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Should one apply only when fully prepared? How long does it take for the consulting firms to arrange an interview?

Application timing
Recent activity on Jun 17, 2018
2 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 17, 2018

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replied on Jun 17, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

It is highly variable. Some have their first interviews within a few days of applying, while others (like me) wait for a couple of months.

I recommend you start your prep as soon as you know you will be applying, knowing full well that the last couple of weeks before the interviews will be very intense regardless. This, for 3 reasons:

1. It takes time to really 'get' the case interview process. Your brain just needs to sleep on it, and craming at the end won't leave you enough time to do that

2. The skills acquired are portable, and will serve you in other interviews as well - so even if you do not end up having an interview with your dream consultancy, at least you will have prepared for future cases. [note: same skills can and should also be used at work btw]

3. Once you have the interviews lined up, you will naturally start feeling a little bit of stress and your prep will become more intense. Best to start that last phase at a higher overall level of preparation, right?

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replied on Jun 17, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


it depends on the role:

  1. University recruiting usually has the defined dates and you can plan your preparation. It will take 1-3 months to prepare depending on how much spare time you have
  2. Specialists recruiting based on my experience is usually organized to cover some immediate needs, so if you apply for open roles as an expert / specialist in one of the practices - expect to have the interviews quite soon
  3. If you are applying via a referral - you may get an answer pretty soon. However, it may be the invitation for the test. E.g. in McKinsey you have a month to write a test once you are invited.
  4. If you are applying as a generalist, you may get an answer immediately or wait for months (e.g. in New York / London offices)


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