Why did you choose management consulting?

Anonymous A asked on Mar 01, 2017 - 8 answers

Hey!

When I get asked this question in an interview, I usually mention something like I like to analyse and solve problems, the variety that comes with the job and projects, working with clients... I'm looking for inspiration and more interesting ways to answer this question when it comes up in the interview. So if you could share how you would answer this or what are different reasons people go in consulting, it would be great.

I'm interested in the question why did you chooce management consulting - in general- and in particular why inhouse consulting as compared to strategy or boutique?

Thank you all so much!

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Anonymous replied on Aug 15, 2017

You mentioned only extrinsic factors, which, although important, do not cover everything. Let's think for a moment about what type of intrinsic motivators we have at consulting:

  • Work itself - where else you can do such a challenging work, where no single day is the same? Working in the industry becomes boring, which can't be said about consulting.
  • Colleagues - you will be working with smartest people on the planet, who are, at the same time, due to the nature of the business, colleagial and friendly, unlike what you would face at some IB.
  • Growth - due to the 2 previous factors, and due to facing different people and different cultures, you are growing faster as an individual and as a professional.
  • Advancement - fast career progression due to up-or-out approach helps you stay focused.
  • Achievement - you will be impacting development of multi-billion companies, governments and entire businesses. Although you won't normally receive any credit for that outside of your firm, it can still be pleasurable to open a newspaper in the morning and read about a successful deal, where you played your part.

Considering that intrinsic motivators are more powerful, if we can believe the famous HBR article ( https://hbr.org/2003/01/one-more-time-how-do-you-motivate-employees ), it's no wonder that MC is an attractive career.

Vlad
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replied on Aug 19, 2018
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Hi,

“Why consulting?”, “Why McKinsey” or “Why BCG” questions are used to assess your motivation to be a consultant in general and to work in that particular firm. They will check how you have done your homework and what you’ve learned about them. They also want to make sure that you have a clear intention to work in consulting.

  • The answers to these questions are supposed to be short and take no more than 30 seconds each.
  • For each question, you should provide three bullets points with different reasons.
  • Make sure that you guide the interviewer through your reasoning. Words like “The first reason”, “Moreover”, “Finally” will help you.

Why consulting

When answering “Why consulting” questions, provide three reasons why you want to pursue a career in a consulting firm. A general rule is to find the reasons that are important for you and logically fit everything you have done before (e.g. you want to grow further in financial services and get exposure to these clients). You can always use some personal rationale like your experience of working with consultants on a client side.

Why our company

Answer “Why our company” question fits exactly the same logic. You can start with general facts about the local office. If you have an interest in a particular industry or client this may also be a great reason. If you have friends working in that company mention what you’ve learned from their experience.

Good luck!

Srihari
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replied on Mar 02, 2017
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So, the reasons for inhouse would be different than external, for sure. I can first speak to the latter and then give you my assumed thoughts about inhouse.

For strategy/boutique consulting, responses often fall along the following lines (not exhaustive list)

1) Skill development (okay to say you would want to eventually transfer these skills back to some other sector)

2) Working with smart people

3) Very rigorous and intellectually stimulating

4) Opportunity to work across wide range of sectors/geographies, broaden your experiences, etc.

5) Access to high-level thinking based on what you work on, who you work with.

All of the above are general - in your interview, if you can give specific examples, that helps. Maybe talk about a story you heard and why you want that experience/opportunity. I took the route of explaining how I had a very grassroots/operational focus in my prior work in nonprofits, and I wanted to build more analytical, strategic thinking skills. You don't want to put down your prior skills, but showing that you have thought about what you can gain from consulting in a specific way and how that will make you more effective is a nice touch. You can also cite specific really cool work the specific firm has done and show your passion for it -- that's a pretty effective strategy as interviewers love to see specific interest related to their firms.

For inhouse - I'm guessing here you need to demonstrate an interest in the sector/company, combined with a passion for solving problems, etc. The closer you get to a pure industry role, the more you need to do your homework on the company, it's sector, etc.

Francesco
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replied on Aug 17, 2017
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Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Tadeus, I would add the following points as potential elements:

  1. Broad exit opportunities – You have the option to do basically everything after few years in consulting – from starting your own venture to prestigious PE funds
  2. Companies’ investment in you – as a junior, you get the opportunity to have a sponsored MBA; as a more senior consultant, training and benefits (companies’ cars, healthcare, maternity leave, etc..)
  3. Networking – You will likely develop a powerful network in different sectors, thanks to both connections with clients and current colleagues

Best,

Francesco

Astrid replied on Aug 20, 2018
PrepLounge Community & Marketing Manager

Hi Louay,

thanks for asking your question on our Consulting Q&A!

I've found some older threads that might be useful for you to answer the "why consulting?" question during the personal fit part of your interview.

You may want to check them out here: Why consulting?

Best of luck for the rest of your case prep and your upcoming interview!

Astrid

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

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Alessandro
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replied on Aug 19, 2018
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Some generic ideas:

  • I want to do work that is intellectually stimulating
  • I want to do impactful work
  • Consulting Toolkit is invaluable – quantitative/qualitative skills (bridging gap), also ability to communicate effectively with senior management

Beyond this, I would note that to give a good answer, it depends on your personal situation. For example, if you are transitioning from a PhD to consulting, your reason for "why consulting" should be focused around what consulting brings you that academia doesn't.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous C replied on Mar 03, 2017

Can't add much more to Sri's answer, but I chose consulting because:

  • prestige and good income

  • allows me to use and develop my interests and strengths (analysing, problem solving, change management, organizing, presenting, business)

  • variety of working on different projects, with different clients and type of firms

  • help organizations and clients

  • work together with other inspiring and intellectual people

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