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My MM was something of a doozy!

I applied to McKinsey and received a PST invitation. I took the PST and did so badly that I was told I would need to wait 2 years to reapply! I was truly devastated. I planned on joining McKinsey through my whole career and pursued my MBA for an interview.

Michael helped me place everything in perspective. He told me I had not prepared, had not read up on the PST and had no prior experience of the test. He felt the outcome was expected and I should not see it as a sign that I was not good enough for McKinsey. It was more a “sign of your laziness” – yes, he used those words!

He told me the failure rate for the PST was highest among PhD candidates (I had a PhD before pursuing my MBA) because many assumed they could handle the test without preparation and simply failed. The happy ending is not that I managed to get into McKinsey. I tried reapplying but the office said no. I however did get into Bain, but this time was prepared better.

With Michael’s help I hope to make another push for McKinsey Moscow in the next 3 months!

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.

Michael! Thank you so much for choosing me and leading me so far in the training program. It has changed me permanently in two good aspects.

First are changes from deep inside, in terms of career goals and inner confidence.

Second is about my outside presentation.

Let’s start with the changes from deep inside first. I still remember when you asked me, “Do you want to be a CEO of a company,” during the initial screening interview.

I thought it was absurd. How could I or how dare I even think about going that far? Never ever!

However, after the training, if you asked me today this same question, I would say, “Maybe…Yes. I think that is an intriguing idea.”

Raising my inner confidence occurred because training with Michael was one of the few times in a week that I felt good about myself.

No kidding! It is because I had been in a dark time in my career – due to the pressure to graduate from school and the uncertainty about my future career – and my confidence was decreasing. Michael helped me to realize my “sparkles” as well as “bad things” that I should improve. It is tremendously helpful to know myself better with an outsider’s expert view. Knowing what I was not good at is actually a good feeling and motivated me to improve.

The second key area I feel Michael has changed me is in my presentation. I was eager to improve my body language and start using hands while talking, though it was weird due to the conserved cultural background I had.

Michael was absolutely right that using hand movements helped me to gain more confidence and was more persuasive for others.

Also, I did consider my dress code when I had sessions with Michael. As he mentioned in his one interesting statistic, my “dressing significantly improved”, and I believe so. Not too much, but I was always thinking about it when I knew that day I would have a session with Michael, “this shirt is better for the session, because it gives me more business feeling”, or simply because “it looks better/brighter in the camera shooting”.

This is because I appreciated the significant efforts Michael and Firmsconsulting had put in me, and I do also want to offer something in return, especially the things that I can take control of, such as clothing.

Michael, I might become a CEO of a fashion or retail company in the future.

All in all, thank you Michael!

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.

While responding to the questionnaire for the strategic planning session, I realized there is a story I can share. It’s personal, not professional, but perhaps still appropriate:

One Sunday, a week before Christmas, I had been chatting with Michael intermittently while attending holiday functions. At one point I was sitting in my car, having left one party, but not yet on the road to the next party. A cold rain was smattering against my windshield as we chatted back and forth.

Earlier in our conversation, I compared professional networking with romantic dating. Michael was quick to agree, and our conversation moved on, but this point stuck with me. The thought wouldn’t leave my head.

I have lived most of my life single, and never had much success romantically, but I have filled my life with unique and rewarding adventures, so I cannot complain. Being alone occasionally bothered me, of course, but it was something I had grown accustomed to. But over the last few years my confidence has grown exponentially – this is one of the reasons I believe I can make the transition to management consulting. Still; I had left my personal life alone, thinking that I would make progress after moving to a new city and starting a new career.

Well, Michael was guiding me through the networking process, and encouraging me to put myself out there, past my comfort zone. And it was working, so when Michael and I were discussing the similarities to dating, the idea clicked into place; I understood what he meant, and could picture my mistakes now.

My approach to communication was undermining my success and hurting my image.

Just two weeks later, I had the chance to test out this theory and use my new approach to networking in a more personal arena. The results were immediate and tangible. The confidence and communication I had used to network worked in a romantic context.

This was the first time I saw the professional development Michael was coaching me through spill over into my personal life. This is a story I will remember for years to come, because it marked a turning point in my life.

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.

