McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 50+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Questions at the end of interview?

Anonymous A

Hi everyone,

I have an interview with a big 4 strategy division and from experience, I've never performed too well in the last "ask me any questions" part. I was wondering what kind of questions candidates usually ask, or what your they're looking to see in this part, or what your thought process should be?

Thank you!

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Sidi replied on 06/11/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 50+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous!

There is a whole lot of great questions you can ask. My best advice is to really think through what interests you most about the job, the firm, or the industry! If you have a particular interest (industry sector, nonprofit area, social engagement, etc.) you can ask if there are touch points/adjacent areas in the firm you could explore. Also, make sure to relate your interests and questions to your background and/or career/life objectives.

That being said, here are a couple of example questions – but by no means exhaustive:

  1. "Can you tell me about your background, and in particular how you ended up as a [company name] consultant?" (if the interviewer has a rather exotic professional/educational background)
  2. "I’d be interested to hear what your most challenging case has been thus far in your career?"
  3. "What do you think are the biggest misperceptions that applicants have about consulting?"
  4. "I’m really interested in [particular interest, such as public sector consulting or renewable energy]. I’d be interested to hear what you know about that area at [company name]"
  5. "I’ve heard from various people who say your firm is [something good about the company] but also that [something bad about the company]. To what extent is this impression accurate?"
  6. "If the interviewer has enough tenure: From your position, how do you think the economic cycles have affected the consulting business over the years?"
  7. "What was your perspective on [company name] before you came in, and how was that changed in your time there?"
  8. "If you could recommend 2 books that all prospective management consultants should read, what would those be?"
  9. "When you think back to your university days, what would be the 2 or 3 things that you wish you’d learned that would have better prepared you for the job today?"

Cheers, Sidi

Alessandro
Expert
replied on 06/11/2018
Bain & Company | University of Cambridge | CV/Resume writing | 770 GMAT

Hi there,

I will firstly caveat that in my experience the final part of the interview has never been a "make it or break it" scenario, and in 99% of cases by that point the interviewer will have already decided if he will pass you or not. However, the final questions can still be an important part of the interview. In my view there's two types of questions you should be asking:

1) Genuine information about the firm you could not find online: you should really take this as an opportunity to ask questions that you genuinely want to know the answer to. However, you shouldn't ask questions that can easily be answered with a google search, as this will make you seem unprepared/not that committed to the firm.

2) Personal questions about the interviewer: Chances are, the interviewer will have either introduced himself and given a short bio at the start of the interview, or you will have a received an interviewer bio before the interviewer. You should tailor your questions to them, and their experience.

Did they do a 6 month transfer to an office in Asia? Ask them about it and how the two offices differed. Was he/she a lawyer before doing an MBA? Ask about it and what made them switch to consulting.

People will much prefer talking about themselves than generic facts about the firm they work for. You are also much more likely to build a rapport with the interviewer this way - therefore, he is more likely to remember you and vouch for you if needed during the recruiting (of potentially, even when you join the firm).

(edited)

Vlad replied on 06/11/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

The main objective is to have a good conversation and highlight your intellectual capacity and curiosity. Thus:

It is ok to ask:

  • Questions that cause positive emotions and highlight consulting pros (e.g. Mck people, getting industry knowledge, becoming an expert in something, building a great network, etc)
  • Questions on the topics you are excited about (e.g. data science, digital, etc)
  • Topics related to the industry in which the interviewer specializes (hint: think of the most common industries in the particular office, go to the company's website and read the recent articles about these industries to come up with the good questions)
  • Non-business questions (e.g. team retreats, office traditions and celebrations)

It's not ok to ask:

  • Questions that can cause negative emotions (e.g. work hours, most difficult project, etc) - you don't want to finish on a negative note, right?
  • The information you should learn before the interview (e.g. typical career path, etc)
  • Questions that may show that you are unfamiliar with consulting work ("Will I be able to work specifically on strategic projects?")

Be prepared and good luck!

Dorothea
Expert
replied on 06/13/2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching

Hi Anonymous,

the last part of the interview is often used by interviewers to confirm the impression they got over the first part of the interview, which means:

Situation A: They trust in your abilities and are likely to vote for you during the discussion round following the round of interviews - they expect you to show genuine interest in what the firm and its consultants do in order to figure out whether this particular consultancy is the right place for you

Situation B: They do not trust in your abilities and are likely to vote against you during the subsequent discussion round - they expect you to ask some general questions, but will be positively surprised if this last part of the interview turns out to be more interesting than expected and that may even change their overall impression

What does this mean for you?

  • Prepare: Prepare a structured set of questions, i.e.
    • Projects (e.g. Does your firm focus on any particular topics / industries, Is there any particular topic that is particularly popular among clients right now?)
    • Team & Culture (e.g. how would you describe your culture, what made you start with this firm, what is the typical background of consultants working with your firm)
    • Skills & Role (e.g. in your opinion, what skills are required to be successful within the firm, how does the training schedule for a junior consultant look like, how much responsibility may junior consultants typically take on?)
    • etc.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the questions you prepared: it is important that you figure out during the interview whether this is a firm you can imagine to work for (that also includes any questions regarding work life balance!) - this is also what the interviewer wants, there is no point in hiring someone who did not dare to ask questions and is disappointed once he starts to work for the firm
  • Add questions that came up during the interview, e.g. based on what the interviewer told about any projects he did or his background - this shows the interviewer that you are not only reading out a ready made list of questions but that you are having a real conversation

The key to any job interview is to be prepared - that includes not only cases and the personal fit part, but also the final Q&A part.

Good luck!

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