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Stanford PhD route to McKinsey Singapore

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

I enjoyed all my sessions with Michael. I found it hard to get into the program and did not enjoy the screening interviews. They were tough and I was not given sufficient information to prepare well. I assumed they would be a simple chat so asked for very little preparation time.

My training sessions were nice and I was given extra time which helped me prepare. I thought Firmsconsulting knew a lot about the Singapore offices and they seem to have placed lots of people in the region. This knowledge about the styles of each office helped me during the training and in my interview.

The advice on fit questions, image management, clothing, sitting styles, hair was to the point and professionally done.

I think they played a big role to make me look older than I was. I am a tiny person and I look very young. People think I am a teenager and I was hoping to change this image. I only targeted McKinsey in Singapore and was happy to get the offer. That is why I enjoyed the program. Michael helped me reach my goal.

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

Yes, I knew exactly what to expect because a Russian practice partner had worked with Firmsconsulting. We had met online and were practising together. After he received an offer and was unable to continue practicing, he suggested Firmsconsulting and gave me good feedback to join the program and use the material. So the program went as I thought it would and I achieved my goal.

The parts I described about image management, clothing, hair and makeup etc was not expected. I do not think my case partner received the same advice. This part exceeded my expectations because it taught me how a young Asian woman can carry herself to look professional. Even without it, the program was still good.

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

I thought I was doing well with my cases. I was able to structure the case well and build out the solution similar to the way my case partner had taught me. Michael proved me wrong when he stopped me at each part of a case and asked for my reasons for my actions. I liked this because it made me realize I did not know why I was doing so many things in a case. I had watched my case partner do it and just copied him.

That is my main lesson from the program. I needed to have very good reasons for making any decisions and explain this to the interviewer. When I overcame this problem I noticed my communication improved because I had better content in my sentences to the interviewer.

One other lesson for me was the importance of good advice. Michael did not make me network because he said I had a good resume. That was a nice because I was already very busy and did not have any time to do other things.

My friends thought I should network and were setting up many meetings which were affecting their classes. With Michael’s advice I also dropped some coursework because he thought I was taking on too much for the wrong reasons. He thought my philosophy major was fine for McKinsey and it was unnecessary to do more. This was very good advice because I was completing a additional major simply because I thought a consulting firm would want to see an analytic major like statistics. If I had not dropped this course, my grades would have suffered so I think this small piece of advice saved me time over the remaining 6 months of my degree.

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

The program provided an advantage in key areas:

• Michael helped me understand the Singapore consulting market and the requirements of each firm.

• The advice on reducing my workload was very valuable to me.

• The training on cases, decision trees, answer-first cases etc was very simple for me to understand.

• The videos and podcasts made it easy for me to practice on weekends and at night.

• The image management advice was useful and unexpected.

• I liked the confidentiality of the program which was very important for me.

• The advice on PEI was very powerful and helped me build good stories.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

Helping me reduce my workload in my course work was a memorable moment. There were many others in the cases, but I remember this because I was struggling in my health to cope with all the work.

Michael’s suggestion was true and kept my grades up. This was important for my local scholarship requirements.

What would you like changed in the program?

The program is very effective and helped me. My only suggestion is that it would be useful to have the sessions recorded for my training so I may review them later.

I sent Michael questions many times asking for guidance and most of these could have been extracted from recordings – he did respond very quickly.

Do you believe your coach was effective?

Michael was an effective coach because he took charge of my career plan and changed many of the weak decisions I had made like my majors, dressing and PEI questions. I would not have known to have asked these questions and I am very pleased that he volunteered this guidance to me.

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

I never thought my training was following a template.

We did cases to fix problems we discussed at the beginning of each session so I feel comfortable they were developed for me. I don’t have any concerns here.

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

I think it is a good idea and can help many students.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

No. I was very happy with the program and results.

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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