AMA - Consulting interview prep - firm specific questions

AMA - former strategy consultant with now with Fortune 50 Corporate Strategy group working directly with C-suite. Coached countless students (UG and MBA) on case interviews. Happy to share what I learned the hard way - resources, process, firm-specific styles, exit opps etc.

Comments (23)

Jan 13, 2020

Thoughts on Case in Point as a case prep book?

Most Helpful
Jan 13, 2020

Case in point is a GREAT beginners book to start case prep according to me. It gives you all the basics and gets you going on how to think like a consultant and come up with frameworks for different problems. BUT in order for you to get to a level where you are mastering MBB case interviews, I feel you need to supplement case in point with other resources. One way I used Case In Point was - read the question, without reading the solutions, draft up a framework on how you would attack a problem. Then go on and read to understand the gaps in your framework building skills. That way you start to notice certain things that you typically don't consider. For me, I always missed the distribution element for some cases, so made a mental note to always explore channel options and economics while doing the case. Sorry it's a long winded way of saying it's a great book to build the basics!

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Jan 14, 2020

No that's a great help, thanks very much!

Jan 13, 2020

Thank you for doing this. I am trying out for an Implementation Position at McKinsey 5.5 years out of undergrad.

How would you suggest prepping for Implementation Consulting roles vs Strategy Consulting roles?

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Jan 13, 2020

I am probably not qualified to answer that. But based on what I know from a friend of mine who joined the implementation team, the cases you get will be similar in terms of standards. The subtle difference maybe that you get more of an operational case (plant efficiency going down, or where to set up a new plant to save costs) vs. strategy type cases (client wants to introduce a new product). One little bit of advice - McK hires by office (vs Nationally). That culminates into local economy cases. Here's what I mean - if you are interviewing at Detroit, expect that the case could be about auto parts manufacturer. If it's Atlanta, wouldn't be surprised if your client is a 'large international airline' ... you get the drift. So reach out to folks in the office where you are interviewing and try getting some intel on what type of projects/'studies' (in McK lingo) they do. That will give you a sense of what to expect. In terms of prep, I don't think there's a difference in prepping for operational vs strategy ones. McK format is set - interviewer led with very specific questions. First one is always "how would you structure this problem" or "what factors will you consider" - that's where you lay out the framework. Then it will likely be a quaint question. They will give you some data plus charts and ask "how many units to break even" or something like how units can the client afford to lose and still break even. That will be followed by brainstorming - what else can the client do, what are some the things they should consider etc etc. then maybe some questions on risks and mitigation. Disclaimer - this is based on my experience of coaching students and conversations with friends who successfully made it. Take it with a grain of salt. Good luck!

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Jan 14, 2020

I'm gonna go ahead and ask a stupid question. I thought McKinsey hired nationally and had national / global staffing model vs BCGs local / Bains office staffing model.

Or am I confusing staffing models with hiring models?

Jan 14, 2020

Which provides better exit opportunities - management or strategy consulting?

Jan 14, 2020

I'm going to the use every consultants' go to answer for anything and everything - It depends! Sorry, but it is true for your question too. What it depends on is where I can probably shed some light. So here goes - At the outset, let me make sure I understand the distinction between management vs strategy. Even though strategy consulting is a sub-set of the overall management consulting profession, i assume by management consulting you mean more functional consulting e.g. supply chain, finance, marketing/sales etc. Now, in terms of exit opps, mgt consulting will land you roles that are typically operational focused that requires strategic thinking. E.g. you may be a Director of supply chain responsible for driving strategic thinking, analysis and also process improvements. Strategy consultants on the other hand typically land corp strat roles (one that I currently have) or more M&A focused corp Dev roles. These typically tend to be your classic "ivory tower" strategy that focus on the corporate level issues - tend to be more longer term and have very little operational element. I am only describing you the two ends of a spectrum. Most roles will fall in the middle with a decent amount of strategy skills and also operations. So if someone loves a particular function and aspires to grow in a particular function, mgt consulting will give you those opportunities. But if someone loves to stay at the 10,000 foot level and keep doing strategic stuff, strategy consulting could be right for you. Exits depend a lot on the type of projects, the firm and the network of alumni from the firm. There are many strategy shops that also place consultants into Mid market PE shops on a regular basis (think Bain or McK PE group, Parthenon, etc.) I will leave you with this - timing also plays an important role in your exits. So always helpful to keep introspecting on what you want from your exit, so that you can choose your consulting projects that allow you to have meaningful conversations when you interview. Hope this makes it clear as mud ;). On a serious note - happy to answer follow on questions. I threw a lot on here.

