We have loaded 15 episodes of The Consulting Offer Season 2. We have also loaded 39 hours of bonus case interview material for McKinsey Implementation Group candidates, undergraduates, experienced hires and Season 2.
We will discuss more about the bonus material below. You can find the bonus material in Season 2 under the tab “Bonus Material.” Simply click on the links in the tab to open the files.
One of the absolute advantages of practicing cases with someone as senior as Kevin P. Coyne, is that you can be 100% sure of the advice presented.
There is no greater accuracy, and impact, on case preparation than advice from the former McKinsey worldwide strategy practice co-leader: especially one who worked out of some of the most popular offices like New York City, Washington DC and Atlanta.
You do not need to fact-check the material, spend hours on Google, blogs or even ask friends. You could choose to double check the advice provided but it is unlikely you could find a more credible source.
Even the consulting firms probably would not be as accurate since they are biased in presenting the best image of the firm. We are not obligated to those biases. Personally, we feel the main advantage to candidates is that you are listening to the person who made the final decision on hiring: a partner.
Working with business analysts, associates and managers is great, they are certainly helpful in getting you interviews and we encourage you to speak to them, but they do not make the hiring decision. That is a crucial difference.
Associates etc. can help you with preparing applications, reviewing resumes and getting to the interview, but the decision making process within a partners mind is what matters.
That is the difference between getting an interview and getting an offer. It comes down to the advice you receive. That is the main reason the show is called “The Consulting Offer.” It is focused on helping you obtain the final offer.
To help you understand a bit more about the show, here are transcripts from 2 of the scenes. There are 302 scenes across 17 episodes in Season 2.
Season 1 is about 7 times as large as Season 2 and the new bonus material is about 2 times larger than Season 2.
Episode 1 Scene 1 Transcript
“Hi Kevin, thank you so much for coming here and providing resume advice to us. Thank you so much for reviewing it. Would you mind letting me know what do you think in general my profile looks?
Sure. First of all, it looks terrific. But let me step back and tell you a little bit what the resume does for you and doesn’t do for you and how they look at it. Because I think that will help then put in context my specific comments about yours.
The first thing is once you’re in the interviews, the resume doesn’t matter much, meaning it is only in a decision meeting when we really have two candidates we really can’t decide between that we go back to the resumes.
So the resume is really about getting into the interviews. Then if you ace the interviews, it doesn’t matter whether you resume is stronger or weaker than somebody else’s. And that matters because let’s talk about how they actually go about reviewing the resume. When you send the resume in, the people who review your resume are actually pretty junior in the chain.
So for example, it’s probably a recruiting administrator.
This will be a person who probably did very well in college but was an English major rather than a business major. And he or she may have started out as an executive assistant. There might have been a promotion along the way.
But so imagine this person is college educated, bright, but is not the consulting partner, nor is it even a consulting manager who is going to be reviewing all of the resumes.
And she will review 2,000 in a year. She’s going to spend maybe three minutes on the resume at most. And she’s been given a semi-formula of what to look for. So when you’re writing the resume, and when I judge your resume, I judge it by how does it fit that formula.
Now, what she’ll do is she will narrow down the list.
And then there will probably be a consultant, been with the firm maybe two years or three years, who will look it over and narrow those to that. But you’re writing to that audience.
And you’re writing such that they can pick up the key things in about two to three minutes at most. First pass actually may even be 30 seconds or whatever.”
Episode 2 Scene 1 Transcript
“Now, the three things they look for, and it’s fairly similar firm to firm– they might divide them into four, whatever. But basically, it’s three things.
Number one is problem-solving capability. So they’re going to be very interested in grades, interested in honors, interested in publications.
Publications, the quality of the schools you went to, whatever. But again, in a minute, we’re going to look at your resume from the standpoint of, how quickly can they go, wow, good school, great grades, and great honors, done something unusual.
Second thing they’re looking for is the ability to lead others, because in consulting, you’re often working with clients.
Those clients always have day jobs. But you’ve got to get their attention to your project. And so this question of, again, going to be looking for signals in the resume that says, others have followed her when they don’t need to.
The third thing they look for is the ability to get things done under adverse circumstances. And so that might be creativity in problem solving. It might be resilience, when times are tough. It might be overcoming adversity, whatever.
