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# Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting

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Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009
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Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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04 May 2008, 07:48
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Management consulting recruiting is an interesting beast. It’s the kind of recruiting that, on the one hand, your background matters very little – worked in IT? Ok. I don’t care. Worked in Strategy? So be it next. On the one hand, that’s great; on the other hand, if you have relevant experience and you don’t get the offer, but the guy who spent the last three years saving dolphins in Thailand or something does, you’ll wonder what happened. To be fair, this is kind of true for all recruiting – there will be people who get jobs who you can’t imagine how in the bleeding !@(# they got it – and then there will be people who don’t get the job who you would have easily put a big dollar bet on. The point, I guess, is simple: If you want to do MC, you can. If you want to do MC at BCG, Bain or McKinsey, you might get the chance. You just as easily might not.

The goods news is that most of these firms come and interview a lot of candidates, so you’ll get the opportunity to interview. Of course, if past experience is so heavily discounted, what does matter?

In effect it boils down to three things:

1. The Case
2. The Fit portion (McKinsey calls this the PEI, the Personal Experience Interview if memory serves me right)
3. and to a much lesser extent, you prior work experience, GMAT scores, particular school you attend, etc.

I’ll go into detail about those in a minute, but first its worth mentioning something about the recruiting timeline. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan – but that backup plan has to work. Banking as a backup to Consulting might work, but odds are it won’t (excluding the obvious fact that the interviews would be very very different anyway) – and the reason is timelines.

At the GSB it goes something like this:

IB / Sales and Trading: 1st two weeks of recruiting
Consulting: Next 3 to 4 weeks, with the big 3 coming to campus, literally immediately thereafter.
Corporate Strategy: Some overlap with consulting, many don’t. Will run 4-8 weeks in length, with some scattered firms coming very late in the game.
IM: Scattered all about, some early, some late
PE/VC: Last in the line – often as far out as 2 to 3 months after IB. (Eg, April not Jan)

Having Banking as a backup to Consulting probably wont work because you might well have to make a decision on your banking offer before you ever get your consulting offer. Consulting as a backup to say PE/VC also doesn’t really work because the PE/VC recruiting is so far away. So, its just something to consider. It might vary at different schools, but keep in mind that although you truly can recruit for anything coming out of an MBA, you still have to pick “smart”.

But lets take a step back… before the interview… before the closed list. What happens?

There are dozens of events. The rule for getting on the closed list is, mostly, straight forward. If you have consulting experience, you’ll almost certainly get it (this is the only part where your background actually matters). If you don’t, you just do what you do for every other industry – you go to events.

1. Coffee Chats: Informal get together with firms where you can just sit around and ask questions in a (supposedly) risk free environment.

2. L&L: Similar panel like discussions where you get to hear about BCG’s latest foray into X or Y. There are a lot of these and while attendance isn’t necessary, it’s a good way to meet a partner or two.

3. Meet and Greet: Formal networking event. Put on suit and tie, name tag, go to a room and hover around trying to get in conversations with people without being awkward.

4. Office Visits: Sometimes invitation only, sometimes not. Usually a half-day at the office, walk around, meet people, say hello. These can often be self-sourced – meaning, if you want to work in Dallas and you plan on being home for winter quarter in Dallas, reach out to the Dallas office and plan something.

5. Office Specific Drink Nights: Eg, I think one of the big three had a Dallas bowling night. Again, just more recruiting events.

6. Function Specific dinners: Eg Deloitte’s human capital practice might have a dinner separately from Deloitte’s strategy practice. Or McKinsey Strat vs McK BTO.

7. Dinners / Drinks in general: I guess it doesn’t need its own section, but its so common that you get used to it.

8. Women only events: Eg One firm had a “martini’s and manicures” event this year. Apparently it was a big hit.

9. Minority Target Events: Special events held particularly intended for women, Hispanic American, etc etc. These are so unbelievably frequent that if you can join a minority group you should.

10. Practice Case Sessions: Typically invitational only. Supposedly non-evaluative. Take that as you will. If I see someone and they strike me as retarded, non-evaluative or not, I’m going to remember that they seemed retarded. So, my advice is to speak up when you have good points, but otherwise keep your mouth shut. I have a few funny stories about these.

11. Day before the interview dinners: Invitation only. This can be make or break. Typically the purpose here is to get to know the interviewers before the interview so that you are a bit more relaxed the next day when you meet them. You’ve already broken the ice, and, at least theoretically, the interview should go more smoothly.

So those are the events. In general, the more you go to, the more likely you are to make the closed list. So, now you’ve made the closed list. Congratulations, your life sucks.

Now you have to learn what a case interview is like. I’m going to go ahead and include one that I wrote later on. But before I do a few words on the case interview itself.

1. What is the case interview?
2. Why use the case interview?
3. Why will I hate the case interview?
4. Do I need frameworks?

So lets tackle 1 first.
The case interview is simply that – a case. A question posed with no obvious answer. These can involve simple questions like:

A European bank specializing in M&A has been losing share and experiencing declining profitability. What’s going on?

You are consulting for a manufacturer of hair products. You have launched a new shampoo product with projected sales of 10,000 units, but sales have now reached a plateau at 5,000 units. The company has experience in this business and believes its model to be very accurate. Further, it believes that its advertising campaign was very effective. What now?

