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
I have a question about case interview preparation which I was hoping you could answer for me. I provided some context and I am sorry if the email is far too long. I listened to the Firmsconsulting podcasts and articles I like the honest views provided.
I am currently a PhD candidate at Princeton, with an undergraduate degree from South Korea. I started casing about 6 months ago and completed about 120 cases with casing partners in my consulting club and over the internet. I bought several books and other programs. I paid to have my resume edited with an online service.
The problem is that I cased with a friend of a friend recently and it did not go well. He is a McKinsey manager. It was very, very bad and he really did not like my resume. I was embarrassed to explain to him that I did so much work. I am now a little confused and frustrated. I do not know what I did badly or correctly, and not sure what to do. I feel all my efforts have been wasted and concerned that if I continue, I will keep wasting my time.
Should I quit pursuing management consulting or am I using the wrong services?
SK” 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.
Competition cases are a misnomer and misleading. If all cases should examine competitors and the competitive dynamic of an industry, how can there be isolated competition cases? There cannot be, and trying to prepare for competition is really a waste of time. So why do we teach this technique? We teach the competition strategy case technique not because we expect a candidate to receive cases using just this isolated competition logic, but rather to present a way to analyse competition issues within any case. That an entire session is dedicated to competition analysis should indicate just how important this technique is. Too many candidates apply the Porter’s Five Forces, thinking it is enough to analyse competitors. There are too many problems using the Porter approach. Primarily, we have yet to see a candidate apply this technique correctly, because the majority of candidates have a very high-level understanding of the theory and techniques behind this type of strategy analyses.
A deep and thorough understanding of competition analyses will provide most of the skills a candidate needs to solve any strategy case. So taking the time to understand our counter-intuitive way to solve these cases is important.
Moreover, competition frameworks are not intuitive and therefore not easy to apply in a case. It is important for candidates to first understand the logic of competition case before trying to apply frameworks. This video explains that logic.
This case video is animated. Selected screen shots of the video are presented below. Clients will find this video in session 8 of the online case solution library. The video is only available to clients of our case coaching service.
IT strategy is exciting work. Most people tend to find IT cases among the most difficult for case preparation. Moreover it is actually very difficult to leverage an IT background to the level required to pass an IT strategy case, and in particular, the McKinsey BTO cases. With that in mind, we have prepared this graphical and richly researched video to carry out three goals: 1) explain IT strategy and IT consulting as done at BCG and McKinsey, 2) explain how the different pieces of IT come together to fix governance, organizational and systems issues, and 3) explain the language to be used, and frameworks to be used, when leveraging an IT background in an interview.
Rich in case studies, this 90 minute video touches on application management, enterprise architecture, IT organization, lean IT, sourcing, tech enabled operations/sales/marketing, scaling infrastructure and value assurance.
By far, the most overlooked area of case preparation is right at the end. Most candidates are just so happy to “think” they’ve solved the case that they prepare weak recommendations and an even weaker consideration of the implementation issues. BBM, whom are widely criticized for their weak (some would say non-existent) implementation capabilities are acutely aware of this criticism are particularly looking for a mature, well-considered and eminently logical discussion about the implementation issues, and how they can be mitigated. This visually appealing video discusses these points and lays out an approach to discuss implementation. In our opinion, this will distinguish between someone who is analytics heavy, but lacking experience, and a professional consultant.
As results come in, it is important to keep a long-term perspective. At Harvard-Stanford-Wharton-Kellogg-Booth we are only showing a 60% success rate for BBM (100% across all firms) and likely to end between 60% and 70% for BBM. This is the same as last year, and a little below our global average. Read more
Times are indeed tight worldwide. McKinsey, a firm which spends countless hours explaining to bright-eyed aspiring consultants that they will be flown to special universities conducted by McKinsey partners, may be going…local. Read more
Howard was a consultant with Gemini Consulting when that name was used. He is a graduate of the prestigious Wharton MBA program and worked for Gemini Consulting in London, South Africa and New Jersey between 2000 and 2002. He has gratefully agreed to an interview over wine and tapas in Toronto, Ontario’s thriving King West restaurant scene as the temperature hovers near 35 degrees centigrade. 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