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Clara

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4

What should I do now?

Hi, I am seeking advice from consultants concerning my current situation.

I am a French student who landed an end study offer at Oliver Wyman in Paris, which is really great for me. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic situation, my starting date has been delayed to January 2021 (instead of September 2020). Therefore, when I will finish my master's degree in one month, I will be left with 6 months of free time.
I am very stressed about the situation as it seems that most of my classmates will start in September or even earlier (probably remotely). I don't really know what to do now, I am afraid that not working/interning during this 6-month gap will look bad for me.
My goal is to land a full-time offer after my internship, which is common in Paris. However, I am not sure how easy it will be to get a full-time position considering the pandemic and different needs of consulting firms next year. In addition, the Paris partners have offered the opportunity to convert my end study internship into a full-time position if I successfully passed two interviews with two partners in September. However, I don't feel this is something I can manage, I am not confident in my interviews skills and I don't have experience in consulting. In case I fail this last round of interviews, I will keep my internship offer.

I have read many posts about what to do to prepare before entering consulting (preparation for Excel, Powerpoint, networking, soft skills etc), but still, considering I have 6 months ahead of me, I am unsure as to what to do. Should I find a job for a couple of months? How can I make the most of these 6 months? Will it look bad to the two partners I will meet in September if I am not working/interning?

Please excuse me for this long message, as you can see I am quite worried.

Many thanks,

Hi, I am seeking advice from consultants concerning my current situation.

I am a French student who landed an end study offer at Oliver Wyman in Paris, which is really great for me. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic situation, my starting date has been delayed to January 2021 (instead of September 2020). Therefore, when I will finish my master's degree in one month, I will be left with 6 months of free time.
I am very stressed about the situation as it seems that most of my classmates will start in September or even earlier (probably remotely). I don't really know what to do now, I am afraid that not working/interning during this 6-month gap will look bad for me.
My goal is to land a full-time offer after my internship, which is common in Paris. However, I am not sure how easy it will be to get a full-time position considering the pandemic and different needs of consulting firms next year. In addition, the Paris partners have offered the opportunity to convert my end study internship into a full-time position if I successfully passed two interviews with two partners in September. However, I don't feel this is something I can manage, I am not confident in my interviews skills and I don't have experience in consulting. In case I fail this last round of interviews, I will keep my internship offer.

I have read many posts about what to do to prepare before entering consulting (preparation for Excel, Powerpoint, networking, soft skills etc), but still, considering I have 6 months ahead of me, I am unsure as to what to do. Should I find a job for a couple of months? How can I make the most of these 6 months? Will it look bad to the two partners I will meet in September if I am not working/interning?

Please excuse me for this long message, as you can see I am quite worried.

Many thanks,

4 answers

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Book a coaching with Clara

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Hello!

I see two different courses of action here:

1- Accepting that you will start late and using the time to prep

If this was the case, I would suggest you to deep-dive in Excel. Excel skills are part of the core skill-set of consultants, and it´s great that you want to practice them. PFB a list of the most popular commands:

  • Basic operations: SUM, SUMPRODUCT
  • Text transformations: CONCATENATE, LEFT, RIGHT, & operator,
  • Connecting different datasets: VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX(MATCH(),MATCH())
  • Conditional-based operations: SUMIF, COUNTIF, SUMIFS, COUNTIFS, COUNTA
  • Learn how to analyze data using Pivot Tables

There are plenty of online materials:

  • Microsoft Support: https://support.office.com/en-us/excel
  • Kubicle: https://kubicle.com/personal (go for the 7 days free trial - Excel for Business Analytics)​

2- Keep interviewing for MBB and land another offer for sept

If you passed OW, you already did all the prep needed, and you would have no pressure at all if you tried again with other companies.

This, by itself, it´s a learning, even if you don´t land other offers.

Finally, you can also do both at the same time, try again with other companies and learn excel and other skills.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

I see two different courses of action here:

1- Accepting that you will start late and using the time to prep

If this was the case, I would suggest you to deep-dive in Excel. Excel skills are part of the core skill-set of consultants, and it´s great that you want to practice them. PFB a list of the most popular commands:

  • Basic operations: SUM, SUMPRODUCT
  • Text transformations: CONCATENATE, LEFT, RIGHT, & operator,
  • Connecting different datasets: VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX(MATCH(),MATCH())
  • Conditional-based operations: SUMIF, COUNTIF, SUMIFS, COUNTIFS, COUNTA
  • Learn how to analyze data using Pivot Tables

There are plenty of online materials:

  • Microsoft Support: https://support.office.com/en-us/excel
  • Kubicle: https://kubicle.com/personal (go for the 7 days free trial - Excel for Business Analytics)​

2- Keep interviewing for MBB and land another offer for sept

If you passed OW, you already did all the prep needed, and you would have no pressure at all if you tried again with other companies.

This, by itself, it´s a learning, even if you don´t land other offers.