I hope Michael will have a very special birthday and I was very happy to be asked to contribute to this book. My Michael Moment came in my second round with McKinsey. It was a group interview with 4 PhD candidates and I was terrified of my chances. I was at a weaker school and the other candidates were from Harvard, Yale and so on. I sent Michael an email asking for advice and this was his response:

This is not a competition. If you see it as a competition you will fail. Your job is to help the team succeed. Every time you want to say or do anything, ask yourself if it helps the team succeed and makes the team feel better about themselves. If you can do both, you will get through. Also remember to build on a point and not dismiss it – this makes people feel worse about themselves. That is counter to McKinsey values of trust and support among colleagues. Just don’t abdicate your responsibility of politely guiding the team towards the right idea.

It is my moment because I felt that I got the offer in this round and the rest of the interviews were just a formality to prove my skills. Michael see’s things from a different perspective and forced me to do just that. Thank you Michael.

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.

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

The program was enjoyable and very objective oriented. It took me 12 months to get an interview and I felt Michael was friendly and encouraging throughout the experience. I had a PhD from a “non-famous” Canadian school and was returning to Dubai to be closer to my family. Networking was not my forte and it was a major struggle to get into the habit of speaking to people. I suspect this is a common hurdle to most PhDs.

It was even harder to put on a suit and go to a meeting. I was not working the entire time and I would be at home for 7 hours, speak to no one, and then have to go for coffee with a partner. I found it hard to start speaking when I had not been speaking to anyone for 7 to 8 hours. This constant to break in and out of networking mode was very hard for me.

I knew my profile was a challenge because of my school and the office I was pursuing. A friend of a friend referred me to Michael and I reached out as a final attempt to change things. I really did not see my degree affording a premium research job and saw consulting as the last attempt to reboot my career..

Michael was very nice throughout the whole process and we had some dark times. 12 months of not working was a long time and my confidence levels were very low. I would often sit at home at home and my only conversation for that entire day would be with Michael. I would sometimes sit in front of my computer for hours waiting for our calls or trying to network. I was not getting email responses and no invites. Michael just kept revising my strategy and talking me through things. At one point he insisted we hold the call from a park so I could go out.

Did the program meet your expectations? If yes, how?

Yes, because I got into BCG and no because it was not the Dubai office. I am not complaining about this since my profile was challenging. In my first partner coffee chat beads of sweat were rolling down my face and I was so panicked that I fumbled my answers. I was also very embarrassed to shake the partner’s hands since I was always sweaty. I must have looked a real mess in my rumpled suit, sweaty palms and slightly overweight physique.

Michael would quietly listen and offer very good tips to fix these problems.

Getting into BCG was a long shot for me and I would not have done this without Michael and his team. They are very good and take the time to fix things. I also went well over the allotted 12 hours if you count all the communication over Skype and bridging calls. I cannot say that all my communication and image problems were fixed, but enough was done to get me into BCG and I am now aware of the way I come across. Michael encouraged me to use unscented baby powder on my hands to keep it dry. I ended up using chalk powder – it was cheaper.

The program exceeded my expectations on advice around image management. I was neglecting this and Michael forced me to focus on it. It turned out to be very important for me – but maybe not for everyone.

What was the most important learning’s from the program?

Never ever read forums! Michael cautioned me on this right from the start. He told if I sent my resume to 10 forums all would say I should give up because forums are written by non-experts and “cater to the lowest common denominator of information packaging.” This stayed with me throughout the sessions and it is lesson I now have taken with me in life.

It is hard not to be seduced by all the information on the internet but I learned to listen to Michael and the results show. After 12 months of tough networking and preparation it felt like a wave of relief to not live off my parents – I can now help out at home.

Do you feel the program provided an advantage for you versus your own/other preparation? If so, in what way?

Yes, I agree with this for many reasons:

• The case training, resume rewriting, brainstorming, estimation, data analyses and cover letter rewriting were excellent. I cannot say how much I found the brainstorming and estimation techniques useful. They are superb.

• In my case there was this mountain of attention on networking, image management and communication.

• Michael kept pushing me forward even after we realized Dubai would not work. I would have quit but he kept me going.

• Michael is very honest. I found many people I had contacted only would try to preserve my feelings or sell me something. Michael just worked with the facts, even the painful ones.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

The big problem was my PhD school. It was not a well-known school and I was struggling to explain why I had selected this school. Michael told me he had the perfect answer for this which could not be contested. The answer was perfect and the interviewer was nodding and agreeing with me when I provided this in the interview, even saying that I had a very rational and mature decision-making approach. It was all about my personal reasons for choosing school and not the schools rankings!

