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The Candidates

TCO 5 Ritika Mohan Arizona BS/Illinois PhD(Joined MBB Midwestern USA)

Ritika Mohan is a University of Arizona, Tucson BS & University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
M.S. & Ph.D. whom we mentored into MBB Midwestern USA.



TCO V Ritika Mohan


TCO 1 Felix Yale PhD (Declined an Offer)


Felix is a 27 year old Yale doctoral candidate in the sciences and originally from China. We were very impressed with her communication skills and believed she had a very compelling resume for her age. Felix was selected due to the triad of obstacles she was facing in pursuing a consulting career and was the “impossible candidate” to place. She was targeting the German offices and did not speak the local language, she had no significant past working experience and did not understand any of the major sectors in Germany. All of this, just at the time the German offices had prioritized applicants who were fluent in German!

Overall Ranking: 1st – Very strong candidate.

To see what “good” looks like, Felix is the candidate to watch. Her learning rate, attitude, business judgement, humility and likability factors are all high. Her communication is strong and she even develops new/better ways to solve some cases. Felix would pass a McKinsey or BCG final round case.

Advantages: Enormous work ethic. Pleasant personality. Exceptional business judgement. Quick to understand and use feedback. Takes advice and acts on it quickly.

Opportunities: Chasing a tough office. Lots of “balls in the air” w.r.t to personal, academic and working activities. Should always remember how good a profile she has.


TCO 1 Samantha Yale Postdoctoral Fellow


Samantha is a 32 year old Yale post-doctoral fellow, originally from China, and an experienced hire. She is determined, hard working and graduated near the top of her class in just about every exam she ever wrote. She had one of the highest technical scores in the screening interviews for this program. Samantha was targeting the North-Eastern USA which was a stretch region for her, but not impossible. Our largest challenge would be to help Samantha with communication problems and her ability to use the feedback.

Overall Ranking: 4th – Needs to focus on fundamentals.

Samantha had very specific development areas. Her preparation and communication could have been better. Business judgement was also open to strong development. Samantha could have been much better at following feedback. Samantha’s ranking does not reflect her level of effort given that she, along with Felix, was one of the hardest working candidates in the program. She gave it her all.

Advantages: Enormous heart, drive and passion; One of the hardest working candidates in the program. Samantha is eager to learn.

Opportunities: Internalizing and acting on feedback




Rafik is a 28 year old HEC Paris MBA candidate from North Africa. He is also an experienced-hire. His journey and path into business in Paris was both interesting and challenging. We selected him due to the scope of the challenges he would face in the program. Given the recession and painful economic restructuring in France, employment prospects were bleak at best, and particularly challenging for foreigners.

Overall Ranking: 3rd – Needs better self-management.

Rafik’s development areas had little to do with cases. All of the challenges he experienced came down to his preparation before the sessions – in other words, it came down to time and self-management. They were either done inadequately or not done at all. If he could have managed the time between sessions better, he could have been a break-out candidate. Rafik could have conceivably been in the final 2 candidates if he had prepared better.

Advantages: A resilient candidate with a good background: very pleasant person who is keen to take feedback.

Opportunities: Internalizing and acting on feedback


TCO 1 Sanjeev IESE/LBS MBA (Joined BCG)


Sanjeev is a 27 year old IESE Business School MBA candidate. He is also an experienced-hire. Based in India he is trying to pursue a career in South Africa, Singapore, Dubai or Australia – a very difficult proposition for Indian-based candidates. We selected Sanjeev due to his commitment, drive and focus on oil and gas. The main obstacle for Sanjeev was that he felt everything could be planned before he did it. This led to lots of delays and a hesitation to learn by experimentation, which is a key element of building a networking strategy.

Overall Ranking: 2nd – Followed too many predetermined ideas on networking versus following the feedback we provided.

Sanjeev was not close to Felix on performance. There was a significant gap which grew from session 14 onward. If Sanjeev could have followed the networking advice more closely and focused on just the top 3 development areas, he would have been exceptional.

Advantages: Very young with a good track record and history of responsibility. Disciplined candidate who prepares well. In-demand sector “specialization.”

