Our placement rate for the Sep/Oct 2012 recruiting period was 68.3% ~ 68%. This number only includes candidates pursuing McKinsey, BCG & Bain. If we include firms like Roland Berger, Oliver Wyman, Booz, AT Kearney etc, the number moves up to 71.6% ~ 72%.
This post is a detailed analysis of this placement rate. Clients who worked with us know we ask for a lot of information throughout the interaction. We ask that every interaction be shared with us, and preferably a copy of any networking emails sent, be mailed to us as well. Basically, we want to know as much as the candidate. Read more
Thank you for a great website. I posted this to your forum and decided to email you too.
My question relates to understanding financial statements. I have a master’s in political science from a great school but have no clue what is on financial statements. I have an offer from BCG but my question is what would happen when I join. How important is this skill as a consultant, what must I know and how do I learn it. Everyone has a different opinion here.
I don’t want to get kicked out after all the work preparing to get in.
Thank you in advance!
Dasha” Read more
We have been in contact a few times in the past and you have always provided useful advice. I used the mining version of SAAMC and it helped me on my first few business development roles in a small mining company in Australia. I have an interest in mining and resources and want to consider joining McKinsey specializing in this work.
I have both a masters’ degree in business administration and undergraduate degree in finance from highly regarded Australian schools – I have attached my résumé. Could you please offer some guidance for me on this?
I want to know if this is a sector in which I should specialize, in which country I should focus, and what would be my exit options in about 5 to 10 years. I want to know if this is a sector I could do impactful work. The other option is to follow the advice of all my friends who insist I should make the jump now and move to banking where I have some experience interning at a bulge-bracket bank.
JK” Read more
Roland Berger MBA level cases – senior consultant – are unusual for the types of things they can test. Many MBA candidates are surprised by the additional skills needed. Here is an example of a typical case:
“A Russian bank wants to enter the Ukraine market. You need to explain to me how you will design, structure and manage the project as well as cost the entire engagement.”
This is an actual case our clients in Toronto, Lagos and Chicago receive. While this may look like a case testing merely softer skills, it is really very creative and elegant in its ability to test both analytical and planning skills with candidates. In fact, it goes one level further than the answer-first approach to see what you would do to test that answer on a project site.
So do not be fooled.
McKinsey et al are completely obsessed with image, confidence, poise and analytical skills in case interviews. They only discuss leadership and management skills in the fit section, but do not test it. That is one area where the principle of demonstrated competency is never applied.
This case fixes that problem. To be able to answer this case, the candidate must be able to have the skills to tackle a complete McKinsey or BCG case, and then go further. A candidate would need to;
- Explain how they will convert the hypotheses to analyses for testing. This specifically means the graphs the candidate expects to draw, with the accompanying x and y axes descriptors – the interviewer could even ask for the storyboard from these graphs and we have seen that in some Roland Berger interviews.
- Next, the candidate must explain the data needed to complete the graph.
- Then the candidate must determine the number of consultants, their seniority and time requirements to capture the data and complete the analyses.
- Finally, the candidate must build a project timeline; lay the analyses in the correct order, since some parts can only be done sequentially, and determine the overall man-hours usage.
- The cost of the project can be easily generated from the man-hours per level and the cost per hour per level against the total project time.
This approach tests to see if a candidate actually can manage a project and really understand the issues of converting analyses into project management steps. It is an excellent way to test how project-ready a candidate is. This case does not have a high pass rate.
This video about Roland Berger cases is only available to our case candidates and can be found in session six of our online case solution video library.
In just 2 weeks, Firmsconsulting has seen six clients withdraw from the interview process to accept lucrative energy industry offers. Three had written offers in hand from BCG, Bain and McKinsey. The geographical scope of the offers, range of degrees affected and that such poaching has happened since at least June 2011 warranted us discussing this trend in more detail.
For context, since mid-2011, a client has withdrawn from our program every single month to accept an energy industry offer. That our clients span over 60 countries and the trend keeps increasing indicates the energy sector is far from its peak in hiring. All degrees have been positively affected, though MBA’s with heavy construction and/or energy experience and PhD’s with energy backgrounds are the dominant group.
