You Are Watching Alice & Michael's
We accepted a challenge to see if we could get Pete through the McKinsey screening process – with just 10 days of preparation. We succeeded. Pete had had no prior case interview experience before contacting us. He holds an industrial engineering degree with a minor in business administration and had worked for one of Canada’s largest retail company’s before moving to the rail sector where he led continuous improvement programs with front line staff. Pete is a Lean Six-Sigma Black his training sessions are focus on operations and implementation cases.
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Edward holds advanced degrees in the sciences and has worked for the federal government his entire career. In his thirties, he is planning to enter management consulting. Kevin’s mentoring call with Edward and Edwards feedback on his BCG interview experiences are discussed in this series of recordings. To protect his identity we alter his background and details in the call.
Stanley is one of Firmsconsulting’s most gifted clients. He is an undergraduate from Australia who entered investment banking, and declined positions in smaller consulting firms. Stanley’s mentoring calls with Kevin, and his feedback on the entire interview process with BCG and Bain are discussed in this series of recordings. To protect his identity we alter his background and details in the call.
Alexei is an experienced professional from Ukraine. He has a background in financial services and investment banking with a degree in business. He was interviewing in just 4 days for Bain and needed help rounding out his interview preparation.
Michael did not require a McKinsey cover letter since he applied via the Insight Program.
Kevin P. Coyne was a director and co-leader of both McKinsey’s Worldwide Strategy Practice and CEO Transitions Practice. At the time, he was the youngest associate at the firm and one of the youngest Principals appointed. He was the only person ever admitted directly into the Harvard Business School from his junior year of college, Rice University, which he attended by special permission before graduating from high school. Kevin has co-written 6 Harvard Business Review articles, 12 McKinsey Quarterly articles, 2 bestselling business books and articles across influential business publications. He spent time in the Federal Government as an Executive Assistant and sole policy advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the United States Treasury in the Reagan Administration.
Alice Qinhua Zhou is a 26 year-old candidate from Yale University. She attended Fudan University where she graduated 1st in her class. Alice has a strong track record of leadership at Yale, having served as President of the consulting club and editor-in-chief of a peer-reviewed journal. Alice has no full-time work experience. Coming off a McKinsey internship decline and unsuccessful Bain internship, Alice is interested in both McKinsey and BCG for a full-time associate position in NYC.
Michael E. Klein is a 30 year-old candidate from McGill and Brown University. Michael has a very strong analytic profile balanced by an equally artistic side: he was a candidate for ‘Canada’s Got Talent’ where he sang Prince lyrics accompanied by a harpist. Michael has limited work experience as a business journalist. Going into his very first interviews, Michael will have to prove he can use his technical skills to seamlessly understand and solve business issues, while demonstrating his leadership acumen in the fit interviews.
The season begins with a networking meeting were a partner, Kevin in that role, provides extensive resume feedback. Kevin explains who at McKinsey reviews resumes, how they conduct the review and what is sought in the review. He thereafter highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the resume and offers suggestions for improvement.
Alice & Michael take part in this formal closed-list dinner as they try to build a relationship with a partner. Dining etiquette, communication skills, body language and image management are all tested as Kevin probes their reasons for pursuing consulting, their life outside work and their ability to hold conversations with senior executives.
Kevin leads this group case examining the strategy used by Disney to manage their entertainment acts. It is a difficult case, done in the inference-style commonly used by senior partners in the final round, which tests the candidates’ abilities to move beyond stock standard frameworks taught in books, blogs and forums. One candidate, Alice, demonstrates the difficulties in solving a case when one lacks local pop-culture context.
Kevin quickly zooms into Alice’s Bain internship experience to understand what she did and why it may not have converted to a full-time offer. Alice demonstrates great skill on the leadership questions by having crisp and concise reasons for the actions she took in her various roles. She is able to apply numerical reasoning to answers, which typically do not require them.
Kevin tries to get Michael to convert a very scientific resume into language that can demonstrate Michael’s understanding of business. With strong grades and a track record of success in this field, Kevin wants to make sure Michael can extract and explain those lessons, which the consulting interviewer wants to hear.
This tough strategy case is based on a true story. It is done in the inference style and teaches Alice how to breakdown revenues and costs to understand if they have different drivers impacting them, and the profit impact of those drivers. The case solution is very different from the intuitive answer.
Kevin continues his inference-based approach to delivering case interviews. This strategy case examines the basis of Wal-Mart’s competitiveness; beyond the typically cited bargaining power it brings to suppliers. Michael needs to have a strong grasp of basic income statement analyses and core strategy concepts.
How do you behave if you spend an entire day interviewing and are invited by the consultants to lunch? This episode teaches subscribers how to handle this situation. Kevin provides more detailed feedback on the candidates’ performance and offers suggestions for improvement.
The cost-volume-profit analyses case tests this core skill required by all MBA applicants. While Alice intuitively understands the solution, she struggles to communicate this to Kevin. This case is another example where using frameworks will fail to generate a sutiable answer in a final round partner-led interview.
Kevin designed this case from his work experience at the US Treasury. This inference-type case requires Alice to examine the evolution in the manufacturing side of a market and understand how new technologies will change the basis of the supply structure. It is a difficult case requiring Alice to have a firm grasp of the basics of strategy and barriers to market entry.
