Being called for interview by a management consulting firm is a privilege. Only a few percent of the applicant pool are given the chance to be assessed further. Hence, necessary preparation must be done to nail down the questions.
This doesn’t only include identifying the most appropriate outfit. More importantly, you should anticipate the possible interview questions and rehearse your ideal answers. This ensures your ideas are substantial. It also makes you appear eloquent and confident, two necessary characteristics of management consultants.
Top tier consulting firms like Bain and McKinsey have two types of interviews: fit interviews and case interviews. Below are categories of questions you will most likely get in both interviews.
This type of interview focuses on who you are as a person. It gauges if your personality is a perfect match for the vacant management consulting position. It includes the following areas:
You will be asked to share general details about your life. The common question under this category is, “Please tell me about yourself.” When you answer this question, include only bits of information that are relevant to your application. You don’t have to mention unnecessary details, such as the awards you received in high school or your academic achievement back in elementary. Always ask yourself, “What does the interviewer want to hear from me?”
Especially if you are a fresh graduate, interviewers will spend a few minutes digging information about your education. They might ask about your major subjects to get an idea about your understanding of management operations. Also, you will be asked to describe your extra-curricular activities since they indicate your commitment, interpersonal and leadership skills.
Skills and Professional Experience
Interviewers will also go into details of your significant experience in the past. This includes how you resolved a major problem, how you maintained work-life balance despite your busy schedule and other queries related to the daily life of a management consultant. Answers to these behavioral questions are believed to predict your future reaction to similar situations in the workplace.
This type of interview is classic to management consulting. Interviewers give you an ambiguous case to assess how you break a complex problem into small, manageable chunks. Questions under this type of interviews are categorized into three.
You will be presented with a real-life business case similar to what professional consultants deal with every day. It can be a market-related or competition dilemma. They are best resolved with management consulting frameworks. They provide structure and logic to the process of arriving at an acceptable answer.
From its name, it can be derived that you will be using numbers to guesstimate the answer based on a logical explanation. For instance, you will be asked to determine the number of mobile phones that should be produced next year or the number of hotdogs that are eaten by Chinese children in a week. Mental math is very important in answering these questions.
This category includes riddles that must be answered with an out-of-the-box thinking. A common example is, “Why are manholes round?” If you happen not to know the correct answer, it’s alright. Recruiters go after the means to an end. What matters is you are able to provide a rationale for your answer.