Consulting Superdays

pulpfction's picture
Rank: Chimp | 8

Recruiting season for summer consulting positions is wrapping up soon, and I haven't had any luck yet. Had several first rounds and made it to 2nd round of an MBB. I have another final round soon with a 2nd tier firm that I would still love to work for.

I'm trying to figure out how to approach the upcoming final round. Specifically, what's the best way to form a connection with the partners/managers I interview with even when you can tell it's going to take a ton to impress them? Is it better to be laid-back and more bro-ey or should I act more mature and serious? Obviously they're both crucial, but is the 2nd round more about fit or case performance?

Comments (6)

Feb 2, 2011

There's no appropriate balance between being a bro and being mature: you should be as mature and professional as possible. That doesn't mean not smiling/laughing, but you don't connect with senior people in the way that you connect with 22-year-olds. Basically, when a SAC at Bain interviews you, part of what is hopefully impressive is your ability to get him or her to think "Not only is this person smart, but I could see myself hanging out with him/her, too." But when you meet with a Partner (or anyone much older than you), you want them to think "Yes this kid is smart and I wouldn't mind getting stuck in an airport with him, but I can put him in front of a client without worrying about him embarrassing me."

Bain's a good example because even though it's the frattiest of MBB, it's still a serious professional services firm that presents the exact same face to clients that McKinsey and BCG do. When people describe them as "fratty," they're talking about the way that junior people interact with each other .

Maybe this is a severe answer, but you're approaching this the wrong way. You want to be as professional and serious as you possibly can be. That includes appropriate smiles, polite laughter, etc., but it's still contained and polished.

The final round is equal parts case and fit to the extent that you can't mess up either. So if you bomb the case, your achievements and social skills don't matter, and if you come off as a lackadaisical dick, your case skills don't matter.

Feb 2, 2011

Honestly, I am a huge believer in focusing on the CASE. Can't stress this enough. A guy I know from high school got into McKinsey despite having a very abrasive personality with a quite poor sense of humor. Why? Coz he admittedly was a brilliant student at Cornell, and did very, very well at the case.

In my opinion, it doesn't matter if you're the funniest guy in the world or the most talented guitarist in North America. All that matters is - can you crack the case??! And better yet, can you nail it so bad that if it were an animal the SPCA would try you for animal cruelty??

THAT is what matters man. The bro-y stuff will work if you have a half-decent personality. Focus on nailing the case - that is priority no.1.

Feb 2, 2011

Case is great, but by the time you're at the final rounds, EVERYONE is good at the case. It's your fit that needs to stand out. This isn't to say you should slack on the case, but fit is where you can really distinguish yourself.

Feb 2, 2011

Bro vs Professional: Professional. I think 2x2 nailed it.

Case vs Fit: Both. Focusing on just the case is a mistake unless you are 100% confident in fit and vise versa. True that most are great at case by final rounds, but you need to meet a certain standard to get the offer. The same is true of fit. WIthout both, you are sure to find a ding. Doing phenomenal on one will not compensate for a lackluster performance on the other.

I'm hammered still but I'm pretty sure this was coherent.

Feb 5, 2011

Definitely, I just think that the fit part of things can't be worked on or improved by 'prepping'. You can't change your personality. You can't suddenly become a stand up comedian during the interview.

What CAN you prep for? Those cases. And that's why I say you gotta nail them cases. Also, I don't think that everyone is very good at them by the final rounds (especially the UGrad MBA level I will agree)...I know I personally was a lot better at cases in my final round relative to the first round just coz I prepped that much harder.

Feb 7, 2011