I felt I had ignored my preparation for fit and Michael made this and communication a big part of the training. I was surprised to see communication tricks improve the case performance so much. I had wanted to improve my case skills to improve my communication.

What would you like changed in the program?

I felt the program is too short. 12 sessions is not enough to become an expert at cases and I had to spend lots of time practicing by myself. More sessions may cost more money but there could be other ways to fix this: allowing clients to practice together would be a good idea.

I know protecting copyrights are a problem but reading on the internet is very difficult and I would have preferred to download and read material.

I would have liked to download the podcasts since internet access is expensive for me and having to listen to them online forced me to sign up for a more expensive internet package.

Do you believe your coach was effective?

Michael was a great coach. He was professional and very thorough in everything he did. Though I think it may be better to have a session just to plan so people know what the expectations are – we did do this but I forgot everything and notes would have helped. I think having the planning session only works if we could revise the plan later.

Do you personally believe the sessions were tailored for your own development?

Yes

What are your thoughts on using former McKinsey/BCG worldwide practice leaders to coach clients?

I never worked with any of the mentors so I cannot know for sure. Looking at their bios my one great benefit would be having the ability to confirm all the rumors about what McKinsey, BCG and Bain seeks in a candidate – though Michael was also a partner and helped me here. They would know the facts against the rumors on the internet. It is also a great validation of Firmsconsulting and the caliber of the program.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for a nice program.

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.

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

Yes! I enjoyed the program since the training was very effective in getting me into BCG (I was rejected 9 months ago and was told to apply after 2 years but FC helped me network my way around this rule).

My coach was very accommodating to my unique needs (90% of my sessions were done at night with me sitting in my car on the side of the road since it was the only time I had).

I was given very detailed advice for my unusual profile (I was a foreign candidate pursuing a US office with relatively weak language and communication skills – I have a US PhD in engineering from a tier-2 school).

Did the program meet your expectations? If yes, how?

The program exceeded my expectations in every way. FC was very diligent and seems to have had very careful reasons for making different decisions and advising. This thoughtfulness was much more than I expected.

I had about 3 discussions with Michael to understand my chances to get into BCG or McKinsey. He was nice and polite and very helpful. I was surprised that FC wanted me to go through a screening call after 3 calls! I obliged. The call went okay and I received a detailed 6 page feedback letter which impressed me with its specific feedback. Yet I was still declined!

After seeing how much effort FC made to screen candidates I felt I should try to get in. I wrote Michael a 4 page letter explaining to him how I would fix the gaps and why I would be a good student (The main reason I was declined was because FC did not think I would succeed through their mentorship style of teaching).

My letter did not work as well as I thought, but I still got Michael to speak to me and after a long call, they offered me a place in the program.

This type of careful deliberation was consistent in my interaction with Michael and the FC team. Everything had a reason and that reason only seemed obvious in hindsight.

What was the most important learning’s from the program?

The main part of my program was the networking (so much time was spent in getting me the interviews).

The thing I will always remember is how Michael defined networking. He compared it to a game of chess. He is controlling my pieces and strategically moving it forward to get to a partner and lock down an interview.

Some moves we make will take weeks or months to bear fruit while others will look like a setback but is actually helping us in the long term. “Sacrifices are required.”

He had me apply to Bain, openly admitting I had zero chance due to my profile, but using the Bain recruiter as a tough screen for my resume. That was an unusual tactic and we used the modest feedback from the Bain recruiter (nice lady from the Boston office) to make minor changes to my resume.

That was the sacrifice we made. Which hurt since I really liked Bain.

Networking to me was a process of talking to people and getting them to help me. Michael taught me that in networking there is only one objective – getting people to like me. The objective was very different to my plans and it took of a lot of pressure to avoid my bad habits. It’s the same as getting what you want by not asking for what you want.

I am not sure if that makes sense but it worked for me after many mistakes.

The big advantage was that I could always check my networking moves and responses with Michael. Without exaggerating this in the smallest way, he checked every email message I sent off – and edited a few too. This constant communication helped calm my nerves.

