Urgent - Need Advice for Consulting Interview Next Week

SAC's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,189

Hey guys, I have a consulting interview coming up next week. I currently work in Finance and have never had a consulting interview before so I'd like your advice on how to best prepare for this interview in this short period of time.

I've looked at the Wharton Case Preparation guide that I found in this section and will go over it thoroughly this weekend. Is there anything else I should cover ? The Vault Case Interview guide ? Case in Point ?

The firm is a small niche consulting firm in the Northeast so not MBB but most of the partners are MBB so I'd like to cover my bases so to speak.

Thanks in advance.

Region: 
United States - Northeast

Comments (13)

Oct 16, 2009

Case-In-Point is generally the most well-regarded of the case interview prep books. That said, my observation based on both when I first transitioned from finance to consulting (and from helping others prepare for interviews) is that books in general are really useful mainly as sources of frameworks and supplemental reading about how to approach the case.

The best way to quickly get good at cases (especially if you have no experience)is to get mock case interview from someone who has experience with it (and who was good enough to make the move to consulting successfully).

Although I'll admit to being biased, I'd also recommend shelling out the cash for a professional mock interviewer with experience in identifying and giving feedback on what you are doing correctly and incorrectly. Whether it's us or a competitor, the fact that we've worked in consulting and also have experience with giving feedback to interviewees on how to improve does make us better than just a friend in my opinion.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Regards,

Advisor

Academic & Corporate Interview Preparation

http://elitecollegeandinterviewprep.blogspot.com

Academic & Corporate Interview Preparation

http://elitecollegeandinterviewprep.blogspot.com

Oct 16, 2009

you'll be fine

wharton case guide and case in point is good enough

Oct 16, 2009

I think both of the previous posters have pretty extreme views.

Just skimming the books? Not enough - A good case interview has a certain rhythm to it and needs to be done with a lot of confidence. You can't get that just by reading a book (and doing well in finance interviews may not translate %100).

Needing to pay a professional? I don't think so. Do you have any classmates or contacts who are now in consulting? Ask them to run a quick practice case for you (over the phone is fine) and pay attention to their advice.

Oct 16, 2009

I am currently interviewing with BCG and McKinsey, and before my first round, I spent 2 weeks CRAMMING everything in Case in Point, Wharton Case Book, etc. I also did about 30 mock interviews with classmates, but no one from MBB until two days before. I know two guys at BCG, and they each mock-interviewed me separately and tore me to pieces.

I knew the frameworks and all the relavant questions well, but I was NOT very organized. Organization is VERY important. They want you to DO YOUR OWN DECISION TREE shortly after they explain the case situation to you. After the question, ask for a minute, and then take 60-120 seconds to think about and draw a MECE (mutually Exclusive, comprehensively exhaustive) tree displaying all the options you can think of. 50% of the time it will be a profit tree (Revenue-cost), or just the revenue or cost side of the tree. After 1-2 minutes of thinking and drawing, bring the interviewer back in, and start getting answers to the questions you have identified so far.

If you know the frameworks in the Wharton book and Case in Point, you will be halfway there. But you need to practice drawing a decision tree for each and every case question you can think of.

The other crucial part is connecting with your interviewer. Don't be too arrogant or too accomodating (like a brown noser or a sales person). Just be yourself, act casually, treat it like a classmate, and have fun. They really go off the airport test, which is "would I mind spending 12 hours in an airport alone with this person?"

Good luck

btw, I did well on both BCG and McKinsey first rounds, I was invited for second rounds with BCG, and I'll hear back from McK today. my contacts at BCG were crucial, because I'm not from a core school, so make contacts at the firms if you can. and get someone from inside the company to mock interview you - it makes a huge difference.

Oct 17, 2009
maxdavis:

I am currently interviewing with BCG and McKinsey, and before my first round, I spent 2 weeks CRAMMING everything in Case in Point, Wharton Case Book, etc. I also did about 30 mock interviews with classmates, but no one from MBB until two days before. I know two guys at BCG, and they each mock-interviewed me separately and tore me to pieces.

