Booz & Company is one of the leading consulting firms in the world. They work closely with top businesses, governments, and organizations across several continents and have 57 offices around the globe. This established firm is also recognized as one of the most prestigious management consulting firms in the world by Consulting Magazine, and Time Magazine once dubbed the organization as “the world’s largest, most prestigious management consulting firm.”
With such an esteemed reputation and extensive expertise spanning a broad range of sectors, it’s not surprising that many aspiring consultants want to work at Booz. However, like in any top-tier firm, the application process is challenging and the competition is tough. As Booz is one of the highest regarded consultancies in the world, they only accept candidates who effectively demonstrate key skills and competencies.
Booz Interview Process
Booz & Company’s interview process is generally conducted in two rounds. Each round usually consists of two 45-minute interviews, each of which engages the candidate in a general introductory discussion as well as a case discussion, the later of which takes up the majority of the interview time.
The case discussion is nerve-racking for most aspiring consultants. You’ll be evaluated based on how you approach real-world business problems. This is where candidates’ business acumen and logical skills are put to the test. As an aspiring consultant, you should diligently prepare so you can structure your thoughts on any issue that may be presented. The cases given to applicants are frequently based on a real client engagement that the interviewer at Booz has worked on.
How to Effectively Prepare for a Case Interview
Increase your chances of acing your case interview by doing the following:
Master Consulting Frameworks
You’ll find these very helpful in structuring your answer. Mastering consulting frameworks will guide you in finding the most suitable approach to any given situation and help you identify underlying issues and generate practical recommendations.
Hone Your Mental Math Skills
Case interviews generally contain a lot of graphs and numerical calculations. You will need to analyze large sets of numerical data, so it’s critical that you improve your mental math. Practice this skill and try to simulate the actual case interview so you can really gauge your speed in performing mental calculations.
Familiarize Yourself with Charts, Graphs, and Tables
If you are serious about pursuing a career in consulting, you should be able to read charts and tables and interpret data, regardless of how it’s presented. To reiterate, this is a critical skill of any management consultant as an erroneous interpretation will lead to the wrong conclusion, which can be costly to the firm and to your career. Devote ample time to enhancing this skill; make it a habit to read graphical charts or data spreadsheets in order to get used to analyzing such information.
Practice as Many Case Studies as You Can
The best preparation is of course to practice as many case scenarios as possible. This will help you hone your skills in developing defensible hypotheses and solutions.
Firms like Booz, Bain, and McKinsey offer practice interactive case studies as well as interview preparation tips—take advantage of these materials. There’s also plenty of case study practice guides available on the Internet. However, be picky; you don’t need to purchase every single study guide out there, simply choose about three reputable guides to help you with your interview preparation. The more exposure you have to various cases, the more prepared and competent you will be. Explore as many cases as you can as you never know what type of problem you’ll be presented with during the actual interview.
Start as Early as Possible
The earlier you start, the more cases you’re likely to crack. To be successful in this field, you need to develop a proactive review schedule. Don’t postpone your preparation; procrastination is often the cause of failure, and you don’t want to end up cramming the day before your interview.
Join Consulting Case Interview Review Sessions
Students can take advantage of campus consulting clubs and career service centers that organize case practice sessions. Visit your consulting club or career center and ask for some useful review materials.
Conduct Mock Interviews
Practice with someone. The best way to improve your critical thinking skills and ability to convey structured ideas is through mock interviews. Conduct simulated interviews with someone who can provide you with valuable feedback. Consider the following:
|Find a qualified person to practice with||For better results, schedule your mock interviews with people who have sufficient experience and knowledge about consulting. It may be a friend who is currently working as a consultant, a colleague, or someone from your network who used to work at a top firm such as Booz. You may also ask the help of your associates who have been through the case interview process. However, be considerate of their time. Request their assistance only if you feel that you are ready and that you have sharpened your skills through self-study.|
|Don’t joke around||Take the mock interview seriously, even if you’re conducting it with a close friend. Try to simulate the stress that you’ll experience during the day of your interview. This will help you learn how to effectively handle pressure.|
|Listen to feedback||After your mock interview, ask for feedback. Listen to what your practice partner has to say and take notes—you can gain some valuable insights on how to improve your performance.|
Tips during the Case Interview
To help you succeed in your Booz case interview, we have provided some valuable insights below:
Listen Carefully and Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions
Don’t be ashamed to clarify things that you don’t fully understand. Once the interviewer provides you with the case details, take some time to think and digest the case parameters. Next, summarize the case to the interviewer so you’re sure that you clearly understand the problem. Remember, some interviewers may not reveal all the necessary information unless you ask for it. If you feel you need to ask some questions to help you solve the case, go for it. Remember, the case interview assesses your questioning skills.
Structure the Problem
To guide you in your discussion with the interviewer, it’s recommended to briefly describe the framework you plan to use, then give the interviewer a chance to offer comments. It’s generally best to use the simpler frameworks. Once the interviewer approves your framework, stick to it. Work through the answer out loud so the interviewer can likewise assess your analytical structure and perhaps help you along.
Be Aware of the Time
Move through your framework at a pace that will allow you to tackle all the elements you mentioned at the start of the case discussion. Also, make sure you pause periodically during the discussion so as to give your interviewer a chance to make comments. If the interviewer provides you with advice, take it. Don’t be defensive and keep an open mind throughout the discussion.
Take a Stand
Be prepared to offer a recommendation toward the end of the case discussion. Although you may have been provided with little data and little time in which to discuss the underlying issues, don’t be afraid to make a call. That’s the essence of the exercise. You should be able to formulate your recommendation based on the information you were able to collect from your discussion.
Be Confident and Relax
It may seem difficult, but if you thoroughly prepared before the interview, you can definitely pull it off. The interviewer is not only evaluating your answer to the question, but also the manner in which you answer. Trust your instincts, but be careful not to be overly confident as you may be seen as an arrogant candidate.
Dress with Confidence
Ensure you’re dressed professionally. Dressing affects your attitude, so wear something that will boost your confidence.
Maintain a Positive Energy
Booz and other top consulting firms want somebody who projects enthusiasm and has positive energy. Try to have some fun. Indeed it’s a very important interview and you should take it seriously, but don’t take the fun out of it. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer and keep a pleasant expression on your face throughout the entire process, just don’t overdo it.
Remember that There Is No Single Right Way to Answer a Case
Don’t get too fixated on finding the correct answer. Good consultants always have more than one solution to any problem. As an aspiring consultant, you should know that there are many ways to craft a sound recommendation. The more important part of the case interview is how you demonstrate your thought process. If you are able to come to a logical and reasonable conclusion, then you have probably cracked the case.