In his final round case, Michael needs to prove he can both handle the strategy elements of a case and the numerical analyses. Kevin used the inference style to test Michael’s ability to understand how two players in a market will compete.
In Alice’s final round interview Kevin changes tactics by providing an extensive amount of information on a very technical subject. Alice needs to sift through the information by using an analyses structure. Alice struggles in this case because she fails to examine one important area.
Kevin provides extensive feedback on each candidate. He discusses their strengths, weaknesses, things that stood out, things that concerned him and more. He thereafter draws lessons for subscribers and offers suggestions on both how and when they should prepare, and steps to manage the over-reliance on frameworks. Kevin concludes the show by explaining who he would hire between Alice and Michael, his reasons and what they should do before their interviews in 31 days.
In a detailed set of pre-interviews 2 days before the case sessions with Kevin P. Coyne, Alice discusses her background, motivations and unique path to the McKinsey / BCG interviews. She explains the impact of her family, role models and career mentors. Alice discusses how she used TCO 1 to prepare for TCO 2, her strategy for interviewing with Kevin and the unique challenges foreign students face in the US. She discusses her case interview strengths, weaknesses and the preparation done for each type of case.
Michaels discusses his early experiences, decision to attend McGill and the influence of this older brother. He talks about preparing for TCO 2 and the challenges of applying within the US, particularly California. Michael elaborates on the differences between McKinsey and BCG cases, preparing for McKinsey inference-style cases and his unique journey to the McKinsey / BCG interviews.
In these detailed post-interviews, Alice is debriefed on each of the cases performed with Kevin. The interviews provide a clear understanding of why and how Alice chose to respond to the key areas of the case: Structuring her response, breaking down the issues, structuring her hypotheses, providing her recommendations, communication and much more.
Michael is debriefed on the cases performed with Kevin. Michael and Alice had different weaknesses and Michael explains his views from the perspective of someone who wanted to improve his technical case skills. We capture the reasons Michael responded as he did, how he interpreted Kevin’s feedback and how he tried to adjust his case approach, in real-time, based on the guidance he was receiving from Kevin.
Partners run the final round interviews and partner make the decision on extending an offer. TCO is the only case interview program in the world run by former partners. You can watch them training real applicants to join the most elite firms.
Membership to The Consulting Offer operates just like Netflix. As long as you are a paid subscriber to the appropriate membership level, you will receive access to all completed seasons and all episodes within those seasons. Which makes this the world’s largest program for case interviews – and the world’s most successful program since we have always placed at least 1 participant in each season!
Between Season 1, 2 & 3 there are over 400 hours of case training material, over 300 cases and their video solutions and, of course, all of it is done by former senior partners of McKinsey, BCG et al. Seasons 4 and 5 have been recorded and will be released. Season 6 is in production.
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First, this is the most comprehensive case preparation program in the world. It will prepare you for everything you will face in the case interview and it is done by former senior partners.
Season 1 is for beginners or less experienced candidates who want to learn everything needed to pass case interviews. It is not easier, but takes more time to explain the basics.
The season goes into extensive details on the fundamentals of hypotheses, brainstorming/frameworks, decision tree analyses, math problems and slowly builds into very complex cases from sessions 15 to 23. The format was also different. In Season 1 we had 4 candidates and eliminated them gradually until we worked with the successful candidate, Felix who is now in consulting and doing quite well – we are still continuing to work with Felix so expect more recordings from her. All the recording was done over the internet.
There is 16 hours of footage dedicated to just editing resumes in season 1 and about 5 hours dedicated to reading graphs and exhibits in cases.
Season 2 is very different and focused on how to interact with partners in the final round – the people who make the hiring decision. It is a live production filmed on location where Kevin P. Coyne, former McKinsey Director & Worldwide Strategy Practice Co-Leader spends time mentoring and preparing 2 candidates. Season 2 cases are tougher and typical to McKinsey, BCG and Bain in the final round. Kevin does inference-based cases where merely producing a case structure usually will not work . The season includes episodes on closed-list dinners, group cases, networking and complex strategy cases.
Subscribers will struggle to handle the cases in Season 2, given their difficulty, unless they have watched Season 1.
In Season 2 we revealed the full identities of the candidates and their successes in the program. Alice received offers from McKinsey and BCG 31 days after the program ended.
Season 3 focuses heavily on the final round and partners who make the hiring decision. We focus almost exclusively on very complex cases requiring strong judgement and a deep understanding of profitability / break-even curve analyses / cost-volume-profit curves. Season 3, like the other seasons, does not repeat cases and concepts. We teach new material and focus on applicants who have a strong foundation in their preparation but need to show insights a partner would expect.
Season 4 focuses almost entirely on experienced professionals currently working in globally recognized companies. Only one participant is an MBA student. The training, focus, needs and skills sets are significant different for experienced hires. The program also runs much longer since experienced hires usually recruit off-cycle and need not rush to meet the Sept/Oct deadline for applications.
Like Season 2, we reveal the full identities of the candidates in Seasons 3 and 4.
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