Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?
The program was easy to follow, with good content and well designed. I was a long time listener of the Firmsconsulting podcasts and had a very good feeling of what to expect.
I think the coaching program itself was much better since the content was very specific to my needs. I was pursuing the Boston office and had been in the US for all of 11 months! I had a steep learning curve on things my class colleagues took for granted. How does the US banking system work? How does the energy sector work? How is the healthcare structure designed? What are the major issues in the retail sector?
I did not have any of this simple knowledge all my MBA colleagues took for granted. Michael took a lot of time to educate me on these small things that mattered to me, and probably only me. I think it really helped me get into McKinsey because I had this small-talk glue and did not just stare stupidly at the interviewer when he was discussing the healthcare bill or changes to the banking acts.
Did the program meet your expectations? If yes, how?
The program exceeded my expectations because it met my expectations!
My main objective was to stay in the US and I heard horror stories from foreign students who had been unsuccessful with MBB and forced to take offers from tiny firms just to keep their residency requirements. These were usually positions with terrible salaries, roles and titles. I wanted to avoid that as much as possible.
My main objective was to stay in the US and I was only targeting smaller/boutique firms where I felt I had a good chance of getting in. I was not happy to return to Eastern Europe, since there are fewer opportunities for graduates. Michael encouraged me to set my sights higher and he built a pronged-application plan where we went after boutiques, MBB and banks.
I think this was good planning because I had a good back-up with the banks and boutiques. Michael has a good knowledge of investment banking and we also did preparation in that area. I also received an equity research position but did not like the company so much and stayed with McKinsey.
What was the most important learning’s from the program?
We spent a lot of time on confidence and communication, and about 50% of the time on cases. I found the cases were nice and good for someone without any Western business background or a business degree.
It is good foundation. It was interesting to see how my personality was perceived by an ex-partner. Michael thought I was too aggressive for some firms and gave me “lots” of coaching on words, phrases and little things to appear friendlier. I don’t know how much this helped but I think it made me aware of my presence and the energy I bring to a session.
Balancing the case skills with the soft-parts was my biggest lesson. I had never seen this before so it was surprising. It seems to work.
Do you feel the program provided an advantage for you versus your own/other preparation? If so, in what way?
The program and Michael’s pushing opened my mind to many new possibilities. I think Michael can be tough and likes pushing people. That was good for me personally, but others may not like this style because not everyone wants to be challenged.
I still think Michael is very friendly and professional. I liked our sessions because we started with very, very simple ideas like calculations which were very good for my confidence. I had tried using case books but they all failed because I did not have any background to understand the frameworks and solutions.
Michael starts things easier and likes to slowly build up. As I said, I had listened to all the podcasts and was very prepared for this. I also received courtesy access to the videos which were the biggest help. Over the summer time, I interned in London and found it very easy to practice after work by watching the videos and posting comments on the video for Michael to answer.
It is a very good social system because I could see everyone else’s comments too.
Can you recall any memorable moments?
In general I found Michael was very respectful of my limited knowledge of the US and took the time to train me these things. He also helped me with some of my communication but in a nice way. This is not a memorable moment but it is something I recall about my training.
I always was happy to speak to Michael and learn from him. He has a nice way of making very difficult things look simple. I learned more about strategy in this program – Juventus Case – than my own MBA studies.
I found his knowledge of Russia and Ukraine to be incredible. He would use quotes from famous old Russian children’s shows and use stories and characters I had last seen 20 years ago to make a point. I thought this was a nice touch of trying to link to me culturally without using American shows only.
What would you like changed in the program?
Entering the program is very confusing. I had to send an email answering some questions and attaching my resume. I was then invited to two interviews and given a place on the program. Two of my friends were declined and I don’t think – but I may be wrong since people like saying negative things if they do not get in – it was explained well to them why they were declined. It just creates negative feeling from students. I had the chance to speak to Firmsconsulting and understand the selection process. It is a very good idea to select only high potential candidates but I really think this must be explained better to declined clients. It just hurts Firmsconsulting to have wrong rumors in the market.
Do you believe your coach was effective?
Michael is very effective for many reasons:
• He is always available no matter what time I email or Skype him.
• FC seemed to understand my cultural heritage and gaps very well.
• His communication skills are excellent and he does not rush.
• All my sessions were summarized into 2 main development areas for me.
• His memory is very good and we could discuss my development/mistakes/trends over the sessions.
• I think he understood my personal situation and tried to help me as much as he could. We did several free lessons to get me ready for my final interview.
Do you personally believe the sessions were tailored for your own development?
Yes, my training was not just cases. It was also an introduction to the US economy and Michael used the McKinsey Global Institute productivity study on the US to help me. We discussed a new chapter in each session.
This was better than the cases in some sessions because I was analyzing how consultants think and learning the McKinsey language. I was able to refer to parts in the study during my final round with McKinsey and this impressed the healthcare partner who interviewed me.
What are your thoughts on using former McKinsey/BCG worldwide practice leaders to coach clients?
I did not work with any mentor but feel that the training I received was more than I had expected and am comfortable that was all I needed. More can only be better.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
That is all. Thank you very much for your time.
We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.