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Francesco

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4

Hi all. New on here. Odd situation. Seeking advice.

MBB

Here's my story.

TMT. A decade in industry, followed by a few years with a 'specialist' consulting firm. Then, a rather nice group strategy role. Really enjoyed my career, enjoyed the travelling, etc.

Unfortunately, I fell ill and was out for a couple of years. Better now. Took on some 'contracting' work. Decided that I want to return to a particular region and want to continue in TMT. But industry or MC? After talking to ppl in the region, both MC and industry, decided on MC and also target firm (one of MBB). Applied. Had call with HR. According to HR, I will be having case interviews.

Am still bloody good. Believe so anyway. Health-wise, am as good as I can get. Doing the contract work for a Big 4, I realised that I enjoyed (and missed) MC.

My problem is this. It's like 10 years since I last had a case interview. I am 'slow'. Reading through some of the cases, I take my time to structure them. I do get to the end, but am slow. I doubt I'll do well. Just gone into my 40s.

I guess the right questions are:

-- Am I thinking straight?

-- Would MBB really hire someone in their 40s at Project Leader or Principal level?

Here's my story.

TMT. A decade in industry, followed by a few years with a 'specialist' consulting firm. Then, a rather nice group strategy role. Really enjoyed my career, enjoyed the travelling, etc.

Unfortunately, I fell ill and was out for a couple of years. Better now. Took on some 'contracting' work. Decided that I want to return to a particular region and want to continue in TMT. But industry or MC? After talking to ppl in the region, both MC and industry, decided on MC and also target firm (one of MBB). Applied. Had call with HR. According to HR, I will be having case interviews.

Am still bloody good. Believe so anyway. Health-wise, am as good as I can get. Doing the contract work for a Big 4, I realised that I enjoyed (and missed) MC.

My problem is this. It's like 10 years since I last had a case interview. I am 'slow'. Reading through some of the cases, I take my time to structure them. I do get to the end, but am slow. I doubt I'll do well. Just gone into my 40s.

I guess the right questions are:

-- Am I thinking straight?

-- Would MBB really hire someone in their 40s at Project Leader or Principal level?

(edited)

4 answers

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Hi Anonymous,

if HR already confirmed you are going to have a case interview, for sure the company you are applying for is fine with your age and experience - they would not call you for interviews otherwise. You would need though to prepare accordingly for the fit part, as they for sure will ask questions on your motivation for joining now, and potentially be led by people younger than you.

In terms of an action plan for your preparation, I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have per week to dedicate to consulting prep and how many weeks in total you have before interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day. It’s important you write it down to self-commit or you will start to skip some prep time pretty soon, in particular if you don’t have pressure for an interview scheduled soon – and it is definitely better to start slowly and constantly than rushing towards the end close to the interview. Ideally, you want to have a minimum of 100 hours to dedicate to the preparation before your interviews.
  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 though, 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. 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 a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  4. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. 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 fit and case.
  5. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  6. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.

Best,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

if HR already confirmed you are going to have a case interview, for sure the company you are applying for is fine with your age and experience - they would not call you for interviews otherwise. You would need though to prepare accordingly for the fit part, as they for sure will ask questions on your motivation for joining now, and potentially be led by people younger than you.

In terms of an action plan for your preparation, I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have per week to dedicate to consulting prep and how many weeks in total you have before interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day. It’s important you write it down to self-commit or you will start to skip some prep time pretty soon, in particular if you don’t have pressure for an interview scheduled soon – and it is definitely better to start slowly and constantly than rushing towards the end close to the interview. Ideally, you want to have a minimum of 100 hours to dedicate to the preparation before your interviews.
  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 though, 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. 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 a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  4. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. 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 fit and case.
  5. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  6. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.

Best,

Francesco

hey there, couple thoughts:

- I can't tell you if you're thinking straight, but obviously if you haven't done cases in a decade, you will be rusty. Just like almost everyone on this site, you have to dedicate some time and effort into preparing. Compared to when you probably did your cases 10 years ago, the market is much more competitive, there is much better information about the interviews online, and case formats have changed. Practice, practice, practice. I am sure you can get it back.

- It is definitely not frequent, but I have seen a number of hires at the manager/principal level at Bain from industry. So it's possible, but you will really have to convince them that your TMT experience is very desirable and would be an asset to the firm.

Good luck!

hey there, couple thoughts:

- I can't tell you if you're thinking straight, but obviously if you haven't done cases in a decade, you will be rusty. Just like almost everyone on this site, you have to dedicate some time and effort into preparing. Compared to when you probably did your cases 10 years ago, the market is much more competitive, there is much better information about the interviews online, and case formats have changed. Practice, practice, practice. I am sure you can get it back.

- It is definitely not frequent, but I have seen a number of hires at the manager/principal level at Bain from industry. So it's possible, but you will really have to convince them that your TMT experience is very desirable and would be an asset to the firm.

Good luck!

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Hi,

I believe at this point you should not apply for the generalist role, but rather try selling yourself as an expert.

Best

Hi,

I believe at this point you should not apply for the generalist role, but rather try selling yourself as an expert.

Best

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Dear A,

  1. Well, you will definitely get a position, if you put enough time and effort. You should have a clear understanding, why you want to join MBB. You may consider setting up your own firm or finding an executive position in an industry with 10 years of experience and strategy role.
  2. With deep expertise in TMT, you chould check implementation consulting branches of MBBs. McKinsey has its own branch McKinsey implementation, where a lot of industry talents work. BCG and Bain also have their own implementation practices. I suggest focusing on them.

I believe, everything would be fine.

All the best,
Egor

Dear A,

  1. Well, you will definitely get a position, if you put enough time and effort. You should have a clear understanding, why you want to join MBB. You may consider setting up your own firm or finding an executive position in an industry with 10 years of experience and strategy role.
  2. With deep expertise in TMT, you chould check implementation consulting branches of MBBs. McKinsey has its own branch McKinsey implementation, where a lot of industry talents work. BCG and Bain also have their own implementation practices. I suggest focusing on them.

I believe, everything would be fine.

All the best,
Egor

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