they are at a disadvantageous position, then they can put in their demand in front of the employer,  based upon the market rate and the company standards. It must be understood that the difference in salaries has a rational nexus to the experience of the candidates and not to the colleges they are/were affiliated to. 

What kind of work do you do at EY?

Mr. Singh says that he is working with the investigation department. Investigation is done by various means. His team, in particular, revives data which is extracted from the custodians (custodians are susceptible people). His work involves investigating whistleblower complaints, doing regulatory investigation, and also providing litigation support for fact-finding things.

What is the impact of the Corona outbreak on the big 4?

Mr. Joginder says that he doesn’t think that anyone will be losing their job in the big 4 firms due to the pandemic.  Everybody at big 4 firms is quite occupied with work, with the help of the work from home set up which is prevalent these days.

Will there be a surge or a downfall in the job opportunities after the lockdown is lifted?

It depends upon the market. Big 4 are consulting firms; so everything is dependent upon whether the market rises or falls.   

Are there any online internship opportunities for students?

Currently, we don’t have one. However, once the lockdown is lifted not only EY but many other companies as well, may come up with opportunities for online internships. 

What are the skills expected out of lawyers in tax practice?

Lawyers should be able to understand profit and losses. They are generally required for income tax litigation. Big 4 firms are CA firms so they generally require CA’s, but there are several other verticals where lawyers are required too, one of them being tax litigation. Taxation laws like GST, how GST has to be filed, creating GST accounts are some of the areas in which expertise is demanded out of young lawyers.  

Is there any CGPA or marks requirement for being hired at big 4?

No, in the big 4 there are no such requirements. 

What work is an intern supposed to do in these firms?

It depends upon projects. Mostly they are given research part of the work.  

What are the necessary skills one requires to get into a big 4 job?

For a big 4 firm job, one requires to have good writing skills, and an ability to draft emails for professional purposes. One should also be able to use various database platforms efficiently like LexisNexis, SCC, etc. A number of publications accredited to one’s name will surely be an assistant for one in cracking these interviews.  Mr.Singh reminds us that the CV and cover letter is the first impression you give of yourself to a recruiter, so you should remember to include anything credible you have done, over here.

Will a student pursuing company secretaryship along with LLB be given a  preference in getting a job or internship at big 4?

Any such student will definitely be given preference over any other student who pursued a law degree only.


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