Petra Šobotníková was born in Prague and after attending a bilingual high school she started to study at the Institute of Economic Studies. During her studies, she participated in a couple of study abroad trips. She spent a semester in Germany, at the University of Hamburg, and later one term in the USA, Seattle, at the University of Washington. She has even been awarded a Quarterly Dean’s List honors there. Petra has finished her masters studies in 2011 and in the same year she started to work at PricewaterhouseCoopers Audit in Prague in the Assurance Department. In 2014 she was offered the chance to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the United Kingdom in the town of Milton Keynes. She works there as Senior Associate. Petra is currently finishing her ACCA qualification and in her free time, she travels a lot.
|You have chosen the specialization Finance, Financial Markets and Banking. Which subject of this specialization was the most beneficial for your career?
I am currently working in audit so accounting would seem to be the obvious answer. However, I joined PwC as an intern in the Financial Services department so all the knowledge I gained from Banking and Corporate Finance courses gave me a good basis on which I could build throughout my career.
You have devoted your career to audit, what do you like the most in this field?
Audit gives you a great opportunity to learn about various businesses and industries. Typically, auditors will develop a portfolio of several clients with whom they work during the year. This means your work is varied as no two clients are the same. You get to deal with new people and tailor your work to the specific needs of their company and the industry they are operating in. It is this variety I like the most.
You have been living for more than one year in the United Kingdom, how did you get there? What did you have to do to work there?
I took opportunity of the worldwide network of PwC firms and applied for international transfer. To be able to do so you have to have the support of your home office and there has to be an opportunity open in the country of your choice. If they decide you might be a suitable candidate you go through interviews with HR and senior members of the receiving office similar to any other job interview. The good thing is that the firms are more and more supportive of transfer between countries or departments so the opportunities are growing. I chose to stay in Europe but I have colleagues joining the NYC office or even the Cayman Islands!
Is there a difference between the workload in PWC in the Czech Republic and in the UK? Do you feel the pressure to achieve more or is it similar to the Czech Republic?
I believe the workload is quite similar, you work a lot during the busy season and then you enjoy a little bit more of a relaxed summer. The main difference I see in the UK is in the focus on additional non-audit activities. It is expected that you do audit and do it well. But to set yourself apart you are also encouraged to take part in additional projects or initiatives which support the core audit. This is quite challenging but also gives you a great opportunity to expand your network.
How do you enjoy your life in the UK, do you spend a time with the Czech friends? Some of other IES graduates who are working in the UK mentioned that they do…
I am really happy that I made the move although of course I miss home sometimes. A couple of Czech friends are living in London so I see them occasionally. Other than that I spend a lot of time with my British colleagues. I have recently realized that my friends who are living in London don’t get to know so many British people as London is really multi-cultural. As I am living in a smaller town I get to know and spend time with locals and my international friends and it is really refreshing.
What do you do in your free time?
Besides spending time with my friends I enjoy doing sports, right now it is running and cycling and when I have free time I try to travel around and get to know my new home. But occasionally there is nothing better than spending the whole day in my pyjamas and watch movies or read a book!