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Interviewing for a German Inhouse consulting firm

Energy inhouse consulting Utilities
New answer on Feb 13, 2023
5 Answers
645 Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 12, 2023

Hello! 

I will be interviewing for an inhouse consulting firm in 3 weeks. It is a small consulting division with ~130 FTE. I want to understand:

A. Interview prep:

1. How is the case prep different than the usual prep for MBB/Tier1s?

2. How deeply should I prepare about the company strategy?

B: Career & work.

3. Since I already come with a Consulting background but was working mostly with external clients, will the work be any different after I enter the firm?

4. Will working in an inhouse consulting restrict my options to proceed into MBB/Strategy&/Kearney after 1-2 years? The industry is Energy & Utilities in Germany and I want to move to the Middle East after a couple of years. 

5. There is absolutely no selling involved inside the firm. I'm worried about not being exposed to any BD. Will this affect my chances of recruitment with any other firms in the future?

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Best answer
Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 13, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Let me take your questions one by one.

A. Interview prep:

1. How is the case prep different than the usual prep for MBB/Tier1s?

It really depends on the firm that you're applying for. If they evaluate candidates based on cases, then the preparation is not that different. I would reach out to HR if I were you to understand what is the format of the interview.

2. How deeply should I prepare about the company strategy?

Strategy? Do you rather mean to learn about the company and how they operate? I would suggest you become really familiar with their website, their value proposition and they typical work they do. The things that are either not clear or not public are then potential questions you could ask about in the interview as a sort of insightful question.

B: Career & work.

3. Since I already come with a Consulting background but was working mostly with external clients, will the work be any different after I enter the firm?

The work in and of itself is not that different (analyses, presentations, etc.) What's significantly different is that the stakeholders will remain the same for long long periods of time. It's not like in a typical consulting firm where you change the client with every project. Here the client stays the same so the most important thing you need to do is to develop strong, trust-based relationships with these people.

4. Will working in an inhouse consulting restrict my options to proceed into MBB/Strategy&/Kearney after 1-2 years? The industry is Energy & Utilities in Germany and I want to move to the Middle East after a couple of years. 

No, it won't restrict your options. Just make sure you have some things to show after all this time (results / impact you can point to).

5. There is absolutely no selling involved inside the firm. I'm worried about not being exposed to any BD. Will this affect my chances of recruitment with any other firms in the future?

No, it won't affect your chances, unless you're planning on entering consulting firms directly as a junior Partner which I don't think you were planning anyway. 

Best,
Cristian

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Benjamin
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replied on Feb 12, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hello,

I'll share a couple of thoughts. Sharing my perspectives based on interviewing and also getting an offer for in-house consulting, and also from conversations with MBB alumni currently now in in-house

1. How is the case prep different than the usual prep for MBB/Tier1s?

  • It is common for interviewer to be an ex-MBB/T2 consultant
  • They are hiring you for specific skillsets (i.e. consulting skillset) and may also prefer that you've done consulting in a particular related field before
  • You should expect that you will be given -some- sort of case, but it may not necessarily be exactly the same as you might get in a typical MBB interview
    • When I was interviewing, the case problems given to me were the actual projects the interviewers were working on at that time, and it was more a discussion than a full ‘dance' like an MBB interview would have been
  • Nevertheless, preparation would still largely be the same because the fundamental skills they are looking for are similar (problem solving, structured thinking, communication etc.)
  • The one difference in prep would probably be to familiarize yourself with industry specific thinking/approaches/terms → this really however depends on the company
    • Some companies prefer consultants who have done cases in relevant industries/same industry, but sometimes they don't bother as much

2. How deeply should I prepare about the company strategy?

  • I assume you are referring to understanding the company's overall strategy (from their annual reports, investor material etc)
  • I think it is helpful to understand in depth more about the company - what it's vision is, where they see themselves, where they are growing etc
  • Generally you'd want to show that you are interested in the company and what it's doing. If reading up on this is a chore, then it also could be an indicator on whether the company is a good fit for you

3. Since I already come with a Consulting background but was working mostly with external clients, will the work be any different after I enter the firm?

  • By and large the work is similar - your work will be project based, it could be strategic, it could be more PMO, but you'll still be doing similar things from a task/process POV
    • You can expect that you will still do analysis, write some slides, come up with insights/recommendations; track initiative projects etc
  • The key difference is that your stakeholders are now internal rather than external. Whether that makes it easier or more difficult - this is very company specific
  • More often than not, Strategy is seen as a support (read non-revenue generating) function. Hence its not uncommon for Strategy to not really have a big say in the company, thus leading to having a challenging time trying to make the BUs change
    • But, I also have friends who are in Strategy functions that are highly regarded in the company
  • Also anecdotally (and also having seen internal strategy decks during my time in consulting), the bar on slides is differently not as high as in consulting :)

4. Will working in an inhouse consulting restrict my options to proceed into MBB/Strategy&/Kearney after 1-2 years? The industry is Energy & Utilities in Germany and I want to move to the Middle East after a couple of years. 

