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Experienced non-target at BCG Middle East

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

This was a great program. I signed up but was not motivated to push through due to low personal drive – after tonnes of practicing and several earlier rejections I was just so tired to start again. It was a final opportunity to get into MBB Boston and I wanted something that could get me there. I had practiced with a Firmsconsulting graduate and thought his skills were exceptional. He had good things to say about the program so I thought, what is there to lose? Besides the last few thousand dollars in my savings!

The program was unusual because Michael lit a fire under me. I had edited my resume with another well-known program and Michael tore it to pieces in about 5 minutes. He had about 25 edits just for the educational section and they all made perfect sense – though not initially and I really needed to think about them until I understood them.

My first resume editing session was 63 minutes with Michael talking me through a long list of changes required. I was stunned, terrified, excited and irritated at the same time. Stunned that Michael’s comments rang so true. Excited for the care he put into things. Irritated I paid for the previous resume editing. Terrified because I was not looking forward to the fixing of my case skills – I could only imagine how many mistakes I would make. Michael and I had a long discussion after that session and he told me that his job was for me to fulfill my potential.

“You will always be an ambassador of Firmsconsulting and we expect the best from our alums.”

Every session thereafter had this requisite dismantling of things I took for granted and Michael’s homely stories and advice.

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

The program exceeded my expectations. I was a non-target, experienced hire with big resume gaps and Michael gave me a bullet-proof plan to get me into BCG. I definitely did not realize how much work was required before applying to the program – I was frankly surprised to be offered a place with FC. I was warned I would need to do a lot over 6 months to correct the problems in my resume but I never would have expected 12 rounds of resume edits and each screamed red edits in every session A blood-curdling scream!

I was forced to go back and remember so many tiny details for Michael to construct my resume. In that regards, the program was way more intense than I was told, but I see why it was so. I would not have been successful with BCG any other way. Michael said,

“You have one shot at BCG or McKinsey. Just one! Remember that. Forget what everyone else says but we need to both create the opportunity to take that shot and then make sure your shooting skills are up to par when the time comes.”

Everyone told me to send my application, including the previous case coach – from a very well known program too – and I did so for Mckinsey, even though Michael advised against this. It was an outright rejection! This taught me the importance of listening to the right advice versus to the most common advice.

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

Change, improvement and perfection have no shortcuts. I was always pushing Michael to accelerate the program and he would always push back with explanations for why we should not proceed too fast. After the McKinsey episode I listened to his judgement more, but I think that is something I could not have understood without his very patient explanations, and the McKinsey rejection. There is nothing like failure to force me to change my habits!

I am deliberately avoiding any discussions on the case coaching since that bruised my ego to a deep shade of blue. I was also told I was ready by the previous coach and Michael set me straight in the first 5 minutes of our very first session.

Polite but to the point, Michael gives very clear feedback – maybe too direct at times – but I always learned so much and Michael was patient and provided full lectures on areas of business I probably slept through during my MBA studies.

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

Obviously, two previous case programs told me I had an “amazing” resume and they would be “shocked” if I did not get an offer. I got shocked all right. Just not in a good way. The program provided an advantage in all areas of the application process, both big and small. So it would take forever to list all the advantages. Yet, they were there – no doubt of that.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

Too many to recall right now. The resume sessions left the biggest mark for me because my expectations were probably so different at that time. The rest of the sessions also had this “Wow” x-factor but my expectations had probably shifted a little by then and I had become less sensitized to the differences.

It took me 8 hours to finish the first round of edits Michael gave me, another 4 hours to finish the second round of edits and another 4 hours to finish the 3rd round of edits. No one ever told me I had to research my own resume!!!

No fact was too small for Michael and the end picture was pretty impressive. That resume knocked the socks of most people. That set a good tone for things. I was very dejected after the first round of edits thinking my $500 spent earlier and 8 weeks of editing was now gone down the drain. The dejection was an emotion I had not expected so I always recall that, followed by my elation when I received an offer 7 months later.

My bank account was very happy!

What would you like changed in the program?

The program worked for me so I don’t think I want to fix something that is not broken. I would ask Firmsconsulting to share more about the program. The site is so basic I was scared to sign up!

Do you believe your coach was effective?

Michael is a rock star! I liked Michael because he would call a spade a spade. He invested in my development and pushed me through the resume work when he was investing his own time! How many people would do that?

I sent Michael a looonnnnggg email on the weekend about why I could not make the changes he recommended. The response:

“Don’t be lazy. If this was easy, everyone would be doing it and we would not be working together.”

This was not exactly zen-like inspiration but it got me off my a–!

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

Yes, I believe the sessions were perfect for me and to help me understand the Dubai economy. I have no suggestions for improvement here.

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

If they are as good as Michael, it can only be a good thing. So bring it on, and share some of this with the alums of Firmsconsulting.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

No, all is good.

Thank you for your time.

No! Thank you Michael for everything – the support, inspiration and encouragement.

You don’t have to be our client to take advantage of our free materials: podcasts and quarterly articles.

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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