We often hear the question, “What do strategy consulting firms look for?” This is important knowledge for you to assess where you stand and what to focus on in your application. Also, during the interview, it is important for you to emphasize your key strengths (your “spikes”). Read more about the required skills below.
A great place to start is always at the website of the consulting company. For example, McKinsey look for skills in problem solving, achieving, personal impact and leadership. We believe that the following characteristics are the most important ones: thinking and problem solving, business sense, communication skills, personal impact, team skills, drive and motivation. Read below our take on each of these.
You need in some way to show that you have a clear and structured way of thought. This is useful for problem solving and analyses. Also, math skills are usually important. Once you start your consulting career, you do not necessarily need to work with the quantitative stuff, but you will need the skills during the interviews.
Have a good judgement of business and strategic issues. Develop it by reading business articles and trying to understand the underlying issues behind the different news stories and strategic choices. Because business sense is very important, it ranks second in this what-do-strategy-consulting-firms-look-for list.
This one is crucial. Both the written and oral communication skills are important. At this stage you should focus on your oral skills. Be clear and to the point in your communication, and make people want listen to you.
This is harder to define. But think about it – sometimes you will be with people who are good at influencing others. As consulting firms look for future leaders, they will look for leadership talent in you.
Cooperation with other people is essential as a consultant. You work in project teams and you are surrounded by both clients and your team members. Getting along well with them is a requirement to finish your project effectively. Teamwork is apparently one of the answers to the what-do-strategy-consulting-firms-look-for question.
Drive and Motivation
Know what you like and go for it. People should have a feel that you are motivated for what you do, and you have a great drive. Even when the going gets tough. We believe that these are the key characteristics. Try to consider a bit how you can develop these, and how you can show that you posses these skills. Have some good stories ready for interview and practice, practice, practice!
Now that you are aware of the answers to the question, “What do strategy consulting firms look for?” it’s high time to have a look at our free PDF guide on how to land a consulting job.
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