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Moving within McKinsey, Bain and BCG – interview insight

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

Very much so. I found my sessions with Michael fascinating, challenging and inspiring and enjoyed the wider discussion about the consulting industry and business in general. When we did cases, they were interesting and often unusual, relating to different contexts that helped increase my comfort level with non-standard scenarios. Being able to relax and enjoy the discussion in these sessions also boosted my confidence going into partner interviews.

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

It met my expectations in two ways.

First, by providing a clear path to developing the right skills and approach to pass interviews regardless of the interview style or seniority of the interviewer.

Second, Michael’s coaching was insightful and his feedback straightforward and easy to act on. I also felt like he really wanted me to succeed and was always quick to respond to questions over email, last minute requests for extra sessions and even some last minute reminders as I was waiting to go into a final round partner interview at one of the firms.

One comment here, is that sometimes the sheer volume of content presented in TCO (Season 1, which is where I spent most of my time) was overwhelming, with multiple candidate ‘stories’ etc., when the core skills and content were generally clear from just reviewing some of the main videos from just one candidate. Perhaps a synthesized or simplified learning path/curriculum would ease this sense of being overwhelmed.

What were the most important learnings from the program?

What really stood out for me was the importance of fit and maintaining a natural, conversational style throughout the interviews.

On fit, I think this was particularly important for me as I had worked at another ‘MBB’ firm earlier in my career and was looking to move to another firm in a different region. We went over my answers to tough questions around why I was considering the change, and reviewed these multiple times. I took away Michael’s feedback, redrafted my answers and practiced until I felt comfortable. In the end I received some very tough questions in several interviews, and I was well prepared with answers that seemed to be well received. In fact, in the last couple of days before the interview I stopped doing cases and just focused on fit, as I realized I hadn’t given it enough attention previously.

The other lesson I took away was not to obsess about frameworks and memorizing lists of drivers to use during cases. Once you develop a reasonable level of competence in the core techniques you can really take a step back and think about the specifics of the question you’ve been asked before approaching a case. Also in some interviews, the interviewers will present very unusual situations (e.g. related to politics, not business) so that you can’t fall back on a classic case approach.

Michael encouraged me to focus on being natural and conversational during the discussion and I think this had a big impact… it made me feel more relaxed, and I was able to build a rapport with each of my interviewers such that the interviews began to feel more like an interesting, high-energy discussion rather than an examination.

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

Yes. I think one of the biggest advantages over material provided by business school consulting clubs and other websites, is the simplicity of the approach. In essence you learn how to develop basic competence in core consulting skills which then carry you through a range of different styles of interviews & cases… these are estimations, brainstorming (with an emphasis on framing the right question or ‘objective function’), hypotheses, and an intelligent approach to fit questions. Then it is just a case of practicing & pulling it all together. This is all covered in the course.

The other major advantage is that the feedback you receive from someone who was previously a successful tenured partner at a top firm is immensely more valuable than the feedback you’d receive from a regular ‘case buddy’.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

Sitting in a small interview room waiting for a final partner interview, exchanging brief messages with Michael from my phone & receiving encouraging one-liners and a reminder of key things to focus on for the partner interview!

What would you like changed in the program?

I think if TCO could be simplified somewhat with a clearer core ‘curriculum’ it would be very helpful. It might also be helpful to include some slides summarizing the main aspects of the approach that is taught, to help anchor learning at the beginning and set expectations.

Do you believe your coach was effective?

Yes, very much so. I have touched on several reasons why above. To summarize, I found Michael encouraging and inspiring and I appreciated his candid feedback on my performance. The areas of feedback I worked on with Michael later became areas of strength I could deploy with confidence in my interviews. I felt that Michael really took the time to understand my goals and my background and what I needed to focus on to succeed.

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

Yes this was definitely the case.

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

As alluded to above, I think it is an enormous advantage and gives you a level of insight that you simply cannot acquire from regular prep resources typically developed by ex-consultants of limited tenure.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I was able to successfully achieve my goal of getting an offer to join a different ‘MBB’ firm, in a new region. I got through some tough interviews and probing questions and I can see many areas where – had I prepared by myself or with other case prep programs – I would have been caught unaware by some aspects of my interviews and may not have been able to improvise well enough to get through.

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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