As a microbiology graduate, I have little or no knowledge about preparing for business consulting interview? Please help!!!

Bain Bain & Company Case Interview Coffee Chat Consulting interview Consulting Resume Microbiologist Non-business course
New answer on Nov 06, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 08, 2018

Two years ago, my passion for consulting pushed me out from medical career as a microbiology. When I diverted to business-oriented with hope of securing a consulting career, I failed over and over again upto about 50 times at resume submission/online applications. Flexibly, I diverted focus to sales/Maketing career because of the pleasure I derive in practicing related case questions during my initial pursuit for consulting. Diverting to sales/marketing role landed me to "Digital Marketing & Branding Expertise" which I practice greatly today, all thanks to consulting aspirations! BUT I DIDN"T GIVE UP THAT ASPIRATION YET!

Luckly now, I've been scheduled for a coffee chat from Bain & Company after 2 years of consistent failures, though it's simply a coffee chat, I feel so elated. By imagining myself winning that coffee chat already, I want to start preparing for the main recruitment processes. Please Help, I Don't Want To Fail Again!

My Question is: HOW CAN A NOVICE LEARN & BECOME PRO AT WINNING A CONSULTING JOB FOLLOWING THE TOUGH RECRUITMENT?

Please who & what can help me?

For Now, My one-paged CV is modified already for the process. You can still review & confirm its potentials in helping me win this career at this one-time opportunity that just come my way.

(edited)

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 08, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

1) First of all, I would check what are the reasons for failure. Since your CV is already being modified I hope you'll be able to reshuffle it in a right way. Also, I recommend reflecting on what you've done in the last to years since the previous rejection. These 2 years should add up to your resume and be a good reason to hire you. Consulting firms should see the progress from your previous application (career progress, new knowledge, etc.

2) I would not make too many bets on a coffee chat. Here are some ideas re coffee chats:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-request-for-the-second-coffee-chat-1286#a2694

3) Your ideal scenario is if the person decides to make you a referral. More on the referral here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-is-a-referral-really-1103#a2129

4) Then try not to put all the eggs in one basket. Continue talking with all the big3 companies, so that you could multiply your chances

5) Start your preparation for the tests (if it is relevant for the role and company you are applying to) More info here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/bcg-online-test-936#a1829

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/i-have-my-mckinsey-pst-in-another-3-days-i-have-a-basic-idea-of-the-test-please-anyone-help-me-how-to-crack-it-with-only-3-days-preparation-609#a1226

6) In parallel start your preparation for the cases. It is a very broad topic, but I will give you some advice:

  • Time is the King. You'll need at least a month if you can prepare full-time. 3-4 months if you can't work on it systematically
  • Feedback and coaching will save you time. Work with an expert here. An expert will give you the right knowledge.
  • Practice cases with the other candidates to get the skill. Try to find the candidates with at least one real MBB consulting interview experience and 50+ cases solved. Ask for the cases from the real case interviews. Unfortunately, in the beginning, you'll have to solve the "Chicken and egg" problem in finding the experienced partners

7) 2-3 weeks before your interview start crafting your FIT stories. More details here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/aprroach-to-practice-pei-fit-part-930#a1822

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mckinsey-pei-answers-how-long-should-i-speak-974#a1895

Best of luck!

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Francesco
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replied on May 31, 2018
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

a good preparation for a consulting interview will likely move through the following areas:

  1. General understanding of the process: get a general idea on what a consulting interview is about
    • Resources: Case In Point, Victor Cheng free videos, PrepLounge Resources section
  2. Learning structures and main fit questions
    • Resources: Case in Point, Victor Cheng Look Over My Shoulder, MBA Handbooks, PrepLounge Resources section, Expert sessions
  3. Practicing with live partners to apply knowledge and improve communication
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews, friends preparing for consulting
  4. Final review for clearing mistakes
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews (experienced users), friends working in consulting, Experts sessions

As for the preparation, you may want to follow the usual steps for case interviews, preparing on:

  1. Fit questions (eg Why do you want to work for our company?)
  2. Cases (eg Our client is a commercial bank losing money, how would you increase profits?)
  3. Your questions at the end for the interviewer.

As for the chat, I guess you aim to obatin a referral; I would consider the following:

  • Your own pitch, highlighting who you are in 3-4 key sentences. Previous internship/experience with relevant brands/companies would be great to show you are qualified
  • 3-4 questions, focused on the personal experiences of the person (and not on the company only). Ideally you should try to learn as much as possible about the contact before. Relevant information will come out also from the first questions. Your goal here is to have a conversation and not a Q&A session.
  • Closing question for referral. You can definitely ask for a referral, but in an indirect way – eg “Your answers really confirmed me this company would be a fantastic place to start my career. What do you think I could do to maximize my chances to be invited for an interview”? If you did a good job with the questions before and you have something in common (eg former alumnus, common connection…) the consultant will likely offer to refer you. If you don’t ask for a referral, most of the time he/she will not volunteer to offer one. When you organize such calls, the consultant knows you are having the call because you are interested in a referral, and since he/she accepted to have it, if you perform well and ask indirectly you can definitely receive one.

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Mar 08, 2018

Your motivation and aspirations are remarkable! Very good job.

I found this article helpful (https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-an-informational-interview-and-get-a-yes) particularly number 5. Basically, don't ask them for a job, but sell yourself. Moreover, People love to talk about themselves, and therefore we easily fall for people who listen to us and ask good questions. So this is an opportunitity for you to learn about their journey and how they got to Bain. Literally ask "what led you to Bain?/What do you like about working at Bain?" etc etc. Once you get them talking, you can inform them of your similarities and start to build true rapport with them.

Also, you of course do want this to eventually lead to a job. However, try not to come off as needy as that will send a red flad. Try to focus on your skills and stories of leadership, communication, etc which are transferrable to consulting.

A great resource which was recommended to me by several BCG consultants is "Case In Point" (https://www.amazon.com/Case-Point-Complete-Interview-Preparation/dp/0971015880)

By the way, many companies value diversity and like people who don't strictly come from non-business backgrounds. The key is to show that you are a leader, fun to work with, and a master communicator.

Hope that helps!
Ibrahim

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Some extra guidance for the PEI side:

On top of the insights already shared in the post, 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.

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes, since we still have some left from the launch!

Hope you find it useful!

Best,

Clara

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Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 06, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Congratulations to such an important step in your life after so many tries!

If you don't want to loose your chance and get your offer- then I strongly to recommend you to make your preparation with professional coach, who will giude you and provide you with a constant and structured feedback to make yourself ready to crack the interviews.

Do you need any further help?

GB

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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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