Quereinsteiger

Application Casual Questions
Edited on Jan 14, 2022
6 Answers
365 Views
Patricia
Skilled
asked on Jan 13, 2022
Intermediate / advanced cases preferred

Hallo,

ich bin Dipl. Ing. Luft- und Raumfahrttechnik und habe schon mehrere Jahre Flugerprobung hinter mir, etwas Company Performance Management und Executive Assistant eines SVP, Marketing Manager fuer ein kleines, unabhängiges Resort in der Karibik fuer das ich dann sozusagen als last woman standing seit Pandemiebeginn auch das gesamte Hotel Management übernommen habe. Wissbegier und strategisches Denken sind meine Talente und der Beruf Consulting taucht immer wieder in Vorschlägen auf. Was meint ihr, habe ich als Quereinsteigerin im Consulting Chancen? Welche Consulting Firmen könnten zu mir passen?

Danke im Voraus!

edited: translation to English below:

I'm an aeronautical engineer, spent several years in flight test, and have other experiences in company performance management, executive assistant for a SVP, marketing manager for a small, independent resort in the Caribbean. I also served as the hotel manager for this resort once pandemic hit. strategic thinking and curiosity are my talents and consulting pops up over and over again in job suggestions. I'm wondering how my chances are as a career changer? which consulting companies might be a good fit for me?

(edited)

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 14, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Patricia,

The natural way to move to consulting given your background would be an MBA. However I saw you are 41, which doesn’t make this path very likely for top MBAs.

I would probably target consulting companies with focus on the sectors you worked on.

You will have to work on two main parts to land an offer in consulting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STEP 1: GET THE INVITATION

There are three main things you need to be invited for interviews:

  • great CV
  • great Cover (not always required)
  • referral – the more senior the person the better

A) CV

The key elements they will look for and that you have to optimize are:

  • University brand
  • Major
  • GPA
  • Work experience
  • Experience abroad
  • Extracurriculars and volunteer experience

For experienced hires like you, the university part becomes less relevant while the work experience is key.

Red flags include:

  • Low GPA
  • Lack of any kind of work experience
  • Bad formatting / typos
  • 3-4 pages length
  • Lack of clear action --> results structure for the bullets of the experiences
  • Long paragraphs (3-4 lines) for the bullets of the experiences with irrelevant details
  • Long time gaps without any explanation

B) COVER

You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.

C) REFERRAL

To find a referral, you should follow three steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write to them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

You can find more information on the steps here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

If you need help with getting an invitation please PM me, I do a session where we can optimize everything you need for an invitation (referrals included).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STEP 2: GET THE OFFER

I usually recommend the following to prepare:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before the interview and allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the points below. Many candidates need 100+ hours to be ready before the interview so you can keep that as a benchmark
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books, as they are not good enough nowadays
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure to solve them. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insight. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb better the information with constant learning
  4. After the first 5-10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. PrepLounge can be helpful to connect with other candidates for that. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback from experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both the fit and the case part. The case part should also cover market sizing, math and graph analysis
  5. Before the interviews, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – a great way to show you prepared in advance and to connect with the interviewer for a good final impression

If you want to spend few hours only instead of 100+ and cover everything mentioned above, I developed a program precisely for that. You can click on the link below to learn more:

https://www.case.tools/gym-program

After this program, you will know exactly what to expect in the interview, what to work on, and how to focus on the real differentiator to land a top consulting offer.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please feel free to PM me if you need more information.

Best,

Francesco

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Patricia on Jan 14, 2022

Thanks Francesco for the breakdown!

Hagen
Expert
replied on Jan 13, 2022
Current Bain & Company Project Leader and interviewer | 250+ interviews conducted | 6+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hallo Patricia,

zunächst einmal Gratulation für die beeindruckende Karriere bislang!

Dies ist in der Tat eine interessante Frage, die wahrscheinlich für eine ganze Reihe von Nutzern relevant ist, weshalb ich gerne meine Sichtweise dazu darlege:

  • Grundsätzlich ist die Strategieberatung einer der diversesten Branchen, die Quereinsteigern fast) immer offen steht.
  • Entscheidend über Erfolg und Misserfolg deiner Bewerbung sind insbesondere die Relevanz deiner bisherigen Berufserfahrung und deine Zielunternehmen. Kannst du ggf. hierzu ein paar Einblicke teilen?
  • Zuletzt würde ich dir empfehlen - weil es ein guter “Lakmus-Test” ist und du erste Eindrücke über deine Zielunternehmen sammelst - dich für Recruiting-Events (für Berufstätige) zu bewerben. Sofern du dort eingeladen wirst, ist die Chance grds. sehr hoch, dass du auch zu den Interviews eingeladen würdest.

Falls du eine detailliertere Diskussion führen möchtest, wie du deine Bewerbungsunterlagen bestmöglich für die Strategieberatung vorbereiten kannst, melde dich sehr gerne direkt bei mir.

