''Why Consulting?'' – Impress Your Interviewer With This Answer!

While it is an amazing career opportunity, management consulting is also a tough business. Long working hours, traveling and the stress of meeting deadlines can be a heavy pill to swallow. Therefore, your interviewer wants to make sure that you understand what the job takes and that you are aware of what comes with it.

The question “why consulting” is part of the personal fit part of your case interview where you have to convince the interviewer that your personality fits into the company. Oftentimes, this part of the interview is underestimated as candidates prioritize the preparation for the actual case. Nevertheless, the personal fit part of the interview requires deep thinking from the interviewee, and answers must be prepared just as meticulously as other parts of the interview. This BootCamp article will introduce a best practice approach that will help you answer any personal fit question at companies like McKinsey, BCG, and Bain.

Why Is “Why Consulting” Asked in Every Single Case Interview?

A lot of candidates in consulting interviews think that the question “why consulting?” is just a conversation opener or a formality to check off. However, if this would be the case, you would not get this question from every single interviewer you are talking to. The real reason why interviewers ask this question so frequently during case interviews is that it helps them to instantly separate good from bad candidates. In general, this question assesses four major criteria that are crucial for the job in management consulting.

Why Consulting Dimensions

1. Do you have a basic understanding of the job in management consulting?

By asking the question “why consulting”, the interviewer can analyze whether the candidate understands what the job and role are really about. This allows the interviewer to seed out candidates who only applied because of the popularity of the job or its exit opportunities. After all, there are also many candidates who apply because in a lot of cases the application itself only requires your consulting resume and not even a cover letter. This wave of applicants can be broken by this question that gives insight into a candidate’s real intentions behind the application.

2. Are you able to think in a structured way?

The candidate is not only required to think in a structured way during the case-solving part of the interview but also when answering any other question during the interview including “why consulting”. The job of a management consultant requires taking up a lot of data, information, and complex problems and break them down into manageable problems in a structured way. Therefore, it is also important to show consistent structured thinking by delivering a coherent and structured answer to “why consulting”.

3. Can you communicate well?

We cannot repeat this more often: Consulting is a people’s business. You will be working closely with clients, industry leaders, and other team members with who you need to effectively communicate. Your interviewer wants to see you communicate concisely, confidently, and clearly! This question must be seen as a mini-pitch in which the recruiter wants to see whether you have the communications skills to present yourself in front of a client. Make sure to practice your answer to this question before the actual interview to make your reasons clear and easy to follow.

4. Do you have the passion and enthusiasm for management consulting?

The recruiter wants to see if talking about the job brings a sparkle to your eyes and a smile on your face. Generally, a consulting firm needs consultants who are willing to stay in the firm and not those who will lose motivation and interest after a few months. Showing your passion for the job while answering “why consulting” will show the recruiter your enthusiasm.

Jetzt starten!

Werde Teil der weltweit größten Case-Interview-Community und erhalte alles, was du für die Vorbereitung auf dein Interview im Consulting brauchst!

Reasons to Entering Consulting That You Can and Cannot Mention

Generally, there are a lot of different reasons why one may want to enter the management consulting industry. Make sure to pick the right argumentation when answering this question. Not every reason is suitable to convince your interviewer that you are right for the job. In the following, we will go through reasons that you can and should pick for your answer and some reasons that might be legit but that you should rather keep to yourself.

Reasons For “Why Consulting” That You May Mention During the Interview

There are many different reasons why being a management consultant can be an appealing and fulfilling job. Here are some of the reasons you can share with your interviewer during the interview. Of course, you should tailor these reasons to yourself and make them unique by sharing your personal experiences.

Traveling to Different Places and Working Internationally

The international expansion of major consulting firms has been the major growth driver in the last decades. McKinsey and BCG have 90-120 offices in 50-60 different countries and other consulting firms are following suit. Top consulting firms work for companies and governments all over the world. However, when selling large projects it can become tricky to match the workload with the number of consultants that are currently available at a certain location. It might happen that consultants in one location cannot be put on another project as they are already busy with their current one.

