Great. You’ve done your research, applied to the job, and you’ve got the interview. Now what? How do you show your employer that you’re right for the job? Follow these tips to ace your consulting interview.
Stay on Top of Current Events
In any interview, not just a consulting interview, it is essential that you are on top of current events. You should familiarize yourself with major events in both finance and politics. Be sure to know what’s going on domestically and familiarize yourself with the major international news stories as well.
I listen to & read multiple news sources to stay on top of daily events. Check out my favorites here.
Your interviewers will have a copy of your resume on hand, so make sure that you know EVERYTHING on it. One of the most common questions they may ask is “Can you walk me through your resume?” You should be able to talk about each point on your resume in a way that highlights the skills you know the consulting firm is looking for.
The interviewers may then ask you follow-up question about something on your resume. For example, when I was interviewing a potential candidate for my business club, he said that he was one of the original “miners” of Bitcoin. I was curious about this, so I had him walk me through the entire process of mining Bitcoin, start to finish.
This is especially important if you highlight skills such as Excel or a coding language (JAVA, HTML, etc) on your resume, since your interviewer will likely be well-versed in these skills and will ask very pointed questions about these topics.
In sum: If you truly have a skill, put it on your resume, but if you aren’t actually an expert, it’s best to leave it off.
The Case Study
Consulting interviews will absolutely have a case study round, where you analyze a real or hypothetical business situation and propose a solution.
Look around the company’s website and familiarize yourself with some of their biggest clients/industries. Try to come up with ways that you could help these companies improve their business model, and practice your cases.
In college, I’ve found that there’s no better way to practice for exams and interviews than by first learning the frameworks and then working through practice problems to make sure I know the material.
Two of my favorite resources for case study practice:
“In Case Interview Secrets, you’ll discover step-by-step instructions on how to dominate what many consider to be the most complex, most difficult, and most intimidating corporate job interview in the world—the infamous case interview. Victor Cheng, a former McKinsey management consultant, reveals his proven, insider’s method for acing the case interview. Having personally secured job offers from McKinsey, Bain & Company, Monitor, L.E.K, Oliver Wyman, and A.T. Kearney, he has also been a McKinsey case interviewer—providing you with a hands-on, real-world perspective on what it really takes to land job offers.”
This book contains practice cases for you to develop your analytical problem solving skills. It’s one of the most popular and widely-used case preparation books in the market.
An Amazon reviewer said:
“As an MBA graduate now coaching MBA students in case interviews, I have been using Marc Cosentino’s “Case in Point” books and resources for several years. There is no right answer in a case interview….this book will train you to develop and demonstrate your analytical problem solving skills! Marc offers tons of spot-on tips, nuggets of information and clear guidance, each of which is worth the price of the book.”
After the case study, you will then move on to the behavioral round. In this interview round, you will be asked questions about yourself, your resume, and your approach to work.
It is essential that you not only answer their questions, but that you answer the questions well, and in a thoughtful way. These types of questions are less about what you say, but instead about how you say it.
To prepare: Have a list of life experiences that you can draw upon in behavioral questions, for example: a time when you worked in a team, a time you had difficulty with a coworker, or a time where you showed your leadership skills.
You can simply Google “behavioral questions” and find great example lists of questions. I keep a Word document of these questions that I look over and “quiz myself” with from time to time to ensure that I’m highlighting my best attributes when answering the questions.
YOU NEED TO ASK FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS. This shows that you are interested in the firm and that you are intellectually curious about what the firm does.
Think about questions that your potential boss or someone working there for a few years would be able to answer.
“How would you describe the company’s culture?”
“What do you like most about working for X company?”
“What have past employees done to succeed in this position?”
Any question that shows your general interest in the company & its values is a great start.
I hope this article gave you a better idea of how to approach the consulting interview process.
In the mean time, check out my post about the apps I use to make some extra money on the side.
What are you doing to prepare for interview season? Do you have any interview tips that I may have missed?