A heavy truck manufacturer with operations in Europe and the U.S. has experienced growing market share combined with declining profitability. An expert has declared that outsourcing is the wave of the future while a business professor has claimed that it’s not the panacea some make it out to be. Your client wants to know what they should do. What issues would you need to consider in order to make a recommendation?

Your client is a small holding company that owns three cable television companies in the Northeast: Rochester, NY, Philadelphia and Stamford,. Each of these three companies is profitable, and each has been experiencing steadily growing sales over the past few years. However, the management feels that the Northeast is not the fastest growing area of the country, and, therefore, acquired another cable television company in Tucson, Arizona a little over a year ago. Despite every effort of management, the Tucson company’s sales have been stagnant, and the company has been losing money. How would you analyze this situation, and what could be the cause of the poor performance of the Tucson cable company?

Pizza Hut wants to enter the home pizza delivery business in Paris. The market for home delivery is currently dominated by Spizza Pizza. Pizza Hut has asked your consulting firm to determine whether or not they should. Ok, go.

How would you determine whether a location in New York City holds enough banking demand to warrant opening a branch?

A Baby Bell company is interested in diversifying into other areas besides telecommunications. They are considering entering the market for electronic home security systems. Would you recommend that they do so?

The CEO of the largest domestic manufacturer of photo film wants to enter the film developing business. He needs your advice on how to go about evaluation this idea. What now?

A large health care company has decided it is interested in substantially increasing the size of its operations. Its goal is to double total sales and profits in less than two years. What do you do?

Get the picture yet? Sometimes these will include mini math problems hidden in the case. You need to be comfortable estimating 12% of 25,000 quickly, or figuring out what 2% of 20% of 15,000 is, or working with large numbers. Eg: 500 million units for $12 each but they cost$6 to make and the first 200 million also cost $2 to ship, but the next 300 million only cost$1.25 each to ship. If the firm manufactures 650 million units and sells the first 500 for $12 and the next 100 for$11.50…. Things like that. Get accustomed to having numbers thrown at you quickly. Learn to decifer the important from the unimportant.

Some cases will include the estimation of market demand – testing your ability to do “back of the envelope math” – for instance, lets say that the client wanted to open up a car tire manufacturer in the US despite there being another 7 players in the market and you had been asked to estimate the potential for the business. You’d have to somehow estimate how many car tires you can sell in a year right? So you need to be able to quickly come up with a REASONABLE figure.

So I might say something like:

“Ok, well there are 300 M people in the US at the moment. I’d say 2/3 own a car, so lets say 200M cars at the moment. For the sake of simplicity, lets assume that I only sell car tires and not truck tires (they’ll correct me if I’m wrong) so we can forget about long haul trucks and the like, lets forget about SUVs with spares, etc. Of course, there are also regular cars for business use, so lets say roughly 100M business cars (not trucks), so we have a total of 300M cars for personal and business use. The issue here is what is the replacement rate? The average tire lasts, I don’t know, maybe 60,000 miles? The average person maybe travels about 12,000 miles a year, so tires last 5 years. So, lets say that roughly speaking of the 300M cars out there, every year about 60M need to have new tires. Cars have four tires last time I checked, so that’s about 240M tires. Of course, new cars are made each year as well, on the click of about 17M a year, so we could say about 320M new tires a year – that’s said, presumably approx 17M cars also go out of commission each year, so lets just go with 240M. The next question is how much of that total annual market I can capture. You had mentioned we have 7 competitors, so one possible metric is simply what my “fair share” would be – and then we can adjust from there. Based on that, I’d expect that I could theoretically capture up to 30M tires a year. Now, I might capture more if I have a better product, or a lower cost product or some other competitive advantage. Why don’t we explore our product a bit more – are there any obvious advantages to our product vs that of our competitors?”

The interviewer might reply something like:
(A) “That’s ok, assume we get 30M a year. Whats our profit?”
or he might say
(B) “Actually yes, our tire lasts forever. It never wears out”…

Before I go on think about the two possible responses above. I actually got a case like this about light bulbs once. Don’t read on, just think about it. If he said (A) what would you want to know? If he said (B) what you be worried about? What does (B) imply about (A)? When you’ve thought about it go on.. I’ll show you two paths to the same answer.

With (A) You might go down the path: “Well, that depends on price and cost. There are three ways we can determine price, price based costing, cost based pricing, or comparables. Can you tell me the cost of making this product?” The interviewer responds: “Yes, it costs us about 20x as much to make a tire as anyone else.” You say “What?? Why? Whats special about our tire?” He says “It never wears out”. … and you move to B… the point here is that getting to B is critical to solving this question – if you don’t get there you never solve it. You have to get used to digging and finding the right answer

