Shortlisted management consulting applicants usually undergo two to three interview rounds before they get hired for the position. This is the most critical part of the recruitment process since the logical capability and communication skills are tested in person. To prepare for this challenge, you must know the facts listed in this post.
Talking to an interviewer in a room can be a daunting experience, especially when the questions being asked are technical, not experiential. In the field of management consulting, these technical questions are raised from a complicated business dilemma you must quickly grasp in just a few minutes. This is doable though, if you come to the interview well-prepared, confident and relaxed.
What Is a Consulting Case Study Interview?
This type of interview uses situational cases of different industries. Instead of asking very general questions, interviewers present an ambiguous business problem you have to ponder and resolve. It usually lasts for 25 to 35 minutes. The topic can range from healthcare strategies to manufacturing issues to manpower downsizing. Management consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, BCG and Booz keep a multitude of cases since they need to find out if applicants are capable of interacting with different clients.
Why Do Consulting Firms Use Case Interviews?
Most management consulting companies use it because it effectively weeds out the best applicants from the good ones. Case interviews allow the recruiter to get to know the applicant in a deeper level. Through the exchange of thoughts and ideas, those who have the critical thinking, creative problem-solving, communication and excellent organizational skills will stand out from the crowd. These skills may be stated on the resume and initially assessed during testing but they can only be confirmed through direct professional interaction.
What Are the Types of Cases Used by Interviewers?
The three types of cases often used by management consulting recruiters are the business case, estimation case and brain-teasers. In the first type, you are given a business situation similar to what consultants work on every day. Given some information, you are expected to give practical recommendations at the end of the interview. For example, you will evaluate the feasibility of opening a hardware branch in another city or the plan of merging two companies.
In the second case, you will guesstimate the number of objects, people or incidents in a certain area or within a specified duration. This tests your ability to arrive at an answer in a systematic manner. The questions may seem too vague and impossible to answer without sufficient data. You can be asked how many cups are produced in China in a year or how many Americans travel to Europe annually.
In the last case, you will be given a puzzle or any mentally challenging problem that calls for creativity, thinking outside the box and sharpness. For instance, you will be asked to enumerate fifteen things you can do with stones or why manholes are round. This type is seldom used by management consulting recruiters, though.
How Are You Evaluated by Recruiters?
You are evaluated through the methods you utilize in approaching the problem, not on the solutions you generate. There are two reasons for this process-oriented assessment. First, there’s no correct answer for each presented management consulting case. What’s more important is for you to arrive at a valid, reasoned and well-explained conclusion. Second, it is during the process when you muster your abilities to resolve a problem. For recruiters, the way you think has more bearing on their decision.
How Do You Prepare for Consulting Case Study Interviews?
Preparation for management consulting interviews can be done cognitively, affectively and physically. In the cognitive aspect, you must enhance your mental math skills since in most cases, you will deal with numbers. You must also know the common frameworks used for assessing business problems. Along with your logical thinking, this will provide structure to your answer. You can check our guide to consulting frameworks and be well-versed with resolving practical cases.
In the affective aspect, you must condition yourself to project confidence during the interview. To accomplish this, try solving business cases with a friend or a mentor. There are tons of resources on the Internet and you can refer to them for exercises. You must also relieve yourself from too much anxiety as it will cause you to panic and stammer in front of the recruiter. Stay graceful under pressure.
In the physical aspect, dress up neatly and professionally. Fix your hair properly and don’t wear too many accessories. Ensure that your fingernails are trimmed and your shoes are cleaned. Demonstrate enthusiasm through your facial expressions. Your corporate image will create an impact on the recruiter.
The management consulting case interview is the last step to getting your dream job. If you outperform the other shortlisted applicants, you will be selected to fill the vacancy. So make sure you’re prepared for it and you answer each question well. Should you want more interview tips, check this guide for additional reference.