Consulting is a pretty rewarding profession, but it’s also not easy to get into at the top level. For all you future consultants out there, there is one critical question you have to decide on. What form of preparation for your case interview will you take?
There is a big difference between doing the preparation all by yourself, and doing it with some help. And if you’re doing it with help, there’s the choice of partnering with a friend or an associate, or a hired professional. Then there’s the matter of organizing your approach to it, working on your case interview examples, as well as your fit interview questions and communication skills.
All in all, preparation for the consulting business should be taken very seriously and systematically if you want to succeed in this branch.
In any top-level consultancy, first and foremost the MBB consultancies group, the competition for an open consulting spot is enormous. Every day hundreds, even thousands of young entrepreneurs will be sending their resumes and cover letters, hoping that they will be the ones standing on top when the application process reaches its deadline.
This gives the companies the power to be very picky in their selection. They will be patient and thorough, looking for THE perfect candidate that stands out in their achievements and abilities the most. In McKinsey’s case, for instance, the rate of hiring is mostly around 1%, meaning that only 1% of all the applicants will actually make it to get a job offer from them.
For a detailed look into how to increase your chances, visit the My Consulting Coach site.
Forms of Preparation
There are a few paths that you can take where your case interview preparation is concerned. You can opt to do it all by yourself – which is doable, but not necessarily recommended. Or you can opt to do it with a partner – be it a friend, or a professional. Working with a partner can add more depth to your preparation and help you evaluate your knowledge level, as well as prepare you better communication-wise.
When doing your case interview prep alone, it’s important to be self-critical. When you struggle with something, focus on it even more. Test your own knowledge, and find your weak points in order to work on them.
Also, take breaks often enough. A tired mind is more prone to mistakes and will increase the chance of skipping something or missing a detail. At times you’ll be fuming about a problem that you can’t solve, only to take a half an hour break and return to solve it in ten minutes. A fresh mind is a capable mind.
Case Interview Examples
The best way to work on your technical knowledge is by going through as many case interview examples as you can find. This being the 21st century, the internet is full of such examples, be it random low-profile consulting sites, or the official MBB consultancy web pages.
Case interview examples can be found in various formats. Videos, texts, interactive applications/games. The ultimate advice would be to go through all the formats, as every one of them has something different to offer. Some will be more to the technical side, while others will focus more on the interview itself, what’s the communication like, what kind of questions the interviewer will be asking, etc.
Working With a Friend
Working with a friend gives a new dimension to your preparation. Especially if the friend happens to know a few things about consulting. But whatever their profession is, an extra pair of eyes and ears can make a whole lot of difference in your long study sessions.
They can help you keep an eye out for details, not to skip anything, to keep the approach organized. But most of all, they can help you with communication. The way you communicate your answers to the interviewer is crucial, and having someone to help you practice that can give your prep a whole new level.
Think of them as your interviewer and try to act as you would on your interview day. Try to speak in an organized manner and follow a certain path with your questions, as well as your answers. The experience of reporting to someone will make a difference when the interview day comes, of that you can be certain.
With coaching services, you are getting the most out of your preparation. The goal for the coaches is not to simply teach you the frameworks, or make you do a certain amount of examples. Their objective is to teach you how to think like a consultant. To change your approach to problems, work on your logical thinking, and give you the full case interview experience through simulation.
All the sessions are personalized, meaning that the coaches first evaluate your level of knowledge before adapting the sessions to it. If you are just starting – they’ve got your whole program covered, and if you’re already far off in your preparation, the coach will determine how ready you are, and work on filling in the blanks.
Do keep in mind that these sessions do not aim to be friendly, but efficient. All coaches have experienced MBB consultants who know the ins and outs of the business and know how to prepare you for what is coming. They will do their best to find holes in your knowledge and to make you aware of them, all for the purpose of giving you the best possible chance of landing that job offer.
There are certain choices that can help you cut a corner in your preparation here and there, but one thing is for certain – you will have to invest a lot of time and effort to get an edge over your competitors. Do not work only on your case interview examples. Work on your attitude, your way of thinking. Work on your communication and body language. In the consulting profession, all of that matters.
Even when you think you’ve done it all, do it all over again. Because to be a successful consultant is to always strive for better. You never know everything, and there is always room for improvement. That is the only way to succeed in this profession, and as a matter of fact, to succeed in life as a whole.
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