This is when your opportunity to work internationally arises because you might need to visit or get in contact with clients in a different location. Working internationally is not for everyone but if you want to enter management consulting, you should at least be okay with it. If you are genuinely excited about the fact to work internationally, it is a great reason to mention when answering “why consulting”. You can mention that consulting is a great opportunity to get to know different cultures and experience new ways of working which will help you to grow in your tasks.

Working with Clever People and Making Friends Down the Road

Imagine working in one consulting firm for approximately two years. Let’s say that one project usually lasts for about three months with 5 consultants working on it. Thus, during these two years, you will work with approx. 40 different colleagues. Now imagine how many different consultants you would have worked with after 5-10 years. You do the math. This does not even include all the people you get to know on your client’s site that you work with during different projects.

Being exposed to so many clever people in such a short time frame is rare and a great opportunity for you. If this is something that excites you, you can definitely mention it when answering “why consulting”. On top of that, the intense time consultants spend on a project with their colleagues often leads to great new friendships. Projects can be stressful but helping each other out in the team will develop strong ties and you grow close with them. Former consultants on PrepLounge have told us about how they have grown together when being asked if they had made friends on the job:

McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello! 100%! Have u watched Forrest Gump? Do you remember how war brings Bubba and Forrest very closed together? ;) Similarly Cheers, Clara

Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Yes! Some of my closest friends are from McKinsey. It’s not just the stress it’s also the fact that the people hired around you are all brilliant and energetic and fun!

Benefiting from a Steep Learning Curve

If learning about a variety of different topics, industries, and from highly talented people is something that you value, you should definitely include it in your answer to “why consulting”. As a management consultant, you will constantly learn and grow while working on interesting, meaningful, and diverse projects. Here are some reasons why management consulting creates an environment that allows you to learn a lot in a short time:

  • You will be exposed to colleagues that are more experienced and who you will learn from quickly.
  • On projects, clients will show you how industry leaders operate and on what ground important decisions are made.
  • You will be exposed to CEOs and their executive teams at a rather early stage of your career. This is a great opportunity for you to develop soft skills that are needed throughout your career when climbing up the ladder
  • You will be staffed on new projects where you have to familiarize yourself with many industries. These are the moments when your learning curve is the steepest.
  • Feedback cycles in the consulting industry are extremely quick and you receive feedback on a regular basis. This will allow you to improve and set the tone for the next things you will be working on.
  • Management consulting firms heavily invest in training their consultants on a regular basis. They aim to have the best of the best on their team as they literally sell brainpower to their clients. 

Having Impact and Enjoying the Variety of Projects

Your projects will involve problems and issues that are the toughest for the client and most important to solve. This also means you are able to have a great impact with your work and really determine the success of your client. You will be working on a lot of different projects that evolve around new topics and industries. The management consulting job offers you a lot of variation and it will certainly not become boring – which you can definitely mention as a reason why you would like to pursue it.

To give the interviewer an even more detailed answer it helps to talk to other consultants of the respective company during recruiting events. Make sure to ask them about interesting projects and how they were able to positively impact their clients’ businesses. You can later use these stories to recite them and emphasize how impressive the impact is and that you would also like to work in such an environment. If you are not able to network with any consultants or ask about this particular thing, you can also have a look at the company’s website to inform them about their projects and impact and mention it in your interview. 

Reasons For “Why Consulting” That You Should NOT Mention During the Interview

While there are reasons that may be mentioned to your interviewer, there are also those that should rather be kept secret. The following reasons are definitely understandable and legitimize your motives for sending off your application in management consulting. However, you should avoid mentioning these reasons during your job interview because it will decrease your chances to get invited to another round.

Earning Great Money for Your Work

It is no secret that management consultants earn a lot of money with the work they do. A top-tier consulting firm will pay around $83,000 if you just graduated from university. This is much more than jobs in the industry would pay. Generally, it is fine to also have a good salary as an internal reason to “why consulting?”.

However, there are many other reasons related to the profession itself and personal growth opportunities that will help you increase your chances during the interview. Therefore, we recommend you focus on reasons directly linked to the job rather than the pay when answering the question.

