If you pursue a career in management consulting, you may have to undergo as many as six separate interviews. This stage takes a long time because, for recruiters, this screening phase is the ultimate indicator of an applicant’s capability to do the job. Continue reading to get through this challenge successfully.
BCG, McKinsey, Booz and other top tier management consulting firms divide the interview phase into three parts: the fit interview, the case interview and the short period when applicants are allowed to ask the interviewer a few questions. Each part has its own objective, and as long as you meet all the expectations you don’t have to worry about anything. Each phase is discussed in detail below to help you prepare for this venture.
This part determines whether or not you possess the right educational background, work experience and values. You are expected to prove that your personality fits the culture by giving quality answers to behavioral questions. In this part, interviewers will get to know you by utilizing subtle questions that will elicit your natural tendencies. They will ask how you overcome your greatest stumbling block, how you cooperated with a difficult colleague or what your goals in life are. The answers to this type of questions will help them predict your future performance at work.
Management consulting case interviews aim to gauge your problem solving skills as well as your business judgment. You are expected to use your analytic skills in resolving mind-boggling problems within a limited amount of time. More often than not, you will be presented with a vague business dilemma and you must find a logical way to resolve it. This problem is similar to what professional consultants deal with every day so interviewers would easily determine if you have the potential for this position.
Mastering management consulting frameworks is the best preparation for case interviews. They provide structure to your answer, thereby helping you organize your thoughts. To remember them before the interview, illustrate them on paper for a few consecutive days. The visual representation will stick effectively, making you more confident with your stock of knowledge than other applicants.
At the end of the interview, you will be given time to raise questions. This part aims to clarify any confusion that’s boggling you. However, you are expected to pose intelligent queries, not just look for answers that can be found on the firm’s website. Learn to put this opportunity to your advantage by asking questions that will let you know more about the consulting firm’s culture or regular activities.
When you are called for an interview, get to the office with a professional look. Whether you like it or not, looks matter during interviews. Because of the traditional orientation of the consulting industry, it’s highly recommended wearing a suit and tie. Fix your hair, polish your shoes, trim your nails and most of all, feel good with what you put on. It will have positive effects on your enthusiasm and confidence.
To know more interview guidelines, check our guide on How to Land a Job in Management Consulting. It comes with a free case interview script that will give you a picture of how things will be.