As you may know, we are running multiple programs including The Consulting Offer, Case Interview Coaching, Consulting Coaching and Executive Coaching. We have found that many applicants tend to apply to the wrong programs when writing in. So here is a guide to help you.

The Consulting Offer (TCO)

We have only ever had 14 participants in TCO over 5 seasons: Felix, Sanjeev, Samantha, Rafik, Alice Qinhua Zhou, Michael Klein, Jen Nwankwo, Zach Stein & Assel. The other 5 participants you will not know since we are still to release their episodes and full names.

If you are selected, participation in TCO is completely free.

We deliberately pick participants with challenging profiles. A participant with a challenging profile has more development areas to address. When we address them, it gives subscribers a chance to learn more. All but one participant was declined at MBB before and several were declined more than once before joining TCO. One had a prior internship at an MBB firm and was declined. Challenging does not mean weaker. It just means they needed more customized help which is hard to find online.

TCO participants receive an enormous amount of support. We conduct as many case interview coaching sessions as needed, usually >30 and up to 50 in some cases, and the sessions can sometimes last 2 hours each if that what is needed to teach the participant. In return for the extensive support, participants agree to have their entire experience recorded. We take a long-term view with The Consulting Offer participants and try to set them up for success in the long-term.

So far, female participants have completely dominated The Consulting Offer in every season by always having the best performance and getting the best offers.

Case Interview Coaching (12 hours limit)

Case interview coaching is not TCO. In 1-on-1 case interview coaching we use the same techniques from TCO but the sessions are fixed to 12 hours of case interview coaching only and we do not publish the sessions. We use that 12 hours as needed, but always in agreement with the client. If you are relatively weaker at cases, we will focus on cases. If you are relatively weaker at fit, we will focus on fit. If you are struggling to get an interview, then we will focus on your resume and networking.

No two clients will go through the same 1-on-1 program. This program has an 80% success rate and it is competitive to join. We select very few applicants.

We are proud of this placement rate since the program tends to attract clients with more challenging profiles. We do not simply select members who are easiest to place. Very strong applicants are rejected since they do not require customized help and would benefit more from subscribing to Premium membership and following FC Insider path. We have to follow such an approach due to limited availability and the need to provide 1) customized help and 2) admit applicants whose value system is aligned with FC’s value system. And due to our premium fees, clients with a higher chance of being placed naturally generally do not apply for such customized help anyway.

All 1-on-1 coaching clients and TCO participants have always been required to and will continue to go through a screening process which allows us to assess them and allows them to ask questions. At the end of the screening process, all coaching clients received a 2 – 8 page feedback letter/contract explicitly outlining their weaknesses/strengths, the programs structure, the time allocation they will receive, our no-refund policy, what we will offer as part of the program and our admissions decision. Our letters offer direct and brutally honest feedback. We also, in a bright orange font, explain to clients that they are under no obligation to join the program should an offer be extended because we do not believe in selling anything and believe clients must be aware of their rights. Applicants who receive an admissions decision in the letter/contract must thereafter affirmatively agree to the terms via email before we will release the terms, NDA and values statement for their signature. This process, while cumbersome, guarantees an applicant is constantly affirming their agreement and offers them an opportunity to opt out of the program before they sign the documents.

We find candidates perform better in the program when they understand our approach and understand the basics. Avoiding the extensive TCO library and relying on 12 hours of 1-on-1 case interview coaching is a counterproductive case interview preparation strategy. That is why case interview coaching is now only open to FC Insiders. This guarantees applicants have had at least 6 months of exposure to build the basic skills. We can then use the case interview coaching time to fix the development areas that require more attention versus spending time on teaching the simple things.

Often times 1-on-1 case interview coaching applicants/clients want to have the same number of sessions as Felix, run coaching sessions to 90 minutes or ask for email support, which we explicitly do not offer. Felix, Jen, Alice etc. were in TCO. That is why they received so much more support. Case interview coaching clients are in a different program with different features. Moreover, they can easily access all the TCO content online if they need more help.

If you believe you need more than 12 hours of help, then case interview coaching may not be best for you. If you believe you need that intense support in TCO where we spend 30+ sessions sometimes going to 2 hours each, then case coaching is not for you. The Consulting Offer may be a better option to either participate in or subscribe to watch. That said, 12 hours is sufficient time to teach you provided you are also 1) diligently working through at least the full TCO online program and 2) practicing.

