consultingfact                                             .comHow To Land a Job in Management Consulting        Prepare f...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting- An Introduction Guide2nd editionPhotocopying is not allowed© 2010 - Consulting...
How To Land a Job in Management Consultingcontents                          Introduction                          04      ...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting                                                      Introduction       Introdu...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting                                                    Introduction       questions...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting        The Six Success Factors in Management Consulting        Structured think...
Recruiting Process
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting       Recruiting       Process           The application process at each of the...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting                              Cover Letter and Resume Tips         •	 Customize ...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting       forms under pressure, i.e. if he/she easily                              ...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting           A business case is sometimes combined        that the interviewee nee...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting       Still havent applied to a consulting firm?       The competition is tough...
Preparation tointerview rounds
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting       Preparation to       interview rounds           The consultancy interview...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting          Below are some of the key analysis areas                  During the i...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting                                                        450 / 25 without using p...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting                Bar / Line Chart                    Pie Chart               Stac...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting           There are many situations in your every-                             ...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting            When the interviewer presents the case,       make you change your r...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting                                                           Hygiene and Haircuts ...
Case example
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting       Case example           The case below focuses on pricing, and is       th...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting       based price as the price levels would be given     all competition comes ...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting       bound in this pricing exercise.                 make a comparison:       ...
How To Land a Job in Management Consulting                                consultingfact                                  ...
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  1. 1. consultingfact .comHow To Land a Job in Management Consulting Prepare for a Consulting Career How To Land a Job in MANAGEMENT CONSULTING1 An Introduction Guide
  2. 2. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting- An Introduction Guide2nd editionPhotocopying is not allowed© 2010 - Consultingfact.comConsultingfact.com. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanically, photocopying, recording orotherwise, without either the prior written permission of the publisher. This guide may not be lent, resold,hired out or otherwise disposed of by way of trade in any form of binding or cover other than that in which itis published, without the prior consent of the publisher.
  3. 3. How To Land a Job in Management Consultingcontents Introduction 04 Recruiting Process 07 Preparation to interview rounds 13 Case example 213
  4. 4. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Introduction Introduction Getting into management consulting is extremely competitive. You need to have Consultingfact.com aspires to be excellent qualifications. But this is far from the number one online resource for enough. These great credentials need to management consulting application and be presented in a professional cover letter interview preparation. We develop tools and resume in order for you to make it to and products that will help you land your the interview rounds. The interview rounds dream job in management consulting. include as much as six separate interviews, where it is expected that you can provide Consultingfact.com was founded in recommendations and solutions to real life Copenhagen, Denmark by a former business situations with only limited informa- management consultant from McKinsey tion. No wonder that most applicants find the application process intimidating. Preparation ject but it is a great place to start your prepa- is essential to make it through the eye of this ration efforts. needle. The purpose of this guide is to provide The goal of management consulting is newcomers to management consulting with to offer advisory services to corporations, a simple overview of the application process private equity houses, government agencies and guidelines to practicing case interviews. and NGOs. These organizations often face The paper is far from exhaustive on the sub-4
  5. 5. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Introduction questions that they are unable to answer due What Do Management Con- to lack of resources, lack of competence, or sulting Firms Look For? simply because they need an external per- spective. The top tier management consulting Knowing what management consulting firms like McKinsey & Company, Boston Con- firms look for is a prerequisite for writing a sulting Group and Bain & Company typically great application and acing the interviews. A work within several practice areas including: great place to start is always at the consulting firm’s website. For example, McKinsey looks for skills in problem solving, achievement, Practice Areas: personal impact and leadership whereas Bain • Change management judge their candidates on criteria such as the • Corporate renewal ability to add value along with client skills and • Corporate strategy team skills. • Cost & supply chain management We believe that there are key skills and • Customer strategy and marketing personal characteristics that all management • Growth strategy consulting firms look for regardless of how • Information technology they communicate their requirements. • Mergers and acquisitions • Organization • Performance improvement • Private equity As a new consultant, you can expect to work within all of these practice areas and across numerous industries. Your learning curve will be steep. Not everybody will make it to the partner level, but a few years with a consulting firm is an excellent investment regardless of where you end up. We can defi- nitely recommend it.5
