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Expert with best answer

Henning

100% Recommendation Rate

172 Meetings

5,060 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Dear Community,

here is my situation

1) I did around 60+ cases Summer 2020. I Didn't apply anything at that time.

2)Then stop practicing but took a couple of business related courses at my university Fall 2020 semester

3)Graduated from my master's program in December. Then took a break for 2months. Travel around and doing some adventurous things which might increase my resume although it'snot fully 2months

4) I just recently opened my case material again. I have whole day to prepare as I am unemployed now.

My questions are

1) When should I apply for MBB? I want to do 1-2 months of preparation again before submitting my application. I worry about being seen as unemployed for 3-4 months

2)From the time I submit my application, how long I will get Interview? (Assuming I pass CV Screening)

3) I worry that If I took too long for preparation, the Interviewer will ask me what did I do this time, once I answer I said preparing for job interviews, they will think my case ability is just artificially trained instead of having real business acumen

4). SHould I apply simultaneously to MBB ? or Should I apply to 2nd tier first as the preparation for MBB? I worry if I got accepted by 2nd tier, I will be locked with that job offer.

5) Just a little note, currently, I don't have the budget for coaching so I would appreciate if the advice is other than hiring a coach. Although, I know this community has great coaches and will be my first place to look for coaches once I need them.

Thanks so much for reading and giving me advices

Dear Community,

here is my situation

1) I did around 60+ cases Summer 2020. I Didn't apply anything at that time.

2)Then stop practicing but took a couple of business related courses at my university Fall 2020 semester

3)Graduated from my master's program in December. Then took a break for 2months. Travel around and doing some adventurous things which might increase my resume although it'snot fully 2months

4) I just recently opened my case material again. I have whole day to prepare as I am unemployed now.

My questions are

1) When should I apply for MBB? I want to do 1-2 months of preparation again before submitting my application. I worry about being seen as unemployed for 3-4 months

2)From the time I submit my application, how long I will get Interview? (Assuming I pass CV Screening)

3) I worry that If I took too long for preparation, the Interviewer will ask me what did I do this time, once I answer I said preparing for job interviews, they will think my case ability is just artificially trained instead of having real business acumen

4). SHould I apply simultaneously to MBB ? or Should I apply to 2nd tier first as the preparation for MBB? I worry if I got accepted by 2nd tier, I will be locked with that job offer.

5) Just a little note, currently, I don't have the budget for coaching so I would appreciate if the advice is other than hiring a coach. Although, I know this community has great coaches and will be my first place to look for coaches once I need them.

Thanks so much for reading and giving me advices

8 answers

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Henning

100% Recommendation Rate

172 Meetings

5,060 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi A!

Here are my thoughts to your questions:

  1. Given that you have done so many cases already, I think you should apply right away. Spending so much time for case prep, especially since you don't work in parallel seems excessive.
  2. There are always exceptions, but I'd say typically between 2 weeks and 2 months.
  3. See above: I would apply right away and use the time until the interviews gets scheduled to prepare.
  4. I would suggest to either apply at the same time or apply tothe T2 firms only 1-2 weeks earlier. Thay way you can schedule the interviews with short time between each other and in increasing order of your priority. That way you can wait for the final interviews before the first offers expire and use the additional practice from the real interviews for the more important firms.
  5. There is a lot you can do without a coach (of course professional feedback is of course preferrable). For example: reach out to friends or class mates that work/have worked in consulting firms to practice with them. When you're invited, ask HR if they offer practice sessions with junior consultants.

Below my general recommendation how to approach the practice. You're already way into the process with your experience from last year, so there is probably much less work required than you think.

In my experience, practicing 15-20 cases is sufficient, if you do it strategically. My recommendation is as follows:

  • Read up on the typical approaches and standard frameworks to get the concept.
  • Then, do 5-6 cases to get a practical feeling for what a case is like. Start with easier ones - e.g. market size mini cases, simple profit tree cases, etc. This will help you develop a rudimentary sense for how cases work
  • The next 5-6 cases should cover cases from all major types and help you gain the experience and comfort with standard frameworks and the thinking required for solving the cases.
  • Lastly, you will want to do 6-7 cases to hone your skills. Practice with people who understand what they are doing - experienced interviewers, coaches, etc. that can give you 1-2 main items of feedback after each case that you can then practice to apply and improve on in the next case. During this time, you should also practice to move away from off-the-shelf frameworks and tailor, or - even better - develop your frameworks specifically during the case.

