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Oliver Wyman interview

Edited on Jul 08, 2023
4 Answers
5.6 k Views
Sergey asked on Apr 20, 2018

Hello, dear members of community!

Soon I'm having an HR interview in Oliver Wyman and I'm confused about fit questions.

The point is that I don't know how to answer on 2 questions:

1. Why OW? I tried to search for it but I haven't found anything sufficient.

2. Have you applied to other companies? If you get 2 offers what would you choose? Of course, I did apply to BIG3. Should I be fair? Because if I am, I'll have to answer on the second question which makes me confused. Why will I choose OW not MBB? They have to understand that I will definitely choose MBB, but I have to tell that OW is what i want.

Thank you!


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updated an answer on Jul 08, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Sergey,

In terms of your first point, one of the most important things to understand is why consulting companies ask this question. 

Consulting companies know that most candidates apply to multiple companies and that for the majority of them MBB is the top choice. Thus why such questions?

The key reason is that they want to see if you are able to do due diligence in advance on your target/prospect. If you are going to an interview and have not studied the company you are interviewing with, chances are you will do the same with a client. A consulting company definitely doesn’t want this to happen.

Thus the question translates into how you can show you have done due diligence on the company. Potential options include:

  • Sectors of interest: specific focus of the company in areas interesting to you
  • People you met and culture: specific people of the company you discussed with, and the things they shared on the company
  • Company potential: how much the company grew in the last year, which is a good guarantee for your future career as well
  • Your growth opportunities: specific programs of the company you heard about to enhance your growth
  • Size/reputation of the firm: smaller companies usually offer a more entrepreneurial culture, with higher growth potential internally. Bigger companies have more resources, support staff and international recognition.

Whatever topic you choose, you can apply a simple rule of thumb: if you can substitute the name OW with another, and have the answer still making sense, it means your answer is not specific enough. 

To be specific, you should talk about growth rates/specific people you talked to/specific research paper you read on the company. Yes, that will require some time spent to prepare this question. But will also allow you to stand out, as very few people invest the time preparing on this.

As for your second question, I actually got that question at OW, comparing the company to McKinsey. This is how I approached it and would suggest to approach from your side:

  • I would say that you are indeed in the process with other consulting firms, but would not mention the names
  • If they ask a question such as why OW vs McK, say you find both the companies potential interesting for different reason, and would like to base your decision mainly on the basis of how each company would help you to grow. And on the basis of that, you would like to ask him/her some questions at the end, to understand it better. Eg:

“I think both companies are great, and can allow an interesting career in consulting. I believe my potential final decision would be based on how each company would help me to grow, as this would be one of the most important elements for me. I already know that OW is great for [SPECIFIC REASONS AS THE ONES EXPRESSED FOR QUESTION 1]. On the base of that, I wanted actually to ask you a couple of questions on OW and how it allowed you to grow as a person and from a career point of view”.

In this way, it is the interviewer now who will have to present you the reasons why OW is better than McK, rather than you.



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replied on Jun 29, 2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching

Hi Sergey,

please find advice on your questions below:

  1. Why OW? - Culture is very down-to-earth, they are super good when it comes to financial services topics. Other than that you may only figure out once you talk to current or former OW consultants
  2. Be honest about it in terms of what is important to you - why do you already know that you will choose MBB upon OW? Is it reputation only? If you are 100% sure you would choose MBB over OW, then - to be honest - there is no point in applying for OW. If you are still open, just tell what you are looking for and how you hope to achieve this by joining OW.



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replied on Apr 21, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Answering your first question - It should be your personal research since the reasons may vary in different geographies. Here are some ideas of what you can use to structure your thoughts:

  • You can start with general facts about the local office. Something like “Sidney office is the fastest growing McKinsey office worldwide.”
  • If you have an interest in a particular industry or client this may also be a great reason. For example, Bain can be the only consulting firm working with airlines in your region.
  • You may address to different Global opportunities and office initiatives. Using 1-year relocation as an opportunity to learn about business in a particular country can be a valid reason
  • Try to combine professional and Non-business rational. If you have friends working in that company, don’t forget to mention them and what you’ve learned from their experience.
  • You may use your other personal experiences like working with this company on a client side.

Answering your second question - just tell them that you want to work in consulting and you are in a process of applying to the other companies without any further clarification

Good luck!

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Tom on Apr 22, 2018

Is the Sydney office really the fastest growing McKinsey office?

Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 09, 2020

Dear Sergey,

Why OW company - is a ordinary, but quit specific question. Replying to that you can include the following arguments:
* The general marketing story the company is trying to sell
* Brand / positioning / market share in the region
* More clients / projects / expertise in the industry you are interested in
* More well-known stories of success in your city
* Your friends working there
* Your interactions with the other consultants before the interview
* Your prior experience of working with the Firm on a client side
* Office traditions
* Work experience with firm alumni

Also, for every story, I would recommend you to use a specific structure, which consists of 5 components:

1. Situation (background)

2. Problem (Complication)

3. Your approach (how did you manage this problem)

4. Results (Outcomes of your approach)

5. Your learnings (what you take from this situation)

If you can apply this framework to every of your PEI stories and communicate in a top-down way, you would definitely leave great impression. For more details, feel free to approach me.

Good luck,



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Francesco gave the best answer


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