I knew the frameworks and all the relavant questions well, but I was NOT very organized. Organization is VERY important. They want you to DO YOUR OWN DECISION TREE shortly after they explain the case situation to you. After the question, ask for a minute, and then take 60-120 seconds to think about and draw a MECE (mutually Exclusive, comprehensively exhaustive) tree displaying all the options you can think of. 50% of the time it will be a profit tree (Revenue-cost), or just the revenue or cost side of the tree. After 1-2 minutes of thinking and drawing, bring the interviewer back in, and start getting answers to the questions you have identified so far.

If you know the frameworks in the Wharton book and Case in Point, you will be halfway there. But you need to practice drawing a decision tree for each and every case question you can think of.

That's only partially right. It's good to get decision focuses down, but don't feel like you need to go all-out in your decision trees. Really, as long as you get the basic big-picture areas and a few of the common indicators for each written, you'll be fine. It's way more efficient and effective to taylor your approach during the case, instead of writing out every possible scenario before. Unfortunately though, this takes lots of practice. Honestly, it's far better to design your own frameworks and build your own analyses than to rely on what anybody has written. Take the time to come up with a few of your own "tricks" based on what others have written. I invented my own type of competitive analysis and price analysis methods, which my interviewers loved, not because they were really good but because they were original.

Once you've gotten a basic for the material, created your own process of analysis (instead of using frameworks), and practiced until you can "feel" where the case is going and taylor your approach appropriately, it's important for you to take some time off. Don't do cases for a few days. Think about the personal questions. McKinsey is big on asking you pre-determined personal questions that you can have pre-fabricated answers for (Name an important challenge and how you overcame it, Tell me about a time you had to convince somebody of something, Walk me through a time when you were faced with a tough decision and how you worked through it). These questions are important, and shouldn't be overlooked.

Finally, practice. A lot. I interviewed with a few firms this year simply to get real-time case experience. It might be too late to sign up for extra interviews, but you can definitely practice more with friends, other interviewees, or consultants that have reached out to you from the firm. Get a taste for the type of questions they ask, so you can focus accordingly. Luckily, both BCG and McK have super-structured cases, and while BCG doesn't necessarily have a single conclusion (like McK does), they will both try to lead you towards some final point.

Good luck, hopefully you'll get both and be able to choose the best culture for you.

Oct 16, 2009

The best advice I've received is just be thorough, and in order to do that, go slowly. Structure is obviously important, but you're much more likely to come up with something creative and less likely to miss something obvious if you're giving yourself time to think.

Oct 16, 2009

The best advice I've received is just be thorough, and in order to do that, go slowly. Structure is obviously important, but you're much more likely to come up with something creative and less likely to miss something obvious if you're giving yourself time to think.

Oct 16, 2009

Thanks all for the great advice, esp. maxdavis, I'll definitely keep everything you guys said in mind.

Oct 16, 2009

Consulting and IB interviews are really different. The best way to prep for consulting interviews where you'll be asked cases is to get some grounding in frameworks, which you can get through the books you mentioned or shelling out bucks, and get a lot of practice cases under your belt. Reading about cases is nothing like doing one yourself in a simulated interview experience, just as having someone tell you how to throw a spiral isn't anything like throwing a football on your own and getting feedback. Get as many reps as you can and a classmate who has successfully made it through the consulting process would be a very good partner.

Here are some brain teaser samples
Brain Teaser Interview Questions - Strong and Weak Example Answers http://bit.ly/DO3Z0
and a link to a compilation of advice for people targeting consulting
Consulting Channel - http://bit.ly/m2a5n
Good luck

Gotta Mentor
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Oct 16, 2009

Thanks for the links FormerMD

Oct 16, 2009

Bain and BCG have good interview prep resources on their website - with multiple sample cases and advice on how to approach them.

Oct 16, 2009

Putz, thanks for that info, wasn't aware.

Oct 18, 2009
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