Monday, May 27, 2024

How To Prepare For Consulting Interview

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Good Morning How Are You Doing


Yes, the classic ice-breaker question. It shouldnt be a difficult challenge I mean this is just basic social interaction. Yet Ive seen countless interviewees messing this one up with a dry and nervous Im fine . The biggest problem here is anxiety when under stress, even the most basic actions may seem challenging.

Ideally, your answer should be detailed, positive, and reciprocal . This is how you make a good first impression and keep the conversation going on the other hand, just saying Im fine is a conversation-stopper. Some interviewers ask this question just as courtesy, but other experienced interviewers can use this to assess your client interaction which is of foremost importance in consulting.

This is how you answer it:

Ive had a really nice breakfast just outside this office so today has been a great start. What about you how are you today?

How To Find Consultancy Jobs

The consulting industry is very competitive. Statista reports that there are over 734,000 management consultants in the United States. The high number of job opportunities means more job search resources for potential consultants. You can search for jobs on social media, company websites, job search pages, networking forums, and industry-specific magazines.

What Exactly Is A Case Interview

A case interview is a fictitious business scenario posed during an interview to decide how a candidate feels about a specific issue and fix it. The main thing to remember about a case interview and the case interview process is that it is intended to mimic life as a management consultant on the job.

It simulates all phases of a three- to six-month relationship in around 30 or 40 minutes. A case interview question can be focused on a creative business scenario your interviewer has encountered in the past, or it can be made up to assess your skills.

The questions can range from simple to perplexing. Acing the case interview is a critical component of landing a job in management consulting.

After all, businesses employ experts to help them solve business, operational, or industry-specific problems.

Case interview questions enable an interviewer to learn about your thinking and handle a client challenge if hired.

Case interviews are also used in investment banking and other fields where strategic business thinking is needed.

Read Also: How Do I Prepare For An Interview

Case Frameworks Are Not A Silver Bullet

Remember frameworks exist to help you figure out an approach to difficult problems. They are not a pre-written script to force-fit in response to a particular question youre being asked. The framework serves the problem, not the other way around.

Think of a case interview more like a chess game, in which each framework represents one potential maneuver in a longer sequence of moves.

Also, remember that the case interview is not just a problem to be solved but an audition. You want to demonstrate to your interviewers that you have the ability to respond to a question fluidly, independently responding to new inputs and maintaining perspective as you think on your feet. It is not helpful to demonstrate a rote memorization of the frameworks.

And Some Bonus Content

Consulting interview preparation should start with these 3 ...

There have been some great tips from social media after posting this and so Ive added some extras below:

Make a list before your interview of the Top 5 things about yourself you want to get into the interview this will help you get some key selling points across.Have a QI project, a safety project, and a project where you worked with management teams ready to discuss Research your interview team find out what they need/what problems they have and show how youd solve it Avoid passive language. Rather than I was lucky enough to be involved with or I was invited to say I undertook.., or I led

Also, see Claire Skinners post about this on LITFL and Hannah Bells on RCEM Learning.

Read Also: How Do You Prepare For A Job Interview

Walk Me Through Your Resume Question

In addition to consulting behavioral and fit interview questions, you may also be asked the walk me through your resume question.

This question is most commonly asked at the beginning of the interview, so you should prepare for this question carefully to make a great first impression with the interviewer.

In asking this question, interviewers are looking to learn two things:

One, they want to get a quick overview of your work experience and achievements. Often, interviewers dont have the time to look through your resume before the interview.

Two, they want to understand why you are suited for the role and why you are interested in working at the company. The walk me through your resume question is a quick way to assess this.

Therefore, in answering this question, follow this strategy:

  • Start with a strong opening statement that summarizes your areas of expertise and number of years of experience
  • Highlight your most relevant and impressive experiences and accomplishments, starting with the most recent
  • Connect your experiences to why youre interested in consulting and the firm and why you would be a good fit

Lets take a look at a few examples of how candidates walk interviewers through their resume.

Example #1: Walk me through your resume.

I am a marketing and strategy professional with over five years of experience in media and e-commerce.

Example #2: Walk me through your resume.

Land your Dream Consulting Job

Formats For Case Interviews

There are four formats a consulting case interview can take:

  • Candidate-led This is the most typical case study interview format. A candidate is given an open-ended business problem to solve by an interviewer. The candidate will break down the question into key parts and decide which part to probe first. The interviewer is looking to see that you know how to drive the analysis of a problem. This case format is typically used at firms like Bain, BCG and Oliver Wyman.
  • Interviewer-led In this case interview format, a candidate will still be expected to identify and structure the key elements of a thorny business issue, and then present them to the interviewer. But after they do, the interviewer will direct them to first address a particular aspect of the case. This interview format is typically used in McKinsey cases.
  • This is not a common interview format but can be common for particular companies and offices. You will be given a packet of PowerPoint slides and time to review them. During this time, youll prepare a presentation using the slides you choose from the ones provided as well as others you create, and youll then present it to a panel of interviewers. Written interviews are frequently used by boutique consulting firms and regional offices of larger firms such as Bains China offices. For more information, see this article on


Still have questions?

