Answering "Tell me about yourself"

BCG tellmeaboutyourself
New answer on Dec 27, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 27, 2020

Hi everyone,

How far do I actually go back in telling my story? I would like to speak briefly about my childhood and the poor socio-economic background I come from because it certainly helps explain some of my career decisions and I think it generally shows some of my resilience. My worry is that starting the story with negativity might harm me. What do you think ? Thank you!

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 27, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I would not recommend devoting more than a couple of sentences to it. Your recent story is what matters most. I can assure you, there are quite a lot of consultants who have passed through various hardships on the way. For example, most of the US consultants are immigrants and it was not a straightforward path.

“Tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”- this is how Consultants usually begin the interview. It's an opportunity for them to learn about you and to pick some interesting facts. "Tell me about yourself question" is similar to "Walk me through your resume"

  1. This is not the story, so you don't need to have the story STAR structure
  2. This is not about the challenge, it's about your career path
  3. Start with a short 1 sentence summary of who you are. You can mention your unique selling point and structure your lifepath around it
  4. Depending on your experiences continue either from the first or from the last role (the later you are in your career the more sense it is to start with last one)
  5. For each role in addition to the description add a memorable project or experience with high impact / cool companies and brands involved that will stay in the memory of the interviewer
  6. In the end, say why consulting is a logical continuation of your career path

Best

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Clara
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replied on Dec 27, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

This is one of the classics of the 1st family of questions you will find in the FIT part of the interview: "Intro and CV questions". Since they are less dense than the behavioural questions that will follow, you should answer in 1-3 mins.

I don´t agree with the "negativity" point, as long as you can tailor the pitch as "this is all I have been able to achieve despite the difficulties"

If you want to deepen your knowledge, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Furthermore, you can find 3 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

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Antonello
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replied on Dec 27, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,

Some tips you might find useful:

1. Take between 1.5 and 3 min max.

2. Use chronological order.

3. Craft your story to start giving proof of your passion for consulting, for that specific company. Let the interviewer know what makes you unique and perfect for the company.

4. Practice a lot alone and with partners. Recording yourself for verbal and non-verbal communication improvements work well.

Remember it is a key question in the interview, so prepare it well.

Good luck.

Best,

Antonello

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Ian
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replied on Dec 27, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I had one candidate a year back that is from the untouchable caste in India. I strongly advised he go that far back in his story because it was absolutely incredible what he had overcome to get to where he was.

If your poor socio-economic background was demonstrably an impediment to your success and you can succinctly describe it, then absolutley it should go into your story. Now, you can't let it become a sob story. You need to have a 1-2 sentence summary of your situation that adequately describes the seriousness of your situation without becoming too personal. Then, you need to segway and say "despite this, I was able to xxx"

Feel free to shoot a message and I can help edit it a bit for the right balance!

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Gaurav
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replied on Dec 27, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

The general advice to that question is as long as it makes sense, you can talk about it and use it in your story, but maybe don't go too far and don't hang on one topic.

Make sure not to only explain why you chose consulting, but also how you and your hard&soft skills are gonna be useful in there.

Hope it was helpful,

GB

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Anonymous replied on Dec 27, 2020

Hi,

As long as your background clearly impacted your life choices than I think it would be important to mentioned. However, make sure that it will not dominate your entire message and ensure to also touch the other more recent aspects.

The key is to highlight key areas that will attract the interviewer to ask further questions that will in turn allow you to tell a more detail and interesting description.

Best,

Iman

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Udayan
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Content Creator
replied on Dec 27, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

I think you generally have the right idea and mindset. Bringing up your background can be done but you need to be quite careful with how you phrase the answer and also that you are communicating the right thing. At the end of the day a lot of people have overcome obstacles to get where they are, you want to ensure that it does not come across as if you are in some way more deserving of the role.

My advice would be to reference it in your answer as it is a critical part of who you are but not to build everything around it.

Best,

Udayan

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Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 27, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

The best way to answer this question is to think about your life as a story and you as the lead actor/actress. How would you approach it? Try and cover personal, education & professional aspects of who you are. Dont speak forever but a 2 min answer is good. Any detail which shows your overcame struggle & challenges to come out stronger is worth gold dust. So dont omit.

I always strongly advise people to learn storytelling. Most candidates end up sounding the same. You must give your answers in an engaging way. There are good storytelling courses on Udemy or Youtube.

All the best!

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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