Do you feel the program provided an advantage for you versus your own/other preparation? If so, in what way?

The program provided advantages in many ways. I was 100% dedicated to cases and case practising. Michael showed me that I was using the wrong techniques for cases – I could not even do a basic brainstorm and messed up simple things.

He also split my development areas into two parts. The main part was the cases, but he showed me that unless I could get the interview none of the preparation mattered, and I, therefore, needed to shift focus onto working on my image, speech patterns, communication and networking.

I had not realized the way I came across until I listened to myself speak. I sounded like a robot.

A memorable comment from Michael is when I asked him what was his favorite thing in consulting and he said that only 16 year old Japanese school girls use the word “favorite” and “thing” in the same sentence!

Can you recall any memorable moments?

The mock calls before my networking events were nice. Michael would play the role of the person I was meeting and we would simulate the discussion. We would then go back and analyze the pattern of the discussion.

That was very helpful and I realized that the idea of preparing 5-8 questions in advance was silly. Michael showed me how to use one anchor question and build out the conversation from that point onward.

There were lots of communication tips but just having the chance to “mock” each networking call calmed me down a lot.

What would you like changed in the program?

The program works so nothing needs to be changed. I felt there was a lot of useful advice in the podcasts and I listened to all of them at least twice. I liked Michael’s great podcasts on his own experiences through his career from business analyst to partner. Very unique advice. It would be better if the podcasts could be linked to each session so we knew which must be listened to in each session.

I struggled to find good people with whom to practice. I practiced with about 6 people and eventually quit since the quality and style was so different. FC should consider allowing clients to confidentially practice.

Do you believe your coach was effective?

Michael was great. Every session was planned and efficiently done. I received very detailed feedback on my performance and also had the luxury of listening to my recordings – it may just be me, but I sounded terrible in those sessions. I liked that Michael summarized my main development areas and forced me to ignore the small areas which I thought about – maybe too much.

Michael pushed me just enough to get past my procrastinating style and hard enough to force me to learn. He was inspirational in getting me to see my potential and I look up to Michael as a source of guidance.

Do you personally believe the sessions were tailored for your own development?

100% tailored to my huge gaps!

I felt that the effort on getting me to network and network correctly was much more than promised to me. I was initially turned down by the recruiter at McKinsey and BCG and 12 partners declined my requests to speak!

I was really down at one point and Michael rang me up and wanted to know why I was quitting so early in the process.

Just having these short calls every few days kept me motivated and we developed a unusual plan to get me in front of BCG partners at a conference.

What are your thoughts on using former McKinsey/BCG worldwide practice leaders to coach clients?

FC is already excellent so I say the senior partners of McKinsey, BCG and Bain can only make things better. I would have liked to work with them but did not get the opportunity. I have no regrets and suspect FC is committed to all its clients – that was my experience.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

As a consultant at BCG, I would hope FC makes the FCC available to all past clients. I think this will be useful.

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.

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

I enjoyed the program immensely. The reasons are as follows:

a. Structure: The way the program is structured is very helpful. The use of multimedia (podcast + videos) allows for full immersion in the program. I could listen to podcasts on the go, and watch videos on my own schedule to keep up with the program. The only thing that could make it even better, is the ability to download the pdf files and print them. Reading the manuals on paper is a lot easier, and does not require internet access.

b. Coaching: I noticed that what my coach focused on during the session was very different than what the videos were teaching. This showed a proper understanding of my weaknesses and strengths by the coach, which I really found helpful. However, most of the time the two were so different that I could not apply the concepts that I learned from the video to my one-on-one sessions. This was frustrating at times.

c. Availability of the coach: I could communicate with my coach anytime! This was great, since the process of preparation is lengthy and both intellectually and emotionally draining, and it is very helpful to have access to coaches who know you on a deeper level, since they can help you to get through those tough times! Getting through these hurdles are the most challenging part of the training in my opinion.

Did the program meet your expectations? If yes, how?

I really did not have expectations when I applied. I did not know what a good coaching program for consulting is like.

What I can say though is that I had tried using other online programs, and this one was very different. This program was the first one I had seen that really tackled the logical thinking behind the case interview process. The logic of every action was clearly explained. Knowing the logic behind a certain way of thinking makes it easy to mimic it.

In terms of final results only, I ended up with an offer from McKinsey, so the program certainly met my expectations of securing an offer!

