how should i prepare for interviews at top-tier consulting firms?

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Many consulting applicants are intimidated by case interviews. It is a recruitment stage when their logical thinking capability and communication skills are put to a test. However, there's only one secret to overcoming this anxiety, and that is sufficient preparation. Moreover, don't forget to download our free guide to landing a consulting job at for additional preparation ideas.


  • How Should I Case Interview Prepare for Preparation Interviews at Top-tier Consulting Firms?
  • Interested in breaking into a top-tier firm? So, youve decided to pursue a management consulting career. Youve successfully created and submitted an impressive resume, and your favorite suit is pressed and ready to go. Now all you need to do is ace that interview. But how? Consulting interviews are tough, and many aspiring consultants feel intimidated by the thought of interviewing at world-renowned consultancies, but if you prepare accordingly youre sure to come out on top. In this presentation, you will learn: What to do before the case interview What to do on the day of the case interview All rights reserved by More free consulting career advice on 2
  • Before the case interview Research the company Do your homework and find out everything you need to learn about your prospective firm. Familiarize yourself with all relevant information before you go to the interview. Know who their clients are and research them, find out what problems they handle as well as their preferred methodologies, and visit their website and follow their social accounts in order to connect with people who are associated with them. This information will give you some helpful insights which you can use during the interview. Screenshot of BCGs website All rights reserved by More free consulting career advice on 3
  • Before the case interview Prepare questions Yes, its important to know how to answer questions during the interview. However, at some point youll be asked if you have any concerns, which is your chance to ask insightful questions. Knowing how and what to ask will show your genuine interest in the job. You can ask about the interviewers experience with the firm or what its like to work as a consultant. Evaluate tour competencies Assess your skills and reflect on how suitable you are for the job. Identify your weaknesses and focus on improving them in the weeks before the interview. You need to prove that you have the capability to perform the responsibilities of a consultant. Self-awareness is key to success; if you feel that you lack a few critical skills, work on honing them. Learn the consulting frameworks Memorize consulting frameworks. If you master the frameworks, youre likely to arrive at a pragmatic solution to any given problem. Its easy to get overwhelmed by the large amount of data presented; you may be confused about where and how to start. Understanding business frameworks can definitely guide you in generating sound recommendations. Make sure to take the time to master and apply different frameworks to various cases. Follow current events in the industry You wont demonstrate to recruiters that you have what it takes to be a consultant if you dont stay on top of current events. Equip yourself with industry knowledge by reading news and magazine articles about the finance and politics sectors, both domestic and international. Also, and most importantly, keep yourself updated about the company that youre interviewing with. All rights reserved by More free consulting career advice on 4
  • Before the interview Read recruitment materials Top-tier consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG, Booz ,and Bain provide information for candidates on their websites about what they are looking for in an applicant. You can also take advantage of the review materials that they offer. Bains career homepage All rights reserved by More free consulting career advice on 5
  • Before the interview Network, network, network Build strong relationships with industry professionals. Networking is a powerful tool that can help you effectively prepare for the interview. The experts among your contacts can definitely guide you on how to break into this industry. Courteously ask for their advice. If lucky enough, you might even have the chance to make friends with someone whos worked there or is currently an employee in your target firm. Referral strategy has been proven to be a great way to land a job, so make an effort to grow your network of professionals. Join organizations and participate in LinkedIn and other networking sites. Improve your mental math Consultants are expected to know how to make calculations and estimations; therefore youll be presented with a great deal of numerical data in your case interview. Thus, its imperative that you hone your mental math skills. Simulate the actual interview as you practice so you can gauge your speed. Know how to read charts, graphs, and tables To be a good consultant, you must be excellent at interpreting charts, graphs, and tables. Regardless of how the data is presented, you should be able to come up with accurate recommendations. This is crucial to acing your interview with toptier consulting firms. Devote ample time to reading graphical charts or data spreadsheets so you can improve your data analysis. Look for case interview review sessions If youre still in school, you can look for consulting clubs and career service centers that offer case practice sessions. Take advantage of these eventsthey will help you further prepare for the interview and may even provide some good review materials. All rights reserved by More free consulting career advice on 6
  • Before the interview Practice with someone The best way to prepare for a consulting interview at a top-tier firm is to conduct a mock interview. Yes, its important that you study on your own first, but to test whether all your hard work is paying off, you need to conduct a mock interview with a qualified person. This is important to remember: Conduct mock interviews with people who have knowledge about the consulting industry. This will help you improve your ability to convey structured ideas as well as your ability to handle pressure. Take it seriously and simulate the interview conditions. Afterwards, ask for some valuable feedback that will help improve your performance. Start as early as you can The key to being prepared for the interview is to start early. The earlier you prepare, the more cases youll be able to study. Take your time learning how to approach and solve different types of cases. Remember, procrastination is often the cause of ones failure. Prepare, dont over prepare Indeed, you have to thoroughly prepare for your consulting interview. However, be careful not to over prepare. This requires some judgment on your part. Practicing is great but not to the extent that youll sound rehearsed. You dont want to demonstrate to your interviewer how good you are at memorizing a rehearsed speech. Top firms want to know how you think, so be careful not to make the script too obvious. All rights reserved by More free consulting career advice on 7
  • On the day of the interview Dress accordingly To give your confidence an extra boost, you should wear standard professional business attire to your consulting interview. Be neutral and try to keep your fashion as simple as possible. Avoid wearing flashy ties or accessories. Based on CareerBuilder.coms annual survey, 51% of hiring managers said that dressing inappropriately is the most common and damaging mistake a candidate can make during the interview. So in order to make a good first impression, you need to convey a polished and professional look. Keep your poise The interview process in top-tier consulting firms is very intense. You need to remain poised. Dont let them upset you with abrupt or unfriendly behaviorkeep a positive and professional attitude and smile! Remember, youre not there to make friends; youre there to impress them and get the job. Besides, they might be testing your ability to deal with nasty clients and co-workers. All rights reserved by More free consulting career advice on 8
  • On the day of the interview Make eye contact Be confident and maintain eye contact. According to an infographic titled, What You Wish Youd Known Before Your Job Interview, 67% of managers said that failure to make eye contact is a common nonverbal mistake applicants make during interviews. (The statistics were taken from a survey of 2,000 managers.) Think and listen Many aspiring consultants fail to do this during the interview. Keep your focus so you wont miss important hints or questions that are dropped during the discussion. One common issue among interviewees is writing too much. Dont get too fixated on the details. Write down only a few words, not everything. Some words and phrases are there to confuse you. Remember, good consultants can easily spot the key facts. Listen and think carefully about the implications of the details presented. Keep an open mind Dont sound defensive. If your interviewer seems to challenge your recommendation, acknowledge that what he or she said may be a relevant viewpoint that you havent considered. Good consultants know that there are many potential solutions to a single problem, so try to keep an open mind during your interview, and trust your instincts when presenting a persuasive proposal. Ask questions After youve been provided with information about the ca