The further you move towards the final interview, the more important it is to practice with experienced interviewers. While you can easily ask any friend or practice with peers for the first few cases, you should aim for qualified, professional feedback as you approach the finishing line.

However, keep in mind, that this requires a strong plan and strategic approach to the preparation. I regularly see people doing 30-40 or even more cases. While this can also lead to success, in my eyes, it is a bit of a waste of time, especially for experienced hires that often also have a regular job to do while preparing for the consulting interviews.

Let me know if this helps. I'm also happy to elaborate any of the above in more detail. DM me if you like.

Hi A!

Here are my thoughts to your questions:

  1. Given that you have done so many cases already, I think you should apply right away. Spending so much time for case prep, especially since you don't work in parallel seems excessive.
  2. There are always exceptions, but I'd say typically between 2 weeks and 2 months.
  3. See above: I would apply right away and use the time until the interviews gets scheduled to prepare.
  4. I would suggest to either apply at the same time or apply tothe T2 firms only 1-2 weeks earlier. Thay way you can schedule the interviews with short time between each other and in increasing order of your priority. That way you can wait for the final interviews before the first offers expire and use the additional practice from the real interviews for the more important firms.
  5. There is a lot you can do without a coach (of course professional feedback is of course preferrable). For example: reach out to friends or class mates that work/have worked in consulting firms to practice with them. When you're invited, ask HR if they offer practice sessions with junior consultants.

Below my general recommendation how to approach the practice. You're already way into the process with your experience from last year, so there is probably much less work required than you think.

In my experience, practicing 15-20 cases is sufficient, if you do it strategically. My recommendation is as follows:

  • Read up on the typical approaches and standard frameworks to get the concept.
  • Then, do 5-6 cases to get a practical feeling for what a case is like. Start with easier ones - e.g. market size mini cases, simple profit tree cases, etc. This will help you develop a rudimentary sense for how cases work
  • The next 5-6 cases should cover cases from all major types and help you gain the experience and comfort with standard frameworks and the thinking required for solving the cases.
  • Lastly, you will want to do 6-7 cases to hone your skills. Practice with people who understand what they are doing - experienced interviewers, coaches, etc. that can give you 1-2 main items of feedback after each case that you can then practice to apply and improve on in the next case. During this time, you should also practice to move away from off-the-shelf frameworks and tailor, or - even better - develop your frameworks specifically during the case.

The further you move towards the final interview, the more important it is to practice with experienced interviewers. While you can easily ask any friend or practice with peers for the first few cases, you should aim for qualified, professional feedback as you approach the finishing line.

However, keep in mind, that this requires a strong plan and strategic approach to the preparation. I regularly see people doing 30-40 or even more cases. While this can also lead to success, in my eyes, it is a bit of a waste of time, especially for experienced hires that often also have a regular job to do while preparing for the consulting interviews.

Let me know if this helps. I'm also happy to elaborate any of the above in more detail. DM me if you like.

Book a coaching with Ken

100% Recommendation Rate

43 Meetings

4,108 Q&A Upvotes

USD 209 / Coaching

1. I would apply now where you will probably have 1-2 months of preparation, assuming you are invited for interviews. Unemployment of 3-4 months, although depending on country/culture, is not a massive deal-breaker but you also don't want to risk that becoming much longer

2. This is highly dependent on the firm, office, and role but typically you should expect to be invited for an interview within a month or two after applying as you would be an off-cycle candidate

3. I would never tell your interviewer that you did case preparation full-time. I am sure you did many interesting and meaningful things during the same period which is what I would bring up

4. Considering you are not working or studying right now, I would avoid being tactical and just apply where there are opportunities. It really depends on your profile but if it's a strong one then applying and interviewing at each of the MBBs will already be very time consuming but it never hurts to have fall back options too

5. I would start sending out your CV/applications ASAP, especially considering your financial situation and the preparation you have done in the past. Especially at an entry-level, consultancies will find it peculiar that you have not found employement after your studies, even if it was intended. I understand the temptation of finding the optimal timing to increase your chances of getting your dream job but you're also not doing yourself a service by delaying the start/building your career

Good luck!

