Get That Job: How to Make It Through Management Consulting Interviews
November 29, 2017
Are you preparing for an interview with a consulting firm and starting to get cold feet? Many of these firms have rigorous employee selection processes which are famous for the tricky types of cases they include. However, by doing some extra preparation and following these simple rules they shouldn’t be unsolvable. And this is exactly what you’re going to do —solve them.
First and foremost, follow this simple rule that can be applied to any company — prepare yourself by going through your prior work experience and education, and bring to mind examples of where you have shown particular skills that are important to your potential employer. These are called cases in the management consulting world and they might include working under pressure, leadership, analytical ability, and attention to detail. Study the company website thoroughly — many management consultancies also publish sample cases of the type of experience they will ask you to address. And yes, let’s assume you already have a killer CV and you can get that interview in the first place.
What we mean here is not solving two or three cases before your interview. Think rather in terms of 80 cases! Passing interviews takes solid effort, so be prepared to give it all you’ve got. Use good material, visit online forums and make sure you receive quality advice on anything you don’t understand. Be prepared to even pay for quality case-solving practice if necessary. Some prominent management consultancies might give you a team case solving test, so make sure you also practise solving cases in groups of people preparing for the same kinds of interviews and understand how team dynamics work.
Practice calculation and maths
A PST (problem solving test) will also be an important part of your interview score, so make sure that your computation skills are refreshed and can work like clockwork. Keep time and stick to your deadlines. Try to reach a level at which your calculation and problem-solving skills work almost automatically.
Ask questions and create structures
When given a case by an interviewer, never miss an opportunity to ask questions. It will not only engage you with the interviewer and help you to stand out, it will also help you gain a bigger picture of the case and put it into context. Then, from all the information thrown at you, create a structure. This is actually what lies at the heart of consultancy — collecting pieces of information, creating a coherent structure and solving the problem piece by piece.
Excel and show that you know more
Finally, show that you can think creatively and have up-to-date information on industries: following up on relevant sectors and reading the Economist every week will be a big help. Remember that the candidates you’re competing against are very strong, so they have probably prepared as much as you have. And what you need now is to wow your interviewer. Take each case with excitement and solve it with genuine joy!