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Are senior consulting job interviews and cases more difficult than for entry level jobs? Or are cases similar in difficulty across job levels? If not, what are the differences? Thanks!

Anonymous A asked on Jan 17, 2018 - 3 answers
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Vlad replied on Jan 18, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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I would prepare in the same way for both roles. Interview difficulty will be the same, though the acceptance rates depend very much on a country, particular office, and your school:

  1. I've seen many times a situation when BAs were overprepared (case clubs very popular among students), while experienced hires were underprepared (lack of time and information about consulting interviews). In this case, the competition among BAs applicants was much tougher than among associates.
  2. It depends on the org pyramid in the particular office. For example, there may be enough BAs but not enough associates, so the acceptance rates for associates will be higher.
  3. MBA hiring is different for different schools. For example, at Stanford and Harvard, you can meet many people with 2-3 MBB offers, while it's not the case in other business schools. I also can't say that people doing MBA have lots of time to prepare. I believe that brand matters and they hire more people in top schools in general.


replied on Jan 18, 2018
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For associates (pre MBA) and consultants (post MBA) interviews are the same. There is a different expectation in level of preparation around some business concepts and business sense. For PL and P, a case might or might not be given. More frequently a case situation is given and candidatenis asked on how he would organize the team and case itself: how many people, how many weeks, what are the modules, what are deliverables, what is in initial data requests and so on. Fitnquestions for P/PL are also more oriented around knowledge of industry and ability to develop client relationship and team capabilities.

hopecit helps,


Francesco replied on Jan 21, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

unless you are interviewing for Engagement Manager - Project Leader positions or above (in which case they may ask you questions related to project simulations as mentioned by Andrea), the case part would be basically equivalent; the main differences would stand in the fit part of the interview and expected client interaction/communication skills. In particular:

  • Fit part: there will be higher expectations on questions on leadership, impact and drive in an interview for post-MBA/experience hire compared to new graduates. You are supposed to have clear examples in your MBA/working experience showing the skills.
  • Client interaction/Communication: as post MBA/experience hire, you will have more client interaction responsibilities than a new graduate; thus you will likely be tested on this side during the interview (checking how do you react to pressure, how clearly you communicate your thoughts and clarify information, etc)

I agree with Vlad that there may be post-MBA candidates not as well prepared as recent graduates. As the case part is similar, for both the type of interviews you can expect a preparation of 100+ hours starting from zero on your own to be able to receive an offer (less if you are practicing with experienced peers or experts), which is usually more difficult to reach for someone working full time than for a student.



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