Opportunities: Internalizing and acting on feedback


TCO 2 Alice Qinhua Zhou Yale PhD/Fudan Bsc. (Joined McKinsey)



Kevin P. Coyne was a director and co-leader of both McKinsey’s Worldwide Strategy Practice and CEO Transitions Practice. At the time, he was the youngest associate at the firm and one of the youngest Principals appointed. He was the only person ever admitted directly into the Harvard Business School from his junior year of college, Rice University, which he attended by special permission before graduating from high school. Kevin has co-written 6 Harvard Business Review articles, 12 McKinsey Quarterly articles, 2 bestselling business books and articles across influential business publications. He spent time in the Federal Government as an Executive Assistant and sole policy advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the United States Treasury in the Reagan Administration.

Alice Qinhua Zhou is a 26 year-old candidate from Yale University. She attended Fudan University where she graduated 1st in her class. Alice has a strong track record of leadership at Yale, having served as President of the consulting club and editor-in-chief of a peer-reviewed journal. Alice has no full-time work experience. Coming off a McKinsey internship decline and unsuccessful Bain internship, Alice is interested in both McKinsey and BCG for a full-time associate position in NYC.


TCO 2 Michael Klein Brown / McGill PhD



Michael E. Klein is a 30 year-old candidate from McGill and Brown University. Michael has a very strong analytic profile balanced by an equally artistic side: he was a candidate for ‘Canada’s Got Talent’ where he sang Prince lyrics accompanied by a harpist. Michael has limited work experience as a business journalist. Going into his very first interviews, Michael will have to prove he can use his technical skills to seamlessly understand and solve business issues, while demonstrating his leadership acumen in the fit interviews.


TCO 3 Jen Nwankwo Claflin / Tufts PhD (Joined Bain & Co.)



Jennifer Nwankwo is a Claflin BSc. and Tufts PhD graduate whom we trained to join Bain Boston.



TCO 3 Zach Steinfeld Georgia Tech. BSc. (Joined Deloitte S&O)



Zach Steinfeld is a Georgia Tech. graduate whom we trained to eventually join the world’s largest strategy firm in their US practice, Deloitte S&O.


TCO 4 Assel Russian University /UK Business School M.Sc. / CFA (Joined McKinsey)



We recommend ALL clients begin with TCO IV with Assel + EMBA case interview program. These 2 programs cover all the material quickly and comprehensively, and clients starting with them have shown better results.

We make history at McKinsey with Assel. Never before, to the best of our extensive knowledge, has anyone ever joined McKinsey, BCG or Bain after 5 years of not working/studying. Assel accomplished this feat. Before her leave, Assel had worked at an audit firm as an auditor (not a consultant) and had never worked at Bain, BCG nor McKinsey.

Assel came to us with this unique challenge: could we help her join McKinsey after 5 years of raising children? In addition, should she lower her sights, just to get back into the workforce, by first working as an executive assistant aka personal assistant at McKinsey? This is clearly a confidence issue.

Skills taught include:

Communication skills and networking
Appearance and image management
Learning ability: speed, age and focus
Leveraging experiences during unemployment
Accepting less pay and lower titles just to get in
Balancing your family/personal life and career
Planning your application, given your situation. What to do and what not to do
Confidence issues due to a prolonged stay away from the workforce


TCO 4 Tom EMBA / Experience Hire Program EMBA Darden



Follow this unique 110 episode series prepared for the Darden EMBA program, to help experienced hires and EMBAs successfully prepare for their McKinsey, BCG and Bain interviews.

This is the only case interview training program in the world dedicated to helping experienced hires / EMBAs, by taking into account their very unique challenges, join elite consulting firms.

This is a much-needed program. If you are an experienced hire or an EMBA you usually have to rely on the advice that has been developed for MBAs and sometimes PhDs. But as an experienced hire or an EMBA, you are typically ignored because that advice is not very useful.

You are a minority. Yet, you are a minority that we care about.

