Breaking into consulting from PE

consulting MBB Private Equity tmt
New answer on Oct 18, 2020
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 17, 2020

Hi all,

I am currently coming up on my one year at a PE fund that focuses on TMT investments in the mid-market space (<$1B buyouts). I want to make a transition to consulting for two reasons: 1) better career flexibility and 2) learn a broader skillset relative to just investing in companies.

I am thinking of targeting solely MBBs and I wanted the community's advice on what my best foot forward could be and how I can position myself. I was wondering if I could go in as an "experienced hire" for their offices and what my interview preparations should look like + any timelines I should be aware of!

A bit on my background, I come from a mid-tier undergrad program where I finished with a 3.5 GPA, but had a chance to do three really solid internships at reputable PE funds and investment banks. Historically, there has not been much presence from my school at MBBs but recently, there's been two or three kids a year that place at these firms.

Looking forward to hearing back from you all!

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Udayan
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replied on Oct 17, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

I have helped 2 folks do this exact transition.Your best bet is to network to get a referral and then ask HR about which role you would qualify for. With 1 year work experience you will join as a 1st year BA it honestly is no big deal there are plenty of people in your position.

In terms of timelines - post referral it should take a few weeks to schedule a phone screen which is a 30 min case. Once you pass that its another week or two to schedule the first round and then about another week for the final round. There is a lot of flexibility in the process given that you are not applying as part of a class from a University.

Best,

Udayan

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Robert
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replied on Oct 17, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Your career move is definitely possible; recently I also see a bit more folks from finance background moving to MBB - just a subjective observation but still interesting.

With one year experience you won't fall into experienced hire scheme - so your prep will be basically standard interview prep as for the majority of candidates.

Some nuances: I'll probably trust you know finance basics and have strong quantitative skills (will test nevertheless in interviews though), but I'll ensure you also bring the relevant soft skills to the table which you need to highlight with your background even more.

What I generally recommend to all my coaching candidates who are case interview beginners is the following:

  • Starting off with basic case interview books like Marc Cosentino's "Case in Point" or Victor Cheng's "Case Interview Secrets"
  • At the same time watching Victor Cheng's youtube videos
  • Getting a professional Case Interview Coaching, e.g. available also on PrepLounge quite early in the process, as a professional case interview coach will help you get things right immediately, so that you can focus on your weak spots and at the same time reinforce your positive habits during your further prep; this saves you a lot of time and prevents you from developing wrong habits which are hard to get rid off once you possess them
  • Start having interactive mock interviews with peers, which you can find in masses also on PrepLounge - there is a strong correlation between number of interactive cases solved and interview success
  • Once you feel you make progress in your case interview performance, start having some professional Case Interview Coaching sessions again to get some real-life benchmark and feedback for further improvement; what works best is approx. 1 professional coaching per week as there is enough time to improve weak spots with peer mock interviews until the next coaching, and at the same time this timeframe is short enough so that you keep up with you prep and do not lose track
  • Once you start feeling comfortable with solving cases in general, focus on being as structured as possible in every sentence you say and every answer you give ("ABS - always be structured"). For this, I wrote a distinct book with the most important frameworks and business concepts for case interviews. This book not only gives you a short description and basic idea of the frameworks and concepts, but also a step-by-step guide on how to actually use and implement them (you would be surprised how many candidates don't have a clue about that!).
  • As soon as you master the case interview basics, start preparing the behavioural part of the interviews; this is especially important for McKinsey as this is the part where most candidates really fail; for more detailed information on that you can private message me
  • If time permits, read some general books about consulting to get a good understanding how the industry works, like "The Firm" by Duff McDonald, "Managing the Professional Service Firm" by David Maister and "The McKinsey Way" by Ethan Rasiel

Since all this is to be seen as a process of improving and polishing your case interview skills, it’s somewhat difficult to say how long it takes - it’s mainly dependent on the hours/day you can spend on it, and how fast you learn and implement all this. Based on experience from hundreds of candidates, a ballpark number to run through, learn, implement, reflect, improve and polish your skills is from 4 to 12 weeks of intense interview prep.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Francesco
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replied on Oct 18, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

The transition is definitely feasible although unusual – normally people move the other way round from consulting to PE.

Most people need 100+ hours to be ready for MBB offers. You will join as BA if you have 1 year of experience (they may recognize some months of seniority but that’s rare).

I would recommend the following steps to maximize the likelihood to land an offer:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Check if there is any deadline for the applications. Then identify how many hours you have before that and allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the points below. Many people need 100+ hours to be ready before the interview so you can keep that as a benchmark
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure to solve them. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb better the information with constant learning.
  4. After the first 5-10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. PrepLounge can be helpful to connect with other candidates for that. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both the behavioural part and the case part. The case part should also cover market sizing, mental math and graph analysis.
  5. Before your application, be sure to review your CV and Cover, so that they are in the required format for a consulting application
  6. At least 3 weeks before the application deadline, start networking to find referrals for your target companies.
  7. Before the interviews, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer –great way to show you prepared in advance and to connect with the interviewer for a good final impression.

Besides that, you may have to prepare for tests. Usually one or two weeks are enough for that. If you have to prepare for the McKinsey Imbellus, you can find the guide I created at the link below:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/mckinsey-imbellus-game-secrets-48

If you want to spend few hours only instead of 100+ and cover everything mentioned above, I developed a program to precisely do that. You can click on the following link to find more:

https://u.preplounge.com/63phuq

After this program, you will know exactly what to expect in your interview, what to work on, and how to focus on the real differentiator to land a top consulting offer.

Please feel free to PM me if you need more information.

Best,

Francesco

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Adi
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replied on Oct 17, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hi there,

Robert has anwered this comprehensively.

I wanted to add two points from my experience:

1. Having worked for Accenture and Deloitte, I have seen many hires from finance/PE background into their strategy practice across various seniority levels. The M&A market will heat up more as we come out of COVID-19 into recovery. So don't rule Accenture/Big4 out - they can be very lucrative and may even take you at consultant level if you smash the interviews. They are investing heavily in their M&A/PE type capabilities. Give me a buzz if are you keen to know more.

2. And fyi...many people make the opposite move i.e. Consulting to PE after gaining a few years of solid consulting experience.

Cheers!

Adi

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Mehdi
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replied on Oct 17, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi there,

Transitioning to an MBB is possible, but you will probably not qualify for an experienced hire position. For this, you would have to have 3-5 solid years of experience.

Given that you did not attend a "target school", I would advise that you network extensively until you get the opportunity to be referred, this can definitely help you get a 1st round interview. Until then, practice cases as much as possible (still by focusing on quality) and make sure you get some professional coaching with one of the experts. By getting that early in the process, you will get some valuable advice & feedback that can help you improve quickly your case cracking skills.

Happy to discuss this further if needed!

All the best,

Mehdi

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Udayan gave the best answer

Udayan

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Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience
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