Receiving a Sponsoring for Your MBA

It is widely known that consulting firms like McKinsey or the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have programs to sponsor MBA programs of consultants in their firm. This means that the firm will pay the tuition of the consultant if he or she agrees to stay in the firm after graduating. The details of these programs vary by firm and you can discuss this after joining the firm.

If you just graduated from university and plan on doing your MBA after some years of work experience, entering consulting for sponsorship may be a reason for joining. Nevertheless, we recommend you leave this aside and bring up reasons that are more related to the work you will actually do as a consultant.

Benefiting from Great Exit Opportunities

Your job as a management consultant will not only equip you with functional expertise but also with a wide network of top business leaders. Your expertise in research, project management, and analytical skills are not only relevant in consulting but also for other roles in the whole business world.

It is likely that companies including your clients will fight to have you on the team. You probably will not even have to look for a job yourself when you decide to exit management consulting. Headhunters will directly reach out to you to offer you a range of different jobs that might be interesting for you. In the following, we will show you some examples of amazing career paths waiting for you after spending a few years in consulting. Nevertheless, in the interview you should not talk about leaving the company for other opportunities before even joining it, right?

Ex BCG Principal | INSEAD | 10 yrs in consulting | Interviewed >200 Career Switchers, MBAs, Undergrads in Europe and USA

I spent 10 years in consulting (BCG), and I've been contacted countless times by headhunters during my stint, the opportunities became even more frequent after my MBA experience. Most of the recruiting opportunities came from big corporations and I think I declined 90% of them because none of them could match the career trajectory (i.e. learning curve and salary) I was having at BCG. I actually did a couple of interviews at Project Leader and Principal level and I received a couple of job offers that were matching the salary I was making in consulting but still, I decided to hold on a little longer in BCG because I genuinely liked it. I eventually left 1 year after my promotion to Principal to fund my own company and never look back with regrets. In retrospect, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur to have the freedom to make decisions without the burden to report and ask for consent from anybody. I now manage my retail business with more than 50 employees (and still growing) and I love every second of it. If you are curious about the switch from consulting to start-up entrepreneurship feel free to contact me via direct message. I could talk about it for hours. :-)

MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Happy to share my personal experience :)
Immediate Exit: While looking to leave BCG, I pretty much got any interview I wanted. I interviewed at DoorDash, Deliveroo, Quantium, and was scoping out other opportunities. Quantium was my #1 target which I selected. It was essentially data consulting/analytics (intersect of strategy consulting and data analytics)
Charting my own path: After leaving Quantium, I've been able to do pretty much what I want. I coach on a number of platforms, teach for various academies/schools, and am working on a startup. I also take on contracting work when I like the project (part-time, short term)
LinkedIn Messages: I get a number of messages (probably 1 a week?) with work opportunities. Various recruiters saying they need ex-strategy consultants. About half specify the need for MBB-only. Most of these roles are supporting CEOs and other senior-level executives in strategic planning. Some are for boutique consultancies. As you can see, there are lots of opportunities :)

430+ consulting offers | Highest rated coach for sessions | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of "The 1%"

Exit opportunities are plenty (McKinsey). For me, the calls and emails from headhunters started around the 1-year mark and continued until I left. The industries were either finance and investment (PE, sovereign wealth fund of a ME country,...) or topics related to my industry focus within the firm (airlines, travel,...) and even BCG reached out for their aviation practice. I never followed up with any though...

Once you leave a lot of doors are open. There are two aspects here:

Potential employers and hiring managers put so much trust and confidence in your abilities in advance. They just trust that you can do what is needed.

You actually learn so many transferrable skills in MBB that you are able to add real value to a non-consulting organization really quick. This is good for the company but can be tiring if you come from a fast-paced, meritocratic environment and now have to get some other organization or business unit up to speed.

In the end, my long-term exit opportunity was/ is to run my own business and start a few more along the way. Nothing more rewarding than this and still benefiting from the contacts, network, and trust that business partners place on you.

Taking Consulting as a Safe Option After Graduating

There are a lot of students who are not quite sure what to do after graduating. There are so many options but many simply don't want to decide, yet, in which direction it should go exactly. This is why a lot of graduates choose consulting as an option. They want to try out different industries, projects, topics, and locations and then benefiting from the exit options.

