We founded Firmsconsulting on the belief that ex-principals of the top-three strategy firms would be best equipped at placing clients into McKinsey, Bain, BCG & Roland Berger. Simply put, we believe clients should be coached by the very people who made the final decision on hiring.
There are substantial insights that only partners have and our clients should have this competitive advantage.
We are going to extend our principal-only core philosophy by working with four of the most eminent former McKinsey directors and BCG senior partners who will now provide mentorship to clients excelling in our case coaching program and demonstrating strong potential for growth.
All mentors were former-senior partners/directors of only McKinsey, BCG or Bain, and former co-leaders/leaders of their respective global practices. We could not find more eminent leaders in the consulting field. Three mentors currently serve as executive officers of Fortune 500 companies, including a bank.
Each mentor specializes in one of four functions: strategy, corporate finance, business technology or operations. All have broad domain expertise across multiple sectors. Our mentors have both US and non-US experiences – Latin America, Asia and Europe – to help clients pursuing consulting careers outside the US.
For confidentiality reasons, biographies of mentors who are current executive officers of listed companies will not be made public. However, full resumes of the assigned mentor will be available to our clients, whom would have signed our extensive NDA agreement – a standard requirement to work with us.
- Kevin is the former McKinsey & Co. worldwide strategy practice co-leader and CEO transitions practice co-leader. Kevin’s biography and interview for Firmsconsulting may be viewed here, and an extensive Firmsconsulting Quarterly cover story piece about Kevin’s leadership style is presented here.
- The former regional financial institutions group practice co-leader who is an executive officer of a listed Fortune 500 company and served as a senior executive of a bulge-bracket investment bank after leaving management consulting.
- The former regional business technology practice co-leader and special-counsel to the CEO of a listed US Fortune 500 company.
- The former senior partner and regional operations practice leader and an executive officer of a listed Fortune 500 company.
We may use different mentors from those listed above when this is required to augment a client’s specific goals. For example, in Japan we are working with a media executive over 3 weeks to position him as an experienced-hire and will thereafter pair him with a former McKinsey director, head of an Asian hub-office and practice leader to round out his leadership profile.
All interaction with mentors, as with coaches, is bound by our NDA agreements and should be treated as confidential at all times. We value discretion.
Mentors may only be assigned after a client receives their case training program mid-point feedback at session 6. This will allow clients approximately six sessions to incorporate feedback from their coach and mentor while possessing sufficient basic consulting skills to benefit from the mentoring. After session 6, selected clients will have two ex-partners guiding them – a mentor and a coach.
Discussions with mentors should focus on career planning and positioning. We believe that the case training provided by a client’s coach is best complemented by the career planning provided by the mentor.
Clients began receiving invites into the mentorship program since 20 October 2012 and will continue receiving invites on a rolling basis. There is no deadline and all clients of Firmsconsulting are automatically eligible.
We advise clients to only proceed with follow-up mentoring sessions when they are prepared. Your mentor and coach will decide if/when it would be the appropriate time to have the next session.
Please note that, rescheduling mentoring meetings will not be permitted once a date and time are mutually agreed with your mentor.
Clients who are appointed a mentor and reside in Atlanta, Boston, Seoul or London may, pending mutual availability, meet their mentor.
Guidelines for Selecting Clients into the Mentorship Program
All clients in our program are treated equal. We have a thorough screening process to find, invite and groom tomorrow’s consulting leaders. You are in the program because you have passed our rigorous screening process – which has a 15% acceptance rate – and have the attributes required to succeed in management consulting, irrespective of your background or perceived weaknesses.
Therefore, your educational background, ranking of your school, GMAT scores and GPA or resume strength will not influence your chances of being selected for mentoring once you have joined the program.
Case performance in the first six sessions, potential displayed in the coaching sessions and adherence to our value system will be the three sole criteria used.
Clients can improve their chances of being awarded a mentor by doing the following.
First, prepare well and perform well in the case coaching sessions. If you subscribe to the video libraries it is imperative you use them to come adequately prepared. It is not enough to merely watch them, you have to understand them and apply the underlying principles. Listen carefully to feedback, take notes and use these notes. Ensure you are available to be contacted by your coach on Skype, arrive on time and ensure your equipment is tested before the session. The administrative details matter.
Second, potential is measured in three ways. We initially look at your ability to extract the lessons from the videos, and use them in your lessons. We thereafter look at how much of the feedback we provide in the session is captured, and how much of it is used appropriately either immediately after the feedback is provided, or in the next session. For example, consistently repeating a mistake lowers your chances of being selected. Finally, communication is vital. You need to constantly demonstrate your intellect by holding a meaningful discussion with your coach.
Third, but certainly not the last, is adherence to our value system. We select only the best candidates and groom future consulting leaders. We expect candidates to be ethical, respectful and professional at all times, be it in their interactions with us or decisions they make during the course of the program.
That said, upon selection to this competitive program, clients should make the adequate preparation to engage their mentors. Researching mentors, having a clear agenda and confidence in one’s abilities will go a long way towards creating a strong impression, and developing a mutually-beneficial relationship. The best mentors are those who take a personal interest in a client’s development, and mentors will do so if the client comes prepared. Listen to our podcast on “Influencing the interviewer” to understand how to build a compelling profile to sustain the relationship.
Talented future consulting leaders do not always graduate from Ivy League schools, hang out in Harvard Business Review chat-groups or read Bloomberg. We hold the rare distinction of placing the first McKinsey and BCG hires from several countries in Africa, the Middle East and South-East-Asia.
We are proud of that record and understand the significance of the role we play in nurturing talented individuals and providing opportunities they may not have easily had by themselves.
We want to find such people who have the intellect to succeed in management consulting, but not the easiest path to get there. A good example of such a candidate was a young lady from a tiny, war wracked country in Greater Asia who once wrote to us and asked for help. She clearly did not expect a positive reply and we took some time in responding as we assessed her profile. She did not fit the image of a typical consultant and the firms did not have even have an office in her home country. She had no relationships into management consulting, came from a very poor background and barely had a working laptop to be coached.
Those were some difficult coaching sessions as her laptop regularly overheated, the Skype connection dropped repeatedly and we were unable to share screens. In fact, she borrowed money for her interview preparation and travelling expenses.
Yet, she secured an offer at McKinsey; the first person from her country to do so.
We are always looking for such outstanding hidden talent, and both coaches and mentors will work to ensure worthy clients have as many advantages as possible going into the interview.
Clients in all our programs may be paired with mentors. Aspiring consultants, as described above, will make up the majority of mentees. However, current consultants at McKinsey, BCG and Bain are also a part of this program and will comprise a substantial percentage of all mentees.