Jared ChungCareerVillage.org Team
What are the best ways to prepare for interviews with top-tier management consulting firms?
McKinsey, Bain, BCG, mainly.
Looking for both prep tips on the "case" questions, those puzzlers like "How many shaving razors are sold in the U.S. every year," and any personality "fit" questions. If there are any books or web resources, all the better. #interviews #consulting #mckinsey #bain #bcg
The key to puzzlers is not knowing the right answer (i.e., being a trivia wiz), but being able to think logically through a problem. One of the key things these interviews are testing is whether you logically solve a problem.
For example, with razors sold: you might first want to clarify whether you're talking about razor blades or electic razors because the behavior is different, but assuming you have razor blades, you'd start with the US population (300m, good number to remember). Then figure out how many people need to shave, probably people who have something to shave so not small children or infants. Let's say 85% of the population (250m) needs to shave (this percentage is less important than the rationale that not every single person in the US needs to shave). Then, you might want to dis-aggregate between men who shave and women who shave if you think one population shaves more than another. So let's say 125m women shave and 125m men shave. Then, the last thing you need to do is figure out how often men and women replace their razors. Let's say that men replace razors every week, and women replace every month. Therefore your total number of razors is 125m x 4 x12 (men x weeks in a month x months in a year) + 125m x 12 (women x months in a year) = 7500m = 7.5 billion. The key is being able to go through this logic, followed by your ability to use common sense to solve these problems.
The best thing you can do to prepare is to go through cases, and even better would be to practice them with someone so you get used to saying answer out loud, which feels very different than saying them silently. Some general case interview resources can be found here, here, here. Resources for case interviews from consulting firms can be found for: BCG, Bain, McKinsey, Monitor, Deloitte.</body></html>
One of the best ways to prepare is to team up with your classmates who are applying to similar firms, and go through cases with each other. Treat the exercise as a real interview as much as possible - greet the interviewer when he/she comes in, discuss the case professionally, and at the end, keep time for honest, direct feedback that will help you get better.
I often find that applicants do not prepare for what they are being evaluated on.
For example, at McKinsey, there is a 1 hour test before you do any live case interviews. Nevertheless, many applicants come to the test having only prepared cases for weeks. Then, for live interviews, many applicants come very prepared for cases but have not prepared for the leadership stories with the same dedication.
The strategy I would suggest is :
1) Understand what you are being evaluated on
2) Spend 80% of your time preparing for those evaluations and only 20% on what you may be evaluated on if you pass the current round
+ There is more to these interviews than cases. People WAY over focus on this. I can not state this enough. Chill out with the cases.
+ No one gets an offer because they can do cases well. This, like the MCAT, is just a hurdle. You have to be good enough, but it's not why you're getting in.
+ Kick serious butt on your leadership stories. Prepare 4-5 stories.
+ Stories should be structured something like: 25% introduction, 74% conflict and resolution, 1% end result. The point of the story is to communicate how you resolve conflict, work in teams, etc, not what you actually accomplished. For that, there is your CV.
+ The goal of your live interviews should be for the person across the table think, "I would absolutely work with that person" -it is not "Wow, they can do math very fast".....huge implications there
In addition to the replies above - do your research on sites such as Glassdoor, which has a section on interviews and interview questions for such companies.
Here is the link for McKinsey: http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/McKinsey-and-Company-Interview-Questions-E2893.htm
Here is the link for Bain: http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/Bain-and-Company-Interview-Questions-E3752.htm
Here is the link for BCG: http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/Boston-Consulting-Group-Interview-Questions-E3879.htm
Being prepared to interview for a particular firm begins with scouring their website to learn everything you can beforehand. Take brief notes on key items that are important to this firm. Relate what impresses you and how you connect to those interests and how you envision yourself playing a key role by bringing added value. Weave the company details into the conversation indicating you stand out as a candidate they are considering.
Be well prepared for panel style interviewing as this is pretty common. Some companies offer 'interview prep courses and resources' so look for those. Know the firm's culture and inquire about that topic specifically when it's your turn for questions (always have a couple ready).
Seek out a former or current consultants and ask for a mock interview with feedback to gain some confidence prior to the interview.
Follow up by sending thank you notes to each person you met and include details of that interaction for sincerity. Then leverage the information you received and the contacts you made.
In addition to prepping for the case questions, one of the best ways to prepare for an interview with a consulting firm is to reach out to current and former consultants. They will be able to share an insider's perspective on what has made them successful, what made them decide to join the firm, and what makes a consultant really stand out. Make sure you get a variety of perspectives and see what the answers have in common.
Once you have that information, you can brainstorm to come up with how to tell about yourself and your experiences in a way that highlights the traits that are associated with success.
There are 3 top sources you need to read.
- The website of the firm you are applying to, and in particular the recruitment section. Below are the links for a few top consulting firms. Of course, there is a lot of overlap, so don’t create confusion for yourself and only read about the firms you are applying to.
While it is impossible to anticipate which case you will get, there are some other parts of the interviews that you can actually prepare, which will save you a lot of stress, improve the quality of your answers, and ultimately give you a valuable edge:
1. Your elevator pitch: 2-3mn maximum. Keep it simple by answering the following questions:
a. Which roles and skills have you taken on/developed in the last 5 years?
b. Why did you choose such role/skills? Consultants love passionate people!
c. Why is now a good time to join management consulting + this particular company + this particular location?
Share your personal experience stories. Rehearse this as it could be critical to the interview. Check out this link for Moreno info: https://www.zerotombb.com/free-resources/preparing-your-personal-experience-stories
Lastly, <span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">. At the end of the interview, you usually have time to ask 1-2 questions to the consultant. I recommend that you prepare them in advance to save you some stress. Just keep in mind that they need to be targeted because you will usually only have 2-3mn left at the end of the interview. Avoid “what projects have you done so far?” or “what do you like and dislike about consulting?”. Instead, focus on something you really want to know, and that is not available online easily.</span>
Danny recommends the following next steps:
Check out websites such as managementconsulted.com and caseinterview.com for more resources. I would recommend you to subscribe to their newsletters. Also, check out a book called case in point and mbacase by David Ohrvall.