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How to keep replies to FIT questions succint and engaging (and typically how short)?

Khalid asked on Jun 20, 2019 - 2 answers

I have my interview with Bain next week and am mostly concerned with the high-level "Why consulting" and "Why Bain" question. I've long deliberated on those questions and have written down my thoughts but they seem quite long and generic. How do I keep my replies succint (how short exactly do I have to be?) and engaging. My main issue is that if I include stories to make it engaging, my responses end up taking a long time.

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Vlad replied on Jun 20, 2019
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Hi,

These answers are not supposed to be engaging. They are supposed to demonstrate that you know how consulting works and how the particular company works.

“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. No stories
  • 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.

Why consulting

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 our company

It should be your personal research since the reasons may vary in different geographies. Here are some ideas of what you can use to structure your thoughts:

  • You can start with general facts about the local office. Something like “Sidney office is the fastest growing McKinsey office worldwide.”
  • If you have an interest in a particular industry or client this may also be a great reason. For example, McK can be the only consulting firm working with airlines in your region.
  • You may address the different Global opportunities and office initiatives. E.g. international staffing can be a good opportunity to learn about business in a particular country
  • Try to combine professional and Non-business rational. If you have friends working in that company, don’t forget to mention them and what you’ve learned from their experience.
  • You may use your other personal experiences like working with this McKinsey, it's deliverables or as it's client
  • You can provide your personal experience of working with McKinsey Alums

Good luck!

Francesco replied on Jun 21, 2019
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Hi Khalid,

I agree with Vlad that you don’t need stories equivalent to those used for leadership, drive, impact etc. for these questions, although you can definitely put some personal elements in them to make the answer more interesting. In general I won’t need more than one minute to deliver a good answer, you can use a timer to be sure you don’t go too long when practicing.

For “Why Bain”, you can find some suggestions at the following link:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-are-the-key-differences-between-bcg-and-bain-particularly-the-london-office-2730

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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