Finally, you can also do both at the same time, try again with other companies and learn excel and other skills.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

(edited)

Thanks for your kind answer, I will for sure dive deeply into prep (Excel and ppt mainly). I started some online classes on Coursera for Excel and financial modeling. I have also already interviewed with BCG and McKinsey, went to second and last round respectively but didn't land an offer. I also don't intend to interview with other consulting firms. Clara, do you think I should look for a job during these 6 months? — Anonymous A on May 21, 2020 (edited)

Book a coaching with Ian

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Hi,

I recognize the concern - it'll all work out in the end, I promise :)

Let me respond with a very short+clear recommendation. You should do two things: Get a job AND prepare for interviews.

In my view, there's no downside to this. Can you let me know if you have something else holding you back in this aspect?

By the way, if anyone is interested in trying out cases that deal with other impacts of COVID-19, check out these two cases:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/brain-teaser/beginner/coronavirus-times-194

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/candidate-led-usual-style/intermediate/chinese-chess-191

Hi,

I recognize the concern - it'll all work out in the end, I promise :)

Let me respond with a very short+clear recommendation. You should do two things: Get a job AND prepare for interviews.

In my view, there's no downside to this. Can you let me know if you have something else holding you back in this aspect?

By the way, if anyone is interested in trying out cases that deal with other impacts of COVID-19, check out these two cases:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/brain-teaser/beginner/coronavirus-times-194

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/candidate-led-usual-style/intermediate/chinese-chess-191

(edited)

Thanks Ian for your answer. I have two reasons that make me question myself. 1) Most firms in Paris have stopped recruitment process until September. So I will only be able to work a maximum of 4 months, and I think it is quite diifcult to find. Also, considering that I have already interviewed with top consulting firms, I don't think I can land a better job in consulting than Oliver Wyman. 2) I need to go back to Hong Kong where I have studied for the past two years and settle some things. Most likely I will only be able to go back after September and this is another constraint for me, which potentially can get in the way of me starting a job in September. I am considering doing volunteering work, which is something I always wanted to do. Ian, do you think it is a good idea? Would it harm my career/lower my chances to get a full time position at Oliver Wyman? — Anonymous on May 22, 2020 (edited)

Hi, in short, I don't think it would directly harm/lower your chances at the full-time position. Send me a message and let's talk more in detail about this? — Ian on May 26, 2020

Dear A,

First of all, my congratulations to your offer with Oliver Wymann. This is really great! Just to take your stress out, I would like to say that it doesn't matter now and in future also what you are going to do in upcoming 6 months, because you are going to start with one the top firms in January 2021. So be patient.

At the very end you could also take a leave and travel around (if you can afford it), because after you start, your free time will shrink significantly. Also, you may take an internship, but honestly, I would simply just use this spare time and spend it with your friends or on your own. You can also devote this time to taking care of yourself, your health, your family. I've got a chance to do a sub articles some time ago, and it was definitely one of the best time in my life.

If you need any further advice, feel free to reach out and I would be happy to help you.

P.S. I'm also preparing the candidates for successful start in their career and design a program specifically for that purpose.


Wish you good luck,
André

Dear A,

First of all, my congratulations to your offer with Oliver Wymann. This is really great! Just to take your stress out, I would like to say that it doesn't matter now and in future also what you are going to do in upcoming 6 months, because you are going to start with one the top firms in January 2021. So be patient.

At the very end you could also take a leave and travel around (if you can afford it), because after you start, your free time will shrink significantly. Also, you may take an internship, but honestly, I would simply just use this spare time and spend it with your friends or on your own. You can also devote this time to taking care of yourself, your health, your family. I've got a chance to do a sub articles some time ago, and it was definitely one of the best time in my life.

If you need any further advice, feel free to reach out and I would be happy to help you.

P.S. I'm also preparing the candidates for successful start in their career and design a program specifically for that purpose.


Wish you good luck,
André

Book a coaching with Emily

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Hi there,

I wouldn't be particularly worried about a 6 months gap in school. Esp given the COVID situation, you have a valid reason for the gap, so it wouldn't look bad on you. No need to FOMO.

Regarding how you can make the best use of the 6 months, though, definitely you can do 2 things:

Get prepared for your end study internship; get familiar with all the tools and hard skills to get a head start. This would be no-regret move anyway
Continue to prep for case interview, given that you would have interview in Sep if you want full time job. And if you prepare well, you can also apply other companies for full time too. So I see this as no-regret as well.

Best,

Emily

Hi there,

I wouldn't be particularly worried about a 6 months gap in school. Esp given the COVID situation, you have a valid reason for the gap, so it wouldn't look bad on you. No need to FOMO.

Regarding how you can make the best use of the 6 months, though, definitely you can do 2 things:

Get prepared for your end study internship; get familiar with all the tools and hard skills to get a head start. This would be no-regret move anyway
Continue to prep for case interview, given that you would have interview in Sep if you want full time job. And if you prepare well, you can also apply other companies for full time too. So I see this as no-regret as well.

Best,

Emily

Thanks a lot Emily! I will continue preparing for both then. I am considering doing some volunteering work during these 4 months. It is something I always wanted to do and something that will give me more flexibility. Do you think it's a good idea? Would it look bad for my interviews in September? Thanks again Emily. — Anonymous A on May 22, 2020

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