  6. 6. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting The Six Success Factors in Management Consulting Structured thinking The ability to think in a clear and organized way. This is useful for problem solving and analysis. Math skills also fall in this category and are often used to exemplify structured thinking skills. Business judgment Have a good judgment of business and strategic issues. This is important for case solving – a key management consulting discipline. A good way of practicing this is by reading business media and trying to understand the underlying issues behind different news stories and their respective strategic choices. Communication: Both written and oral communication skills are important in management consult- ing. In this pre-interview phase you should focus on your written communication skills. Be clear and to the point in your written and oral messages. Personal impact: Personal impact is hard to define, but think about it – sometimes you are around people who are good at influencing others. As management consulting firms look for future leaders, they will look for that leadership talent in you. Team skills: Cooperation with other people is essential as a management consultant, you work in project teams and are surrounded by both clients and coworkers. These must be demonstrated while you are presenting during an interview, whether they are explained or shown through actions. Drive and motivation: Know what you like and go for it. People should have a feel that you are moti- vated for a career filled with challenging assignments and long hours, and that you can maintain drive even when the things get tough.6
  7. 7. Recruiting Process
  8. 8. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Recruiting Process The application process at each of the major management consulting firms is very similar. There are three main components: Pre-interview the application itself, possibly a written test, and case interviews. A candidate needs to • Cover letter master all three components to receive the • Resume offer. Pre-Interview Written test Less than 5% of applicants make it through to the interview rounds. Some applicants are • Combined verbal and written test simply discarded based on their qualifica- tions, while others are sorted out due to sub standard cover letters and resumes. The key Case interviews purpose of the cover letter and resume is to present your value proposition in a profes- • Market estimations sional manner. A few things to keep in mind • Business cases when writing your resume and cover letter • Brain teasers are:8
  9. 9. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Cover Letter and Resume Tips • Customize your cover letter to the specific firm. Each firm is different from the others. Research the firm you are applying to via the internet or by attend- ing one of their company presentations. • The management consulting industry is very conservative, hence keep your cover letter and resume design simple and professional. Colors and fancy fonts etc. are “no goes”! • Proofread and proofread once more. Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct and please check that you have not committed the common mistake of writing a wrong firm name. Reading an application to McKinsey with a Bain name in it will immediately get you discarded – no matter of qualifications • Send your files in the PDF format to ensure that your format is received exactly as you intended. A PDF printer can be found free on the internet. The top consulting firms receive more devices (e.g. calculators or computers) when than 200,000 applications every year. Typi- performing calculations. cally, the first screening of an application does Case interviews not take more than 45 seconds to complete. It The case interview is a classic in manage- is therefore important that your application is ment consulting. The purpose is to test the focused and structured, so that the recruiter candidates’ ability to perform problem-solv- immediately gets a positive impression and ing and effectively communicate and present quickly finds the required information. findings. Problem solving skills include busi- Written Test ness judgment, quantitative skills, creativity, Most management consulting firms logical reasoning, and the ability to structure also test their applicants via a written test. an analysis. These are all skills that are highly The written test usually consists of various useful as a management consultant. In real numerical and verbal multiple-choice ques- life consulting, the client often puts you on tions. These are often very similar to what the spot by asking a question that requires you would see in a GMAT. Be aware that most problem-solving skills. The case interview firms do not allow you to use any electronic form is a great way to test how a person per-9
  10. 10. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting forms under pressure, i.e. if he/she easily Business case gets frustrated when challenged. Manage- ment consulting firms are very diligent in • Real life business problem their recruiting, so expect two to three inter- view rounds equivalent to five or six separate interviews. Estimation case Types of cases • Market sizing During a case interview, the interviewer • Volume and weight estimation may use any or all three of the available case interview types. The business case is by far the most common of the three, since the case Brain-teaser is as close as you can get to real life manage- • Various puzzles ment consulting. In a business case interview, you will be presented to a business situation on either industry level or at firm level. A business case can cover all practice areas within a manage- ment consulting firm. Business Case Examples • Company A produces refrigerators. The company is a private equity owned company and wants to double its revenue within 3 years. What do you recom- mend the company to do? • Company B produces wind turbines. The company is the global market leader, but has recently experienced declining market shares. What do you recommend Company B’s management to do? • Company C produces pumps. Due to increasing global competition the company needs to expand its manufacturing capacity. The company is in doubt how to do this – should they expand their existing facilities or should they build a new plant. What do you recommend?10