Viele Grüße

Hagen

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Patricia on Jan 14, 2022

Thanks Hagen! I'm learning so much! I'm driven by having an impact and adding value through my work. The motivation is not necessarily to end up at one of the Big 3.

Hagen on Jan 14, 2022

Hi Patricia, in that case, strategy consulting will certain be the right place to work for you! Let me know in case you want to have a more detailed discussion. Best, Hagen

Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 14, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi Patricia,

I´m the last person to take away someone´s dreams but I´d like to help you narrowing down your scope (and I have to be blunt). With the amount of experience you have at 41 years old, certain doors will have closed while others are still open.

Generalist consulting (very difficult): Generalists at top consultancies either start after graduation as Business Analysists (or equivalent - depends on firm) OR after an MBA/several years of experience (typically <10 years). In that case they start as an Associate/Consultant, which is the level before project lead. With your background, you'd simply not match the desired profile (I could go in depth here but there´s internal reasons and also client expectations).

Specialist consulting (possible): Some top consultancies like McKinsey employ specialists (much more so than BCG and Bain) that often start with plenty of experience under their belt. They become firm experts to support teams across the globe in very specific projects. They are not generalists and don't typically lead projects or follow the traditional consulting path. However, they can become partners (it´s a little tricky to explain). Also, there are some specialized consultancies for the aeronautics sector (my brother in law is running one). Here, you could very well enter as a "Quereinsteiger".

Please let me know if you´d like to learn more!

Liebe Gruesse und viel Erfolg!

(edited)

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Patricia on Jan 14, 2022

Great intel Moritz, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! Bluntness is much appreciated ;)

Stephan
Expert
updated an answer on Jan 13, 2022
Former BCG Con and political advisor here to help you crack the case (MBB, Europe & MidEast, non-business backgrounds)

Hi Patricia, 

sehr spannender Werdegang auf jeden Fall, und schön, dass du dich für Consulting interessierst :-)

Konkret müssten wir wohl noch ein wenig mehr über dich wissen - wo du studiert hast, wieviel Budget- und Personalverantwortung du bisher hattest, etc. Auf Basis deines Texts ist deine Chance ca. 50/50, hängt auch von weiteren Faktoren ab - dein Alter, die Geschwindigkeit deines beruflichen Aufstiegs, Habitus, usw. 

Dabei gehe ich davon aus, dass du zu einer Top-Strategieberatung willst. Für eine Boutique, die auf deine Industrie spezialisiert ist, stehen die Chancen natürlich höher! 

Generell würde ich dir jedenfalls raten, dich bei größeren Firmen (MBB, aber auch Tier 2) für deren Workshops für Menschen mit Berufserfahrung zu bewerben. Wenn sie dich dort nehmen, ist es schon einmal ein gutes Zeichen, und du kannst mehr über die Firma lernen.

Ansonsten sind HR/Recruiting-Mitarbeiter im persönlichen, informellen Gespräch sicher auch gern bereit, dir eine erste Einschätzung zu geben - auf Basis deines CVs oder LinkedIn-Profils.

Meld dich gerne bei Rückfragen

Stephan

(edited)

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Patricia on Jan 14, 2022

Hi Stephan, thanks so much for your answer, much appreciated! Learned that this is more of an English speaking platform so I adapt ;) I'm 41 years old, got my Diploma at the University of Stuttgart and was driven in the past more by the job experience and how much I can learn than of how much it adds on to my career. Nevertheless, I managed subcontractors in my flight test role. When serving as a hotel manager I designed and implemented our pandemic strategy. I hired and trained up local staff which was an interesting challenge, both in terms of culture and education level. Budget responsibility yes, managing a resort in pandemic state of emergency kept the numbers very small though and frugality, while ensuring an amazing guest experience, was the motto. I'll customize my CV, will start to reach out to HR, and will also look into the workshops you mentioned. That's a great advice, thanks for that!

Lucie
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 14, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi Patricia, 

it seems we have a lot in common, I am an experienced hire with 13 years of industry experience → in hospitality and the travel industry (and also lived and worked in the Dominican Republic :-)) prior to joining BCG. 

You definitely have chances to switch your career to MBB (they are very eager to get profiles like yours, I participated in one initiative to attract senior women), very likely classifying for the Expert career track. With your background is very important to understand what is expertise you are bringing and understand well which role to apply for. I also think is worthy to understand what are the differences between industry and consulting jobs to reconfirm you will enjoy it. Before practicing your cases. 

If you would like to chat about this, please feel free to reach out, I would be happy to connect and answer all the questions you may have and explain where your options are as an experienced hire on an Expert career track. 

 

Wishing you all the best,

Lucie

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(edited)

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Patricia on Jan 14, 2022

You are amazing Lucie! Happy to connect!

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 13, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Patricia,

Looks like we have a fair few coaches that speak English, so it looks like you're in good hands :)

If you're able to ask in English I'd be happy to provide my input as well!

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Patricia on Jan 14, 2022

thanks Ian! Still familiarizing with this wonderful platform! added the translation :)

Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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