Obviously, this is not a very good argument in the eyes of the interviewer for being eager and motivated for the job. Recruiters from top consulting firms are aware of the fact that a lot of candidates use management consulting as a stepping stone for their careers. However, you should rather present how you will benefit the firm and not only how the firm will benefit your career.

Mistakes to Avoid When Answering “Why Consulting”

In the following, we will explain to you shortly the three most common mistakes candidates make when answering “why consulting”. If you avoid these mistakes and follow our tips to present your arguments in a unique way, you will keep your interviewer interested and engaged. This will increase your chances to get to the next interview round!

Mistake 1: Giving an Unstructured Answer

As noted above, recruiters aim to find out if you can think and work in a structured way. However, one mistake many candidates make here is to give an unstructured answer. You can give outstanding reasons why you want to work in consulting. But if the recruiter can't follow your answer, it's of little use to you. Try to structure your answer like you would structure your framework in your case interview. Give the interviewer an overview of three reasons why you would like to enter management consulting and then walk through them, step by step, in a detailed way so that the interviewer can follow you.
Do not jump from one argument to another and don’t mix them up as this might lead to confusion on your interviewer’s side. How the anatomy of a perfect answer would look like will be discussed later in this article.

Mistake 2: Being Too Generic

A mistake often made by candidates during the interview is that they are too generic in their answers. Here is an example of an answer that is too generic:

“I want to enter management consulting for three reasons: Firstly, I will be exposed to a variety of business problems in different industries that can be challenging. Therefore, I will not get bored because I will probably work on a new project every three months. Secondly, because of the steep learning curve. During the projects, I will be surrounded by bright people who I can learn from which will help me to grow. Lastly, consulting allows me to be exposed to CEOs and executives which can help me to achieve my goal to reach this level as well.”

Even though the candidate structures the answer into different points and the mentioned reasons are well-selected, this type of answer will not convince the interviewer. Your recruiter will hear those reasons from 99% of other candidates during the recruiting process. This is why you have to make sure to stand out from the crowd. You have to give them a better, more detailed, and unique argumentation. If you want to know, how to structure the perfect answer to “why consulting” proceed to the next section.

Dubai|5+ years | Activity on hold

It's a very valid reason - Consulting will offer you various engagements in different geographies, markets, and industries. Also, it will allow you to work on a large spectrum of tasks from the highly quantitative ones (financial modeling) to the highly qualitative ones (vision/mission definition workshops) Make sure your answer isn't generic - show your character through your answer. The last thing the interviewer wants to hear is a plain answer without a real flavor :)

Read the following thread “Why consulting? – Interview answer” to get even more insights.

Mistake 3: Not Mentioning How the Firm Will Benefit from You

A common mistake that you can also read from the sample answer above is that candidates only show their personal reasons to “why consulting”. Now put yourself in the shoes of a partner at MBB whose job is to land projects worth millions of dollars and who is looking for a perfect addition to the team.

It is great for him or her to listen to how you will benefit from having this job. However, what really matters for this person is how the firm will benefit from you and if you can help the firm to sell projects to potential clients. The ideal answer to “why consulting” includes your personal motivation and links it to how you can create value for the firm and the clients.

How to Structure the Perfect Answer to “Why Consulting?”

A great answer to “why consulting” is not only about convincing reasons, communicating them well, or having a good structure. All of these factors are equally important, and you should never leave one out when preparing your answer to this question. Think about these three elements:

  1. How do you want to structure your answers? (Structure)
  2. What do you want to say? (Content)
  3. How will you deliver your answer? (Delivery)

1. Structure

As mentioned above, you should try to come up with three reasons why you aim to enter management consulting. Each of these reasons should be supported by either a reason why it convinces you personally where you are able to show off your passion for consulting or draw attention to how you can bring value to the company supported by skills from your professional experience

Why Consulting Answer Structure

Within the first part of your answer, try to give an overview of your three reasons and shortly mention your points. After that, you can jump into your reasons why you would like to enter management consulting in a more detailed way.

