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Informal Talk - What NOT to do?

Case Interview coffee informal networking
Recent activity on Jul 11, 2017
1 Answer
3.6 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 11, 2017

Hi there,

I have an informal meeting with a top person in a major firm coming up soon but would like to discuss what CAN and CANNOT do in a situation like this, example:

1) Would be ok to take a small diary with written questions?

2) Is it ok to write the most important points that I feel will help me?

3) Is it ok to ask where inside the firm will my profile FIT best?

4) Can I ask for pieces of advice on areas to focus on for the official recruiting process?

5) Is it ok to dress more casual (i.e. without a tie) for a casual one-on-one talk inside the firm?

Thank you!

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Anonymous replied on Jul 11, 2017


it is good to prepare even for informal meetings (I have done several with McKinsey folks before applying and joining). Do not forget that this is an INFORMAL meeting, the other person wants to see genuine you so take it easy, enjoy the talk, prepare good questions that probe a bit but give the other person opportunity to feel good answering them.

Also, prepare a few good stories to tell, and most importantly the WHY: Why are you interested in this firm and in consulting.

Otherwise, more specifically:

1) No, its an informal talk. You could potentially ruin the dynamic. You are there to create a relationship and be remembered

2) No, same as (1)

3) It might be interesting question but will that make any difference for you whether to apply or not? If not, do not ask this, prepare better questions

4) Yes definitely, make sure to word it carefuly though. You do not want to come across as trying to get any advantage

5) Absolutely, though do not go over the board. Casual polo shirt / blouse (you are anonymous) and pants will do just fine


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The Harvard Blonde on Jul 12, 2017

I mostly agree with Jakub, other than a few things. For point 3, this really depends on the firm. I work for BCG and I would have no idea what to do with this question. We differentiate our roles in such a way. I would recommend asking about specific practice areas that are of interest to you. Maybe read up on some of the firm's recent work in XYZ area. Also, for point 5, when is the meeting going to happen? You want to try to match what the other person is wearing, so if they are coming straight from work, they may be wearing business casual. You should too.


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