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Canadian MBA improvement areas in case interviews

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

The program was enjoyable, namely as it was challenging and self-paced. I did not sign up for Firmsconsulting to have my ego patted – I came to the program to grow my foundation skill set, which was delivered. Outside of these main sources of personal enjoyment, I also liked the fast turn-around for most of my questions between sessions. This constant interaction enhanced my enjoyment as I felt someone was there to help me through each step of the program.

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

The program met and exceeded my expectations when it came to structuring challenges. While I expected some decision tree refinement, the level of detail and rigor Firmsconsulting placed on building robust frameworks and being able to step through their conceptual analyses were where Firmsconsulting delivered above expectations.

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

The most important learning from this program was literally how to think analytically. The ability to break questions down to first principles was a concept not taught by other consulting preparation courses. While this type of thinking may take some longer to assimilate than others, I believe it is the single most important teaching from Firmsconsulting to have a career in consulting, not just to get through the interviews.

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

I feel this preparation provided the main advantage listed above, the ability to think analytically at a fundamental level. This was the program’s main difference and advantage versus other preparation. However, while this does set an individual up for ongoing consulting success, it may not help with first round interviews (where the junior interviewers may not understand the significance of this approach). This is great for partner-level interviews, less so for pre-partner sessions.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

The most memorable moment for me was when I received my screening assessment. I was expecting a one-page bulleted document with significant generalizations on my performance, but light on specifics. Not only was the document six pages in length, it also specifically outlined what I did well and areas to improve – even including quotes from my BMW brainstorming exercise. Exceptionally detailed and helpful document – considering it was the first feedback I received from Firmsconsulting it was very memorable.

What would you like changed in the program?

While there was significant focus on case structuring and communicating that structure, there was little on data analysis and practicing recommendations (case scenarios typically ended before the final recommendation/conclusion). Providing a “chart and graph interpretation” basic presentation may help with the former (from spotting to how to comment on trends, and more unique graph types like Mekko and bubble charts). For the latter letting candidates work through a “full case” may help them practice this component.

Do you believe Michael was an effective coach?

Michael possesses, and actively uses, the majority of the skills required to be an effective coach. He has unquestionable integrity, asks thoughtful questions, challenges candidates, is a strong listener, and is inspirational both in the volume and quality of the work (cases, website, emails, feedback) he provides. Michael is also very direct with feedback; on occasion I felt he was too direct. While this is a required skill for consulting (time is money), it may create an environment where candidates are not as motivated to learn.

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

I did not feel the sessions were tailored for my development, but think this is an unfair question. As I only have my own Firmsconsulting experience to reference, it is impossible for me to know how much the questions and conversation were created to push my specific needs. The main reason I do not feel there was customisation is that my sessions followed those in the client video repository – but this may be as I was a ‘normal’ candidate.

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

I think this is a great initiative but the scope of senior partners should be clearly laid out. Are they there exclusively for mentoring? Will they help Firmsconsulting in other ways? This is unclear and as such candidates in the program are uncertain of whether this partnership will impact their learning in a tangible manner.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Client Videos: Either due to my style of learning from sessions or method of preparation I would have found this program impossible to follow without the client videos. I hope this makes me the exception but may be worth further investigation.

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.

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