  11. 11. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting A business case is sometimes combined that the interviewee needs structure to get with an estimation case. An estimation case – to a reasonable answer. sometimes also known as market sizing case A third case interview type is the – allows an interviewer to test your logical brainteaser. Brainteasers are very seldom and quantitative skills. The aim of an estima- the sole case type in an interview. A manage- tion case is to estimate a quantity of some ment consulting brainteaser is hard to define, sort. This could be a market size measured in since the category includes a wide range of USD or a volume unit. Other examples could different questions. Examples of brainteaser be to estimate the numbers of hairdressers could be: in the US or the number of dogs in the UK. Common for all of estimation questions is Brainteaser Examples • Why are manholes round? • Imagine a 6x6x6 rubik’s cube. How many cubes can be touched?11
  12. 12. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Still havent applied to a consulting firm? The competition is tough. Top Tier Consulting Firms receive more than 200,000 applications every year. Take a look at our guide to Management Consulting Cover Letters and Resumes. We will show you exactly what to include in your cover letter and resume, how to structure it, how to write it, and how to format it. Proper structure makes it more likely that the recruiter will easily find the information required. The design is also very important. This is challenging for a conservative industry, so you really need to hit the balance here. We will show you examples of good-looking applications that demonstrate your knowledge of proper consulting presentation. Management Consulting Cover Letters and Resumes 6 Steps to a Successful Application: www.consultingfact.com/guides/cover_letter12
  13. 13. Preparation tointerview rounds
  14. 14. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Preparation to interview rounds The consultancy interview rounds can We will go through these different areas in be rather demanding. It is likely that you will the following sections. The best way to prac- need to work on several different develop- tice these is to ally yourself with a friend or ment areas to reach your potential for the a management consultant who can practice interviews. Depending on your current level, case interview tests with you. we recommend 2-6 weeks of daily practice to Case frameworks learn to apply all necessary concepts in real Frameworks are helpful for the case inter- interview situations. view solving process, as they allow you to It is crucial that you prepare these four quickly have an idea of how to approach a areas for your interview rounds: case problem. Be aware that you will often not be able to find a framework that fits the case problem exactly, so always try to use your common sense in combination with one • Case frameworks or more frameworks. If you have studied busi- • Mental math ness or economics, then you are probably • Case cracking practice already familiar with some of the necessary • Communication skills frameworks.14
  15. 15. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Below are some of the key analysis areas During the interview process, you need where you need a framework: to be aware that you should not commu- nicate that you are using a framework. The • Company analysis interviewer would like you to use your own • M arket analysis problem solving skills, so it won’t help you • S trategic options to say something like “I will use Porter’s Five • V enture Forces to analyze this market…” • M ergers and Acquisitions Once you have found information about a • P ricing specific framework required, you should draw • R evenue growth it and try to remember the visual details. Visu- • C ost reduction als are usually far easier to remember than trying to remember specific word contents of a framework. Below is an example for the pricing framework. Price determination framework Cost-based pricing Competitor pricing Value-based pricing Added profit Competitors’ Price of Willingness to Current costs Perceived value margin prices vs. features substitutes pay The framework above is really simple – Once you have found and illustrated the and this is important! For the price deter- key frameworks, you will need to memorize mination, we could have made a framework these. A good way to do this is to draw them taking up a few pages. However, you have all once every few days. By doing this, you are limited time in a case interview – both to solve forced to think about the specific content of the case, and to communicate the answer. the framework. This method will quickly give Therefore, it is important that you ask your- you results, and you should feel more confi- self: what are the key questions that I need dent in the case solving situation when you to answer using this framework? And for pric- can “see” the framework in your mind and ing, the different points above are the most can focus on filling in the different answers. important ones to mention.15
  16. 16. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting 450 / 25 without using paper. In addition to Mental math this, practice your paper math skills for more During the case interview, you will need complex math questions. to do a good amount of mental math – for market size estimation, case calculations, Percentages and fractions are important, brain teasers or outright math calculation and you will almost certainly need these questions. For this, you will need to practice during the interview. There might be ques- the following areas: tions requiring you to estimate a growth in percentage or to divide some numbers. In the latter case, knowing the decimal result • Addition, subtraction, multiplication of most common fractions is important. You and division on paper and mentally should memorize the results of the fractions • Percentage arithmetic from 1/5 to 1/20. • Fraction arithmetic • Currency conversion It is very likely that you will be presented • Chart reading to some charts during the interview – either as part of a case solving, or as a very specific Of course, the interviewer will not expect question about what you can read in a chart. that you can solve complex math problems On the next page you can see the examples mentally, but you should be able to do more of some of the different types of chart that simple calculations like 17x22, 229 + 128 and you should quickly be able to read.16
