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:
- How do you want to structure your answers? (Structure)
- What do you want to say? (Content)
- How will you deliver your answer? (Delivery)
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
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.
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:
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:
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:
- 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.
- Smiling: A simple smile can be a powerful tool to show that you enjoy the interview and talking about your passion for consulting.
- 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.
- 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.