With (B) You might say “It never wears out? So it’s a one time sale? Well, in that case, I imagine we could capture a LOT of the market, but it’s a one time sale, so once we’ve sold the tires what do we do next? How much does it cost us to manufacture the tire? ” He replies, just like in A “20x as much”. At this point, I’ll spare you the rest of the case, but essentially what you find is that if the tire costs 20x as much then I need to price my tires at, at least, 20x that of my competitors, so a tire costs something like $2500. Each. Yes it lasts forever, but does that matter? The question becomes whether or not consumers care. You’ll notice this case has gone from a market estimation problem to a pricing and costing problem to finally a market and customer analysis problem. Some other examples of these kind of estimates include: • How much paint would it take to paint a 767 airplane? • How many parking meters are there in Philadelphia? • How many cows are there in Montana? • How many packages of sugar does Starbucks use each day? • How much coffee is there in Chicago? • How many golfers tee off each day in California? • How many light bulbs does your office use in a year? • How many births are there in the US each year? • How many seats are there in Air Canada’s airline fleet? • What is the revenue of McDonalds on any given weekday? And just about everything in between. And 2… This is actually what the job is. If you find the questions boring, odds are, you’ll find the work boring. If you can’t think through the problem, odds are, you wont be able to think through the actual work either. And 3…. It’s a long and painful process to learn how to do these. I practiced a fair amount but didn’t get a big 3 offer (although I did get second rounds), there’s always an element of luck, but preparation helps. And 4… Yes and no… there is a lot to say about this so I’ll leave it for now. There are a LOT of resources out there, and you should familiarize yourself with some basic frameworks. So, heres a full sample case I wrote up that I think is a bit fun. Its untraditional and probably not the most representative example of what you might see, but I like giving it to people when they start because it’s the kind of case that you should be able to think about without having done any prior preparation. For what its worth, most cases wont be so “oddball” – most tend ot focus on marketing, pricing, cost issues, etc. For new case takers: This case presents an interesting challenge but does not require the case taker to have memorized any particular framework. It can thus be used as a very early case in someone’s case prep regardless of their level. It combines critical thought, analysis and some rudimentary mathematics. For experience case takers: The case is intended to be somewhat frustrating – forcing the candidate to think through a rather exhaustive list of possibilities. Candidates looking to practice the MECE concept (similar to a McKinsey interview of “What else?”) will find this challenging. It is also a challenging case because no framework is likely to fit well. 1. Situation: Our client, the Guggenheim museum, is looking for help understanding why they are experiencing big problems with visitor congestion in their museum. You have been hired to resolve the issue. You need to identify the cause of the problem and recommend a solution. 2. Additional Information: When the candidate asks about the layout of the museum should you provide the below. If the candidate doesn’t ask, let them probe around a bit and then provide. Here is the Guggenheim: The exhibits are held in the circular dome like shape. The layout of the exhibits is in a pie like format as follows: There are a total of 6 Exhibit rooms per floor. There is a hallway that goes around the room and through the center (in gray). Each exhibit has a door leading into the exhibit room. There is one elevator that leads to the entrance at the front. People exit the elevator and move to their desired exhibit room. What next? 3. Framework: The beauty of this case is that there is no single appropriate framework. Let the candidate attempt to build one, but they are likely to find themselves stuck quickly. 4. Data and Solution: Ask the candidate: What should we look at? Often the candidate will list off many obvious things. The point is to drive them to a very specific solution. Give them the chance to exhaust ideas. In general, the answer is “no that’s not it”. Some common questions are below: • Can we add more doors to the exhibit rooms? No. • Can we stagger the flow somehow? No. • Is it always busy? Yes. • Are some floors worse than others? No, they are all bad. • Can we add a second elevator? No. • Are certain parts of each floor worse? No. • Has congestion always been this bad? Yes. • Has volume increased over time? No. • Has the kind of people visiting changed? No. • Do people stay longer than they used to? No. • How long do people stay at the museum? Doesn’t matter, congestion is always bad. • Are certain exhibits more popular? Yes, but it doesn’t matter. And no, we can’t move them anyway. • Can we expand museum hours? No we cannot. • Can we move exhibits? No. • Can we do anything at all with the layout? Nothing substantial no. • Are there stairs somewhere? No, and you can’t add them. • Can we put in timers in the rooms that limit amount of time? Yes, but customers would backlash, so no. • Can we raise ticket prices to reduce volume and ease traffic? A good idea, but no, we cannot. • Is the problem seasonal in any way? No it isn’t. The case is now about optimization. Guide the candidate to think about how people flow when they get off the elevator. Eventually the candidate should realize that someone has to decide whether to go east or west when walking out of the elevator. If they don’t get there (many don’t), you can ask them to think about how people get to the exhibits they want. The next question they should ask is whether or not there are signs or maps that are handed out to the visitors. Once the candidate identifies that the problem deals with flow, and specifically, signage or maps – provide the candidate with the following statement. As it happens, we do provide individuals with maps. We do not however, have signage on each floor. Do you think we should put it there? All candidates will say yes. Unless they elaborate, you should push them to state what the signs should say. Force them to be explicit. The candidate should realize that given 6 “slices” the question becomes when does it make sense to go east instead of going west and when does it make sense to go through the middle? If the candidate does not realize this, help them by asking: Ok so we put signs up near the elevator and exhibit rooms and in the middle. Pretty much everywhere. But what should they say? A typical candidate response is usually “the signs should say the right for 1,2,3, to the left for 4,5,6”. If they forget the middle ask: When should you go down the middle? They will typically reply “when it’s shorter”. Insufficient! If you receive this response, ask the candidate to demonstrate when it is shorter to go down the middle. In general, the answer is as follows (A detailed complete solution follows later in the text): The individual should go right to get to rooms 1 and 2. The individual should go down the middle to get to rooms 3 and 4, and the individual should go left to get to 6 and 5. If a candidate says this, ask them to explain why that is. They should, again, be explicit and provide the solution similar to that below. Simply stating “cause that’s the shortest path” is insufficient! Push the candidate to demonstrate why that is. Here are the explicit steps required to solve the last part of this problem. If the candidate needs help, you can push them along with these questions. Only use if the candidate cannot solve on their own. 1. How far is it from the elevator to the other side? Given a circle with radius “r”, the distance down the middle to the other side is: 2r. 2. What is the circumference of a circle? The circumference of the entire circle is 2πr. 3. So how far is it to room #1? The degrees to one room away (in either direction), moving along the edge is 60/360. Thus, the circumference of that distance is 1/6 * 2πr = (1/3)πr. This can be approximated as roughly 1r. 4. So how far is it to room #2? The distance two rooms away moving along the edge is 120/360 * 2πr = 1/3 * 2πr = (2/3)πr. This can be approximated as roughly 2r. 5. So how far is it to room #3? If you were to go along the outside of the ring to get to room #3, you’d travel 180/360 * 2πr = ½ * 2πr = πr. This could be approximated as 3r. 6. Therefore, should you go down the middle for room #4? As identified in part #5 Since, π > 2, then by definition πr must be greater than 2r. Therefore the distance to get to room #3 via the outer ring is 3r. The distance via the middle is 2r. Therefore: going along the outside to get to rooms #3 or #4, rather than down the middle, is inefficient. 7. The solution can be generalized for N rooms. If the arc length of the outer passage is less than 2r, the visitor should go along the outside, if not, they should go along the middle. 5. Recommendations: The client has asked us for our recommendation. What would you tell the client? A good response would be crisp and simple: “The problem may be that people are not finding what they need or are getting to their locations in an efficient manner. We need to optimize how an individual gets to an exhibit once they get off on a given floor. Based on our current configuration, I would recommend that we optimize movement by directing flow down the middle of the rooms for rooms 3 and 4, to the left for 5 and 6, and to the right for 1 and 2. We should add appropriate signage when you get off the elevator to direct individuals.” --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ok that’s it for now – its 10:00am and I have to study. Next installment: The first round interview what to expect The second round interview and whats different More on cases Whatever else you ask for If this helped, kudos it, took a long time to type it up! GMAT Club Legend Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society Joined: 05 Apr 2006 Posts: 5926 Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009 GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45 WE: Business Development (Consumer Products) Followers: 294 Kudos [?]: 1922 [12] , given: 7 Re: Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink] ### Show Tags 06 May 2008, 06:08 12 This post received KUDOS R.E.D. wrote: rhyme wrote: I've always thought Supply chain and operations stuff was kind of boring, and the automotive industry is a razor-thin margin industry thats under a lot of duress, so I stayed away from those too. So.... I really don't know -- but certainly, yes, Detroit is the "mega car hub" of the US. That said, given what you want to do though, you might want to look at PRTM - I'm pretty sure they specialize in supply chain and the like. Kearney is certainly a good fit for that kind of work too, and for what its worth, the guys I met at Kearney were all really nice. rhyme, thanks for the advice! If it's not a secret, what are the industries you're interested in? I actually find "finance" an