But it’s this notion of somebody who gets something done. What you never want in consulting is somebody who, the first time they run into an obstacle, come back to the consulting partner and say, well, I couldn’t do that analysis, but it wasn’t my fault. The plane was late; the client canceled the interview, whatever.
You need somebody who is able to organize to get things done.”
The most interesting part about the advice we are providing is the lesson of honesty. We are not sugarcoating the process and placing the consulting firms on a pedestal.
We have views, based on our experience as partners, about the profiles of recruiters, the firms’ take on having children etc., and we offer those views.
The bonus material can be split into 2 groups.
We have created 4 new episodes for Season 2: episodes 14, 15, 16 & 17.
These are unique episodes since they dig deep into understanding each Alice and Michael’s profiles: mentors, role models, decision to move to consulting, preparation strategy and more.
Finally, we spent an entire day debriefing each candidate to find out exactly why they performed as they did in the cases with Kevin: why that framework, why that answer, how they did they do this calculation.
In this way, subscribers can get a complete view of what the Alice & Michael did, why they did and how they did it.
So lets move on to some of the other bonus material.
10-Day McKinsey Implementation Group Experienced Hire Challenge
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 and his training sessions are focused on operations and implementation cases.
There is 10 hours of training material.
Kevin P. Coyne Mentors an Experienced Hire
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.
There is 3 hours of training material.
Kevin P. Coyne Mentors an Undergraduate
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 before joining the program.
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.
There is 7 hours of training material.
4-Day Bain & 28-Day McKinsey Experience Hire Moscow Challenge
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.
There is 14 hours of training material.
There is now something for everyone.
At the end of December 2014 we published a post recapping our year at Firmsconsulting and providing a brief overview of our plans for 2015. We want to provide an update on our plans for 2015 so you know what to expect and how we are keeping to that schedule.
More importantly, if you want us to change the schedule or our priorities, you can comment and let us know. We are going to focus this update on just one area where we need some guidance from readers.
Implementation Executive Program
We are planning to work on 4 studies this year.
- The market entry study is done and will be released shortly.
- The power sector corporate strategy transformation study has started and will be released shortly.
- In all likelihood, the power sector study will lead to a major implementation phase so that will be the next study.
- Finally, we are debating whether or not to do the BTO strategy study, operations or another study as the 4th study of the year.
Do you want an implementation study and toolkit?
We need to know which should be the next two studies. If you look at our header and footer, under executive programs, we have listed all the studies we have negotiated with clients. The start dates for some of those studies have not been set and we can move them based on reader popularity.
Every time someone subscribes for updates on a study, we view that as a vote for the study.
We try to do the studies with the most votes first.
We need you to vote.
As it stands, this is the top 4 studies based on your votes:
- Market entry strategy study
- Power Sector strategy study
- Operations study
- CPG pricing, marketing and strategy study.
Based on this voting, the operations study is the next study we will release. That outcome was a little surprising. We suspect it is the most popular because most readers have not taken the time to vote.
So, by default operations moved to the top of the list. We also think many readers are confusing operations with implementation. This post will provide some details on implementation studies so you can understand the differences better and decide if you really do prefer the operations study over the implementation study.
We feel implementation skills are more important than operations skills. Every executive in every organization needs implementations skills. This involves setting goals, change management, embedding new cultures, overhauling systems and processes. In essence, it means helping your company/client generate the $xM benefits that was promised.
Every single executive client we have will understand their biggest obstacle is implementing recommendations. In a corporate environment, you get promoted for getting results. You do not get promoted for strategy analyses and recommendations which you fail to implement.
We are working on creating the most comprehensive implementation toolkit in the world, which we will roll out for the power sector implementation study.
We are working with Bain and McKinsey Implementation Group coaching clients to ensure the toolkit exceeds the quality of the material available in those firms. Therefore, we remain excited about this study and toolkit.
The implementation study will contain over 350 videos and power point guides. The accompanying toolkit will contain well over 100 videos and power point guides. That is >450 videos in total. That is a deeply comprehensive program. To give you a sense of some of the differences between implementation and operations, we have attached some screenshots from the videos.
Once you review these implementation slides and believe it will be useful, please vote by subscribing to this study and comment below. We use the comments to help us think of missing elements in the studies and tool kits.
In this exhibit we explain the fundamental difference between operations and implementation. They are frequently confused but are not the same in any way.
