Self assessment tool for consulting job applications

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Self assessment tool for consulting job applications

  1. 1. Consulting Careers ‘Performance in On Campus Recruitment’ Self-Assessment GuideIntroductionApplied to consulting firms during their on campus recruitment campaigns, but weredisappointed with the outcome?Use this tool to assess your performance and determine what wrong and what you need towork on if you still want to apply for consulting jobs. This guide aims to assist you to thinkdeeply about your performance, your strengths and weaknesses. That process will only beas good as you are honest with yourself. Remember, your calibration should be against thecompetition – your peers/colleagues who also applied to those firms.I hope you find it a useful and structured approach to the question, and would encourageyou to work through it on your own in the first instance, and then get input from people thateither know you well or are experts/experienced in the recruiting process.The framework is a more or less MECE breakdown of your milkround performance: 1. Experience Do you have the right professional and academic experience? 2. CV and cover letter Did you reflect your full potential value? 3. Case interviews Did you reflect your problem-solving ability? 4. Fit interviews Did you showcase adequately other attributes? 5. Application strategy Did you apply to the right firms, offices? J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 1 www.problemssolved.org
  2. 2. Summary Come back to fill in this table once you’ve worked your way through this guide! Assessment factors Score Experience CV and cover letter Case interviews Fit interviews Application strategy Score each factor from 1 to 5 1 Very strong 2 Strong 3 Neither weak nor strong 4 Weak 5 Very weak The key actions I need to take as a result of this assessment are: 1. ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ 2. ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ 3. ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 2 www.problemssolved.org
  3. 3. 1. Experience The quality of your application will not matter if your professional and academic experience does not match what the recruiting firm is looking for. This may be as simple as ‘too little’ or ‘too much’ work experience – the strategy consulting ‘sweet spot’ for MBA entry level is 3-5 years with fast-track promotion/achievement record. For a detailed and more robust evaluation of experience, please see the accompanying guide “Strategy Consulting CV Self-Assessment Tool”. Do you have the right professional and academic experience? Score your experience1: Factor Score Academic Out of 4… Professional Out of 4… ‘Other’ Out of 2… Total Out of 10… If you score fewer than 8 out of 10, you may find it very hard to get consulting offers. You will need to think very carefully about which firms and offices you apply to in order to maximise your chances (leveraging your strengths and experiences relative to the competition). You will also need to think carefully about whether you have the options to boost your experiences in key areas and how much effort to put into that (eg your academic performance, or alternative professional experiences, or stand-out personal travel, sporting or other accomplishments). 1 Please see London Business School Consulting Careers ‘Strategy Consulting CV Self- Assessment Tool for detailed guidance J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 3 www.problemssolved.org
  4. 4. 2. CV and cover letter The aim of the CV and cover letter (and application form if there was one) is to get you an interview. For marginal interview performances, they may swing you into second round, but it’s unlikely. If you didn’t get shortlisted for interview then, probably, you slipped up either here or in your Application Strategy2. Did you reflect your full potential value? Score your CV and cover letters Assessment factors Score My CV and/or cover letter was badly written (spelling mistakes, bad English, copying information straight from their website) I undersold my achievements (eg technical CVs that don’t translate) I need a brand name on my CV I need international exposure I just don’t have the experience they’re looking for3 Overall Score each factor from 1 to 5 5 Agree strongly (ie I was very weak on this dimension) 4 Agree 3 Neither agree nor disagree 2 Disagree 1 Disagree strongly (ie I was very 2 See “Application Strategy” on pp. 7-8 strong on this dimension) 3 See “Experience” on previous page J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 4 www.problemssolved.org
  5. 5. Case interviews Consultants use tests, case interviews and similar exercises to assess problem- solving skills – shorthand for ‘smarts’. Did you reflect your problem-solving ability? Score your problem solving performance Assessment factors Score I didn’t do enough practice (case interviews, case book) I forced inappropriate frameworks on the problem or used standard frameworks and was too nervous to deviate from them I’m weak on the financials/maths I’m reluctant to stick my neck out – state a point of view I practised a lot but I can’t seem to get it Overall Score each factor from 1 to 5 5 Agree strongly (ie I was very weak on this dimension) 4 Agree 3 Neither agree nor disagree 2 Disagree 1 Disagree strongly (ie I was very strong on this dimension) J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 5 www.problemssolved.org
  6. 6. Fit interviews Consultants use fit questions (and case interviews!) to look for other key success attributes – ‘smarts’ plus… Score each factor from 1 to 5  Drive 5 Agree strongly (ie I was very weak  Motivation on this dimension)  Credibility 4 Agree  Likeability 3 Neither agree nor disagree  ‘Spark’ 2 Disagree Did you showcase these attributes? 1 Disagree strongly (ie I was very strong on this dimension) Score your ‘fit’ performance Assessment factors Score I didn’t put enough work in before the interview, developing clear and compelling examples demonstrating eg leadership, teamwork etc I focused too much on work experience examples and didn’t highlight my extra-curricular experience I haven’t had enough leadership experience I came across as too arrogant/not confident enough/etc I just didn’t feel that I fit with their culture Overall J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 6 www.problemssolved.org
  7. 7. Application strategy Did you apply just to all top tier strategy houses? Not even all of those? Are you better suited to others? You can ‘boost’ your hirability, or you can ‘wreck’ it, depending on to whom and where you apply. With all of the following exceptions, you need to really understand your potential strengths and weaknesses as well as the demands of the particular recruiters to whom you are thinking of applying. Languages You must meet the language requirements of the firms/offices for which you are applying. In a region, especially in Europe, firms without widespread office networks in particular will value fluency in numerous regional languages (ie in Europe – European languages). Geographic ‘connection’ Increasingly, firms are seeking strong geographic connection with the offices to which you apply. This means either being a national, or having lived and worked in the country for a substantial period previously. Specific requirements vary greatly, by recruiter and country. A good guideline is McKinsey’s stated general policy (even they make exceptions though): if you were educated in a country, you need at least 1 year’s experience working there. If you were not educated in a country, you need 2. Sector or functional specialisation Too many to mention, but examples of experiences that are highly sought after by recent recruiters from London Business School include:  Defence  Public Sector  Aerospace  Pharmaceuticals  Telecommunications  Supply chain  Lean/operations improvement  Sales and marketing Previous consulting experience This is nearly irrelevant to most strategy consulting recruiters. However some, in particular smaller, firms may place particularly high value on previous consulting experience. J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 7 www.problemssolved.org
  8. 8. Did you apply to the wrong firms/offices?Score your application strategy Assessment factors  Score Their work is very financial/analytical/…[insert style] and that is not my strength I applied to the London/Moscow/…[insert location] office and my written English/Russian/…[insert language] is not fluent enough…I’d increase my chances by applying to my home office next time I applied to the London/Moscow/…[insert location] office but do not have enough work experience or a strong enough connection with the country I don’t think I fit their culture…we just didn’t click I didn’t put enough work into thinking about ‘why them?’ and ‘why their firm would want me’ I didn’t spread the risk enough, given market conditions Overall Score each factor from 1 to 5 5 Agree strongly (ie I was very weak on this dimension) 4 Agree 3 Neither agree nor disagree 2 Disagree 1 Disagree strongly (ie I was very strong on this dimension) J-P Martins, Associate Director Consulting Careers 8 www.problemssolved.org

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