You do not need to be in TCO to benefit from it. You can subscribe to work through all the videos, solution videos and expert commentary. It contains far more training than we could ever cover in 12 hours of case interview coaching. Given the effort we make in screening applicants and preparing feedback letters we want to make sure only the most motivated apply and are admitted.

Consultants Coaching

This is where we help consultants who have joined a firm but need help to progress faster than the average consultant. We, however, find that many applicants apply too late for this program. If you apply to this program after the firm signals you have a performance problem then it is too late. There is not enough time to fix the problem.

Think of it this way. If you struggled to be a star performer when your confidence was higher and your colleagues assumed you could be a great performer, how would you be
able to manage a performance turnaround once your confidence is lowered, after you receive the negative feedback, and you have a poor reputation on studies?

It is better to get ahead of the problem and join this program before you have a problem. Too many clients forget how competitive the firms are. If you need help for case interviews when you were competing against weak, average and good applicants than you likely need help when you join the firm and only competing against the good applicants who received offers. Yet, asking for the help after your performance drops is too late.

In this situation, it is best not to apply to our one-on-one coaching programs but determine a graceful exit. We are being honest about this because we want you to succeed and not waste time and money. On the other hand, you may want to subscribe to all the programs were we teach about studies but do so before your performance begins to drop. And, if you do, start with the M&A Merger Study. Generally, access to Premium membership and FC Insider content + platforms ( and Strategy Training apps), provided you do the work required, is more than enough and coaching is not required.

Executive Coaching

To understand this program, just watch this Show. When we started FC ~8 years ago, case interview coaching clients were the majority of our clients. However, as those very same clients joined consulting firms we took on more consultant coaching work and as they joined industry, we kept on mentoring them. As some of them launch businesses like Richard and Tatiana we keep on mentoring them. That is why executive coaching is now the main part of our work. We just grew with our clients.

Given that we admit executive coaching clients from previous case interview coaching and consultant coaching alums, we do not have a formal application process. Applicants understand the way we work, though a new contract and further documentation are required.

That said, coaching may not be best for you. That is why we record everything so you can subscribe to the programs. We hope this guide helps you a little.

If you have any ideas or questions, please post below.


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4 responses to Case Interview Coaching vs TCO vs Other Coaching

  1. Hi Johnathan,

    In terms of overcoming the negative background check it would depend on the firm. The elite consulting firms, law firms, banks etc would not be open to the possibility. It is a non-starter for them. Other firms, possibly. Also the more liberal the city the more likely they will be open to it.

    An MBA is smart since you can reposition your profile for when the record is sealed. But this will not help you in the short term and is a costly option.

    I think you have to wait it out or pursue start-ups.


  2. Hi Michael,

    Thank you kindly for the thoughtful response. I have some follow-up questions for you if can help clarify:

    Do you believe there is any possibility of overcoming a negative background check with discussing my situation with the decision-makers and providing references of support (if/when I were to receive an offer of employment prior to my record seal)? Or is there no gray area with regards to this?

    Do you think pursuing an MBA in the interim would be smart – or would I encounter similar barriers from my background?

    Lastly, glad to know there are success stories of individuals overcoming their previous mistakes!

    Thank you, JW

  3. Hello Jonathan,

    Thanks for writing this brave email. You are going to get a lot of judgement but that seems unfair. We elect a congress and representatives to determine the laws and penalties and they have determined what those should be. Those have been applied to you and you should be allowed to move on.

    That said, the issue is pretty simple to me.

    Right now, consulting is a non-starter since the background check will never be passed. So you have to find something to keep you busy or study.
    Once the record is sealed, you can apply.

    However, there are some things to consider. You may need federal clearance in some cases and they will run a federal check on you while you are a consultant. I have had that done to me many times to get clearance on studies for governments, even foreign governments. In the long term if you need to apply for a visa, move offices with the firm etc. this may become an issue. The other thing is the problems it may create for the firm if this comes out. Not for you, but the firm.

    If you have no legal reason to disclose things then you are fine. Just follow the law.

    My view is if you do the time as prescribed by the system of government to which we agree to honor and respect, learn the lesson, then you have a right to live your life to its fullest potential. We are extreme when it comes to ethics, but punishing someone in perpetuity is unethical and just wrong.

