Interview with Alumni: Cyncelia Huang’17 shares her experience in PwC as senior tax associate
“Interview with International Alumni” is a new program consisting of a series of interviews conducted by the Babson Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) and members of the Undergraduate Center for Career Development. This program will invite several international alumni to share their work experiences and career paths.
Graduation Year: 2017
Concentration: Accounting and Finance
About: Cyncelia’s global background makes her particularly agile to trends in the business world — She is intrigued by digital transformation. As a senior associate in the Tax Reporting & Strategy team, Cyncelia helps clients leverage cutting-edge technology and practical solutions to improve their tax functions. She believes that automation can disrupt multiple industries and bring tremendous value to companies and the society.
Top 3 Skills:
✔ Problem Solving – Digital Solution
✔ Entrepreneurial Thinking
Aside work, Cyncelia tries to travel as much as she could. Prior to joining PwC, she attended school 8,000 miles away from home, and exchanged at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and French, indulges in exotic culture, and volunteers. Her global experience gives her the ability to analyze multifaceted problems critically and to adapt to new environment quickly.
LinkedIn Profile:https: //www.linkedin.com/in/cynceliahaohuang/
PwC| Full Time
- Senior Tax Associate, Oct 2019 – Present
- Digital Upskilling Personal Trainer, Mar2019- Present
- Tax Associate, Jul 2017-Sep2019
- Tax Intern, Jun 2016-Aug 2016
- Assurance Intern, Jul 2015-Aug 2015
- Asia Pacific INSPIRE Program, Oct 2015
Bank of China | Intern
- Corporate Finance Intern, Jun 2015 – Jul 2015
Q: How did you land your internship?
A: It was a special case for me as I didn’t follow the official route. In my junior year I exchanged at LSE and I was not at Boston for the whole year. I missed the window of applying for internship in the US since I was looking for internships in London. Regrettably, HR preferred hiring someone who would graduate in London. Since I did not plan to go back to the United Kingdom, they preferred investing on someone who will ultimately join the company after graduation. I was super nervous because I didn’t apply for any internships at Boston either. I knew the importance of landing an internship in my junior year, so I reached out to my accounting professor and told her my situation. It turned out that she was a really popular PwCpartner before she joined Babson. She was kind enough to look out for me
toand see if there arewere any opportunities. Fortunately, PwC Boston was expanding and just moved a new office at Seaport. The new office at Seaport is bigger so they had and has more room for staff. That SpringPwC had another unofficial recruiting session that people could only get in with internal referral, and I was one of those lucky people. Eventually, I went through the interview in March and got the internship. I would say I landed my internship at Boston through networking and a bit of luck. Big thanks to my professor and Babson. If anyone asked me about tips I would just say try to build a good connection with professors at Babson.
Q: Why did you choose to do tax at PwC?
To be honest, my then first choice of job was not accounting, even though I double-concentrated in accounting and finance. I am good at accounting but I would not say I was passionate about it. At that time, my first choice of career was finance, but finance was a challenging career choice for international students. Plus, Babson was not a target school for some of the finance firms at that time. I didn’t think I was prepared enough to get myself a job in finance. At the same time I had the return offer from PwC so I decided to give public accounting a try — at least try to see if I like it or not. After all, even if I don’t like the job I could get some experience and PwC is a good platform.Babson has so many fabulous professors that were in the Big four accounting firms, and Babson sends a ton of students to Big four each year. If I go to the PwC, I will be surrounded by people that I already knew, whichwill make the transition from school to workplace easier. As an international student, I also considered other factors uniquely to international students, such as the OPT rule to start working within 90 days after graduation.
SoI took the PwC offer and started working, I have been enjoying my job.
Q: Can you share with us anything interesting about your job?
PwC provides a lot of tax services I am in a team called Tax Reporting & Strategy (TRS). We mainly leverage different kinds of technology to streamline the tax department of the client. I was not at this team when I first joined PwC.I was assigned to a team and
youmost people don’t get to pick which team or what fields to join. Naturally there could be chances that one doesn’t like the team one was assigned to. Luckily, there are still opportunities to internally transfer to other teams, which is what I did as I am really interested in using technology to help doing my work. My work comprises of participating different kinds of workshops, conducting interviews and meeting clients to get to know their tax processes, how they prepare their tax filings. Over the workshops and meetings, I get to know about areas that needed to be improved/streamlined, areas where we can use software to replace human labor to reduce cost. My team is actually a special team in the tax department. Most of the tax team do tax compliance, they would be studying tax regulation and how to calculate certain tax.People from the tax compliance team usually get really busy before the filing deadlines, while my team is project-based (so I don’t have a busy season per se).
Q: Could you tell us more about what qualities you are looking for when you interview a students for a PwC internship?
I would first look at the student’s resume and see if they have interest in accounting. Interviewers normally have a sense of whether the applicant is applying because of his/her interest or just because this is a safe job for them. I have seen kids who have such a passion in finance yet applied for our PwC. I think sometimes the right attitude and passion are more important than whether applicants have taken a lot of accounting classes. I know an applicant who got recruited but did not take intermediate accounting at the time she applied. In addition, the applicant should be prepared for the interview. A lot of smart students who have great resumes were rejected because of bad interviews. Applicants should really prepare themselves for easy but crucial questions such as Why PwC? It’s a question that does not take a blank out. Applicants who fail this question will definitely leave a negative impression. Lastly, applicants should show the interviewer how serious they are about getting the job. If they get the chance to be interviewed that usually means their resumes are good, and all they need to do is just to convince the interviewers that they are serious about the job. Respect the interviewer as they can tell if an applicant is prepared.