At one firm I interviewed with, the partner pulled out a piece of paper that was so crumpled and faded that it had clearly been used for years. You'll find that interviewers will often re-use the same case over and over again. There's a very good reason why (click on through to see the reasoning)
When you successfully secure a first-round interview, does your CV matter anymore? The answer is not especially. Only candidates with strong CV's will get selected to begin with - transferable skills are important but not especially influential when it comes time to make an offer. But what about your first-round performance? Click through to see why it has more of an impact than you think.
A number of students outside of the typical Finance & Accounting degrees will face the same question from a resume reviewer: do you have the quant skills needed to succeed as a consultant? Read through to learn a little bit more about what you need to do to prove your math smarts.
I was discussing the interview process with a consultant at a Top-10 firm that has interviewed well over 100 students over the past few years. One of her comments? "There's nothing more frustrating than a student who assumes they know nothing about an industry just because they don't know it in a business setting".
The fact is: you know more about an industry than you think. Yes, you might get a case about custom-building high-end cars and you aren't making that kind of money as a student (...yet). The difference between a good interviewee and a bad one:
Interviewer: "What can you tell me about the competitive landscape for this firm?"
1. "Well I don't know much about this industry as I ride my bike to school every day. Can you tell me if the industry is fragment or consolidated?"
2. "Hmm, I can't say this is an industry I'm intimately familiar with, but I think I can make a few guesses at what the competitive landscape looks like. I imagine that it's a very service-oriented industry, with a strong emphasis on providing excellent customer service and high levels of customization that will keep customers happy. I'm also assuming that reputation is important, because of how much a buyer would be investing in making their car purchase. Thus, I'm assuming that there are high barriers to entry for new competitors because they would need to build up both the service levels and the reputation to attract customers."...
As a consultant, attention to detail is critical. Don't mess up your chances with one of these simple mistakes:
Very small. Find out why:
At McGill, our management faculty is large enough that a few scandals can go forgotten from one year to the next. Unfortunately, at schools like Queen's or Ivey, these stories stick around for a lot longer. Here's one from the shared memory about mass mailings.
1. Firms WILL look through the attending list to see who showed up and who didn't. If you didn't even bother to come for an hour and a half (and free food!) then are you genuinely interested in the firm?
2. If you can't make it for any reason, e-mail the school recruiter to let them know! It'll leave a positive impression as someone who is organized, professional, and interested in the firm.
3. As one consultant put it "It's much easier to stand out in a bad way than a good way at an information session". During one of the information sessions I attended last year, a student asked a consultant if their firm solved problems through a "chaotic approach".
Another showed up with a cast on his arm that had "Firecrotch" written on it in big black (or was it red?) letters. Be careful about the things that you say and do as the assumption is that you would present yourself to a client the same way you are presenting yourself to a firm at their information session,
There's a long section in the '6 Steps to Success' about the information session networking process, so register to check it out (if you haven't already), just wanted to add on a couple of new tips....