interesting industry (by which I mean banks, VC, PE, etc). That doesn't mean I want to be a banker - but I've always found them pretty dynamic and fast moving.... but whatever that doesn't matter - if supply chain is interesting to you - then go do supply chain stuff. The one thing that I haven't talked about yet thats probably worth talking about is that its really really really easy to get "sucked in" by the herd. Everyone and their mother will have an opinion on whether or not you should be recruiting for X or for Y or for Z. Your friends will speak of how amazing X industry is or how attractive Y is... its hard not to be distracted by it and its very very easy to get sucked in. In a sense, I'm surprised no one has asked me why the heck I was even recruiting for consulting.... but then again, maybe not all of you remember me from last year or were here to listen to my frequent rants about how overrated and crappy consulting really is (in my opinion). How did it happen? I just got sucked in - it seemed like a good backup plan. It seemed like it was a worthwhile and achievable goal that could be a backup to what I really wanted to do (which barring VC/PE which I had dismissed as impossible, was corporate strategy). So, there I was, over winter break, reading up on boring and meaningless frameworks and tidbits about X or Y, and memorizing utterly mind numbingly stupid figures like the fact that there are 17M new cars introduced each year - or the population of the US, or that of india, china or asia in general. Only when an offer actually came through did I realize just how much I really didn't want it anyway. It didn't matter that the offer wasn't a big 3 -- I don't think I would have felt differently if I had ended up with a big 3 - I just dreaded the idea of going back to that industry -- and yet, somehow I lost sight of that. I can't help but wonder - would I have landed that Barclay's London gig if I had invested time into that instead of this? Would I have landed that Google job? How about that awesome general management program with DOW? Maybe, maybe not - but certainly, if not that - I could have used that time and effort to make more friends, meet more professors, explore more things ... almost anything would have been a better use of the time than what I did do: invest it into something that I truly didn't want anyway. The point I guess is this - and I'm kind of beating a dead horse, I know -- but your question about what industries I was interested in reminded me a lot of the kind of kind of "dangerous questions" that can stray you at business school. Stay true to your interests. You are going to hear a lot of "advice" about how PE is overheated, or consulting is going to be in trouble next year so you should do banking, or how banking is in trouble now so you should do consulting, or how company X sucks or company Y rocks or industry Z is the wrong industry or why you have to be in London and not Prague.... and everything inbetween. If I could go back 1 year - I'd write down 10 things I care about in a firm and in a job and I'd print that list out and post it to my door. I'd write down the top 10 firms I think Im interested in and the top 3 job functions and post that right next to it -- and everytime I strayed from that path, I'd force myself to look at that list and go back to it. Anyway, dead horse. Beaten. GMAT Club Legend Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society Joined: 05 Apr 2006 Posts: 5926 Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009 GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45 WE: Business Development (Consumer Products) Followers: 294 Kudos [?]: 1922 [6] , given: 7 Re: Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink] ### Show Tags 04 May 2008, 10:26 6 This post received KUDOS aceman626 wrote: great post rhyme, thanks. I am surprised that based on your knowledge of the process and coming from chicago gsb, that you didn't get a big 3 offer tho. Then that means it would be even harder for us from lower ranked schools? Just curious, did you have previous consulting experience? Also, which office did you apply to and would that make a difference? Lastly, what did you think was the reason you didn't get an offer? 1. No, I dont think its harder from lower ranked schools. The thing to remember is this: for round 1 you have to compete against your peers, for round 2, you compete against the world. That said, at that point, no one cares whether you are from Harvard or Cornell or Duke or whatever. You have to do well on the case. 2. I had previous consulting experience. I stuck strictly to the Chicago offices. Without a doubt, that impacts your odds. There are some top offices that are more in demand - chicago, san fran, NY are almost always top choices. Few people list Dallas or Atlanta as their top choice, and at least with the top 3, you interview by office (meaning that if you chose Dallas, then Dallas guys interview you, separately from the Chicago office). To give you an idea, McK interviewed 8 people for Dallas, and although I don't know the exact number, I'd venture they interviewed probably somewhere close to 30 or 40 for Chicago. The odds matter. 3. As to why I didn't end up with an offer from the big 3 -- I'd say it was partly my competition and partly (bad) luck. I had a really strange and confusing case that I couldn't crack with one of the top 3 and it killed me. Had to do with government policies to combat unemployment in a fictitious country - it was truly baffling and I didn't do well. I nailed the crap out of the cases with another firm but I ended up interviewing with a partner with whom I totally didn't get along, and the interview ended poorly. That was that. In the last case, the firm pretty much told me they had a really hard time making a choice and struggled at length to pick between myself and another candidate, in the end, they picked the other guy. (which honestly, I was flattered they'd even consider me a competitor to him, he's !@(# brilliant). In the end, I can attribute some of the failure to my lackluster-interest (I dont really wanna do MC anyway) and some of it to bad luck. The long and short of it is this -- you can practice all you like, at the end of the day, if you get a case you nail, great, if you don't oops, if you get along with the interviewer, yay, if not, oops, and sometimes, as in my final situation, its just a question of a little bad luck and some stiff competition. Anyone going to any of the consulting firms, I would imagine, would agree with me that luck is (rightly or not) a fairly big factor. GMAT Club Legend Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society Joined: 05 Apr 2006 Posts: 5926 Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009 GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45 WE: Business Development (Consumer Products) Followers: 294 Kudos [?]: 1922 [5] , given: 7 Re: Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 May 2008, 10:48 5 This post received KUDOS From another thread: Quote: "rhyme, could you give an overview of strengths and weaknesses of the top MC companies, namely: McKinsey, BCG, Bain, ATKearney, Booz Allen Hamilton from the point of view of the student who gained lots of info about those companies beyond the one offered by Vault ?" I'm a bit cynical here... In my opinion they are all basically the same, and I think that most people will tell you the same. Honestly, the work the Bain is going to do is gonna be the same as the work McK is going to do -- and to a large extent, thats going to be true for Bain vs Booz or almost any other firm. They all like to tell you that the work is somehow different - "we pick clients, they dont pick us" or some other such crap, but I've been on projects where I was replacing the McK team because they got kicked off for nonperformance -- and I never worked at a firm with the prestige of McK. The work, quite honestly, is going to be awful similar. All that really differs is fit... some seem more laid back (Bain) than others (McK). Some seem a bit more intellectually rigorous (BCG) while others seem very collegial and entrepreneurial (Kearney)... In the end though, its a lot like picking a grad school. Sure hte GSB will tell you that its different, and in some ways it maybe is, but I'm not learning anything substantially different at the GSB that someone at Cornell won't. Accounting is accounting. The 3Cs are the 3Cs. CAPM holds in Chicago as well as in Ithaca. In short, the 'work' is the same. All thats different is the culture. Same is largely true for consulting firms. Quote: Is the compensation equal at all the top companies and if it's different, how big is the margin? Far as I know, its basically the same. Quote: What is the required language proficiency for working at international offices? A tough question for me, as I didn't bother with international offices so it never came up -- but in general, I'd say that you have to be reasonably fluent - after all, they have to be able to put you in front of a client at some point. If you are struggling to conjugate a verb or something, odds are you wont do well in a presentation. That said, some offices are probably a bit more lax about it - I hear McK Brazil has even hired people with no language skills in the past - although they expect you to learn it. The short answer is: I don't really know, but I'll ask around. Quote: I'm interested in the supply chain, international manufacturing placement, operations, optimization of business processes. Industries of interest - automotive and high-tech, they are getting tied with each other nowadays. For the present moment I feel that the closest companies to my goals are McKinsey and ATKearney, locations - Detroit and Cleveland (?), Canada/Toronto, Moscow, Milan (have to think about this one). What do you think about the choices?" I've always thought Supply chain and operations stuff was kind of boring, and the automotive industry is a razor-thin margin industry thats under a lot of duress, so I stayed away from those too. So.... I really don't know -- but certainly, yes, Detroit is the "mega car hub" of the US. That said, given what you want to do though, you might want to look at PRTM - I'm pretty sure they specialize in supply chain and the like. Kearney is certainly a good fit for that kind of work too, and for what its worth, the guys I met at Kearney were all really nice. Current Student Joined: 14 Apr 2008 Posts: 453 Schools: F2010 - HBS (R1 - denied w/o interview ), INSEAD (R1 - admitted), Wharton (R1 - waitlisted & ding), Ivey (R2 - admitted w/ 60% tuition) WE 1: 3.5yrs as a Strategy Consultant - Big 4 Followers: 14 Kudos [?]: 36 [5] , given: 16 Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink] ### Show Tags 26 Feb 2010, 16:05 5 This post received KUDOS Another resources for those interested ... we like to share at INSEAD!! http://www.insead.edu/mba/clubs/consult ... /index.cfm See 'INSEAD Consulting Book (download)' on the left hand panel. Very useful guide for those interested in MC. _________________ INSEAD Sept 2010 Interview Invite Nov 5, 2009 Admit & Matriculating Wharton Sept 2010 Interview Invite Oct 30, 2009 Waitlisted & Ding Harvard Sept 2010 Ding without Interview Ivey May 2010 Interview Invite Nov 23, 2009 Admit +$\$

