When the interviewer ask "what is your interest?"

Director Interview Fit questions
New answer on Mar 31, 2022
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 27, 2022

Hi! I am a environmental graduate about to switch to management consulting (so my knowledge about business & economic is still far from excellent). 3 days from now, I am going to do a Director Interview where (many said) he will ask you “what is your interest?” and tailor a case interview based on that questions. What is the “safest” answer should I give so that he will not give me hard cases? I am quite confident about the market sizing, market entry, profitability, M&A, and growth strategy case, but other than that I might fail this interview. Thanks!

(edited)

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Matteo
Expert
replied on Mar 27, 2022
McKinsey & Company | Currently offering 1 free coaching session| Happy to PARTNER with you to get an offer from MBB

Hello, 

thanks a lot for the question. :) 

I can give you 3 main advices

  • Since you are an environmental graduate (by the way well done! We need that!), it makes sense if you tell the interviewer something related to climate change or environmental topics (e.g., electric vehicles). Coherence is very important and much appreciated
  • Unfortunately there is not a specific "safest" answer that you can give. Since you will probably tell the interviewer a topic of your interest, he/her can use this for every type of case. However you seems to be confident in all the most probable ones. No worries!
  • Based on the topic you will suggest (e.g., electric vehicles), prepare yourself accordingly. In particular, the following: 
    • be confident regarding some key trends (e.g., market growth and forecast) 
    • prepare some reasonings and a potential issue tree regarding market size questions (e.g.,"how many electric vehicles are there in America?" or “how many electric vehicle chargers are there in America?") 

Summing up, business consulting cases can be classified according to the following main criteria:  

  • Type (e.g., market size, market entry) 
  • Topic (e.g., kind of industry) 
  • Level of difficulty
  • Interviewer - led  (i.e., McKinsey)  vs Candidate - led (i.e., BCG)

You will propose the Director a topic but, as you can see, you cannot influence all other points. Key is think about a topic of your interest and prepare on it

Do not hesitate to reach out me in case of further questions! 

Good luck!

Matteo 

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Moritz
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Mar 28, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

Make sure you mention something you're not only interested but also:

  • Know something about (no brainer) - personally, I am interested in a bunch of things I know nothing about…
  • Have a passion for (less obvious) - enthusiasm goes a long way in winning people over and making a positive impression. Conversely, if you pick a “safe” topic you know a lot about but can't really show genuine enthusiasm for, you may have a hard time…

I only ever heard of those questions in extended personality interviews. I once got this question myself at Roland Berger and mentioned “languages and cultures” (I lived in 9 countries). I was asked to go deeper and deeper as to why I am interested in this field, what I am doing to educate me, how I am using this in a constructive way, how this may help the firm, etc. You get the point!

Hope this helps a bit! Best of luck!

(edited)

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Andi
CoachingPlus Expert
updated an answer on Mar 28, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi there, 

sounds like a fun question indeed.

Pick a topic you are very familiar with, and equally important, one you enjoy talking about.

Given your environmental background, a topic related to sustainability, renewables etc, maybe in conjunction with emerging markets (→ increases likelyhood of market sizing / market entry cases), could be a natural fit?

Now, having said that, do not try to overthink the topic - in either case you will still need to come well prepared with a robust, and repeatable approach to solving case interviews. Having a slight advantage by influencing the topic by itself will not be enough to succeed, as interviewers are very adept in telling apart raw case performance from impact of familiarity / experience with a topic

If anything, too much familiarity with a topic can sometimes impair case performance, as candidates tend to deviate from using a well-structured approach they would apply when not familiar with the case / industry. Please be cognizant of that and avoid the pitfall! Make sure you come to the interview with an open mind and prepared for anything. 

Hope this helps - wish you all the best for the interview! Do reach out, if you haver further questions. 

Regards, Andi

(edited)

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 28, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

What an interesting question + interview!

Ultimately, you should give an interest that is genuine and that you know the most about.

It's not rocket science here :) If you provide an answer of something that you are well-read and knowledgeable on, then of course you'll do better than if you don't know much about it!

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Mar 28, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

90% of the time I already know which case I am going to give. The candidate's answers won't change that. And I may change the topic - but NEVER EVER the difficulty level, as that would just be unprofessional of me.

When did I change the case topic? If there was something interesting in your experience (which means if you bring up certain topics in your answers I might decide to use them) or… if you started being cocky on a certain topic…

Having said this… you're not thinking straight about this. It is not about passing a easy or difficult case. It's about being able to showcase your abilities. Getting to the right / final answer does not mean you pass the interview and vice-versa.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 27, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

What you mention can happen, but is very very unique! It happened to me in the 2nd round, but the case was totally generic, and what changed was the “object” around which the case evolved. 

What matters for a case is the type of case, not the “subject” itself (e.g., once you do market sizing, you don´t really care if you are counting pianos in this area or babies born i this year)

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 31, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Dont think of “safe answer". Be genuine and talk about something you really like. Speak with passion and be proud. Its okay if “you dont know it all” or cant answer a question here and there.

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Matteo gave the best answer

Matteo

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