Bain interview: "tell me about yourself?" vs "why consulting?"

MBB Interview tellmeaboutyourself why consulting
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 09, 2020

Hi everyone,

I'm preparing for an interview with Bain for a summer internship. A coach once told me that the interviewer will ask just one of the two questions "tell me about yourself?" and "why consulting?" and thus it's ok if the two answers I prepare are similar. Even though this makes sense (btw they are both aimed at showing your strengths to be a good consultant), I would like to hear your opinion on the topic and understand whether I should prepare two different answers in advance.

Many thanks for your help

(edited)

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Vlad
Expert
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replied on Jan 09, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

These are two completely different questions.

In "Tell me about yourself" you should be talking about your career path till now. You can finish this story with an argument about why consulting is the next logical career step.

I would recommend the following structure:

  1. Start with a 1 sentence summary of your background, why you are relevant for McKinsey and what's your unique selling point
  2. Talk about 3-4 of your roles (may be professional, education, extracurricular), 3 sentences each. The more experienced you are the more you should speak about professional roles. It can be also the distinct roles within the same organization. Typical structure: 1) What was the company 2) What you were responsible for 3) Greatest achievement in that role, that will stay in the memory of the interviewer (E.g. While working at Adidas supply chain I was personally responsible for the delivery of soccer balls to the Worldcup in Africa)
  3. The main reason why consulting (or McKinsey if you were a consultant before) is the next logical career step for you

“Why consulting?”, “Why McKinsey” or “Why BCG” questions are used to assess your motivation to be a consultant in general and to work in that particular firm. They will check how you have done your homework and what you’ve learned about them. They also want to make sure that you have a clear intention to work in consulting.

  • The answers to these questions are supposed to be short and take no more than 30 seconds each.
  • For each question, you should provide three bullets points with different reasons.
  • Make sure that you guide the interviewer through your reasoning. Words like “The first reason”, “Moreover”, “Finally” will help you.

When answering “Why consulting” questions, provide three reasons why you want to pursue a career in a consulting firm. A general rule is to find the reasons that are important for you and logically fit everything you have done before (e.g. you want to grow further in financial services and get exposure to these clients). You can always use some personal rationale like your experience of working with consultants on a client side.

"Why this company" is a more specific question and can include the following arguments:

  • The general marketing story the company is trying to sell (e.g. Bain is a small "Family" company)
  • Brand / positioning / market share in the region
  • More clients / projects / expertise in the industry you are interested in
  • More well-known stories of success in your city
  • Your friends working there
  • Your interactions with the other consultants before the interview
  • Your prior experience of working with the Firm on a client side
  • Office traditions
  • Work experience with firm alumni
  • etc

Best!

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Anonymous replied on Apr 30, 2020

Dear A,

Of course, you can mention this. I'm sure they will appreciate it. But remember to tell the stories that highlight your entrepreneur achievements. Better to think about them in advance. In telling stories you can follow common framework. It consists of 5 parts:

1. Situation

2. Problem

3. Solution

4. Results

5. Your learnings

Hope, it helps.

Best,
André

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 10, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I believe it depends on the person, and it´s very dangerous to try to follow other people´s/coache´s recipies. This is when you loose your freshness and become academic.

In general lines, I believe "tell me about yourself?" and "why consulting?" are different for most candidates.

  • "Tell me about yourself?" > Classical elevator pitch about what makes you stand out.
  • "Why consulting? > For sure linked to your background and strenghts -that you would have mentioned before-.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 09, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
"why consulting" can only be one point of "tell me about yourself", in particular the last point, when you explain why you are at the interview (and it is important to include even in this question).

Best,
Antonello

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 09, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

In my opinion you should prepare 2 different answers. The interviewer will ask you "Tell me about yourself" in order to break the ice and let you present your curriculum.
After your CV presentation he will make 2/3 more questions and one of them will be 99% "Why consulting?". At that point you have to motivate your choice and why you want to join consultancy, but it's something different from talking about your cv (even if you can always link your motivations with past experiences to be fact based).

There are also other questions that are really common and that you should be prepared for. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about the Fit Interview.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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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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