Cracking Consulting Interviews | ESSEC Global MBA Strategy & Management major

By Visakh Ram, ESSEC Global MBA Strategy & Management major, 2019-2020

With many of us looking to switch careers into Consulting, the ESSEC Global MBA team has organized several workshops and activities to help us understand the industry on a deeper level. The most recent session was one on preparing for consulting interviews, led by expert facilitators who work in the consulting industry. 

There were 3 things on the agenda for the first of a series of intensive training sessions:
  • Quick Math
  • Case Interview Methodology
  • Fit Interviews
Quick Math - Which matters more; the answer or the process?

We started with the quick math session. The facilitator went ahead and asked us a few questions, but he didn’t want the right answers. He was focused on breaking the myth that final answers matter more than the process to arrive at the solution. He explained to us that consultants are more concerned about hiring structured and result-oriented people rather than selecting candidates who are smart on paper and give final answers with no clear thought process. The process increases consistency in the quality of answers and helps when reasoning with the client.

Case Interviews - The importance of clarifying the problem

The quick math session set the base for the next session – Case interviews. This time, the questions started becoming slightly vague: For example, estimate the size of the second-hand phone market in France (A market sizing question). We immediately started creating processes or using frameworks to arrive at a solution but the facilitator interrupted – “Do you really understand the question? What does the second-hand phone market refer to – is it servicing or sales or insurance? What is it?” We didn’t have an answer. This enlightened us on the importance of clarifying questions. Our clients might come up with vague problems. The first and foremost step is to understand the context of the problem. For that, we need to ask the right questions and understand the topic as much as possible.

Fit Interviews

In many consulting firms, the fit interview comes early on in the interview process. How important is this? For the facilitator, this is one of the key elements of the interview. Every company has its own culture and looks for candidates who share the same values. It is important for us to be truthful. A seasoned interviewer can judge whether the candidate is faking or not in the first few minutes. We discussed in detail questions like “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” and “Why do you want to do consulting?”. It was very interesting to see how the class perceived the answers to these questions.

The next series of intensive sessions are scheduled in a few weeks. We are all excited to see what we are going to explore and learn.

Get in touch with Visakh to find out more about the #ESSECGMBAExperience.

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