  17. 17. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Bar / Line Chart Pie Chart Stacked Bar Chart Cascade/waterfall chart 100% Stacked Bar Chart Marimekko Chart17
  18. 18. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting There are many situations in your every- Case cracking practice day life where you can practice math skills. It is actually quite easy to structure the The key is to get into a mindset, where it feels case solving process. During our career, we more natural for you to work with numbers have met many bright candidates with a good mentally. Below are some examples of real life business sense and excellent mental math situations where you can practice: skills – but who did not make it through the interview process due to a lack of basic struc- • When shopping – add the numbers ture. in the shopping cart in your head, Follow the following the below 10 steps and see if you can match the correct when solving the case: result • When filling gas – look at your gas 1. Take notes while the interviewer preents the case meter and calculate what the price would have been, if you had chosen 2. Repeat the key case question to the another type of gas interviewer to ensure that you under- stood the objective • When travelling – practice currency conversion 3. Ask any clarifying questions 4. Ask the interviewer for a little time to structure your thoughts 5. Draw the case framework and think about what information you need to make a recommendation 6. Present the framework 7. Discuss the topics and ask for further clarifying questions for any relevant parts of the framework 8. Present the solution and answer the case question based on the discussion 9. Ask for the interviewers solution 10. Ask for feedback18
  19. 19. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting When the interviewer presents the case, make you change your recommendation, so listen carefully and take any necessary notes. this step is important so that the interviewer The interviewer will expect that you remem- can see that you are able to process and sum- ber any information or numbers that he marize your analysis. gives you. Of course you can forget single Communication skills pieces of information, but it is a very negative Communication skills are one of the most impression to give if you repeatedly ask for important success factors for a management information that the interviewer has already consultant. It is crucial that you show the provided. interviewer that you are a true communica- Try to involve the interviewer as much as tor. Make sure that you remember to smile possible in the solving of the case. Often, you no matter how the interview goes and who will receive hints that will help you and you the interviewer is. This sets the mood and it is can present that you are able to receive input usually contagious. Also, remember to display and being able to present clear recommen- confidence by using slow gestures while you dation based on the discussions. It is easy to speak, sitting straight, and keeping a good eye get out of track if you insist on “running the contact. The confidence part is really impor- show” entirely. tant during the case interviews. Do not be afraid to ask for time to think Another thing is to dress correct for an through the solution. We have many times interview. Recruiters say all the time that seen candidates who start candidates should stand with case solutions imme- out based on their quali- diately after the inter- fications and not their viewer is finished with stat- wardrobe, but it is doubly ing the question. This is a important in the manage- clear no-go! It is hard for ment consulting sector. you to confidently present As a management con- a framework and solution, sultant you will be deal- unless you take some time ing with executives from to think it through. You high-ranking companies, should not be afraid to take two minutes hence the interviewer will want to make sure time to do this. that you can put forth the company image in how you act and dress. Forgetting this for the Once you have discussed the solution, interview may mean you could forget it in a remember to wrap up the discussion with a client meeting. clear recommendation. The discussion might19
  20. 20. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Hygiene and Haircuts How to dress for an Nail biting, long haircuts and poor skin interview quality are not necessarily the signs of traits that management consultants aspire Skirts, Dresses and Suits to hold. Make sure that your hair does not Pastels, print patterns and other cover your ear if you are male and does not designs are great for the weekend when come close to touching your collar. you are with friends. Keep them out of your wardrobe choices for your first man- For grooming, focus on the things that agement consulting interview. In fact, interviewers will notice first, nails that the standard black or charcoal are free from excessive nail polish suit from a mid to upper level for women and not bitten down to designer for men may seem like nubs for men. Males who need to an uninspired choice, but you want shave infrequently should time it so to create a canvas that the firm sees there is neither stubble nor razor burn. as able to meet their goals. Pair it Jewelry with a sedate white or light blue Family heirlooms and gifts from shirt and a blue, yellow or red tie. friends and relatives may have a per- Women will likely benefit from pant sonal meaning to you. This is also the case or dress suits that are conservative in cut for class rings and other signs of member- and allow them to work without adjust- ship. If they seem gaudy or ostentatious, ment. Shoes should not look like they though, you set off warning signals. Keep came from Sex and the City, either. the jewelry to watches for men and per- haps a ring, and simple earrings for More so than the clothes them- women in addition. Large gemstones selves is the attention to detail in preparing can also be a bit overpowering in setting a them. Have your clothes professionally first impression. cleaned and pressed prior to the interview. Make sure that all shoe wear is polished With all those aspects marked off and free from dirt. Above all, make sure your checklist, you can be sure that your that there are no rips or stains on any items responses to questions will be what the you plan on wearing recruiter remembers most, not the striped shirt that belongs in a club or disco.20
