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TCO IV: Applications Now Open – State vs. Ivy

State vs. Ivy 3

The most effective case interview training program in the world, according to our subscribers, participants and our placement results for McKinsey and BCG, is back for its fourth season: The Consulting Offer IV: State vs. Ivy.

We could say many things to explain the impact of this program, but the 50% success rate of Seasons 1, 2 and 3 for full-time offers from McKinsey and BCG says it all. At the time of publication, TCO III, which is currently in production, may still go on to achieve a 100% placement rate.

The 50% of participants who did not receive offers from McKinsey or BCG are also much better off: they ended up in other consulting firms, investment banking and a tech start-up.

The 4th season will be more useful, more effective and with improved training techniques as we are always looking for better ways to teach clients. It will not be a simple repeat of TCO 1, TCO 2 or TCO 3, with just the case questions changing. While the format will be different and is yet to be finalized, we are open to suggestions!

Our goal for Season 4 is different. Inspired by FCTV and its philosophy, we want to show that anyone can get into McKinsey or BCG, irrespective of their school, but provided they have the right drive and ambition. At least half the candidates we will admit must be students/graduates of state schools and/or non-target universities. If you attended community college but have big dreams, we want to hear from you!

This will be an immersive experience where we will work on a complete career, skills, communication and image transformation.

You have an opportunity to be a part of this great program. Not just to learn from it but to be in it, and to change your career trajectory by directly working with some of the most senior consulting partners. Where else can you get a chance for that level of mentorship and guidance?

Here is the trailer to Season 2. As you can see, it was an opportunity of a lifetime for Alice and Michael, the participating candidates.

If McKinsey and BCG have declined you before, and you are wondering if taking part in TCO IV can change things for you, keep this in mind:

  1. Alice in Season 2 was previously declined at Bain and through TCO II ended up with offers from BCG and McKinsey New York City.
  2. Sanjeev was previously declined at BCG, Bain and McKinsey, and ended up at BCG Asia after TCO I.

Application Requirements:

If you would like to apply for this career changing opportunity, this is what you need to do:

  1. Send your resume (any word format is fine).
  2. Send any cover letter you have previously used (you need not create a new cover letter).
  3. Send us a personal letter/powerpoint with supporting photos and video (all three are fine or any combination) explaining why you deserve this opportunity to be trained by some of the most senior partners. We want to hear what makes you special from all the other applicants. What is your background, what is your motivation and who are you as a person. This needs to be sincere and personal, with details. This letter and supporting photos and video are the main items we will use to make a decision. You may include any other supporting material. The more material to help us understand your background, circumstances, life, ambition and values, the better. Kindly do not include photos where you do not have sole copyright of use, such as photos containing other individuals.
  4. A professional headshot photo of yourself (these may be taken on an iPhone provided they are clear)
  5. If you applied to TCO 1, 2 or 3 and were declined, you may apply again. We do not take into account applicant history when making a decision.
  6. There is an application cut-off. As soon as we find the candidates we will accept into the program, we cut-off applications. That could happen in a day, week or a month. Shooting for TCO 4 will begin in February 2016.

All material submitted for your application becomes the property of Firmsconsulting Inc.

To submit an application, please do so by emailing your full application package to [email protected]. We look forward to your application.

Are you eligible to enter?

  1. It is open to anyone anywhere in the world.
  2. You need not be a US or Canadian Citizen.
  3. If you are a student, preferably studying for an MBA.
  4. We will consider experienced hires, undergraduates or advanced degree candidates.
  5. You could be applying to any office worldwide.
  6. You must be applying to McKinsey and BCG.
  7. You should be in possession of a passport or eligible to receive one by early June 2016.
  8. You should be trying to interview around September 2016 – January 2017 so we may have an entire year to train you.
  9. You may apply to any practice within McKinsey or BCG.
  10. We place a significant amount of weight on your personal circumstances, family background, where you grew up, how you grew up, where you currently are and the strength of your character, including your values, ambition and drive etc. In the selection process we find it helpful to review photos and videos of you and your life, and any other supporting material. We need to understand who you are, who you want to be and why. Sending through MBA application style essays is not what we are looking for. We want to know you and do not really care about perfect grammar, brilliant insights etc. Just tell us who you are and why you will be a great candidate for this opportunity in a sincere way, with lots of detail. Good luck!

