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Is the ability to ace interviews a prerequisite to be a good consultant ?

Case Interview consulting101 on the job
Recent activity on Feb 09, 2018
3 Answers
2.9 k Views
John asked on Feb 08, 2018
Looking for regular practice partner

Hello again !

We're all preparing for interviews and wondering if it is a training for the consulting job or more a test to pass. Of course the general business ideas and structuring are important but is being a great interviewee mean you will be a great consultant ? What about training and experience you get as soon as you join ?


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updated an answer on Feb 08, 2018
Former BCG interviewer

In a certain sense YES...without great interview skills you are not given the chance to prove yourself as a great consultant :)

A more serious answer: Definitely not. I've interviewed several false positives unfortunately. Great interviewers and then didn't succeed on the job. Usually for the below reasons:

- lack of practicality

- difficulty in connecting with people

- inability to cope with the pressure

- inability to cope with travel and long hours

Keep honing your interview skills!



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John on Feb 08, 2018

Great input as always.

replied on Feb 08, 2018

Hey John,

You have raised some very good questions, which in my view are arguable for different views.

"Is the ability to ace interviews a prerequisite to be a good consultant ?"

>> Personally, I don't think it is, as I've seen so many really bright and hard working people failing in the interviews and then making into other jobs similar to consulting (e.g., internal strategy department) and becoming amazing "consultants". However, the issue is that if you're not able to ace the interviews, your chances to get into consulting are very limited

"but is being a great interviewee mean you will be a great consultant ?"

>> No, there isn't a single consulting firm in the world that can say its interview method is 100% accurate and establish the relation you imply in your question; however, the large large large majority of people that ace the interview will indeed become a great (at McKinsey we often have a joke about 5% of new hires being a casting error.. but the real number is actually much lower than it!)



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John on Feb 08, 2018

Thanks for the very clear answer !

replied on Feb 09, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Definitely not, but the interviews serve several purposes:

  1. First of all, they show how you will communicate to the client. If you can't do that well on the interview - you'll probably fail it in real life
  2. There are more great candidates than available roles - you have to use some approach to choose
  3. You've mentioned the trainings - don't rely on them in consulting, they are not that beneficial. In that sense, prep for consulting interviews will help you much more than trainings
  4. Is this method accurate? Well, to some point it is. But it's just a filter. There are a lot of false positives and false negatives.
  5. Perceive is as your homework. Why do consulting companies need to hire someone who could not do his homework?
  6. Luck is important anyway, but you have to maximize the odds


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