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Fulbright Scholar PhD on confidence and McKinsey

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

As I said before the word ‘enjoy’ is not quite accurate, since it’s a training program and not meant to be fun, but meant to teach you skills, including by trial and error. I do think the program has been very very useful in several ways.

Firstly, it has made the entire process much more clear to me. Without the podcasts, video’s and coaching sessions I wouldn’t have understood much of the ‘game’ of networking, picking between different offices, working on my resume, securing an interview, preparing for the interviews, performing during the interviews, etc.

Secondly, it exposed me to my own weaknesses and strengths. In academia those specific weaknesses were never very apparent and without being aware of them you cannot fix them. I also wasn’t that aware of my strengths and by being aware of those, I knew how critical it was to play them up.

Thirdly, the program not only increased my knowledge but also my self-confidence. That is so important during the entire interview process. Without confidence you cannot keep it ‘cool’ in your head, and show your best side. I wasn’t sure I was going to be ‘good enough’ but I did know I was going to show my very best ‘side’ and that creates a lot of calmness, resulting in the best performance you can give.

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

Yes, my expectation was that it would grow my knowledge, skill-set and confidence.

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

Learning to think about what drives an issue and to then structure it like that.

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

Most definitely. My own preparation wasn’t as structured (it’s hard with so many different books out there and no person to practice with who actually knows what they are doing). This prep also taught me in an honest way how I come across and how that needed to change. Friends or others who I can practice with don’t have the same insights and cannot teach me those things.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

In one of my sessions I really did a lousy job of trying to come up with a structure. I was incredibly sleep deprived and stressed out about other things going on. When I was told I did a lousy job it really hit me hard and gave me a good kick in the butt to get my act together (and to never ever ever ever give up during a case). It also made me prioritize WHEN to have a session, and to only schedule a session when I was well rested.

What would you like changed in the program?

A couple of examples of how an interview goes (start to finish) would be good. In reality it’s quite different if you always start off with ‘fit questions’ and then move on to a case. That transition was actually quite easy in real life, but I got so many different fit questions, many of them had never crossed my mind.

When I had to come up with answers to those fit questions on the spot in an interview, that was obviously pretty challenging. I think that would be good to practice a bit more. A situation where you HAVE TO give an answer, no matter what. I also think we didn’t practice ‘closing’ a case very often.

I think I did well with that in reality, but it would have been good to practice it out loud a couple more times. Maybe a couple of more data-cases (with graphs that aren’t clear) would have been good too.

Sometimes I miss in the video’s that I don’t hear and see an interviewer ask a question, and then see someone gives the answer (and hear) without any explanations in between. The video’s are really teaching the methods and thoughts behind it, which is great, but a few examples of someone just simply giving the perfect response (video and audio) would be even better at a later stage I think.

Even though there simply might not exist a good reading list, I think for beginning folks like me, it would be nice to have a list of some readings (maybe particular HBR papers, or specific news articles, anything) that would be beneficial to read.

Do you believe Michael was an effective coach?

Very much so. I think there was a nice balance between sessions where I got my *ss handed to me and sessions where I got a lot of positive feedback (and obviously always some learning points). That way I never felt like ‘I will never learn this’ for too long, but I also never underestimated the amount of work left to do. Michael was always very honest, so I felt I could trust his judgement.

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

Yeah but I don’t know to what extent.

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

Great idea! Kevin’s sessions with a candidate was great, and so were his tips!! Really thought that was great!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

As I said, I think a longer list of possible fit questions they might throw at you (and possible answers) would be good, because I definitely got a wide range of them and sometimes felt unprepared for them.

Maybe trying out different styles of ‘interviewer’ would be good. I noticed how differently you feel with different interviewers, but I still don’t know how differently I act with them. That would be good to become more aware of….

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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