2. Content

Arguments that you should include and that you can discuss during your interview have been already mentioned above. However, it is important to support the reasons you give with either your passion for consulting or how you can add value to the firm. Maybe you can even add both to your reasons. However, we know that not each candidate can demonstrate a lot of work experience that shows off skills and achievements from prior jobs.  

Demonstrating Your Passion for The Job

Your three reasons to “why consulting” should be supported by arguments that underline your passion for management consulting and show how you are personally convinced by the job. To prove that you did not just pick those reasons randomly, it is important to give a thoughtful justification. This explanation can come from your own argumentation and experience you have made before or from what you have heard in conversations with consultants from the firm you networked with. Here is an example of how the reasons could be articulated:

“I want to pursue a career in management consulting because of the people I will be working with. After some networking events with company XY and the conversations I had with a few consultants, I realized what a great impression those people left on me. I feel like the personal growth I would experience through being exposed to colleagues that well-articulated and professional is something one can only experience in this industry.”

“Further, I enjoy a continuous learning process and strive to conquer new and challenging tasks on a regular basis. From my last coffee chat with Person XY, I have learned a lot about the different projects company XY has been involved in. I noticed that those projects actually cover a lot of different industries which I am very curious to learn more about. Therefore I would like to work in consulting as I am convinced that this would allow me to work in an environment where ongoing change and new challenges are provided every day.”

As you can see from the examples above, the reasons to enter management consulting that you can mention in the interview can either come from yourself as the result of your own decision making by thinking through your experience and how this affected what you want to pursue in your future career. Or, on the other hand, the reasons can be a result of conversations you had with consultants from the specific firm.

Presenting Your Skills That Bring Value to The Firm

The next part of your answer should involve your skills and how these will bring value to the firm. Ideally, you also mention three different skills within your answer. Do not forget to prove your skills by mentioning examples and achievements. Skills that can be mentioned here are for example your problem-solving skills, your entrepreneurial spirit, or your leadership skills. You may want to use your consulting resume to get some inspiration for this part of the answer. Here is how you could phrase this part of the answer to “why consulting”:

“I believe that I am the right person for this job as I have demonstrated my ability to come up with ideas to solve complex problems. For example, when I was working as a data analyst in my last job, I created Excel models to forecast inventory with an 80% accuracy rate that decreased costs by 20%. On top of that, I have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and leadership skills when I developed and launched a gamified fitness-journey app with more than two million downloads in 2020 and leading a team of nine people.”

“On top of that, I love having a positive impact on the company I work for which I think I will have when pursuing a career in management consulting. In my last position at company XY, I found myself being highly motivated and stimulated by the fact that my ideas actually led to the better performance of the company. With my contribution sales grew by +9% in the Mexican market through a tailored marketing strategy and campaign roll-out.”

Here are some valuable tips by our case coaches:

Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

- Be specific. E.g., it is okay to say I want to learn about more industries, it is better to say that during my time at xx and yy internships, I realized that the part of the job that excited me most was problem-solving or looking at things from a strategic perspective and presenting those findings to senior leaders

- Make sure your answers reflect what matters as a consultant. For example, MBB typically will not serve smaller startups so if that is your interest it may not be the best fit

- Don't focus on the glamorous aspects of the job in your answer - e.g., travel - this gets old really fast, and people will be wary of your answer if that is what is most exciting to you

- Do mention instances where you think consulting has had a big impact on a company or industry and why this is important to your decision-making process

BCG | Kearney | 350+ trainees | 5+ years of experience in London, Dubai and Istanbul

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. The response to this question is quite generic, but it works all the time. When I interviewed with MBB, this is how I answered the question, and you can follow a similar logic:

I focused on the fact that I was a recent graduate who did not know what to specialize in, in terms of industries (e.g. healthcare, consumer goods, retail, etc.) or functional topics (e.g., finance, HR, strategy, digital, etc.). Thus I emphasized that I wanted to get into consulting to better understand what I am passionate about by working on a different set of projects.

Moreover, I also mentioned that the skillset that I will acquire in consulting (e.g., team management, time management, client management) would be applicable anywhere I go next.

