German/English BCG Consultant who also cracked Bain, Strategy& etc.
Book a coaching

When to start with preparation for an interview in consulting?

Jonas
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Jan-Philipp (BCG)
Expert
replied on 08/23/2017
German/English BCG Consultant who also cracked Bain, Strategy& etc.

Hi Jonas,

In my experience, you should better focus 1-2 months on your preparation and have a very stringent preparation plan rather than practicing for many months.

Limiting your preparation time allows you to
- stay motivated during the interview period
- be authentic during your interviews (rather than making visible that you have covered your ability by learning cases by heart)

To enable a focused and short preparation time, I would suggest these FOUR PRINCIPLES:

PRINCIPLE 1) Start with a real interview process at a consultancy which is your fourth or fifth preference early on => This enables you to focus on your specific improvement areas early on rather reading a lot of broad material

PRINCIPLE 2) Always prioritize real practice (e.g. at Preplounge) over reading about case cracking theory

PRINCIPLE 3) Invest some time (or money) in finding high-quality case partners for practice

PRINCIPLE 4) Don't prepare more than others but prepare differently: Consulting is a people business, we want to see that you are a personality who is able to differentiate from the masses - why not e.g. reading articles from MBBs on a topic you like and reference it during the case/personal interview

I hope that helps! No need to get nervous if there is only 1-2 months left before your interview processes :).

Best,

Jan-Philipp

Francesco replied on 08/26/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (900+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Jonas,

in my experience, preparing for a consulting interview so that you can land at least an offer will require 150-200 hours starting from zero on your own. This should cover:

  1. Define a calendar on how to prepare
  2. Learn the basic frameworks/theory for cases
  3. Learn how to answer to the fit part (including your questions at the end for the interview)
  4. Learn how to answer to market sizing questions
  5. Practice math and graph analysis
  6. Read examples of cases
  7. Practice the cases, fit and communication skills live

The time you should spend thus would depend on how much time you have available to dedicate to consulting. Typical situations include:

  1. You are full time on preparation and can dedicate 4 hours every single day (even if you have more time you are likely not productive anyway if you spend more than 4 hours on consulting prep per day) --> 6 weeks
  2. You are working and can dedicate 2 hours per day during weekdays and 4 hours per day during weekends --> 10 weeks
  3. You are working and can dedicate 1 hours per day during weekdays and 2 hours per day during weekends --> 20 weeks

In case you can count on a very experience partner/former consultant/expert for your preparation, you can assume that every hour you will do with him/her will be worth between 2-15 hours on your own, thus decreasing significantly the preparation time.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hemant
Expert
replied on 08/15/2017
Ex-Mckinsey, current strategy guy at Google.

Everyone has their own pace for these things with different outcomes. Here's my rule of thumb:

1) If you are a full-time anything (student, employee), give it 3 months minimum. Otherwise 2 months OK.
2) If you are weak in math/analytics, ADD 2 months to above.
3) If you have never done anything business-focused (e.g. finance, strategy, etc), ADD 1 month to above.

Yes, it's a roughly 2-6 month commit before you are ready for MBB starting from scratch.

Anonymous B replied on 08/14/2017

the sooner the better, the more cases you practice the calmer and more confident you'll be in the interview itself

Anonymous A replied on 08/14/2017

You should start practicing cases as soon as possible. It takes some time to develop the skills required to ace in case interviews.