Consulting firms are therefore even more desperate to find oil and gas talent since they are losing so many consultants, candidates in the interview process and interested profiles. Read more
Candidates should never begin their case preparation by learning the McKinsey approach. For the simple reason that if the interviewer is leading, which is the McKinsey style, how does the candidate know they would have identified the area of analysis without guidance? Those prompts from the interviewer are more important than candidates realize and many cannot solve cases without them.
So we start from the BCG approach, where the candidate must lead, and we can test their ability to prioritize issues and solve the case. Only after they can prove their skill to lead us in the analyses, we will switch and lead the candidate. McKinsey, and Bain, use an answer-first approach, sometimes called hypotheses. The problem with building hypotheses is that they are messy; it is difficult to apply MECE and application thereof usually requires some knowledge of the subject. For example, how easy is it to brainstorm the drivers of Pharma trial success if you know nothing about the industry? Not easy at all.
Most candidates build terrible hypotheses, which overlap and not really insightful We teach candidates a very clever and simple technique to build elegant, appropriate and MECE hypotheses by using the BCG style approach they have learned until now. In other words, candidates have to make just one change to the approach we already taught them, and they can use hypotheses. After this session, candidates should now be able to handle Bain, BCG and McKinsey cases.
Beyond a logical way to build hypotheses, we also teach a simple and useful technique to develop more than one key hypothesis. This is one of the most effective techniques to generate multiple relevant hypotheses.
There are profound differences between BCG, Bain and McKinsey, both in terms of their approaches to cases and the firms themselves. In this session we take some time to discuss these differences, and the implication for the candidate’s style of working and preferences.
Clients will find this video in Session 6 of the online case solution library. The video is only available to clients of our case coaching service.
Thank you for the wonderful discussion about management consulting in Turkey.
If you recall, I am very likely to interview with BCG Istanbul & McKinsey Boston. I worked for another major consulting firm in Dubai prior to pursuing my MBA. While I like my current firm and it is highly regarded, I am keen to go back to Turkey and join a larger firm.
It would be great if you could offer me any advice in making this decision.
Melike*” Read more
I really enjoyed meeting you and your team a few weeks ago. Thank you for taking the time to join me for coffee and discuss my career. I thought your stories were a little funny but really insightful, especially the Paris Hilton analyses. I never looked at it like that before. You were right, Joe Davis is a great guy to work with, and likes constant contact.
If you recall, I mentioned I would be going onto my first business case engagement at BCG and wanted to know if you had any specific guidance on what I need to know to support my manager. I do not have a quantitative background and read history at Oxford. Any tips or guidance will be greatly appreciated.
I would prefer printing the advice, so if you could kindly respond as an article that would be great.
Scott” Read more
Imagine a consulting engagement in one of the world’s most dynamic emerging markets: a literal gateway to an unbanked world. A Fortune 500 bank believes it has found a winning strategy to target consumers who subsist on less than $5 a day. The client is hoping they can capture up to 30% of this market, and push their revenue growth above the magical 10% threshold. In this market where 40% default rates are the norm, where literacy levels are well below 10% and where no formal banking channels exist, the bank is hoping, praying really, that the risk mitigation best-practices sourced from a joint-venture with Banco Azteca of Mexico will solve all their problems. The bank feels more than a little optimistic due to the significant profits of a 5-year pilot, begun in 2006, where they partnered with South Africa’s state-owned banks. The board has giddily, and greedily, given the go-ahead to end the partnership with the state bank and commit hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder capital to building hundreds of retail branches across the rural interior. On the eve of the rollout, concerns about communicating the strategy to certain vocal shareholders has led to the appointment of a team of management consultants to assess the strategy. Read more
Maria, not her real name, is a current consultant in a BCG Eastern European office. She has kindly agreed to share her experiences from the perspective of a non-quant. Maria holds a master’s degree in literature from her country’s most prestigious university and worked as an intern at a FMCG company before joining BCG as an analyst. Maria encourages readers to ask questions about BCG and not be afraid to enter consulting with an Arts degree.
Straight off, I want to say that I have never used a spreadsheet throughout my life. Read more