What was the most important learning’s from the program?

In my opinion the most important takeaways are two things:

1. The ability to brainstorm

2. Understanding the logical flow of problem solving: develop a hypothesis, think of what data is necessary to evaluate the hypothesis, and get the data and revaluate it.

The video and live cases really helped honing in on these skills, but the two mentioned skills really helped me throughout my interviews, and even beyond that, in my daily analysis of any topic or approach to any problem.

I use those techniques on a daily basis now, even while having casual conversations with colleagues and friends.

Do you feel the program provided an advantage for you versus your own/other preparation? If so, in what way?

Yes. The program provides an advantage that I think is very valuable to candidates, and that advantage is a deeper understanding of the logic behind everything that consultants do. I had used other programs such as [redacted]’s material before attending the Firmsconsulting training, and the common theme among these programs is to teach frameworks.

Through the Firmsconsulting program I learned how to make my own frameworks using brainstorming techniques, which I think provides a huge advantage. While preparing for my interviews I practiced with many other candidates through Skype and in person, and in almost every single case they commented on my brainstorming ability in their feedback, and mentioned how my framework was unique. I attribute this to the few sessions dedicated to brainstorming in the Firmsconsulting program.

Additionally, the podcast section is amazing! I just hope that you keep expanding this section, since I learned a tremendous amount from the podcasts. Firstly, it is a reminder that I am not the only one struggling with these issues, and secondly, it provides valuable answers to questions I might have never thought of.

I particularly like the podcast on the best books to read. McKinsey’s Marvin Bower gave me the best introduction to McKinsey that I could ever ask for. I think Lords of Strategy is also a fantastic read.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

I would say the most memorable moment/session for me was the brainstorming session. The concepts brought everything together and was kind of a ‘‘aha’’ moment. Although it took me a while to get a grasp on the concept, it was a truly game changing moment for me in terms of structuring thoughts in a problem.

That session had a couple of memorable questions, one of them being the variable costs of a bank, and the other, productivity of Jeremy Lin vs. Kim Kardashian!

What would you like changed in the program?

It would be great if the candidates in the program can practice together, for example through Skype. I understand that client confidentiality is very important, so maybe this can be done in a way that anonymity can be preserved. I am not sure if Wistia provides a platform for one-on-one video chat, but if such a feature exists, candidates can gain tremendously from it.

The primary reason is that practicing with like-minded people who use the same technique allows for better polishing of the techniques. In many cases, practicing with other people who were not taught the right way of approaching a case, the process was very frustrating since their mindset and feedback was very different, and in some cases I ended up picking up bad habits!

Do you believe Michael was an effective coach?

Michael is a great coach. I would say his number one quality is being inspirational. Beyond that, he is tough, and able to logically communicate concepts very well. I really liked his teaching style. His incredible knowledge about the industry is a great plus, and his understanding of the profession, the history of it and the philosophy behind it provides a well-rounded perspective.

I also enjoyed his grasp on different cultures and people, which provided an easy way to bond and connect with him for me as an international student. There are a couple of things that could really help the candidate though:

a. More specific feedback at the end of each session.

b. A big picture session at the beginning explaining how the whole process works.

c. I also believe that if the criteria of the mid-course feedback is shared with the candidate at the beginning, it will provide a better opportunity for the candidate to watch out for the areas they need to constantly work on.

Do you personally believe the sessions were tailored for your own development?

I do. My overall feeling was that the first few sessions (before mid-course feedback) were more general, and after the feedback the sessions were more tailored towards my needs.

The last couple of sessions in my case were entirely spent on addressing my specific weaknesses in the cases, and I really liked that my coach always asked for my feedback on where I thought I needed more help as well.

What are your thoughts on using former McKinsey/BCG worldwide practice leaders to coach clients?

It is a fantastic idea. Having a mentor who can give advice at challenging crossroads, and who can always provide a big picture perspective really helps.

I hope that not only the case-interview candidates, but also the consultant candidates can have access to the mentors to take advantage of their knowledge and guidance.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I feel that apart from practicing with a coach, and watching the videos online, practicing with a partner who is going through the same training program would be very beneficial.

Aside from that, I do believe that FC is doing a fantastic job in training future management consultants, and spreading correct knowledge about the industry. Unfortunately, there is plenty of wrong information and myths out there about the recruiting process and the industry in general.

