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Interview Question ?! How am I supposed to answer this?

consulting help MBB Real interview question
New answer on Sep 25, 2019
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 23, 2019

Hey everybody! How would you answer the following question. Or what should i focus on when answering it?

"How would you feel if you had to work for someone who knows less than you?"

Thank you in advance!!

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Baris
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replied on Sep 25, 2019
Ex McKinsey | Ex Top Tier Private Equity | Experimenter | Investor | +150 Case Interviews

I think the question is a little vague here so first I would clarify it. Below are the first 2 questions I would ask.

1) In what topic(s) does the person know less than me?

Maybe in one topic (lets assume the core of our business) they know less than me, however they have so much experience on coding (lets assume which is not central to your business but is still important), she/he might help you in that area. It is pretty hard for someone to know less than you in all topics of business/life.

By asking this question first, i think you would be showing the interviewer that you are humble and you realize that you cant know about everything better than everybody else.

2) If they know less than me (which is meant to sound unappealing) why do I have to work for them?

Now this is something that every young business person gets to know at some point in their lives. Not all bosses are smart. They just have money, which is pretty important if you want to get things done and invest in your business for further growth.

So, in fact, if you found someone that has a lot of money, knows less than you about a specific topic, but believes in you and is willing to put her/his money on the table for you. Wouldn't you really want to work for that person? I would!

The point I am trying to make by these 2 questions is, by asking these types of questions, you show the interviewer that you are open minded, and you see other alternatives and potential scenarios in any given scenario no matter how good or bad it may look.

Hope this helps

Cheers

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Marco
Expert
replied on Sep 23, 2019
MBA | Head of Product for a Tech company | Former Strategy& and KPMG Advisory

Hi,

I would stress the fact that you are keen on working with someone who has less knowledge than yourself; although difficult, this is a great challenge to improve both someone else's skillset and your ability to act as the person of reference in a project. The 2 points I would dive deep on are:

1) eagerness to share your knowledge. This is vital to improve the way your peers work and, as a consequence, the performance of the whole team

2) ownership: considering you know more than the other person, you are the ultimate responsible for the decisions that are made. This means you have to be in charge and lead the other person to do what's right

Hope this helped!

Cheers,

marco

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Aws
Expert
replied on Sep 24, 2019
Senior Consultant @ Google | McKinsey, BCG, Bain exp. as Client | 100+ REAL MBB cases

Hi A,

Great question. It's important to let the interviewer know that you are able to work with different kind of people.

In this context I would say:

I am happy to work with people that may know more or less on a certain topic, as they will bring a different viewpoints that I may not have yet considered. I believe that you can learn from every interaction, whether that is with a fellow peer or someone on a different level of the hierarchy

Hope this helps!

Aws

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Baris gave the best answer

Baris

Ex McKinsey | Ex Top Tier Private Equity | Experimenter | Investor | +150 Case Interviews
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