Informational Interview Winning Strategy/Diversity/Research

Bain BCG Mck McKinsey casing summer internship RolandBerger
New answer on Oct 19, 2020
5 Answers
666 Views
Anonymous A asked on Oct 18, 2020

I am based in the South of Europe, I am an Ivy League grad student and I have a very unconventional qualitative profile. I have been studying cases for a while now. For me it has been super hard to find consultants who want to talk to me through cold emails. The ones who want to talk don't help me to do the inteview at the end, they find 1000 reasons why (covid, my profile, the lack of ...). Is there any hint to share about how to secure an interview when I finally get in touch with them? Is this a normal trend? I have always thought that my uncoventional profile was a strenght but I am starting to think that their focus on diversity it's just marketing, they sadly just hire engineers, MBAs and ITs. Is my insight correct? They always suggest to apply in UK and America, because these countries are more open minded towards qualitative backgrounds. Is it true? But then, are these more competitive as well? Is there any suggestion on how to geolocalize my research? Thanks!

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 18, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Unfortunately there is no single bullet-proof way to ensure any reply. However, without understand the global big picture of your profile it's hard to comment - but based on your description it looks like that the profile is not that much of interest or some major aspects are just missing to complete your profile and skillset, and potentially you need to do your homework first and see how will your profile is really fitting to consulting (doesn't matter if its conventional or not - it's about the fit!).

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Oct 19, 2020

Hi,

A unconventional / qualitative background usually not an issue. It would be helpful if you can share your background to understand a bit better.

Usually, the key important things consulting firms look regardless of background are:

  • Prove of achievement and internal drive for growth
  • Demonstrate analytical capabilities and communication
  • Ability to handle relationship with people from different background / level
Was this answer helpful?
8
Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 18, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

It is extremely unlikely someone will want to give you an interview. Typically for instant referrals for an interview, the following has to be true

  • Mutual Connections – A referral is best when it comes from someone with whom you have a relationship or something in common that lets them refer you easily. For example, people that have gone to your high school are likely to refer you because you share that common facet and they trust you based on it (similar with college, friends of family etc.).

So what happens if you don't have that?

  • Building New Connections – If you don't have this relationship, you need to invest time and energy to build it from scratch with someone you do not know.

How can you do so?

  • During the call aside from other topics, express your interest in working at the firm they work in and ask them what they look for in a candidate.
  • Towards the end of your discussion, save 5 mins to talk about yourself and fit for the position. Specifically ask them what you can work on to improve your candidacy. Everyone needs to work on themselves regardless of their strengths. Write their feedback down in a document so you can track it.
  • Make the effort to work on these points.
  • Email them every 3 weeks to update them on your progress in those areas, and also set up a follow up call in 2 months or so.
  • After 2-3 months of updating them and asking for their advice—assuming you have made actual progress—you should ask them if they are comfortable referring you given the progress you have made or if there is something else that would be helpful for you to work on.
  • Continue working on yourself and building this relationship until you feel you have earned their trust for a referral.
  • It is a long process but it works well. People want to feel invested in your success and by bringing them along on your journey they will be able to see your tenacity first hand.

Best,

Udayan

Was this answer helpful?
Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 18, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there,

To give tailored and better advice, it would be good to have more details into your background as you say its "unconventional". So if you dont mind, feel free to share details via personal message to me.

Firstly, don't get disheartened. The process can be tricky and rejections/disappointment will be part of it. And thats absolutely okay. We are living in cray times with COVID-19 so consultants and hiring managers might not be as responsive. You will overcome this by making a proper plan and executing it. Something clearly is going wrong in the way you are approaching the consultants and perhaps not conveying your story and strengths impactfully.

While there can be local country challenges and cultural styles, most global consulting firms have a pretty open and transparent recruitment process across countries and geographies. Inclusion and diversity is on top of their agendas for sure.

Happy to discuss more and look at your profile in detail.

Adi

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 19, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

Was this answer helpful?
Robert gave the best answer

Robert

Content Creator
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author
473
Meetings
3,800
Q&A Upvotes
47
Awards
4.9
171 Reviews