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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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Thought I'd add one more thing.... if you get invited to a case prep session with MBB or whomever, show up prepared. These are often done in groups of 3 or 4 people with 1 consultant where you all get to work through the case together. I've been to some where the 3 or 4 students are fairly on par, and things move with reasonable speed and no one looks like an idiot. I've also been to some where people had clearly not prepared at all - and their excuse was "its non evaluative, so I figured I didn't need to prep":

1) Nothing is non-evaluative. You ever meet someone and NOT form an opinion? You really think that if a partner is impressed they wont take note of who impressed them?
2) Bombing a case in a private room and one partner is painful. Bombing it with a partner and two or three classmates is embarrassing and painful.
3) It wastes the time you have - you don't get meaningful feedback because you need so much more work that all you'll likely hear is 'Keep practicing', rather than specific tailored feedback.
4) It makes it frustrating for the others who have clearly prepared.
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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amitdgr wrote:
rhyme wrote:
Thought I'd add one more thing.... if you get invited to a case prep session with MBB or whomever, show up prepared. These are often done in groups of 3 or 4 people with 1 consultant where you all get to work through the case together. I've been to some where the 3 or 4 students are fairly on par, and things move with reasonable speed and no one looks like an idiot. I've also been to some where people had clearly not prepared at all - and their excuse was "its non evaluative, so I figured I didn't need to prep":

