Startup Founder to Consulting?

Advice Entrepreneurship Experienced
New answer on Oct 06, 2022
3 Answers
Oliver asked on Oct 04, 2022

Hey All, 

I'm currently CEO at a D2C Nutrition Startup that I founded 4 years ago. 

Prior to that I spent 5 years in Real Estate Investment (valuation & analyst work, predominantly) for one of the biggest advisory firms. I have an MSc in Real estate and LLB in Law from a target University (I assume as McK were at our Careers events!). 

I'm looking to take a step forward in my career, and having spent 4 years solving problems under existential pressure and learning hard business lessons, I'm really interested in moving into consulting. 

I've put in an application to McK and was invited to take the Imbellus test, but I would love to hear your thoughts on if, how and where I should be putting my efforts. 

Thanks for your thoughts!


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replied on Oct 04, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hey Ollie,

You have an impressive background! I'm sure McKinsey would love to have you.

Imbellus: Play the practice game multiple times before taking it. The difference between going in “warmed up” and knowing the rules versus figuring it out on the fly is immense.

Casing: Get casing now. Given you seem busy and have short timelines, I would recommend a coach to guide you in the process, but it's ultimately your call. Here's some reading:

Fit: Don't worry about it until a week or two out. Then, make sure you have your PEI stories prepared. Additionally, make sure you have your “Three Whys” prepared. Some reading here:


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replied on Oct 06, 2022
Ex-Mckinsey (analyst->associate->manager) and now in tech (Bytedance) + Part time interview coach and mentor

Hey Oliver!


Interesting profile :)  I do have to say though, consulting is super different than the startup/tech world. It is however a perfect base and it's pretty fast-paced. You'll learn a lot in a very short period of time.


Regarding the preps, typically I would recommend the following flow:

1- Read “case in point" or some Victor Cheng material, to understand the basics

2- Practice cases alone to start grasping more and more the different types 

3- Note down your top personal stories and ensure they cover a set of skills interviewers look for (e.g., leadership, teamwork, innovation, problem solving). Also practice typical interview questions (strengths, weaknesses etc.,)


I can't stress enough how important practicing is to nail consulting interviews. You can do so with peers but I would also encourage you to practice directly with coaches. This would help you put yourself in the actual interview setting (incl., the time pressure, interviewer choosing the flow not you etc.,) and would reveal the areas you need to focus on more as you approach the actual interviews


Regarding the McK test, the practice test is very helpful and is pretty similar to the real thing. Do some online readings about it, do the practice test multiple times and you should be fine.



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replied on Oct 05, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach

Hi Ollie,

You have a great background to get into consulting! Since you are already in the application process, I would recommend practicing for the Imbellus test, as well as starting to practice solving cases. 

For Imbellus, I would recommend looking up old tests / examples online, and working through those.

For case interviews, start by learning about what case interviews look like if you are not familiar with them already (e.g., skim books like Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets, look up some guides online, find some video/audio examples of good casers solving a case - some are available on company website or case workshops posted to YouTube). Once you have a basic understanding of what a case interview involves, I would get practicing! I would be happy to talk more if you want more detailed advice on this, just shoot me a message.

You will eventually also want to prepare for the behavioral component of the interview. However, since case interviews have a more idiosyncratic format, they tend to take candidates more time to get comfortable with, so I would start there. 

Best of luck, and feel free to reach out if you want any more advice!

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