Philippa Jarvis

Philippa Jarvis

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B. Commerce & B. Asia Pacific Studies

Pip Jarvis is Assistant Manager (People Consulting) with KPMG, specialised in Change Management. Pip has gained in-depth experience in delivering complex change solutions with both private and public sectors clients. Before moving to London where she initially worked as a Senior Consultant at Able an How, Pip was a Senior Consultant with KPMG in Canberra. Pip completed Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Asia Pacific Studies at ANU.

Pip's responses to questions from CBE students

What motivated to you to move to the UK? What are your three survival tips for the first six months?

Living overseas had always been a goal of mine. I believe this was driven by my love of travel and interest in the world around me, as well as an itch to do something challenging and exhilarating. Living in London now feels like a rite of passage for so many who hold these similar interests and goals. What makes this more achievable than ever before is that it's relatively easy to get a visa, many people are doing it so you can build a network, and technology makes the world feel much smaller and accessible. For these reasons, I decided to take a career break and move to the UK following completion of my graduate program at KPMG Canberra, Australia.

 Whilst I have just said that its relatively easy to get to the UK, it's another thing to survive and make it an enjoyable and successful experience. My three tips for survival are:

  1. Be prepared - while you need to accept a certain level of risk (for example, I moved without a job), there are steps you can take to make settling in and setting yourself up easier, less time consuming, and less expensive. I reached out to people who I had worked with in Canberra who had also moved to London for their tips on how to set up my own limited company in case I wanted to be a contractor, how to set up a UK bank account, and which channels are best for finding your first share flat. This meant that I had already got the ball rolling, reached out to recruiters, and downloaded live-saving apps on my phone before I even got there.
  2. Build your network - some people are lucky and already have friends and family in London that can start to form their support network, while others need to build theirs from the ground up. In either case, it's important that you put yourself out there to make new friends, rekindle distant and old friendships, and to also maintain a connection with home. I reached out to friends I had made during my time at the ANU, who I had subsequently lost touch with. They have now become my best friends and support network. Additionally, I've joined sports teams, attended networking events, and built relationships with friends of friends. It has also been extremely important to maintain my connection with friends and family at home on a regular basis. While far away, they have been my consistent pillars of support and encouragement during more challenging times. 
  3. Set goals for yourself - I found that setting goals for myself has kept me motivated and driven. In the early weeks and months, these goals centred on how many job or house applications I was putting in each day, and how long I was prepared to spend finding myself a job based on how much money I had brought over with me. Once I found my job, I set goals for how much travel I wanted to do throughout each year, which activities I wanted to try in London, and any big ticket items I wanted to do before coming home at some point. This has helped to put shape and purpose around my time living here. 

How did you win your current job at KPMG in London?

I leveraged my network at KPMG Canberra and asked a few close colleagues if they knew anyone in the London office who had open opportunities to hire. As it turned out, one of my previous managers had a connection in the UK office, and before long I scheduled an informal phone call with the Director of my current team. We discussed why I wanted to move back to KPMG, what my experience had been, and what skills I could bring to the team.

While I was privileged to have this informal phone call, the process that ensued was like any other applicant. I went through a rigorous 5-stage interview process with colleagues of varying seniority. These stages included case studies, aptitude testing, competency based questions, and more. Winning my current role wasn't easy, but I did everything in my power to be successful. This involved being incredibly familiar with the job description and the specific skills aligned to the role as this is what most of the early interview stages focus on. This meant that I ensured that I had examples ready to highlight these different skills. Additionally, I researched the company. While I was very familiar with the Australian practice, the UK practice is vastly different. They operate in a different structure, they have different client demands, and operate in a vastly different environment. It might seem obvious, but the other key part to winning this role was to be engaging and personable. In a firm like KPMG, they want to know that they can put you in front of a client and carry yourself well as client relationships are at the core of winning and keeping work. If you are able to do this in an interview, that is a great sign of what you can bring to a team.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I see myself back in Australia, but working in industry. Consulting has given me a taste of a variety of different industries and work environments. I know I enjoy working in sectors where I can see tangible the outcomes of my work on the rest of society, such as Health, Transport and Energy. What I seek from an in-house job in industry is an opportunity to centre myself in one team for an extended period of time and to focus on projects together to continuously improve our company in whichever industry I choose.