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Jan 15, 2020

I'm currently a junior at a top public university and interviewed with two of the MBBs as well as Big4, and a couple of boutiques during the fall. I only made it through to one final round but still got rejected.

If my ultimate goal is to land a FT consulting role, would I be better off taking a MO/BO summer analyst role at a BB , or keep recruiting for boutique/niche consulting firms for this summer?

Jan 15, 2020

My short answer is: probably try boutique consulting roles OR corporate internships in strategy teams or any other team at a name brand. Assuming ultimately you want to do consulting. If banking is something you would enjoy as a long term career or if later you want to pursue PE opportunities, an analyst role at a BB would probably be the route over consulting. My internship was in a major brand company and that helped me land consulting interviews for FT. One consultant told me that a name brand internship is preferred over no name start up experience because the consulting firm finds it much easier to sell you to the client. Someone with P&G would be preferred over someone who did equal or better work at XYZ start up. Lends credibility to you and your firm. That's reality. So play the game and increase your chances of landing an interview that way.

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Jan 15, 2020

To be honest, I'm not completely sure what I want to do in the future. The summer analyst role at a BB seems stable with good pay but I dont know if i'll enjoy it long term and I want to keep my options open for next year when I'm looking for FT roles.

Would a brand name corporate strategy internship this summer open more doors than the banking role?

Jan 15, 2020

Hey I'm starting at a top tier 2, but it isn't one of the DD houses like LEK/EY-P. Think AT-Kearney/Monitor/Oliver Wyman.

I think they do moreso strategy projects with less of a focus on DDs; I come from an M&A background and still have a strong interest in PE. If I position myself to the best of my ability and can model decently well, do I have a shot at MM/LMM recruiting, or is it really just MBB/LEK/EY-P?

Thank you in advance.

Array

Jan 15, 2020

I feel there are two realistic routes to PE: 1. Get experience at Monitor/ATK etc. and try to get modeling heavy projects> lateral to Bain or EYP or McK > networking your butt off and get into PE shops like Berkshire/Golden Gate/ Bain etc.
Route 2: continue at ATK/Monitor, doing modeling heavy projects and then try to switch to portfolio operations in PE shops that hire consultants. There are a bunch that have dedicated consulting groups along with your standard investing teams. Focus is more on helping transform ops for portfolio companies. Pay I hear is amazing, but may not be at par with the investing teams till a certain seniority. But I have limited knowledge on that.

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Jan 15, 2020

On the topic of Ops teams in PE, do you know if pay tends to be greater than consulting across the board? I only ask because it seems like you have some data points, and there seems to be very little info on these groups, or at least I haven't come across it.

Jan 15, 2020

I have a small list of those type of PE firms. DM me if interested or when interested. Keep in mind, I have not made that transition so will be based purely on my own research. Cheers!

Jan 19, 2020

I am using firmsconsulting material and so far blown away by the quality and quantity they offer. Check it out and see it for yourself

McKinsey Interviewer Led Profitability Case

BCG Interviewee-led Market Entry

Jan 20, 2020

Oh yes, that's another great resource. I didn't end up using firmconsulting, but definitely one of the major ones out there. Won't go wrong.

Jan 24, 2020

I have two questions:

1) What are your thoughts on RocketBlocks? Is it worth the one year subscription?

2) I What are your thoughts on Deloitte S&O Vs. OW Core Consulting Group Interview Process?

Jan 31, 2020

Apologies for the delay. Been traveling out of the country.
Here goes -
1. I have not used them nor have heard of any of my close friends use them. So not qualified to answer your question. For most folks I know, they've used preplounge.com and been very happy with it.
2. Deloitte S&O is very similar to your regular consulting interviews - expect quant heavy charts and your standard case types that you would get in a MBB. A few call outs on Deloitte - they try and follow loosely, a McK style interviewer-led format where the interviewer will ask the questions and take you through the case. The charts etc. that they give will not be very difficult if you've prepped for MBB. Purely my observation - they love to hear from candidates how they are amazing and THE place to be in consulting (my sample set is limited, mind you, but consistent in my experience,) so be prepared to do some homework on the group you are interviewing for and then make sure you answer the question on why Deloitte S&O really well. On OW, unfortunately my exposure has been limited. From what I know, if you are prepping for MBB you should be good. Only thing is you can expect more financial services/insurance type cases compared to other firms. So will be beneficial to go through the standard industry terms and understand how those industries make money. Familiarizing yourself with key terms such as premiums, claims, adjudication etc. and understanding the processes and how money flows in those industries will be very helpful.

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Mar 15, 2020
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