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27 yr old Yale PhD pursuing McKinsey Germany

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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