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Interview prep with former MBB interviewers

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Status: Alumni and Career Coaches
Affiliations: MBB
Joined: 22 Jul 2013
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Interview prep with former MBB interviewers [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2013, 08:32
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Mega-thread: Consulting advice from Beyond Case Prep (

Hi everyone, and welcome to the consulting forum. We at are exclusively recent alums of the top consulting firms, with experience interviewing hundreds of candidates. We are here to answer any questions that you may have, and we also offer a full range of general and firm-specific prep services at for those who want to be as prepared as possible to perform in the interviews and get the offer.

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Status: Alumni and Career Coaches
Affiliations: MBB
Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 34
Location: United States
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Re: Interview prep with former MBB interviewers [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2013, 14:18
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The most common question we receive from people who are interested in consulting is "How does the consulting recruiting process work?"

The answer is that it is essentially a four step process, with three filters along the way, where candidates get screened out before an offer is made.

Today we will explain Step One - "Application":

The keys at this stage are to tailor your resume, do basic research, network, and start your case and behavioral interview practice.

Tailor your resume

Consultants love to see quantified impact on resumes. If your prior experience is in real estate, and you managed a portfolio of 100 units, focus on your impact as opposed to your responsibility. For example, "managed 100 units" focuses on responsibility; "increased rent roll 8%" focuses on impact. Focus on impact.

Once this is complete, focus on the highlighting the skills that consultants use in their day to day. For example, communication, influencing, problem solving, and more. Many of the firm websites describe these particular skills - make sure to highlight them in your own experiences.

Do some research

Make sure that you know enough about each firm to have a basic conversation. This shouldn't take more than a few hours - for example, know that McKinsey has offices around the globe and operates as one firm, and that an MBA will be applying for an Associate role, while at BCG an MBA would be applying for a Consultant role. Bain tends to staff more regionally, and Deloitte has its own learning facilities for training and events.


Make sure that you will have enough touchpoints with the firms to allow yourself to make a memorable positive impression. If you attend a program where the firms don't come to campus, you will need to network proactively to create these opportunities for yourself.

Networking is an opportunity to present your best foot
forward with the firms, before you apply. This means making sure your resume is at its best, you've taken the time to research the
differences between the firms, and you have practiced your elevator pitch and your ability to make small talk with the recruiters from the firms.

During networking, focus on quality over quantity. Good networking should motivate someone on the recruiting team to remember and speak positively about you. Keep in mind that each member of the recruiting team will likely meet 20 or 30 people with an hour, so it is very difficult for them to remember you. Be prepared, and focus as opposed to trying to just say hello to everyone there.

Interview practice

Begin to do some very basic case practice. This will help adopt the consulting mindset, and can help narrow your potential post-school career interests. This can entail attending some workshops, reading the first half of Case in point, or looking at online materials.


It's important to note that the firms are collecting data about you even before you apply. They may have access to your resume through your school's resume book, they collect observations from their recruiting team when they meet you, and they keep track of how well you perform in any "mock cases" they may give you. All of these "data points" are used by the firm (in addition to your actual application) to determine who they want to extend interview invites to.

Our next step will explain the first filter - how the firms decide who to interview. Check out our facebook page next week to learn more:

Feel free to reply or message us with any questions!
User avatar
Status: Alumni and Career Coaches
Affiliations: MBB
Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 34
Location: United States
Followers: 4

Kudos [?]: 44 [0], given: 0

The first filter: interview invite list [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2013, 05:33

Today we are discussing the next step in the consulting interview process: the first filter, the interview invite

The top firms use both a quantitative resume scoring system combined with qualitative observations from all of their interactions with

The quantitative resume reviews looks at the type of school and work experience, and for specific qualities that are evidenced on the resume.

On the school and work side, one can imagine hierarchies of schools and employers, where someone who went to Princeton and/ or worked at Google would get some form of extra consideration beyond someone who went to a smaller school and worked at a lesser known employer. This is not to say that attending a smaller school or working for a small company is a negative; this is just one possible opportunity of many that can contribute to a good application. If you did attend a smaller school, or worked for a lesser-known employer, then make sure to really polish up your resume and prepare to network effectively. In regards to test scores and GPA, the firms are looking for evidence of quantitative ability. Most people won't be helped or hurt by this, but a low GPA or standardized score can hurt you, and an exceptionally high GPA or score will get you noticed.

The firms then review the content of the resume to identify specific skills or personality traits that are important in a successful consulting career. For example, let's say computer proficiency is important. The firms may have a scale where someone who has no demonstrated proficiency is at the bottom, someone with demonstrated proficiency with MS Office is in the middle, and someone with proficiency with a more advanced program like SPSS would get the highest grade. The takeaway here is to do some research and identify what is important to consulting, and highlight those capabilities to the extent that they exist on the resume.

On the qualitative side, the firms keep detailed notes on all their interactions with you whether that's at their company presentation,
cocktail events, or mock interviews. The are trying to evaluate your communication ability (e.g. can you speak well?) as well as how well
you'd fit in as a member of the team or in front of clients (are you outgoing? are you arrogant?). It is important to have an advocate at the firm. When networking, think about connecting with someone who is a vocal part of the recruiting team, and make a good impression so that they will speak up on your behalf.

Additionally, the interview lists are shaped by both the on-campus "specialists" as well as the specific offices. Behind the scenes,
offices have certain numbers of interview "slots" for each school, so there is a lot of give-and-take behind the scenes. (For example, a firm's Boston office might be really high on a candidate so they push hard to proceed with the interview, even if the school-specific recruiting team was lukewarm on the candidate).

Once you get to the interview, everyone has an equal chance regardless of whether you were the first one on the interview list, or
the last one who barely made it on. It all comes down to executing during the interviews.

Feel free to pose any questions, and check back again soon for some tips on how to prepare for the first round interview.

Like us on fb for additional tips:

The first filter: interview invite list   [#permalink] 19 Aug 2013, 05:33
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