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Coaching Program + PhD = McKinsey Europe

Did you enjoy the case interview coaching program? If yes, how?

I enjoyed the case interview coaching program very much. It was a challenging journey, lasting more than 6 months, but in the end it was all worth the effort. I received an offer from my favorite top-consulting firm. Everything went more than smoothly: Thanks to the intense and comprehensive coaching program, the real interviews felt almost like a walk in the park.

I feel that Michael honestly cares about my career and that he believes in my potential. This kind of support is invaluable.

Did the case interview coaching program meet your expectations? If yes, how?

Of course, I primarily applied for the case interview coaching program because I expected the whole training process to significantly increase my chances of landing an offer from one of the top three strategy consultancies. Now, the mere fact that I got an excellent offer from my favorite consultancy documents to me that the coaching program could live up to my high expectations.

More specifically, I see three points why the coaching program even exceeded my expecations.

  1. First, the coaching program allowed me to acquire consulting skills in a more comprehensive way than I expected. Equipped with the technical skills necessary to efficiently solve cases as well as sound communication and more subtle social skills, I feel well prepared for my new professional context.
  2. Second, Michael clearly pushed my boundaries more than I expected. At times, his feedback was hard and I felt that my progress was too slow. In retrospect, however, the challenge was just right. Michael’s diagnosis of my strengths and weaknesses as well as his predictions about my performance in the interview proved to be very accurate. I trust his advice and hope I can draw on his support in the future.
  3. Third, Michael connected me with other inspiring participants from all over the world. By teaming up with them for practice sessions, I learned much more about consulting and beyond than I would have expected.

What was the most important learnings from the case interview coaching program?

Besides the technical skills (i.e. estimation, brainstorming) the following three things were important to me:

  • Airport syndrome. Michael suggested looking for flaws when being at the office for the interviews ‒ e.g. stains in the wall or badly knotted ties. It is an excellent exercise in mindfulness and at the same time it makes you less impressed by the interview setting.
  • Leadership presence. Obviously, you can play two cards at the interview. Either you show that you’re extremely smart or that you’re a great leader. Michael told me that I should focus on the latter. This advice turned out to be very helpful.
  • Deficit model. I believe that Michael used a deficit model of learning when he coached me. That is, he tended to give me rather negative feedback. While I sometimes felt bad, it improved my performance overall. It is an important insight for me to be actually a “deficit learner”.

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

I did some practice sessions with people who were not familiar with the Firmsconsulting resources. I think the Firmsconsulting case interview coaching program provides you with following three advantages:

  • Technical skills. Michael’s technique of doing estimation cases provides you with a tremendous advantage. It’s simpler, elegant and more effective. The technique of doing cases is also superior as you don’t need to memorize any frameworks ‒ not a single one.
  • Guidance for every small detail. Michael provided me feedback on everything, my communication skills, my presence and my looks. It is not only about doing cases. It is the fit part where you build a relationship with the interviewer and can influence how he/she interacts with you during the case.
  • Mental support. Working for months towards a single goal is stressful. Having people who support you is very important. Michael not only taught me the skills but supported me mentally. Whenever I needed words of encouragement, he found the right words.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

Michael offered me to call me minutes before the interview when needed. I didn’t use that option but having this option calmed me down.

What would you like changed in the coaching program?


Do you believe your coach was effective?

More than effective.

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

In hindsight, I think Michael applied a deficit model of learning when working with me. It felt like he expected me to jump up at least 8 metres. With my full effort I could “only” manage to jump up 5 metres. Of course, he would then say: “That’s not enough.You can jump higher.” At the interviews, I then felt like I was only expected to jump up 3 metres.

Only at the end of the coaching program, I think I understood his approach. It worked out fine for me. I have the impression that Michael knew exactly which buttons to push and that he tailored the sessions accordingly.

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

I assume it’s always an excellent idea to learn from the best.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I not only enjoyed the Firmsconsulting case interview coaching program itself but also interacting with the people that are attracted to the platform. The self-selection process at Firmsconsulting with regard to the participants is very effective.

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