Are you an aspiring management consultant? Do you plan on interviewing with top management consulting firms such as Mckinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bain, Booz Allen Hamilton, Mercer, L.E.K Consulting, A.T. Kearney, Roland Berger or others? If you answered yes to both these questions then you are guaranteed to face several rounds of case interviews. So how do you answer consulting case interview questions?
When answering consulting case interview questions the most important thing above all else is to demonstrate to the interviewer your intelligence and ability to solve problems. There is a good chance that you will not even generate an answer nor will it be correct. Often case interviews can simply end up being an exploration of issues with the interviewer guiding you down one of many possible paths allowing you to formulate a solution to a problem, give recommendations or 'ball park' an estimate.
With this in mind never go too quick because you may overlook important elements of the problem and take too narrow a focus. Be sure to work at a steady pace however, to ensure you can at least give a final answer if required by the interviewer.
Interact with the interviewer and ask any questions to gauge the scope of the problem or fill in missing gaps of information. Often certain details of the case will be withheld purposely to see if you can determine what extra information would be useful. This demonstrates that you are both inquisitive and thorough.
Don't be afraid to be creative because management consulting requires a large element of 'thinking outside the square' and innovative ideas. Be enthusiastic, confident and comfortable. Always let your personality come through. You may get way off track in a case interview and think that there is no way you will make it to the next round, however your personality is what often will get you over the line.
A good point to make here is the importance of bringing structure to your problem solving. Common methods and frameworks such as Porters 5 forces, the BCG Matrix, SWOT Analysis, Revenue and Cost modeling, business life cycle analysis, Mind Mapping, key issues grouping and problem decomposition are great ways of bringing structure to your thoughts, however feel free to structure your solution anyway you can keeping in mind what feels appropriate given the nature of the case question. There is nothing worse than attempting to apply some kind of method framework to a problem when it is off context or inappropriate. It is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
The last point that should be made is in regard to the appearance of your key strengths. Consulting firms hire from a variety of backgrounds and degrees including engineering, science, law, business, economics, management and commerce. They take anyone who shows the right attitude and mind for the job. Management consulting firms look for the most intelligent individuals, 'all-rounders' with competencies and interests in a range of disciplines and despite your education or experience being in only one or two areas they will provide the best training and education to bring you up to speed. It is important, therefore, that if you are a business or commerce oriented individual you must be sure to demonstrate creativity, problem solving skills and a level of thinking outside of the traditional number crunching economist or accountant mind set. Conversely someone like an engineer needs to demonstrate a level of business acumen with at least some knowledge or interest in the commercial world. Play to your strengths but don't show the interviewer that you are only strong in solving problems from one particular approach or based on one educational style. In saying all this, number and math skills are a must, so make sure you can add, subtract, multiply and roughly divide large numbers in your head or on paper without the use of a calculator.
A face-to-face interview is the toughest part of getting you a job. Further, if you are from a science or a medical background, the situation becomes worst. Science is a vast subject and you need to cover a great deal of topics before going for an interview. If you are a medical professional or a doctor then, you must know that a doctor’s job involves competence, technical expertise, integrity and social ethics. Therefore, a medical job interview is considered to be one of the toughest job interviews.
This article covers a few questions that are generally asked in course of a medical interview. You need to go through this list and prepare potential, impressive answers for them. The first question is the most commonly asked questions. I have mentioned an answer to it.
7. The day before your final exam, one of your family members has expired. How will you deal with this situation? How will you manage your studies in such a crisis?
8. A young woman suffering from AIDS comes over to your clinic and requests you not to inform her spouse about it. What will you do?
9. A 7 year old child is suffering from cancer. The kid’s life expectancy is approximately five months. How will you tell her parents about it?
So, these were some of the question you may encounter on the road to become a doctor. You should answer them in a composed manner. And remember, besides being a doctor, you are a human too! So keep up the dignity of this post.
Preparing For a Pharmaceutical Sales Interview
Management consulting interviews are notorious for case studies. They are not your standard job interview, but rather a series of case descriptions and hypothetical or theoretical problems in business, which are expected to be analyzed or solved by the candidate. Preparation for such interviews is crucial to success and getting hired with a top management consulting firm.
Firms, such as McKinsey or Bain present a series of case studies during the interviewing process. The skills necessary to successfully perform on a case study interview are the similar skills needed to work effectively as a management consultant. Management consulting experts are required to understand the basic concepts in business, such as market structure or financials, as well as think analytically and in a highly structured manner. A management consultant's daily job basically consists of real-life case studies, so the case study exercise in an interview setting provides the hiring committee an active assessment of how well the candidate performs in core firm activities.
The case study is valued so highly that you performance on this task accounts for at least 50% of your determining score. It cannot be emphasized enough that it is crucial for you to prepare for these kinds of interviews. Doing well on this portion of the management consulting interview weighs heavily on you getting hired by the firm. If you are looking for an offer at one of the leading consulting firms, the best thing to do is practice, practice and practice some more. You cannot practice enough for the case study stage of the interview; when you are sure you have done enough, you need to go back and do more.
Landing a job at a management consulting firm is no easy task, but you can increase your chances of getting hired by doing your homework ahead of time. Take the case study interview portion of the hiring process seriously and land the job of your dreams.