How to answer "Why consulting?" if you are a non-MBA candidate?

non-MBA why consulting
Neue Antwort am 17. Aug. 2022
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Anonym A fragte am 17. Aug. 2022

I'm doing a non-MBA grad program and recently chated with a Consultant from an office I'm intersted in. He asked me “Why did you not get an MBA if you are so interested in consulting?”. I gave him my honest answer, consulting is attractive to me because of the opportunity to learn from many inustries and clientes, the problem solving, and the team-work approach; but I'm also very passionate about my field and wanted to study it in depth through grad school. He told me he thinks that is not a strong answer and I guess I agree, but its also the truth.

I'm wondering, what makes a great answer for “Why consulting?” from non-MBA graduate candidates.

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Lucie
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antwortete am 17. Aug. 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

answering honestly is the way to go. Now, your answer must be structured, it has a context and some conclusions, and it must portray you as the best candidate for consulting :-)

Just quickly sharing what I share with my coachee about this particular question, “Why consulting”:

  • Usually, candidates explain what they want to get out of consulting, but, consulting recruitment is extremely competitive with low acceptance rate. It is true, candidate also evaluate the firm they interview with, but the firm is in a stronger position… as a recruiter I want to hear story – evidence - that will acknowledge that you will enjoy the environment in consulting, and you will fit into this job which is different than industry job. I want some reassurance you will be able to handle:
    • VERY fast-paced environment & prioritization: ability to work under pressure, knowing you will never be able to tackle all you would like
    • Enjoying complex problem, no routine work: As you would be working on diverse project, you will never feel comfortable that you dominate the topic, once fixed we go on a new project
    • Able to work many hours and not burn and keep engaged (I would say in average consultants approx. 14 hours a day, how sustainable it is in the long run for you)
    • Resilient and self-confident to face highly demanding environment (facing C-level clients and be surrounded by extremely bright colleague – it is challenging to stand out vs industry job/university)
    • Enjoy facing unknown and ability to cope with ambiguity
    • Open minded and excellent team player 

If you are preparing for the interview, I would recommend to prepare stories and 
1. test with someone from a completely different background to respond few of these questions and test if the person understands you (the best is to let them reply with what they understood).
2. alternatively get a coach and mock for the personal interview, I usually see a bit of Wow effect on coachees from those sessions. 

Good luck, 

Lucie

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Antonello
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antwortete am 17. Aug. 2022
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I confirm it's not an issue at all being a no-MBA candidate. The why consulting question is one of the key prio in your preparation, so I recommend structuring it properly. Additional topics that can be covered in your answer are international projects, top-executive exposure, industries & practices variety, and exceptional colleagues.
 

Best,
Antonello

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Florian
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antwortete am 17. Aug. 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

The answer is the same for MBAs and non-MBAs.

I always tell my coachees that there are two important criteria to provide strong answers to “why XYZ?” questions.

  1. Be structured in the way you deliver it (top-down, MECE, no rambling, no going in circles)
  2. Be authentic and list a couple of reasons that are true for you (e.g., learning experience, exposure to challenging problems, etc.)

The worst answers to these questions are usually answers that are overly crafted and designed to sound good but carry no personal essence and authenticity.

Don't overthink it!

Cheers,

Florian

 

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Ian
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antwortete am 17. Aug. 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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Sofia
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antwortete am 17. Aug. 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach

Hello,

You don't have to have an MBA to go into consulting! I thought the story you are telling sounds decent as an answer, you might just want to workshop it a bit to speak a bit more to your strengths and skillset, and what from your current field attracted you into consulting.

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Emily
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antwortete am 17. Aug. 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

To be honest your answer sounds like a decent one - albeit your narrative could probably be a bit stronger (more below). First things first though, it's somewhat small minded to think that you have to do an MBA if you want to be a consultant - there are plenty of people at McKinsey who have MDs, JDs - why did they decided to be doctors and lawyers if they became consultants? 

Without knowing what your graduate degree is in, I could imagine that there were two things that the consultant was feeling concerned about:

  1. Why are you not going into a role related to your field of study and what is your narrative? i.e., do you really want to be a consultant? It's great that you want to experience multiple industries and clients - but why? What is it that you've learnt in your studies which has led you to the conclusion that this is the experience that you want to get? For example, I worked in the government before joining McKinsey. I wanted to know what I would learn from the private sector which could have a beneficial impact on the public. There was a coherent narrative to the decisions that I was making. 
  2. Do you have the right skills to be a consultant? What skills have you learnt in your studies which you would use in consulting? What have you done which is problem solving? Analytical? What could you bring to the role?

I'm happy to talk if it'd be helpful - and good luck!

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Lucie

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10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach
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