  • It will not restrict your options, but it may not necessarily be value accretive as well
  • If your industry experience is something relevant to the office you are applying to, then yes it may be helpful in the application
  • It is more common for MBB → Industry, than the other way around

5. There is absolutely no selling involved inside the firm. I'm worried about not being exposed to any BD. Will this affect my chances of recruitment with any other firms in the future?

  • Assuming you are coming in below Principal level, the answer is no
  • This has zero bearing on screening and interview evaluation

All the best!

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Hagen
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 12, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on the invitation!

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • First of all, I would highly advise you to reassess your motivation for this role. Most in-house consulting departments are also used as a resource for future leaders in the line organization, so having the plan to exit in a couple of years and go to the Middle East does not seem to align well with this concept. Even more so, I cannot see how that role would fit in with your mid- to long-term goals.
  • Still, the case study preparation should be the same as with other strategy consulting companies. However, I would advise you to focus a little more on energy-related case studies.
  • Given that you want to work at this company it's important to thoroughly prepare for the interview. This is especially true for the corporate strategy because you'll be working in the in-house consulting department, where your future colleagues may have created the corporate strategy, making this information highly valuable for you.
  • When your client is also your colleague, the interaction will be slightly different.
  • Working in in-house consulting will not restrict your options for moving to another industry in the future, nor will a lack of experience in business development activities, unless it is specifically required for your future job.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 12, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

 

1. How is the case prep different than the usual prep for MBB/Tier1s?

If they say you will have a case interview, 90% should be the same. As in, you still need to train the exact same skills.

Here's some critical reading for you: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/pitfalls-case-interview-preparation

2. How deeply should I prepare about the company strategy?

What do you mean? 

I think you mean how well should you understand there? You absolutely need to do your research on the company. You need to know what they do because you need to convince them you know why you want to work for them!

Two identical candidates sit before you. Will you pick the one who did their research and knows the company (and is eager to join) or the one who didn't?

Here's some reading to help you here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/tell-me-about-yourself-interview-question

3. Since I already come with a Consulting background but was working mostly with external clients, will the work be any different after I enter the firm?

Yes, if you are doing internal consulting there will be differences in the work. That said, there will be a lot of overlap. This is a great interview question! (at the end. Make sure you word it properly)

4. Will working in an inhouse consulting restrict my options to proceed into MBB/Strategy&/Kearney after 1-2 years? The industry is Energy & Utilities in Germany and I want to move to the Middle East after a couple of years. 

Not at all! Getting exposure/experience generally improves your candidacy. Of course, this doesn't help you get to the Middle East at all. Make sure to get a lot of projects, progress rapidly in the company, build your network, etc.

5. There is absolutely no selling involved inside the firm. I'm worried about not being exposed to any BD. Will this affect my chances of recruitment with any other firms in the future?

Each role will have pros/cons. Not having selling should impact your chances of being hired as a consultant, but it does affect you the higher up you go (project lead, principal, etc.)

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 13, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) How is the case prep different than the usual prep for MBB/Tier1s?

The basics should be the same. You can ask HR if there is a specific format (eg written case) that might not be present in the standard MBB interview.

2) How deeply should I prepare about the company strategy?

If you mean research on what the company focuses on / future growth, it is useful to do due diligence on that – at the very least, they will help for fit questions like “Why us”.

3) Since I already come with a Consulting background but was working mostly with external clients, will the work be any different after I enter the firm?

I have no direct experience with that but I would expect differences in stakeholder management given there are no external clients anymore. I will leave details to other coaches that might have worked in that vertical.

4) Will working in an inhouse consulting restrict my options to proceed into MBB/Strategy&/Kearney after 1-2 years? The industry is Energy & Utilities in Germany and I want to move to the Middle East after a couple of years.

It depends on the strength of the brand of the company /strategy division. The easiest way to check is to search on LinkedIn where former consultants ended up.

5) There is absolutely no selling involved inside the firm. I'm worried about not being exposed to any BD. Will this affect my chances of recruitment with any other firms in the future?

It depends on when you are planning to exit as selling becomes more relevant for senior positions. I believe the best check will still be what mentioned in #4.

Best,

Francesco

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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