Lastly, I also highlighted the opportunity to take up significant responsibilities in the early stages of my career, as it is rare to find someone who is in his/her mid-20s to sit on the same table with key industry leaders and make recommendations to them.

3. Delivery

Sure, structure and the actual content of your answers are highly important. But how you deliver your answer is a crucial fact that should not be missed! Note that things like how much time you spend on your answer, your body language as well as how credible you come across, are just as important as any other factor of your answer. Take into account these points to put the finishing touches to your answer.


One of the most frequently asked questions in our Consulting Q&A is how much time the answer to “why consulting” should or can take up. Ideally, your answer will take up to 2 minutes. This way you have enough time to present your arguments but it’s not too long so that there is still space for your interviewer to ask some follow-up questions.

Our case interview coaches have the following tips for you when it comes to the time you should take to answer this question:

MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

5 minutes is an eternity in an interview. Try to keep it to 2-3 minutes.

The most important thing is: "Am I getting my key/core skills across to the interviewer while demonstrating real desire/drive/thought to enter consulting, and doing so in a concise, clear, and engaging manner"

This shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes if you practice being clear and to the point!

430+ consulting offers | Highest rated coach for sessions | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of "The 1%"

As a general rule, these types of questions should be answered in an effective and succinct manner. 1-2 minutes would be an appropriate length!

Whenever you are asked: ''Why this, Why that?'', your answer should follow a top-down structure and link your experience, achievements, and skills to the outcome.

''I want to work in consulting for three reasons, First [relevant skill]......Second [relevant achievement]......Third [relevant experience]....''

Body Language

Not only your answer will have an impact on the decision of the interviewer but also how you actually bring it across through your body language and voice.
You may want to memorize your answer so that you can pay more attention to your voice and body language. Focus on these points to come across more confident:

  1. The sound of your voice: Make sure not to speak too monotone or too fast. This could give the interviewer the impression that you are insecure and have poor communication skills.
  2. Smiling: A simple smile can be a powerful tool to show that you enjoy the interview and talking about your passion for consulting.
  3. Eye contact: You should not stare at your interviewer but keeping appropriate eye contact when trying to bring across your point will make you look more confident.
  4. Posture: Keep a confident posture, do not skid around on your chair and do not play around with your fingers, this can be a sign of nervousness.


No matter which of the reasons you decide to mention during your interview, it is important that they come across credible as well as genuine. Try not to mention reasons that you think your interviewer would like to hear from you. Your interviewer will notice that you are lying about your intentions as body language and voice tonality change when we tell a lie. Just be real with your answer and the credibility will follow.
On top of that, even though you will probably know your answer by heart after practicing it multiple times, it is important that you keep your naturalness and not just stubbornly rattle off your answer. The interviewer should not get the impression that your answer is not unique and that you only retrieve one answer, which you recite to every company like a robot.


In our Q&A thread “How to Answer "Why Consulting?" in Interviews” you can find numerous answers including tips and tricks to tackle this interview question. Or just search for the Q&A tag “why consulting” to find all questions that ask about this interview question.

What Else Can I Do to Prepare for The Personal Fit?

Now that you have put together the perfect answer to “why consulting”, you should not miss out on practicing other questions that could come up during the personal fit part of your case interview. Our interactive Stress Question Tool allows you to go through different questions that might come up during the personal fit part of your case interview. The counter can help you make your speech shorter and precise, including only the information needed. If you have any further questions about the personal fit interview in general, you should read our BootCamp article about how to ace the personal fit interview. It will help you convince the interviewer that your personality fits into a case team or in the company as a whole.
Then, it is also important to receive feedback for your answer. Reach out to our vast community to practice case interviews with them. Approach them before the meeting to let them know that you would not only like to practice a case but also receive feedback on the personal fit part. It is important to not leave this part aside from your interview preparation. Lastly, you can schedule a meeting with one of our case coaches. They are all experienced consultants from reputable consulting firms and know what interviewers want to hear in the interview. Make sure to give yourself the best preparation and invest in your preparation to leave no stone unturned to land your dream job in management consulting. Do not wait and start directly with your preparation!