Current BCG Active Project Leader |Former A.T. Kearney |+8Y of consulting experience | Received 8 consulting offers in the past 2Y
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Tips on how to approach interview prep for a lawyer

Geunhak

Hi everyone,

I come from a legal background and have started looking into the interview processes as I intend to make a career change. It's a bit overwhelming how different the interview process is for consulting is vis-a-vis a legal position. If anyone has been through this route (or switching in from a completely different industry into consulting), I'd be grateful for some pointers on how to make this process efficient.

I know that a serious weakness of mine is with math so working on that... and also having to familiarise myself with the various business concepts/basic frameworks. Is it worth forcusing on this first before diving into cases or doing both in tandem?

Thank you!

(edited)

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Hugo
Expert
replied on 09/07/2017
Current BCG Active Project Leader |Former A.T. Kearney |+8Y of consulting experience | Received 8 consulting offers in the past 2Y

Hello Geunhak,

During business school, I had many friends that were lawyers, architects, and, even, a professional water polo player that made it into consulting through hard work and focusing on their weaknesses.

In my experience, the case interview (including math) can be mastered through practice. However, the fit part during the interviews are critical, especially to convey coherently why you want to switch career, which skills would you bring to the table and why they should hire you instead of other good candidates with business experience. These are a few of the questions you will encounter during your interviews.

If you are interested, we can develop together an action plan to get you in shape for the interviews.

Regards,

Hugo

Francesco replied on 09/08/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (1000+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Geunhak,

I agree with Hugo, for most non conventional backgrounds (everything different from business/engineering with some years of experience, not coming right after an MBA), the main question mark for the interviewer would be the fit part. In order to work on that, my suggestions would be:

  1. Try to understand in depth what the consultant job/lifestyle is about. Ideally you may want to organize a conversation with a friend in consulting; if that’s not feasible, you may find a good amount of information on PrepLounge and Quora on that
  2. Prepare in advance on a good number of fit questions, ideally with experience candidates on PrepLounge or an Expert
  3. Keep a journal with mistakes and improvement and work on them each day

Besides that and the usual case preparation, coming from a not-business background I would concentrate on the following:

  1. Math. As you mentioned, that’s a critical part interviewers will check from non-quant backgrounds to spot potential weaknesses. The best thing would be defining a daily programme of at least 5-10 mins for math, so that you can keep in shape.
  2. Communication. Consultants have a specific, structured way to communicate. They use a lot of numbers and do not provide excessive long answers (As an example, the typical beginning of the case is: “In order to help our client, I would like to focus on three main areas. Number 1 we may work on [FIRST TOPIC], Number 2 on [SECOND TOPIC], Number 3 on [THIRD TOPIC]. If this is fine for you, let me go deeper in each of them.”). Communication of structures with no numbers or too long/unstructured answers will be penalized.
  3. Business terms. You may find business terms challenging not coming from a business background. In order to work on that, it would be ideal to read a good amount of cases from Consulting MBA Handbooks (there are several available for free online), create a list of all the main terms you are not familiar and analyse the topics.

As for the actual case preparation method, a potential programme could include the following:

  1. General understanding of the process: get a general idea on what a consulting interview is about
    • Resources: Victor Cheng free videos, PrepLounge Resources section
  2. Learning structures and main fit questions
    • Resources: Victor Cheng Look Over My Shoulder, MBA Handbooks, PrepLounge Resources section, Expert sessions
  3. Practicing with live partners to apply knowledge and improve communication
    • Resources:PrepLounge P2P interviews, friends preparing for consulting
  4. Final review to eliminate the last mistakes
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews (experienced users), friends working in consulting, Experts sessions

As for the time required, in order to be able to receive an offer from MBB, you will probably need to put 150-200 hours, starting from zero, working on your own (less if you have experienced partners/experts). Below you can find more information on that:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/when-to-start-with-preparation-for-an-interview-in-consulting-795

Hope this helps,

Francesco

(edited)

Vlad replied on 09/17/2017
McKinsey / Accenture / More than 300 real MBB cases / Collected all Big 3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Many people who apply don't have a relevant background. That also means you have to develop business knowledge prioritizing the industries that are most common in cases.

Focus on the most common industries in the following priority (sorted by probability of geting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

There are several sources of info to develop business sense:

1) Cases - you simply solve 50-70 cases and get a broad knowledge of different industries, common pitfalls and questions. The key here - find good partners who already had case interviews with MBB companies

2) Company reports, equity reports, IB roadshow docs - usually have a good overview of company and industries.

3) HBS cases - quite useful, but not sure if lot's of them available publically. Probably worth buying

4) Books - one good book about airlines with numbers and industry analysis can give you all needed industry knowledge

5) News, Industry blogs

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams
  • Cost structure
  • Margins
  • Key performance indicators
  • Key revenue drivers
  • Industry trends

I strongly recommend practice drawing structures for each industry - profitability, value chain, etc

Then I will switch to getting functional knowledge: Marketing, supply chain, finance

Good Luck

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