1. I would apply now where you will probably have 1-2 months of preparation, assuming you are invited for interviews. Unemployment of 3-4 months, although depending on country/culture, is not a massive deal-breaker but you also don't want to risk that becoming much longer

2. This is highly dependent on the firm, office, and role but typically you should expect to be invited for an interview within a month or two after applying as you would be an off-cycle candidate

3. I would never tell your interviewer that you did case preparation full-time. I am sure you did many interesting and meaningful things during the same period which is what I would bring up

4. Considering you are not working or studying right now, I would avoid being tactical and just apply where there are opportunities. It really depends on your profile but if it's a strong one then applying and interviewing at each of the MBBs will already be very time consuming but it never hurts to have fall back options too

5. I would start sending out your CV/applications ASAP, especially considering your financial situation and the preparation you have done in the past. Especially at an entry-level, consultancies will find it peculiar that you have not found employement after your studies, even if it was intended. I understand the temptation of finding the optimal timing to increase your chances of getting your dream job but you're also not doing yourself a service by delaying the start/building your career

Good luck!

Book a coaching with Denis

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87 Meetings

1,816 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

Hi A,

1) I d apply now. Asap. For both MBB and non-MBB firms where you could see yourself as well as for practice purposes. No upside in waiting. Will take time anyhow to get referrals and get invitations on the calendar. Enough leeway to push back the actual interviews at MBB.

2) Depends heavily on what company / office we are talking about. I ve seen candidates recently wait for as long as 3-4 weeks to get notified whether invitation is extended or not.

3) Valid point. Make sure you have some umbrella activity in your CV (go find some part-time NGO work or do sth social, be a freelancer for a start-up etc). Shouldnt be too difficult. If your prep is short enough, perhaps you wont need this. Sounds like 4-6 weeks of prep at most should be fine for you. Networking / referrals is not sth you can accelerate - so start asap.

4). Get all interviews onto the calendar, last interviews being your favorite firms. Receiving offers along the way should be positive because that decreases your stress going into the important interviews. Ask for deadline extensions on extended offers. Also possible to get out of already signed offers using lawyers (however I discourage you from doing that since this will certainly burn bridges and the industry is still overseeable). Tell them a reasonable story on why you need more time (e.g. talk with your Significant Other etc.). Timing is all, ideally you have all interviews in a 2-4 weeks window.

5) If you are fine without a coach - go for it - didnt use a coach either back when I was recruiting for full-time at MBB 7 years ago, however, getting a coach at the end of your prep (as Henning pointed out), may be a good investment and certainly worth the return.

Best,
Denis

Hi A,

1) I d apply now. Asap. For both MBB and non-MBB firms where you could see yourself as well as for practice purposes. No upside in waiting. Will take time anyhow to get referrals and get invitations on the calendar. Enough leeway to push back the actual interviews at MBB.

2) Depends heavily on what company / office we are talking about. I ve seen candidates recently wait for as long as 3-4 weeks to get notified whether invitation is extended or not.

3) Valid point. Make sure you have some umbrella activity in your CV (go find some part-time NGO work or do sth social, be a freelancer for a start-up etc). Shouldnt be too difficult. If your prep is short enough, perhaps you wont need this. Sounds like 4-6 weeks of prep at most should be fine for you. Networking / referrals is not sth you can accelerate - so start asap.

4). Get all interviews onto the calendar, last interviews being your favorite firms. Receiving offers along the way should be positive because that decreases your stress going into the important interviews. Ask for deadline extensions on extended offers. Also possible to get out of already signed offers using lawyers (however I discourage you from doing that since this will certainly burn bridges and the industry is still overseeable). Tell them a reasonable story on why you need more time (e.g. talk with your Significant Other etc.). Timing is all, ideally you have all interviews in a 2-4 weeks window.

5) If you are fine without a coach - go for it - didnt use a coach either back when I was recruiting for full-time at MBB 7 years ago, however, getting a coach at the end of your prep (as Henning pointed out), may be a good investment and certainly worth the return.

