as for your first point, one of the most important thing to understand is why consulting companies ask such question. Of course, every consulting company knows that 90% of the interviewees are doing multiple application in consulting, 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 going to interview with, chances are you are going to do the exact same thing with the client. And a consulting company definitely doesn’t want this happening.
Thus the question translates in 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 for 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.