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OC&C vs MBB expectations?

Anonymous A

Hi,

Last week I had an interview day with OC&C in Germany for an internship Position. This day included 3 case studies, a Group discussion and an analytical Test. My Performance was sufficient to get the internship Position, but In have sind other Interviews the next days,.including MBB, and wanted to ask if the expectations are similar from OC&C to Let's say McKinsey. Mckinsey of course has more applicants but also the capacity to find Projects for them. OC&C only has 120 employees in Germany and the Number of internship slots ist really Limited.

At the OC&C Interview for example I did not really Unterstand One case and needed some help on my way to the result. Would this already mean "no offer" in a McKinsey Interview (assuming the Rest was Not the best Thing they ever saw)?

Could you compare their expectations for applicants or is McKinsey still way more difficult?

Best regards and Thanks for your help.

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Currently non-active expert replied on 05/15/2017

Hi anaonymous!

I don't have the direct comparison, however, let me comment on your "help in case interview" question:

In general, the cases here (BCG) tend to be so hard, that most interviewees will need some help here and there (about 90% of interviewees for my case, including second rounds). Needing some help is definitely acceptable, as long as you deal with it the right way, e.g.

Bad: Make assumptions about an industry/business you don't know
Good: Admit you don't know this industry and ask the interviewer

(Sounds like common sense, but still an issue with many interviewees)

Of course, there is a limit - you can't just ask the interviewer everything and try to get to a solution like this ;)

Hope this helps!

Francesco replied on 05/20/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for coaching sessions (1400+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

I don’t have direct experience with OC&C, however in general the criteria for being selected in interviews at MBB for junior positions are very similar to other top-consulting firms (Roland Berger, Oliver Wyman, ATK etc.).

As you mentioned, there are two main elements that may influence this general rule:

  • Demand. MBB gets more applications, as some people apply for MBB only as for the prestige and better exit opportunities they have. This means you will have more competition, and since consulting companies normally hire specific numbers, lower likelihood to get an offer compared to other consulting firms, everything equal.
  • Supply. There are two reasons why consulting companies look for new hires: (i) new projects sold and (ii) replacements for consultants leaving the company. In boom periods MBB are more likely to hire more as their projects are usually bigger; however, this also means they may be less likely to hire after a high recruiting season, unless there is an occasional high need for replacement (typical after the bonuses are provided).

Given this demand-supply equation, so far that your performance is ok (not exceptional, but also not bad), you may end or not with an offer on the basis of the demand-supply equilibrium of the firm in that particular moment, whether the company is a MBB or not. Usually, the demand side of the equation weights more, making more difficult to be hired by MBB compared to other companies with an equivalent performance, but this is not always the case. I have heard several times of people who got invited by MBB and got rejected by all the smaller consulting companies due to the fact they were not in need of people in that period.

As for my experience at McKinsey, you can ask for help during the case, but you will have to do great in all the remaining areas to move to the next round. The degree to which that may be an issue would depend on what exactly you needed support with (it is very different to need help on simple math or on some specific details of a very complex industry) and their comparison between you and other candidates for the position.

Best,

Francesco

Jonathan
Expert
replied on 07/04/2018
McKinsey & Company | University of Cambridge | 50+ cases in various settings

Hey A,

For perspective, I am German and applied to OC&C Germany and McKinsey Germany, and got offers from both, amongst others.

OC&C vs McKinsey difficulty: I think the expectation are similar, though of course slightly higher generally at McKinsey as they have a bigger and more competitive applicant pool than OC&C - but this is a minor factor, one mistake does not mean you fail McKinsey, and a decent interview does not guarantee OC&C.

Not understanding / needing help: But not understanding part of a case and needing help will in no way by itself lead to you being failing a McKinsey interview - that is completely normal and happens to most people. Just be frank and efficient about it, and say which parts you need help with and in what way.

Interview culture differences: One key difference I would note in interviews with these firms was that McKinsey has a much stricter idea of what they want to see in the personal part of the interview - they expect you to nail their their desired qualities with good stories, whereas as OC&C this part is more general chit-chat. Specifically, these McKinsey qualities are:

  • personal Impact
  • entrepreneurial drive
  • problem solving skills
  • leadership abilities

Hope this helps :)

Best wishes

Jon

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