1) Nothing is non-evaluative. You ever meet someone and NOT form an opinion? You really think that if a partner is impressed they wont take note of who impressed them?
2) Bombing a case in a private room and one partner is painful. Bombing it with a partner and two or three classmates is embarrassing and painful.
3) It wastes the time you have - you don't get meaningful feedback because you need so much more work that all you'll likely hear is 'Keep practicing', rather than specific tailored feedback.
4) It makes it frustrating for the others who have clearly prepared.

Thank you for your MC recruiting guide rhyme ... This world is still a better place to live because of ppl like you

I have a couple of questions :

1) Does going to a school heavy on case study pedagogy help in MC ?
2) Is there any book which introduces MC (for people with no consulting background)? Will it help to know the terms and concepts beforehand ?? I do believe in prep

1) No. The cases are fundamentally different in style and content. Questions can be straightforward "Why are we loosing money" to pretty wacky "Our client just found some dinosaur remains. What are they worth?". (from a big 3 firm no less!)

2) Most books suck, but if you have no idea what to expect, try "Case In Point". Don't get too worked up about the frameworks yet, I think he gives way way too many (I've got it down to 3 ... I think he has something like 12, its crazy).
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Re: Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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16 May 2008, 06:10
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aceman626 wrote:
To Rhyme and other folks who went through the MC process....how much do they care about undergrad GPA?