Read Also: How To Conduct Yourself In An Interview

How To Prepare For A Consulting Interview In 9 Steps

Consultants are professionals who analyze business matters and provide specialized financial guidance. Interviews for consulting positions can include multiple steps and a variety of questions to assess a candidate’s reasoning skills. If you are preparing for a consulting interview, it can be helpful to know what to expect so you can practice your responses. In this article, we explain why it’s important to prepare for consulting questions, and we provide nine steps you can follow to help you perform well in your next interview.

Read more:How To Become a Consultant

The Seven Types Of Case Interview Questions

CONSULTING ONLINE INTERVIEWS – How to prepare for Consulting Video Interviews

All case interviews from the top consulting firms consist of the same 7 types of case interview questions.

Here they are:

  • Case Interview Recommendation – Question

  • Lastly, there is the occasional: Case Interview Market Sizing – Question

    So what makes the great candidates different from all the other merely good candidates ?

    The ones who land offers simply learned and internalized how to consistently outperform in each type of case interview question.

    In other words, if you know how to outperform during each type of question, you by virtue end up outperforming on the overall case.

    Its this reason why many of our students have landed offers not just at McKinsey, not just at BCG, not just at Bain, but have landed offers from ALL three firms.

    What we call hitting the MBB Trifecta!

    Heres a recent quote from one of our students:

    I ended up getting offers from all three firms – McKinsey, Bain, and BCG.. Now just have to choose! Thanks Brian!

    This particular student was actually a consulting club officer at a top 5 MBA program.

    Despite the amount of career service and consulting club resources, students often get lost in separating the signal from the noise.

    More importantly, the majority of these resources will not push you to great.

    So now, lets dive in and understand what each of these 7 types of questions are in more detail. Youll also learn what we case interviewers look for in each.

    Recommended Reading: How To Write An After Interview Email

    All Management Consultancy Firms And Many Other City Organisations Use Case Studies As Part Of Their Interview Process

    For a management consulting job you are likely to have three to five interviews, of which two to four will probably involve a case study. The case study section of a one-to-one interview can last between 10 and 30 minutes, and you might even have two case studies within a half hour interview.

    For a case study your interviewer will present a situation or question to explore and resolve either orally, or in writing, or both. For example:

    • How would you choose the optimal balance of economy/business class seats on an airline?
    • What strategy should a New World wine producer use when seeking to enter a European market?
    • How many washing machines are sold each year in the UK?

    The question may be as brief as those above, may be a slightly more specific business problem explained to you verbally, or may require preparation by reading related documents right before the interview. Occasionally, the interviewer may ask you the business issues around something from your own background, so be prepared!

    Case studies simulate aspects of consulting assignments and may even be based on a recent project led by the interviewer. Each case allows the recruiter to assess your capability and performance and you will need to perform well on a number of case studies to secure an offer of employment.

    Join Thousands Of Other Candidates Cracking Cases Like Pros


    Estimation questions can often seem very daunting on the first impression. Where would we even start in working out how many cars are sold in Berlin, for example? The key to estimation case questions is the ability to logically break down the problem into more manageable pieces. . In consulting case studies, this will generally mean segmenting a wider population to find a target group. For example, starting from the total population of Berlin and narrowing down on the cohort of individuals who will buy a car that year.

    There are many ways to segment the same starting population. However, whilst several different segmentation schemes might be equally valid, it is crucial to choose the specific method best suited to the question you have to answer and to leveraging the data you have available.

    Segmentation must be allied with assumptions in order to arrive at an estimation. These assumptions are the guessed element of estimations we mentioned above. Assumptions cannot just be plucked from thin air, but must always be reasonable.

    The example below showcases both the segmentation and assumptions made in an estimation of the size of the wedding planning market in London:


    To take an example, just to take revenues as a fraction of profit, the incoming revenues for an insurance firm might be broken down as follows:




    CF = Cash Flow r = Discount Rate

    Competitive Interactions

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    Case Interview Prep Part : The Opening

    As we saw in the video above, the opening of a case question is a description of a client and the problem theyre facing. Rebecca repeated back to the interviewer the type of business the client was in and and their business problem.

    Remember, this clarification is an important step in the process.

    If you did not remember that the client was a top-three beverage producer and answered the question as if the client was a start-up, your answer would ignore the manufacturing and distribution infrastructure the company already had in place to launch its new product.

    That would make your answer completely wrong.

    During this portion of the interview, you can ask any clarifying questions you need to. If something is not clearthe clients product or industry, or the problem they want to solve ask!

    Nailing the opening is probably the easiest part of case interview preparation. Get this right, and youll start each case off strong.