The podcasts along with blog posts are a great source for people to gain access to valid information on the industry and how the recruiting works (even though sometimes it might not be what they want to hear). I will be more than happy to help FC improve in the future in any way I can, and wish the entire staff best of luck.

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.

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

As I said before the word ‘enjoy’ is not quite accurate, since it’s a training program and not meant to be fun, but meant to teach you skills, including by trial and error. I do think the program has been very very useful in several ways.

Firstly, it has made the entire process much more clear to me. Without the podcasts, video’s and coaching sessions I wouldn’t have understood much of the ‘game’ of networking, picking between different offices, working on my resume, securing an interview, preparing for the interviews, performing during the interviews, etc.

Secondly, it exposed me to my own weaknesses and strengths. In academia those specific weaknesses were never very apparent and without being aware of them you cannot fix them. I also wasn’t that aware of my strengths and by being aware of those, I knew how critical it was to play them up.

Thirdly, the program not only increased my knowledge but also my self-confidence. That is so important during the entire interview process. Without confidence you cannot keep it ‘cool’ in your head, and show your best side. I wasn’t sure I was going to be ‘good enough’ but I did know I was going to show my very best ‘side’ and that creates a lot of calmness, resulting in the best performance you can give.

Did the program meet your expectations? If yes, how?

Yes, my expectation was that it would grow my knowledge, skill-set and confidence.

What was the most important learning’s from the program?

Learning to think about what drives an issue and to then structure it like that.

Do you feel the program provided an advantage for you versus your own/other preparation? If so, in what way?

Most definitely. My own preparation wasn’t as structured (it’s hard with so many different books out there and no person to practice with who actually knows what they are doing). This prep also taught me in an honest way how I come across and how that needed to change. Friends or others who I can practice with don’t have the same insights and cannot teach me those things.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

In one of my sessions I really did a lousy job of trying to come up with a structure. I was incredibly sleep deprived and stressed out about other things going on. When I was told I did a lousy job it really hit me hard and gave me a good kick in the butt to get my act together (and to never ever ever ever give up during a case). It also made me prioritize WHEN to have a session, and to only schedule a session when I was well rested.

What would you like changed in the program?

A couple of examples of how an interview goes (start to finish) would be good. In reality it’s quite different if you always start off with ‘fit questions’ and then move on to a case. That transition was actually quite easy in real life, but I got so many different fit questions, many of them had never crossed my mind.

When I had to come up with answers to those fit questions on the spot in an interview, that was obviously pretty challenging. I think that would be good to practice a bit more. A situation where you HAVE TO give an answer, no matter what. I also think we didn’t practice ‘closing’ a case very often.

I think I did well with that in reality, but it would have been good to practice it out loud a couple more times. Maybe a couple of more data-cases (with graphs that aren’t clear) would have been good too.

Sometimes I miss in the video’s that I don’t hear and see an interviewer ask a question, and then see someone gives the answer (and hear) without any explanations in between. The video’s are really teaching the methods and thoughts behind it, which is great, but a few examples of someone just simply giving the perfect response (video and audio) would be even better at a later stage I think.

Even though there simply might not exist a good reading list, I think for beginning folks like me, it would be nice to have a list of some readings (maybe particular HBR papers, or specific news articles, anything) that would be beneficial to read.

Do you believe Michael was an effective coach?

Very much so. I think there was a nice balance between sessions where I got my *ss handed to me and sessions where I got a lot of positive feedback (and obviously always some learning points). That way I never felt like ‘I will never learn this’ for too long, but I also never underestimated the amount of work left to do. Michael was always very honest, so I felt I could trust his judgement.

Do you personally believe the sessions were tailored for your own development?

Yeah but I don’t know to what extent.

What are your thoughts on using former McKinsey/BCG worldwide practice leaders to coach clients?

Great idea! Kevin’s sessions with a candidate was great, and so were his tips!! Really thought that was great!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

As I said, I think a longer list of possible fit questions they might throw at you (and possible answers) would be good, because I definitely got a wide range of them and sometimes felt unprepared for them.

Maybe trying out different styles of ‘interviewer’ would be good. I noticed how differently you feel with different interviewers, but I still don’t know how differently I act with them. That would be good to become more aware of….