  21. 21. Case example
  22. 22. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting Case example The case below focuses on pricing, and is the structure used here and get hints on how a real life example. You should be able to see to structure your own case solution. Our client is a global airline which has proven successful with their efficient opera- tions, even during the recent financial crisis. They are now considering starting a flight service between Paris and London. There is a larger effort ongoing in making a busi- ness case for this flight service and you have been giving the assignment of pricing. How should the client price its tickets? Candidate: So, our client is a global airline is one discount class on the whole flight. We considering launching a flight route between will operate with fixed prices when custom- London and Paris, and they want to know how ers order the tickets at latest 1 week prior to to price the tickets? departure. Then the price will increase – but let’s forget that and find a baseline price. Interviewer: Yes Candidate: Alright. Can I have a minute Candidate: Can you give me more infor- to structure my thoughts? mation about the flight and service, and how deep pricing considerations you need? Flight Interviewer: Sure tickets can have very different classes and Candidate: There are three ways to decide prices, also depending on the time of pur- a price: value based price, cost-based pricing chase. and competitor-based pricing. As these are Interviewer: That’s a very good point. discount tickets in a competitive market, it This flight is a discount-only flight, so there would not make much sense to use value22
  23. 23. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting based price as the price levels would be given all competition comes from other flights and to us from the current market. So there are the Eurostar train service. It is important to two ways in which we can price discount tick- compare with the relevant alternatives when ets. I assume that there is a significant com- pricing. I would not include the car alterna- petition already with other airlines, and there tive, as the product. are also substituting products. So we need to Interviewer: Ok, fair enough look at the alternatives and use competitor pricing as input. Also we need to make sure Candidate: First we need to calculate the that we cover our costs. price of the Eurostar in to EUR in order to make it comparable. I know the exchange rate Interviewer: Sounds like a good approach. for EUR/GBP is approximately 1.10. Does that Our costs would be EUR 45 per passenger. seem reasonable? This will include all variable costs, as well as staff, flight lease and airport fees. Interviewer: It is reasonable estimate, but I can give you the actual exchange rate. Candidate: Alright, so we will need to Currently it is 1.13 look at the competitors offerings. There are three types of alternatives: Other airlines, the Candidate: So we say 1.13 times GBP 70. Eurostar train service or driving by car. Do you That equals EUR 79.10. GBP 100 times 1.13 have any information about the prices? equals 113.00 Interviewer: Yes, the other airlines charge Interviewer: Right on between EUR 40 and 60 for discount airlines, Candidate: Now we need to adjust the and the traditional flag carriers charge EUR price of the alternatives with the product con- 50 – 70 for discount tickets. The Eurostar tent. I am assuming that the alternative flights train service has varying prices between GBP use the same airports, hence the product is 70 and 100. The price to get a car through directly comparable in regards to convenience the tunnel is EUR 50. How will you do the and time. The Eurostar train travels slower analysis? than the planes, but since the train departs Candidate: First task is to compare the dif- and arrives at the city centers of London and ferent competitors’ prices vs. features so that Paris, it is actually faster and more conve- we are comparing the right things. I would nient. This means that all other things being not include the car product as this is simply equal, the consumer should be willing to pay a a different product in terms of costs, time premium for the train ticket. This means that and convenience. I will assume that almost train price of EUR 79-113 serves as an upper23
  24. 24. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting bound in this pricing exercise. make a comparison: Interviewer: Ok • Alternative discount flights: EUR 40 -60 • raditional flag carriers: EUR 50-70 T Candidate: Next we need to look at com- • urostar train: EUR 79.10 - 113.00 E plementary products that can be sold with the tickets Based on my analysis, I would recom- Interviewer: Why are you interested in mend the client to price its ticket between that? EUR 40-60 i.e. similar pricing as the direct competition. Candidate: Well, I noticed that our com- petitors can sell tickets below our cost base Interviewer: I came to a similar conclu- and that made me think that there might be sion, but I still have one question: Why do some additional revenue per customers. For think the price is given as a range and not as example revenue from baggage handling, car single data point rent, hotels and similar Candidate: Well, there can be multiple Interviewer: True explanations for that. The price range can represent differences in service levels, timing Candidate: I would estimate this addi- of the flight, brand equity and the carriers tional revenue to be EUR 5 per passenger on choice of distribution channel. average Interviewer: Okay, I think we covered Interviewer: That is a rough estimate, most elements of the case, so let us stop here. but okay Thank you very much for time. We will get Candidate: This means that from a cost back to you with some feedback. perspective, the lower bound is not EUR 45 but EUR 40. Based on the analysis we can now24
  25. 25. How To Land a Job in Management Consulting consultingfact .com Prepare for a Consulting Career25

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