How to answer "How did you lead the team as a consultant?"

behavioral interviews
New answer 10 hours ago
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 13, 2021

How to answer "How did you lead the team as a consultant?" 

I am a current senior consultant at a top tier consultancy and trying to switch to another.

I got ask “How did you lead the team as a consultant?”

I replied “After receiving the module, I broke it down into different pieces, and allocated the task to junior consultants and then check with then regularly while not being too micromanage”

I don't feel like I have answered it well. But leading team as a senior consultant is quite standard and nothing really special no? How can I answer this well?

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Cristian
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Oct 13, 2021
McKinsey / Oxford grad / ex Firm mock interviewer & internal training faculty / top 25% best consultants in the Firm

Hi there, 

Generally your answer is good. I'd do a few things additionally:
1. Provide significantly more detail, emphasing your individual contribution

2. Try to figure out how you approach is different than that of other managers and what makes you better. Perhaps you are a distinctive people person and you were able to coach junior colleagues to deliver beyond the expectations of their role. 

3. Try to think of a very specific example of how you lead the team. Pick one where the context was tough and you were at your best. 

Happy to connect and discuss this in more detail. There's nothing very complicated about cracking the PEI, it's rather about knowing the main points you should hit. 

Good luck!

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Pedro
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Oct 13, 2021
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT Interview | Principal Former Head Recruiter | Launched EY-P Lisbon Office

Your answer was task / process oriented. (It was something on the lines of preparing a hands-off PMO of your own project). But that was not what was being asked. The question was about leadership.

Leadership is about enabing others (to perform at their full potential) in order to achieve a desired result. Notice what I underlined: “Enabling others” + “Desired result”. 

So your answer should discuss how you enable others to perform at full potential: playing their strengths, helping them /backing them up on their weaknesses, minimizing conflict, creating a positive working environment, making sure they don't spend much time on dead-end analysis, ensuring good communication within the team and with its stakeholders (manager, partner, client), you give constant training on the job and meaninful feedback, you keep them motivated and excited, etc. 

To be honest, what I described is in a sense a manager role - the senior consultant role is to support the manager in doing this. That is why a lot of times it is described as being an associate (associate manager). They support the manager either by doing it him/herself, or by intermediating the relationship between the analysts and the manager, or even by giving a positive example.

Of course, one has to make sure that all the “enablement” it is oriented towards project success, i.e., this is not (just) about making sure everyone grows and gets along. It is doing so in the context of pursuing a specific goal. So focusing the team on the right priorities, making sure deadlines are met (or at least well managed), etc., is paramount.

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 14, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi!

Great answers already! Nothing much to add here.

Good luck,

Anto

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 13, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

During your answer make sure you:

1) Start with a quick summary of the context/challenge and what ended up happening

2) Highlight not just the challenge, but what the anticipacted consequence would have been

3) Make sure you took action AND articulate why you did it (i.e. the logic)

4) Finish with a positive end, with tangible results (i.e. we delivered on-time and with glowing reviews)

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Adi
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 13, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey,

You need to bring out following elements:

  • Project/Delivery plan- how did you create, manage & govern this
  • Client expectations alignment
  • Managing the team's activities, having 1-2-1 chats with team members to understand their ambitions and create opportunities on the project for them
  • Anticipating risks/issues
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Agrim
CoachingPlus Expert
replied 10 hours ago
#1 CoachingPlus Expert | 100% no-nonsense | BCG Dubai PL | 2021 Real MBB+ Cases | Case/PEI/Fit/CV | 6+ years Consulting

What you answered - is the mechanics of work division.

As a leader - here are the qualities that you can highlight.

  • Communication: Did you communicate in an effective manner to ensure good productivity and team spirit?
  • Motivation: Did you make efforts to keep the team morale upbeat and on-point?
  • Empathy: How did you handle situations where a team member was having trouble?
  • Effectiveness: How did you make sure everyone was working a synchronised well-oiled machine? (apart from the work division you already mentioned)
  • And any other relevant quality to showcase leadership

THEN, the answer also needs to be narrated in a manner that generates as much excitement in the interviewer as it would do within you. You need to live through it as you tell the incidents.

Happy to help you out in perfecting the stories as well as story-telling skills.

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

CoachingPlus Expert
McKinsey / Oxford grad / ex Firm mock interviewer & internal training faculty / top 25% best consultants in the Firm
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