Firmsconsulting devotes significant attention and time to experienced hires / EMBAs. Experienced hires are one of our largest client segments and we design our programs to manage the unique challenges they face: usually part-time degrees, deep industry specialization, choosing roles to secure a green card, difficulties finding a fit in McKinsey/BCG, limited time to prepare, small window to change careers, sponsoring family members back home etc.

The majority of our experienced hire clients have EMBAs or some form of a part-time graduate degree. Most have undergraduate degrees from state or foreign universities, with Indian schools being a dominant group.

Age need not be a major factor with the right preparation and determination. We hold the record for placing some of the oldest applicants into McKinsey, BCG, and Bain: a 44 years old associate, a 45 years old consultant and a 47 years old principal. We also placed a mother after 5 years of maternity leave into McKinsey. That was also never done before.

Lessons from working, with those applicants have been built into this program.

EMBA classes are not large and therein lies the problem. EMBAs are not the target hiring category for major consulting firms. Schools don’t devote the majority of resources for career advice and career support to EMBAs. It is just a numbers game. The pool is not large enough and most people in that pool are not looking to transition into consulting.

The issues experienced hires / EMBAs face, as this series shows, are radically different. They are not even close to the issues that MBAs, PhDs, and undergraduates usually face. Following advice for MBAs is a path to failure.

The paths to consulting available to EMBAs are greater than that for MBAs, PhDs, and even undergraduates. Therefore, EMBAs have less time, to prepare because they have full-time jobs, they have a tougher path because they have less support and usually more responsibilities (spouse, children), yet they have more options so they need more time to analyze those options.

Firms are also not sure about the intent of an experienced hire to join and as a result of the above, they have a lower probability of getting in.

When we designed this series we decided to put together a program that catered to the limited time available to experienced hires. The reason we decided to put together an ,audio program, and not a video program, is because EMBAs / experienced hires are generally busy: traveling, coming home and hopefully seeing their children. And the idea was to create a program that will be very easy for experienced hires / EMBAs to consume while they are working.

This training program is specific to experienced hires / EMBAs. It is not generic in any possible way. This program will help anyone going through case interview preparation, obviously, and we recommend you listen to it if you have access to it, but if you are an experienced hire or an EMBA, this is designed specifically for you.

Questions we cover, the advice we give, the topics we choose to elaborate on versus simply touch on to beef up your general knowledge are specific to experienced hires / EMBAs.

We also had a very capable student from the Darden EMBA class, Tom, co-host this training program. The program is developed in a conversational back and forth style.

It is a very detailed series. Most clients have been surprised by the depth of the information provided. It is very prescriptive: this is what you need to do, this is why and this is how you do it, and this is some of the interesting stories that happened with other clients if they did it and if they did not do it.

We specifically spend a lot of time talking about the nuances of networking within the context of experienced hires / EMBAs. The entire program links all the pieces of work needed to be done to network. For example, how must a resume be written and shared to lead to an interview.

FC experienced hire clients have joined from the senior associate level all the way to director at McKinsey & BCG. It is a mistake to assume that one need only join at the associate level.

We also spend a lot of time explaining the differences between BTO, the specialist path, the generalist path and implementation. They are all viable paths at McKinsey and we want people to be comfortable going after them. We wanted to make it clear that the generalist path is not the only path available.

So many paths are available. BTO, in particular, is a path we recommend since it fits perfectly for those with a technology background, is a route to the partnership and teaches all the general problem-solving skills.

Furthermore, a lot of time is spent on how to edit a resume and cover letter.

If you have very little time and you just want to focus on the most important things, like what are the most important cases to focus on, what are the most important concepts to focus on because you don’t want to try to memorize everything in your EMBA class, we have designed this program to provide all that material. We teach the core concepts in some detail.

If you are an experienced hire, e.g. if you are EMBA, this program is perfect for you. If you are a fresh MBA or an undergraduate about 70% of material will be applicable. If you are a PhD a lot of the material will be applicable because in a way PhDs are also experienced hires without working experience.

So this program is tailored for experienced hire / EMBA candidates who have very little time. The target audience is someone who is in their car a lot or commuting a lot, and really does not have time to prepare. They want to be listening and they want to be busy doing other things.


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