Why PwC’s Research Fellows are Fake and Pretend to be Academic

Executive Summary

  • PwC has people who claim to be research fellows.
  • This article will explain why this is a fake title used to trick people who don’t know better.


On LinkedIn, I came upon a person working at PwC with the title “Research Fellow.” I needed to rub my eyes and then ask —

How is such a title remotely possible at an accounting firm/consulting firm that is entirely unknown for research.

This led to the following interaction, which I have posted here.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

The Debate About the Title of PwC Research Fellow

I just read your profile, and you seem like an interesting guy. However, I don’t see how you can hold the title of Research Fellow at PwC.

Let us look at the definition of a research fellow.

A research fellow is an academic research position at a university or a similar research institution, usually for academic staff or faculty members. A research fellow may act either as an independent investigator or under the supervision of a principal investigator. – Wikipedia

Is PwC an academic or research institution?


PwC is an auditor and consulting firm. PwC can’t perform open-ended research because it is controlled by partners whose only objective is to maximize profits, which they do by proposing certain things through pretending they do objective research. Even calling yourself a researcher is a stretch because the institution you work for does not allow for research that does anything but help sell PwC services. Secondly, PwC is routinely responsible for disseminating false information that is provided to them by vendor partners. A good example is found in the article The Chalfen Accuracy Checker: A Study into Mark Chalfen’s Accuracy on S/4HANA. PwC’s accuracy usually is extremely low because PwC distributes information for one purpose, to sell services.

You undoubtedly research things, but you are not free to publish what you like. I have worked for three of the big accounting firms, and I even provided analysis for partners on mulitiple occasions — and everything is censored. The partner will alwasy manipulate whateven analysis they are provided with to make sure it complies with profit maximizing objectives.

The term Research Fellow is attempting to hijack the prestige of real research entities.

My Experience Working with Consulting Firm Research Departments

“Research” departments at consulting firms report through marketing. No research can be reported through marketing.

I worked with Deloitte’s research department, and it was completely fake. They investigated things, but partners approved everything they handed to marketing, whose only focus was profit maximization.

Reply from the PwC “Research Fellow”

I’m part of the Emerging Tech group in Advisory, Shaun, and I’ve been part of R&D groups for many years. Consultancies can’t do their own research and write it up?Pshaw. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/technology/emerging-technology-lab.html

Much depends on the right kind of partner support, There are enlightened partners in the Big 4; they do exist.

As for titles, I’ve kept the title the head of Thought Leadership at the time gave me, but I’ve always thought of myself as a quasi-academic. I don’t take titles too seriously, and you shouldn’t either.

My Reply

I just gave you the description, and your company does not fit the description. You are saying something which has a clear definition is meaningless. I just gave you the definition of where a fellow applies, and PwC does not meet it. I happen to know what the definition is, but you/PwC are tricking a lot of people who don’t.

Secondly, PwC’s research follows no research rules and is not designed to educate, it is controlled by partners, and is 100% to sell. As I said, your group has to report to marketing as PwC has no research function, has massive financial conflicts, and does not publish research, and is not in any way a research entity. So yes, you can publish your material through the PwC marketing department, but don’t call it research. It is sales copy.

Further Proof of PwC’s Lack of Interest in Research

I am going to disprove any PwC research fellow’s title right here.

I would ask that PwC research fellow’s comment on how PwC is continuously getting caught signing off on fraudulent books? (as is covered in this article by POGO)

See the quote from the whistleblower.

“He said he was concerned about “the risk of collusion between auditors and management in this valley . . . with management paying us the fees and auditors picking and choosing what to call an audit issue.””

Do research fellows at PwC have comments on why PwC is so ineffective at catching fraud and is willing to sell its signature?

Is this a topic that your bosses at PwC are interested in having research fellows research on? Or would PwC prefer they didn’t?


PwC expects people to be fooled by their title, which is not designed to be associated with an audit or consulting firm. PwC uses false titles for these resources, which should further call into question the information that PwC provides. PwC is not a research entity and the information they publish is unreliable. The fact they have fake titles for researchers that are copied from academics illustrates that PwC will not only lie about their faux research but try to mislead people even with titles.