This exhibit explains the overall, high-level implementation approach. There is a lot of details that sit behind each block. In fact, the block on “Design Implementation” contains well over 100 power point slides since there are so many different implementation techniques and tools to overcome resistance from employees.
This exhibit pretty much sums up the main chart the client is interested in. At the start of an implementation, the client tracks adherence to the activities. The client does this since it is too early to track the banked benefits. However, as the study progresses the implementation will focus more on the banked benefits versus the activities initially outlined for the implementation.
This is because things always change throughout the implementation and sticking to initial activities makes little sense when the situation on the ground is fluid. Sticking to the financial targets, however, is the primary goal of the client.
The exhibit below is a simplified version of a more detailed map. We list every single type of resistance a client could display over the course of the study, along with the toolkit to overcome that resistance. This is probably the most important part of the toolkit. There is a significant amount of material walking subscribers through use of the tools.
This final exhibit highlights just one of the five possible roll out options for implementation. The “Big Bang” approach works very well during crises where there is no choice but to execute the roll-out across the entire country at one time.
As you can see, this is a very comprehensive study and toolkit.
However, if we release the studies based on the votes alone, it would seem the implementation study is not as popular and will not be released anytime this year. So please vote to help us know which studies to release.
So, to recap: 4 studies are planned for 2015 but we need you to tell us which one’s should be released first by registering for the implementation study or any other study you prefer.
If the implementation study and toolkit is not what our readers find useful, we will likely decline the opportunity to run the power sector implementation study. This would be a pity because we believe implementation is a core skill to learn and is a priority of every major consulting firm today.
Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?
I enjoyed all parts of the program. I had listened to all 180 or so podcasts before reaching out to Michael and felt like I knew him very well through the podcasts. The podcasts were superb and I liked the ones were Michael described engagements from each stage of his career: analyst, associate, and manager, associate principal and principal. They were the most interesting to me.
As a 40 year-old, married with children and a daughter starting an expensive college program, I doubt I was the ideal pick for FC. I was just happy to get the acceptance letter!
Prior to my screening interviews, Michael and I had an additional 5 discussions over 3 months so that he could properly understand my background and motivations. I liked this part since the calls forced me to think very carefully about my own reasons for making the switch.
Michael did not trivialize anything. Assuming I knew his thinking, he painted a picture of the worst possible outcome so that I was clear I wanted to proceed. He made it clear this would be a humbling and humiliating experience to have myself assessed by much younger partners after I had spent 2 decades building my career in a corporate environment. I needed to be prepared for it and not let it affect my family, lifestyle or mood.
I thought 5 calls was a little over the top but in recollection, I don’t think anyone from FC ever asked if I was ready to sign up. They made me jump through some hoops to have a screening call after the 5 interviews. That strange process set the tone for the program. Things were deliberate, set at my pace and we worked towards a target we both had agreed was feasible: McKinsey and Booz – the former for its broad definition of leadership and the latter for my sector skills.
Did the program meet your expectations? If yes, how?
The program more than met my expectations. Mid-way through the experience – I say experience because calling it a program is a disservice – I was trying to explain what was happening to my wife. At this point, we – I say “we” because there was no doubt that Michael was internalizing my pain – I had been rejected from McKinsey, Booz, BCG, Bain, Deloitte and Monitor and I was not feeling good.
I am not sure Michael sees reality the way others do. Five direct rejections in 2 months seemed like a pretty compelling consensus on the futility of my dream. Michael did not see it that way.
He told me “so we got rejected my one partner and one recruiter. That’s one 2 down and about one thousand to go.”
Michael finds the one piece of leverage in your profile and works it to get you in. He relentlessly focuses on it and hammers away until he gets you into the interview. The problem is that he is hammering you! Which is necessary, since I am the one who needs to execute and Michael only lets up once you pick up the pace and match his speed.
Update calls sometimes lasted just 3 minutes. He zooms in on that one point of leverage to see if you pushed it in a networking call. If you did not, it it back to the drawing board. So, you MUST know your spike well. Michael will give it to you, but you need to drive it relentlessly.
I am not sure I fully understood all the machinations at work but I had nothing to lose and just went along. I soon learned that recruiting is not standardized and different partners would view my profile very differently and I just needed to connect with one.
Coming back to my analogy I felt a Pit-bull with a lock-jaw on a bone is the best way to describe Michael. If he sets his sights on something, it does not matter what McKinsey or Booz is saying, he will stay hanging on until he get things to change to the way he wants it. I felt like a flea on the Pit Bull going along for the ride.