    We have had one client in your situation. A female. She made a mistake and was punished for it. Her record was also sealed. She worked in start-ups during that period since she could be busy but none of them did any background checks. She did not end up at MBB but she did end up at one of the major international consulting firms and doing quite well right now. I must point out this is not us indirectly advertising our services in the hope you will sign up since you have few options. We are currently overbooked. You have options but need to wait out the time. We have other clients who were fired for cause but their records also sealed. That is quite common.

    This may not be the answer you wanted to hear, but it is the honest answer. It will be hard but not impossible to survive right now but you have to do something. Once thing is not to lower your goals. Just figure out how to get there.


  4. Recently I discovered the wealth of information you provide for candidates interested in management consulting, and I’ve begun my pursuit of networking into MBB for interview opportunities and beginning case problem preparation.

    I’m reaching out to ask a very personal question regarding my situation and “challenging” background. First, the ugly: In March 2017 I was convicted of felony identity theft and sentenced to two years of probation, which ends in March 2019. Then three years later in 2022, I can petition to have my record sealed, meaning that it will be hidden from background checks and reporting unless a Federal background check is requested. This is the only transgression on my record.

    Now for my career experience: I spent most of my professional career in commodity trading from 2010-2016. For three years I worked in an options market-making group with a proprietary trading firm; from 2013-2016 I ran an independent algorithmic futures trading operation. In 2017, I began a freelance consultancy in which I engaged with other market participants to improve their profitability and operational efficiency of their strategies. In one of my current projects, I am partnered with a Chinese PE firm to provide advisory on blockchain technologies and their potential application to various industries.

    During my freelance consulting work, I discovered that I enjoy interfacing with others a lot, and it is something that I sorely missed during my time as a trader. I also realized that trading was a toxic career that led me down a dark path of wanting nothing but success, greed and profits, ultimately letting nothing get in my way to make it happen – no matter the consequences.

    In 2016, my “fall from grace” occurred when I suffered major losses in my trading portfolio. I didn’t look to anywhere or anyone else for help, and I eventually resorted to engaging in illegal activity to begin recouping losses. I purchased hacked credit card information from the “dark web” to use as my own, and I purchased cash equivalents from retail stores in order to pay for bills and monthly expenses. I facilitated this activity for most of 2016, until I was eventually caught. My wife, nor my two little girls, had any inclination to what I was doing, and it was a shock to the system. Thankfully, I was caught before my situation became too bad, and I was given a very lenient sentence. However, this incident now blankets me in a scarlet letter of untrustworthiness and dishonesty that has made it difficult to find work.

    I’d like to pursue a career in management consulting for many reasons: 1) The work is interesting and challenging; 2) I like the prospect of multiple projects per year; 3) I want to work with a team and interface with clients; 4) I derive more satisfaction from delivering value to others instead of myself; and 5) I’m tired of working from a home office.

    However, there is obviously a major barrier to entry for me. I presume any background check will uncover my convictions. In previous job interviews and application situations, I’ve waited until I was presented with an offer before disclosing everything. People seem to understand how the circumstances and events led to my activities, but almost all have been unwilling to take a chance on me and hire me despite my background. I’ve received feedback that it would be a different situation to consider hiring me if I were already employed by someone else – ie, someone assuming the initial risk – because then I could be considered somewhat trustworthy again.

    I’m attempting to approach this situation logically and realistically, and I want to give myself the best chance to succeed. On one hand, I need a job immediately. I’ve tried anything and everything, but I can’t secure any full-time employment, no matter how menial the work. I would rather spend my time qualitatively focusing on the career of my choice. Logically, I envision that if I were to progress through several interviews and receive an offer from any major firm, especially MBB, then even after considering my challenging background, I would still have the opportunity because I would be deemed the “best” candidate. However, I also know that no matter how analytical or logical the person, human emotion can supersede rational decision-making.

    If I apply to firms now, go through recruiting, get lucky enough to receive an offer and get rejected because of my background, then I will have burned future opportunities to retry in the future after my record is sealed. But, the thought of waiting 4 more years to pursue this is a painful pill of reality to swallow; and as such, I have no clue how to position myself for success leading up to 2022 if I don’t pursue a consulting career now.

    Have you had any experience in working with a candidate like myself? How should I approach a career in consulting?

    Thank you for your time and support, and I look forward to your response.

    Kind regards!

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