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Felix is a 27 year-old PhD candidate at Yale and a candidate in Season One of “The Consulting Offer.” Felix discusses her experiences in the program. This interview was conducted at the end of session 21.

What was it like practicing cases with Kevin Coyne, the ex-McKinsey worldwide strategy co-leader?

In general, I enjoyed a lot talking with Kevin during the case training session. I think we used the time effectively, and the communication was smooth. If I need to rate the experience, from a 0-10 scale with 10 being the best, I will give it an 8.5. The difference leaves me to communicate better.

More specifically, from the contents – there were lots of information plotted in the case in a clear and logical manner. Kevin made the case very compelling, like a detective story, and left it for me to discover.

He would also give lots of hints for me to pick up, or not, to try to discover by myself. Then in the end of the case, the feedback from Kevin exactly revealed the complete detective story, and showed me how I was exploring each step and what I could have done better.

He also showed me in a real engagement, the way he would go about tackling a real case. I liked the exposure to that experience. Thus, the contents were dense, deep and compelling.

From the way Kevin was leading the case, he created this “equal” atmosphere that made me feel we are a team working together to solve a real problem, and there was no pressure on me, so I had enough time to think, listen to what he said, and communicate freely with him.

On the other hand, Kevin would not let me explore anything I was not entirely sure of, and I liked this strict manner to clear my thoughts.

Do you feel pairing Kevin and Michael to train you was helpful?

Yes, I do think so. Kevin’s style and Michael’s style are different.

Michael’s standard is stricter than Kevin; therefore after getting used to Michael’s style, the discussion with Kevin is much smoother than I thought.

Additionally, because Michael and Kevin were discussing my development after each session, and gave me combined feedback, I felt this combined feedback from both sides gave me a more clear vision of places for further improvements.

What are your thoughts on the overall application strategy developed for you?

Michael’s strategy is very helpful for me to apply effectively and efficiently. I mean it in two aspects.

Firstly, the preparation period to hone case interview skills indeed gave me more confidence, and this confidence led the way into the latter networking process. The large amount of time devoted to CV and cover letter preparation also helped me to prepare a good package, which I benefited not only my application, but potentially for my future career development as well.

Secondly, the networking strategy was really bold in my opinion, but meanwhile very effective. My case is a bit difficult because I am applying to offices that have language requirements that I don’t currently have. Michael’s strategy of continuously networking with partners is very encouraging to me and seems to have a high chance of working because I do get replies from McKinsey and BCG partners, with future arrangements to talk to them directly.

No matter how this turns out, these are all experience I could never have dreamed of before I joined this program.

Did you enjoy the program?

I have enjoyed the program a lot. I have gained more knowledge of business issues, the real engagements consultants face in their everyday life and more clarity about my career goal.

Most importantly, I have gained substantial confidence from this program.

Did the program meet your expectations?

Yes, far more exceeds my expectations.

It provides technical as well philosophical views of management consulting field.

What has been your most important learning’s from the program?

Informed optimism: Meaning it helped me to realize what my sparkles are and where I need to improve today and in the future. It helped me to dare chase my dreams.

Did the program provide an advantage for you versus your own preparation?

Definitely – so much better than my own. It provided deep insights by MBB ex-partners, and laid out the “right” ways to prepare an application and thereby increase my chances of getting in.

Previously I was memorizing frameworks, and always froze in the beginning when usually I was the most nervous.

After the training, I have a better understanding of the business situation and would start building my own frameworks with the knowledge learnt, and usually, the cases become interesting and entertaining to solve.

Any memorable moments?

Michael’s feedback is mostly very right, sometimes bitterly true.

Was Michael effective?

Yes, definitely. He is so logical thinking and always to the point, every minute is used efficiently and effectively. I really enjoyed his style of teaching and frankness.

Were the sessions tailored for your development?

Yes, I think it helps me to realize far more than technical aspects, but more a philosophy and a spirit. I was developing confidence, talking with more structure and chasing some dreams that I had never thought possible.

Has ethics and values been strongly presented in your sessions?

Yes, I don’t have experience with consultants in management consulting; therefore it is very helpful to know what their values are and the ethics they hold while dealing with everyday work.

The discussions as well as numerous podcasts are unique to give me a deeper understanding of what’s going on there and how I can prepare myself when I’m reaching them.

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