Best,
Denis

Book a coaching with Ian

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243 Meetings

20,986 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi there,

1) I would start networking ASAP. At any point that you get put in touch with HR or get a referral, apply. If networking doesn't bear fruit, I would "mass apply" within the next month.

2) Could be less than a week, but generally takes a few weeks. Could take up to a few months.

3) You need a better story. Tell them you actively decided to take time off (i.e. this was a choice). You've pushed hard for many years and wanted to take the opportunity to do x. Now, you're ready to jump back in

4) Yes, in a sense. No need to go through the process one-by-one. Apply as soon as you have done the appropriate networking

5) This is fine! We're here to help :)

Hi there,

1) I would start networking ASAP. At any point that you get put in touch with HR or get a referral, apply. If networking doesn't bear fruit, I would "mass apply" within the next month.

2) Could be less than a week, but generally takes a few weeks. Could take up to a few months.

3) You need a better story. Tell them you actively decided to take time off (i.e. this was a choice). You've pushed hard for many years and wanted to take the opportunity to do x. Now, you're ready to jump back in

4) Yes, in a sense. No need to go through the process one-by-one. Apply as soon as you have done the appropriate networking

5) This is fine! We're here to help :)

Book a coaching with Antonello

98% Recommendation Rate

156 Meetings

5,307 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

Hi

I would like only to add few thoughts about your concerns. I recommend applying before feeling ready. The time from application to 1st round in this period can last up to 2 months and I can guarantee it is quite frustrating to be ready with cases but do not have interviews

Best
Antonello

Hi

I would like only to add few thoughts about your concerns. I recommend applying before feeling ready. The time from application to 1st round in this period can last up to 2 months and I can guarantee it is quite frustrating to be ready with cases but do not have interviews

Best
Antonello

Book a coaching with Adi

100% Recommendation Rate

65 Meetings

5,983 Q&A Upvotes

USD 159 / Coaching

A short & quick answer building on what Henning has provided...just go for it now! Apply to a few places. You want options going in parallel and not put all hopes on one or two firms. In addition, believe in yourself & your plan. I sense a lot of anxiety reading your question. You have done plenty of practice in the past so there will be residual muscle memory and it will come back to you with some refresher & few case practices.

Dont worry about the outcome yet or getting locked in Tier 2 firm. This is all speculation and your imagination. You cant predict the future. Focus on giving your best & preparing holistically. Take it one step at a time, one interview at a time.

All the best!

A short & quick answer building on what Henning has provided...just go for it now! Apply to a few places. You want options going in parallel and not put all hopes on one or two firms. In addition, believe in yourself & your plan. I sense a lot of anxiety reading your question. You have done plenty of practice in the past so there will be residual muscle memory and it will come back to you with some refresher & few case practices.

Dont worry about the outcome yet or getting locked in Tier 2 firm. This is all speculation and your imagination. You cant predict the future. Focus on giving your best & preparing holistically. Take it one step at a time, one interview at a time.

All the best!

Book a coaching with Gaurav

100% Recommendation Rate

197 Meetings

6,396 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

Hi there,

I agree with the opinion that it’s better to apply before feeling ready. The application timeline to the 1st round usually varies from 2 weeks up to 2 months, so it’s better to start sending out your CV ASAP.

Hope it was helpful,

GB

Hi there,

I agree with the opinion that it’s better to apply before feeling ready. The application timeline to the 1st round usually varies from 2 weeks up to 2 months, so it’s better to start sending out your CV ASAP.

Hope it was helpful,

GB

Book a coaching with Clara

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55 Meetings

14,647 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hello!

To add on top of what has been said and not be repetitive: I would not actually be unemployed just dedicating my time and hopes to getting into MBB. It´s so competitive and many things can go wrong, and I think it´s too much of a bet.

I would combine my prep with something else, so in the case that it goes wrong, there is something I am left with.

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

To add on top of what has been said and not be repetitive: I would not actually be unemployed just dedicating my time and hopes to getting into MBB. It´s so competitive and many things can go wrong, and I think it´s too much of a bet.

I would combine my prep with something else, so in the case that it goes wrong, there is something I am left with.

Cheers,

Clara

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