How to manage interview schedules while still working at another firm?

MBB Interviewing Scheduling
New answer on Jul 04, 2021
5 Answers
320 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 03, 2021

Hi, I'm wondering how to manage interview schedules while still working at another consulting firm with internsive working hours. As interviews at a single firm would take at least 2 - 3 rounds, what would be some useful 'excuses" to take a day off to attend interviews? In some industries / companies, interview could be scheduled at night or on weekends, but I assume this is not possible for consulting firms. 

Also, if I will apply to MBB firms & tier two firms (experienced hire & rolling bases), should I apply all firms at the same time, or I should apply one firm at a time to spread out the interview schedule? It seems hard to frequently take days off to attend interviews while current projects are still undergoing. Would like to hear your experience & advice. Thanks!

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 03, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Regarding your schedule:

  1. I would spread the interviews out over a couple of weeks, focusing on the top 3-4 firms you would like to work with.
  2. Just take vacation days for the interviews. If you are having pre-rounds with one interview, you can just block that hour of the day.

I think there are four key elements in your preparation.

  1. Stretch out your preparation. While I usually recommend candidates to prepare for 1 month with a few hours every day and some off-days in-between, in your case you might want to take out 3-5 months to spend a few hours every weekend. There is no rush.
  2. Establish a baseline quickly, prioritize and be effective with your prep. This is arguably the part where coaching can help the most. The quicker you have established an objective baseline on where you stand with cases, personal fit interviews, and aptitude tests, the quicker you can start preparing properly, tailor your schedule to train your weaknesses, and improve on your strengths. Also, it pays off big time to learn the key habits needed for MBB early on.
  3. Learn on the job. Don't underestimate how the exposure in your current job will help you with MBB interviews. You will learn more about the consultant's mind and the consultant's communication in your current role, which will benefit you in MBB interviews. Soak everything up in your new job and apply it in your case and fit interview prep and mock interviews!
  4. Don''t burn out. It can be very stressful to prepare for MBB interviews while working long hours in parallel. You want to make sure that you have enough off-time every now and then to relax, focus on your friends / family / hobbies, etc. Don't make the MBB prep your only focus. 

Cheers,
Florian

Was this answer helpful?
Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 03, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey,

Totally doable! Many people are in your situation and get the job done by preparing after office hours and on weekend. I did the same :).

Importantly, make a plan for yourself (4-6 weeks) that fits with your current work & personal commitments. Factor in enough breaks and recreation time. Pull a sick day here and there and take a friday off here and there. Dont over do it obviously. 

If possible, try and schedule the interviews earlier in the morning (830am), Lunch time or late evening (5pm).

Get applying now & spread your options as there will be lead time of few weeks from now anyway before the interviews start landing.

In terms of mindset, focus on giving your best and avoid worrying about the outcome, peer pressure etc. Enjoy this process as there is much to learn too. To speed things up, consider hiring a coach.

All the best.

Was this answer helpful?
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 03, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I believe the best thing is to ask if you can concentrate interviews in a day or max 2 – it would be suspicious if you take multiple Fridays off.

In terms of how to organize the schedule, I think the best thing would be to take the day off – you don’t want to have distractions that day.

In terms of how to schedule interviews, I would apply first to 2nd tiers and then to MBB if possible. If you get an offer from a 2nd tier, it will increase your confidence and decrease the stress for MBB, plus will give you the option to prepare better for the most important interviews if you see you are not ready yet.

Also, a few tips to optimize your performance while preparing for interviews:

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique. You may have to do cases when already tired – it is important that you use correct techniques to maximize your productivity
  2. Practice early morning rather than late at night. It may or may not be feasible given your current job, but for most people mornings are more productive
  3. Optimize time during weekends. You don’t want to overwork during workdays to avoid burn out as mentioned by Ian

Best,

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Henning
Expert
replied on Jul 04, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

There tyo sides to the question here:

  • Managing your own schedule: This is something only you can answer. Depending on habits in your current company, think about taking annual leave, or managing expectations with your supervisors intra-day. 
  • Managing the interviews: The good thing about COVID is that you don't need a full day for interviews anymore. Most firms arrange rounds of 1 or 2 interviews, so you'll only need 2 hours. Especially for experienced hires, the MBB are also flexible with their offered interview slots. If you explain to HR that it's difficult to take too much time off, they will likely try to help you find a slot that works around your schedule as much as possible. 
Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 03, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

The main "excuses" you can pull are as follows:

  1. Annual leave
  2. A "personal" matter
  3. Doctor/dentist

Importantly, try to schedule your interviews when you know there are going to be lulls in your project (a particularly light day after a SteerCo for example).

Was this answer helpful?
Florian gave the best answer

Florian

Content Creator
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months
918
Meetings
15,104
Q&A Upvotes
88
Awards
5.0
410 Reviews