It was wild but we got there – after 9 months of torture, sleepless nights and struggles I managed to transition as an expert into McKinsey’s Implementation Group. I cannot say he takes such a long-term view on all clients but I am grateful he did that for me, investing much more in me than I would have invested in myself.
What was the most important learning’s from the program?
There is no standard plan to get in as an experienced hire. When I said wild ride earlier I meant that in every possible way!
Michael was clear about this in the first call but I did not realize this was a literal phrase. I spoke to many experienced hires that had joined McKinsey and everyone had suggested routinized ways of doing things. I know why they did it because they had amazing degrees from great schools and where in their late twenties and early thirties when they made the shift to McKinsey.
In their cases they had the exact profile McKinsey and Booz sought and submitting an online application was bound to work for them. So you have to be very careful that you take advice from a comparable peer group.
I had none of their advantages and we had to fight for each step of progress we made.
My son watches lots of computer games and it reminds of them. We would move forward with our plan and then regroup and plan since Michael and I had no set path to get me in. It was like we were in a war zone with little margin for error and lots smoke and fog around. I felt that way but Michael seems to have liked it.
I may be doing a poor job of explaining this, but the lesson I want to drive home is that experienced hires need to build in a path to a consulting firm and not expect to use an existing path.
For me, that was a big lesson.
Do you feel the program provided an advantage for you versus your own/other preparation? If so, in what way?
Yes, but in a way that is hard to describe. I remember asking Michael for a plan for how the sessions would work, when I would finish networking and how the cases would run.
When he said this was not possible as everything was dependent on my networking I was very worried. What did I sign up for!? I eventually became comfortable having to work with Michael to constantly think through every step and not take things for granted. Nothing could be planned and it took me a long time to realize this.
I am almost certain I would have quit if Michael was not guiding me. The process was totally confusing and looked futile after my 5 rejections in two months.
That hand-holding was important and the main advantage of the program. Michael is really calm no matter what is happening and leads you through things.
Can you recall any memorable moments?
When I eventually received my Booz offer I was tired of the entire process and ready to pull my application from McKinsey. Michael cautioned me not to do that. He felt it was important I compare the two firms.
In his words “If you take Booz, then they chose you. If you interview at McKinsey and still take Booz, then you chose them. Psychologically, you need to always be in control of the situation.”
This may not be the typical memorable moment but a lot of things clicked at that point. The whole FC approach is not just about getting the offer, but laying the groundwork to be successful once I had received the offer.
I enjoyed the McKinsey interviews much more than Booz and took McKinsey even though Booz offered more money. Michael again had some wise words: “Pick the partner you trust the most to mentor you.”
I trusted Michael because he had always been right and so far I have no regrets.
After my 5 rejections, Michael told me this funny story.
“Okay, so we failed. Lets dust ourselves off and try again using a different tactic. Previously we played up your battle scars and experience. Now we need to show you have that, but can be just as energetic and polished as a new MBA. You are like a tug-boat who has been out to sea for decades. All rusted, crusty and full of barnacles. We need to smack on some lipstick, add some volume to your hair and paint your toe nails. Don’t worry. We will not make you look like a prom queen, unless you want us to.”
Some of his analogies are so hilarious you remember them forever.
What would you like changed in the program?
The description of the case training program does not even come close to capturing what I went through!
That is both good and bad. Good because I don’t know if my entire experience can be captured in the description of the program. I would think all clients have very different experiences so it is going to be messy and confusing to explain it all.
It is bad because many experienced hires will not understand the effort required when they join. This was my experience. There must be a better way to communicate the process.
Do you believe your coach was effective?
Michael is an outstanding mentor. I felt privileged to get into the program and see how he makes decisions. He has this ability to find very small opportunities and dig at them until they are worth pursuing. Like the Pit-Bull he will not let go if he thinks it is worthwhile.
Do you personally believe the sessions were tailored for your own development?
The examples above show how they were tailored for my needs and development.
What are your thoughts on using former McKinsey/BCG worldwide practice leaders to coach clients?
This is a fantastic idea and the reason I chose FC. They were the only coaching program using ex-partners. It was a fantastic experience and bringing in such recognized partners like Kevin etc really shows me that FC is investing in its clients.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you Firmsconsulting Team.
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.