    Delivering The Perfect Closing Pitch

    How Do You Prepare For Commercial Consulting Case ...

    You have one minute to summarize all of your findings to the client CEO. What would you say?

    Your answer must be short, to-the-point,action-oriented, and client-friendly.

    The closing pitch of the case interview is sometimes called the elevator pitch, where you supposedly meet the client CEO inside the elevator and must somehow deliver the results of the project before the elevator arrives at its destination floor .

    Regardless of the wording, the principles remain the same, and your closing pitch must consist of these 4 parts:

  • Introduction / Lead-in
  • Next step
  • Recommended Reading: What To Ask When Interviewing Someone

    Spend Time Getting It Right

    Rebecca Lawrence, consultant psychiatrist and clinical director for NHS Lothian, says, Preparing for a consultant interview may be one of the most important things you ever do. Treat it with respect and dont be afraid to spend time, and even money, on getting it right. Theres a fine balance between over and under preparing for the actual interview. Consider an interview course, particularly if you are anxious. Or practise with a friendly colleague.

    On the day wear something smart but comfortable. Ask for water . Try to look at everyone in turn.

    Be prepared for the easy questionswhy you want the job, why they should employ you, and what you are good at. The hard ones will be hard anyway, but if you know your stuff and take your time, you will manage.

    This is not the time to be modestwhich may be difficult if you personally know one of the panel. If you come out squirming at your own boastfulness, it may actually have gone extremely well.

    There will be factors that you cannot influence, like bad luck, being unwell on the day, or an exceptionally good local candidate. If you dont get the job, allow yourself a bit of time, get feedback, and move on. There is no one right job, and there will be another one for you.

    Focus On The Task At Hand

    Dont think too much about the approach your interviewer is taking. It should not matter much if the conversation is interviewer- or candidate-led. If you go into your interview with a profound understanding of how to handle even a difficult case, the format of the interview should not be an issue. Keep a cool head and structure your thoughts.

    Read Also: How To Schedule A Phone Interview

    Pei Fit Interview Questions

    Not all Fit Interviews are created equal.

    On top of regular fit interviews, which are there to test your fit with the consulting profession, the firms culture and basic soft skills, consulting firms also have the PEI.

    So, what is the PEI?

    Well, it stands for Personal Experience Interview. It is basically an in-depth exploration of a personal story you had in the past.

    The PEI was popularized at McKinsey and youll have one such question in every McKinsey interview you have. Other firms have started using this format more often in recent years.

    Heres the deal: consultants know you can bullshit interview questions all day long if youre prepared for it..

    This is the exact reason why theyve created the case interview to test your problem-solving skills . Instead of asking your strengths and weaknesses and technical skills, they can give you a problem and see how you solve it.

    Case interviews are almost bullshit-proof if you cant solve problems, youll do very poorly in them even if you know the case beforehand.

    But how can you do the same for soft skills? How can you bullshit-proof a test on a candidates ability to get work done, influence other people and lead teams to achieve a goal?

    One way would be to actually watch them work over several weeks, which is what summer internships are for.

    But thats costly and time consuming

    Enter the Personal Experience Interview .

    The PEI is a super-intense 10 to 15-minute cross-questioning of a story you have about a skill.

    Practicing In Front Of A Mirror:

    5 essential tips to prepare for consulting case interviews

    Consulting interviews are to be held by the candidate themselves before attending it with the interviewer. An individual must try to practice in front of the mirror as to attempt answering all the other cases. These interviewers can be relevant with the interest and the experience gained with the consulting forums. It is defined on the successful handling of all the interviewing techniques.

    Read Also: What Will I Be Asked In An Interview

    Maths Word Problems: ~40% Of Questions

    In maths word problems, you will be presented with information in the form of graphs, tables and text. To answer the question, you will need to develop a maths formula and run computations based on that formula. Here is a typical maths word problem from McKinsey PST A, question 7:

    To the nearest tenth of a percentage point, what is the difference between Germany’s and Spain’s average annual business sector growth due to productivity over the last 12 years?

    A. 0.1 percentage points

    C. 0.9 percentage points

    D. 1.3 percentage points

    To answer this question, you first need to work out the formula to calculate the annual business sector growth due to productivity over the last 12 years. And you then need to calculate these rates for Germany and Spain and compare the two.

    In most cases the maths involved in these type of questions are not extremely complicated. It’s mainly additions, subtractions, divisions, multiplications and growth rate calculations. The challenge is to do these calculations quickly and accurately. Remember, you only have about 2 minutes per question, so it’s not uncommon to rush and to make a calculation error.

    Another common mistake is to misunderstand the question, or to misread the data provided. In this example for instance, we are interested in the growth rate DUE TO PRODUCTIVITY. This is key as there are different drivers behind the overall growth rate. Missing that part of the question would lead to an incorrect answer.

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