Message from Michael

We expect commitment, discipline and drive in the participants we will hand-pick. We shape the future leaders of management consulting. 

This is what you must want to be when you apply to TCO. You must want to be the best. You must want to be a leader.

If your goal is to join McKinsey, leave after 2 years and have a wonderful middle-income life, it is best you do not apply. Do not apply to this program if you are not sure elite management consulting is the best path for you. Do not apply if you are not ready to have your life completely changed and every assumption about yourself challenged. 

If you want to be a Fortune 100 CEO one day, then this is the place for you.

Expect that every single word and space on your resume will be taken apart, repackaged and re-written. Every single leadership role, achievement and activity in your life will be deconstructed and reassembled to meet the requirements of the world’s most elite consulting firms. Expect us to un-teach all the (bad) habits you have likely learned. All participants will go through a meticulous and complete change in the way they communicate, answer personal questions, solve problems, read data, communicate data, work with teams and more.

Our goal is never to just get you into McKinsey or BCG. Our goal is not just to make you a partner. Our goal, is to also prepare you for what comes after partnership, to groom you to be a capable and ethical leader in business, government or academia. You need to aspire towards such a worthy goal.

And we are looking for the next Sanda, Sveta, Irina, Kris etc. We take great pride in helping people who have greatness within them but simply need some guidance. We are unique in constantly maintaining a 50% participation rate for women in TCO. Our hope is to do better by expanding our minority and LGBT participation. As you will see, we accomplished some of that in TCO 3, but will do better.

If you do not share this passion for greatness and impact, the intensity of the program, over 9 to 12 months, will take its toll. The pursuit of money is by itself insufficient to overcome the pain of striving for perfection. It never has and never will be.

You probably understand my philosophy through the >400 podcasts and >200 articles. This philosophy sits at the core of TCO. In life you often get one shot to change your destiny.

Just one.

My job is to make sure you are ready to take the shot when the opportunity arise and, to some degree, help you create that opportunity.

Your job is to take the shot.


Logistics & Costs

  1. Firmsconsulting bears the full cost of TCO IV. Candidates successfully admitted into this program will not be required to pay for anything directly related to the program.
  2. If a candidate resides in a country where neither McKinsey nor BCG has an office, and the candidate needs to travel for an interview for which neither firm will reimburse them, Firmsconsulting will cover the travel costs.
  3. The training will take place virtually, with likely in-person sessions in Toronto and Austin/Boulder. This is similar to TCO II where the majority of the training took place virtually followed by a final session in Atlanta.
  4. We would want 50% Ivy League and 50% State school participants in TCO IV. This is a hard quota for TCO 4. So do not be intimidated if you attend a non-target school.
  5. We are going to do deep-dives to work on your confidence, competence, commitment, case skills, communication, presence and courage. We will be holding a lot of discussions and sessions. We also will be talking to your friends, family, colleagues and peers as part of the program to better understand you and develop your training.
  6. We actively support minorities, females, LGBT and low-income clients. We encourage you to apply.

If you have questions or thoughts you would like to share, please post it in the comments below. It is difficult to respond to the many individual questions emailed in.

TCO Season 2 – Memory Lane

Below we share some photos from Season 2 – a taste of what Season IV could be like.

We took over the largest conference center at the luxurious Ritz Carlton in Buckhead, Atlanta, in the great state of Georgia.

The Consulting Offer 9

We spent an entire day converting the room into an elegant production set.

The Consulting Offer 8

Candidates went through every aspect of a McKinsey final round interview, including the closed-list dinner.

The Consulting Offer 7

Kevin P. Coyne, who co-led McKinsey’s Worldwide Strategy Practice, led Season 2. Candidates received personal one-on-one mentoring from Kevin.

The Consulting Offer 6

Non-participating guests watched the entire event and had an opportunity to have detailed discussions with the candidates and coaches while watching all sessions live.

The Consulting Offer 5

The coaching, discussions and mentoring continued well after the cameras went dark, which speaks to the commitment of the ex-partners.

The Consulting Offer 1

The Consulting Offer 3

The Consulting Offer 4

All of this culminated in the world’s most successful case interview training program. Now back for a 4th season.

The Consulting Offer 2

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