I didn't list it on my resume because it wasn't especially strong. I had it come up ONCE in an interview, where halfway through the guy says "ok, i like you. Let me ask you a few more things, just because they are going to ask me when I push you along". One of them was GPA - he said something along the lines of "So what was your GPA? I see you did well on the GMAT, but why isnt that there?" I explained, he accepted it and we moved on. For what its worth, it never once came up in any other interview I ever had, nor have I heard of anyone else being asked about theirs before. I dont know if its different at a lower ranked school, but I imagine not.

That said, a lot of online MC applications required you to input undergrad GPA, but it never came back up. I think it was just part of their default online application process.
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Re: Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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22 May 2008, 08:29
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aceman626 wrote:
To Rhyme and Audedat

I have been invited to the newly admitted students summer recruiting event at McKinsey, at one of their international offices. They required you to register online. Not surprisingly, they require you to input the undergrad GPA. What do you think I should do? It's a great networking opportunity, but I hope I will not be put on some GPA blacklist for future internship and FT events/interviews once I get to school....what do you guys think?

Anyone else care to chip in their views regarding how undergrad GPA affects MC recruitment?

Absolutely go. Dont sweat the GPA issue. It's likely just a standard form they ask you to fill out, and I seriously doubt they'll even look at it - and they wont care what it is anyway.
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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teabiscuit wrote:
Hey Rhyme,

This is an excellent thread. Thank you for all the helpful info.

I am an American interested in starting at a Latin American office - hopefully in Brazil - of one of the big 3 after school. Do you know if international offices of the big 3, specifically the Latin American offices, recruit American MBAs? If so, how hard is it for an American MBA to land a position at, say, the Sao Paulo office? FYI - I speak both Spanish and Portuguese.

Thanks.

Frankly, its probably easier than you think. There are relatively few MBAs who speak the necessary languages to land those gigs. I'd say your odds are probably twice as good recruiting for Sao Paulo than for say, New York City.
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2010, 10:17
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Not sure how the Tier 1/Tier 2 breakdown is in other people's minds, but this is my perspective:

There are different types of consulting, and many companies offer a variety of services. That is why you have differing opinions with Deliotte/Accenture, etc.

Accenture/Deliotte/Capgemini/IBM are known for their technology consulting, but all have strategy groups of various sizes and industry expertise.

The Big 4 (PwC, E&Y, KPMG, Deliotte) provide consulting services as well, though they tend to be more financial advisory than strategy. The type of work can vary a lot. Some people absolutely love what they do there, and some despise it. It really depends on which group you are with. Work/life balance can be better here though.

I think most MBAs want strategy consulting; the best of the best in that field is MBB. There are also other elite strategy firms, such as LEK, AT Kearney, Parthenon Group.

Another group would be the industry specialties, such as ZS Associates (Healthcare) or Schlumberger (Oil & Gas). If you are industry focused, these offer great options to develop industry knowledge and a strong network.

My personal outlook: If I decide to go back into consulting, I would shoot for either an elite strategy firm such those aforementioned, or an energy-focused firm. I worked Big 4 consulting/technology consulting before, and wouldn't want to go back to it.
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Re: Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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07 May 2008, 07:40
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togafoot wrote:
Good stuff. Kudos!

When i saw that museum question, the first thing i though about was the Japanese way of doing things.. Organised routes and tours... Don't give the customers an option to pick their path.. Lead them round in a single specific pathway

You probably would have solved it that way
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21 Oct 2008, 09:05
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rhyme wrote:
Thought I'd add one more thing.... if you get invited to a case prep session with MBB or whomever, show up prepared. These are often done in groups of 3 or 4 people with 1 consultant where you all get to work through the case together. I've been to some where the 3 or 4 students are fairly on par, and things move with reasonable speed and no one looks like an idiot. I've also been to some where people had clearly not prepared at all - and their excuse was "its non evaluative, so I figured I didn't need to prep":

1) Nothing is non-evaluative. You ever meet someone and NOT form an opinion? You really think that if a partner is impressed they wont take note of who impressed them?
2) Bombing a case in a private room and one partner is painful. Bombing it with a partner and two or three classmates is embarrassing and painful.
3) It wastes the time you have - you don't get meaningful feedback because you need so much more work that all you'll likely hear is 'Keep practicing', rather than specific tailored feedback.
4) It makes it frustrating for the others who have clearly prepared.

Thank you for your MC recruiting guide rhyme ... This world is still a better place to live because of ppl like you

I have a couple of questions :

1) Does going to a school heavy on case study pedagogy help in MC ?
2) Is there any book which introduces MC (for people with no consulting background)? Will it help to know the terms and concepts beforehand ?? I do believe in prep
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2008, 10:51
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hey guys, a quick question:

what is the average annual % raise for an associate at M/B/B? i have never seen any data on this. is it close to GM, ~5%? or is it closer to i-banking (no idea what %)?

thanks for your help!
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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AMAZING thread !!! Thank you rhyme for sharing your experiences. I haven't read through the whole thing yet, but I did have a question:

How much emphasis is placed on GMAT score during MC recruiting ?

Full disclosure: I scored a 690, and will be matriculating at Darden as part of the Class of 2012. Transitioning into MC from industry was one of the major reasons I started to pursue my MBA, but have heard that the big firms wont even consider you if you dont have a 700+ score.

