I've gotten the advice from multiple people that I should try to get a few practice cases done with people who are current consultants at the firm I am applying to. However, I'm not sure how to go about doing this. How do I approach someone with this request? Are they likely to agree/provide help?
How to connect with current consultants to conduct a practice case interview?
I advice against reaching out to random current consultants for them to do practice cases with you! First of all, you are asking for something without bringing anything to the table in return, and even more importantly: it will most likely not be very helpful!
Why that? Well - I have seen it many times with my mentees, who showed a flawed way of thinking, analyzing, or communicating based on "advice" they had received from friends that were in junior positions at MBB firms. Let me be clear: just because someone is working at MBB does NOT mean that he/she gives you good advice on the case interview! The most important feature of a case partner is that he/she has been an actual interviewer at your target firm! There is no point doing a case with a second year BA or Associate who is not regularly interviewing for his firm! He has not been trained according to the prevailing guidelines, does not understand the decision grid, and does not know how to calibrate your performance against offer-level candidates!
So my strong advice is to rather look out for former MBB interviewers (preferably they should have been at least Project Leaders at their firm before leaving!), instead of doing cases with random current consultants!
Here are some tips:
1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference. This definitely the most efficient way
2) If you are an MBA graduate - talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.
3) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Subscribe to newsletters, web groups, etc., and stay tuned. While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.
Talk to people at the events and send Thank You notes:
- Have in mind interesting questions to ask. Skip the boring / negative ones are career growth or work hours. Ask the smart questions about different industries and the future of the consulting
- Do a lot of networking after the event during Q&A sessions
- If you want to keep in touch - send a thank you note after the event (e-mail if they left it or linkedin):
- "I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University...
- It was especially interesting to hear about...
- Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.
4) Approach people on LinkedIn asking for an advice. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to find the people with similar backgrounds / lifepaths / schools and ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it.
6) Talking to partners. If you are an experienced hire I suggest talking directly to the partners in your industry or talking to the partner directly responsible for experienced hires. Get an intro from the HR or from your friends. Partners care a lot about experienced hires they can connect you to someone to practices cases with.
In general, consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time
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