Having said that, Im seriously thinking of taking a prep course and rewriting in the next few months, before I move down to Virginia to start school.

Thoughts/comments ? Thanks in advance !!
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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Can you "tier" the consulting firms or give general thoughts about exit oppportunities, competition, types of projects etc at each of the major firms. The reason I ask is because everyone always mentions MBB, I have a lot of friends who started at Deloitte (consulting, not tax/audit) from UG and know some Sr. Mngrs there and they seem to work on good projects and make good money, on the other hand, I know that Accenture is pretty much considered the bottom rung of consulting along with BAH (due to their govt practice and because Booze has spun off alone). I just wanted to know what the next tier to shoot for is after MBB?

Tier 1: MBB
Tier 2: ???????
Tier 3: ???????
Tier 4: ???????

Thanks for all of the helpful advice in this thread, MC is definitely something I want to explore in b-school, I think it will allow me to explore a wide variety of business problems since I'm tired of being stuck in just one function (marketing).
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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I received an e-mail from my school for "Connect with Bain" opportunity.
One thing that was interesting is the schools included in Bain's list.
Attachment:
File comment: Connect with Bain

bain.JPG [ 84.93 KiB | Viewed 12054 times ]

Notable omissions include:
*Anderson
*Johnson
*McCombs
*Stern
*Tepper
*Yale
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2011, 04:23
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Superb +1 to rhyme.

Also here is the link to the updated Insead document that someone else put in a post:
http://www.insead.edu/mba/clubs/consult ... 11_11J.pdf
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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Rhyme,

I don't come from a consulting background, but I want to pursue an internship and hopefully FT MC position post-grad.

I'm a bit worried about the case interview because I've obviously never done these before. I've asked several MBAs how to best prepare for these (i.e. what to read, how to practice, etc.), and their response is usually to wait until classes start because my school will provide me with the best resources available...such as MC clubs, peers with experience in the industry, and the career resource center.

However, if school begins in August/September, is there really enough time to master the case method in just the couple months that lead up to internship recruiting? I mean, consulting recruiting begins in late fall/early winter, right?

Should I be prepping for the case method prior to school starting? And if so, do you have any recommendations? I've read quite a bit online, as well as "Case In Point," but I feel so incredibly far from knowing what to do.

Thanks--MDF
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Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2011, 10:01
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MDF wrote:
Rhyme,

I don't come from a consulting background, but I want to pursue an internship and hopefully FT MC position post-grad.

I'm a bit worried about the case interview because I've obviously never done these before. I've asked several MBAs how to best prepare for these (i.e. what to read, how to practice, etc.), and their response is usually to wait until classes start because my school will provide me with the best resources available...such as MC clubs, peers with experience in the industry, and the career resource center.

However, if school begins in August/September, is there really enough time to master the case method in just the couple months that lead up to internship recruiting? I mean, consulting recruiting begins in late fall/early winter, right?

Should I be prepping for the case method prior to school starting? And if so, do you have any recommendations? I've read quite a bit online, as well as "Case In Point," but I feel so incredibly far from knowing what to do.

Thanks--MDF

Case in Point is a good start, although everyone uses it, so its not such a secret. Send me your email and I will inundate you with hundreds of sample cases. Unfortunately, its difficult to practice on your own (how do you know when to look at the next page?)... In general, I agree with your friends, you absolutely can prepare with just the time you have at school. 90% of people do.... I wouldnt ruin my summer over this. If your options are 12 weeks of drug-crazy parties on some beach in Thailand or sitting in a basement reading about pricing strategies, go to Thailand. Also, keep in mind that there's a huge element of dumb luck that you just cant control. There are people I know who prepared HUNDREDS of cases and got no offers - and others who didn't prepare at ALL and ended up with multiple ones. It is a bit of luck here - some cases you just "get", others you don't. I seem to remember a case in the case in point book that revolved around marmalade, and the answer to the case was something really random and esoteric like the marmalade was stored in a truck that wasn't cooled or something and that caused the quality of the marmalade to go down during shipments. I dont remember if thats exactly it, but it was something like that. Cases like that one require you to get a little lucky and stumble in the right direction, and sometimes you do, and sometimes you don't. The frameworks help you get there, but unless you start asking questions about the delivery process you aren't likely to ever uncover this tidbit. Point is, no amount of prep is going to change that.

If you still feel compelled to do a little something:

1) Read case and point, and memorize your frameworks. You can do this before grad school and it will help..For instance, if I said "I own a tire manufacturing company. We've been losing money. Why?" what framework would you use? How detailed is your framework - did you forget pieces? Are you considering the right factors and can think of the next questions to ask? Try to make the frameworks your own rather than just memorizing exactly what case in point has (its easier to remember them then)

2) If you can, find a friend in your city who you can prepare with. Give each other cases.

3) If you really want to go bold, reach out to the firms now and see if you can get yourself a pre-MBA internship. Its possible. At worst, you get an interview but don't make it, which is good practice, and unless you are completely awful, they'll be happy to interview you again for the proper internship because you are already on their radar.
Re: Rhyme's Guide to Management Consulting Recruiting   [#permalink] 16 Dec 2011, 10:01

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