Why firm X?

Cover letter Which firm?
Anonymous A asked on May 01, 2021

I have never worked in consulting. The issue I am really having trouble with on my cover letters is, why company X?

I can use google and find a lame generic answer, but I assume half the applicants would use this and I would get instantly rejected.

I don't know anybody that works in consulting, so any tips on how to actually produce a good answer will be most welcome.

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on Jun 29, 2021
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on Jun 29, 2021
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Hi there,

You're actually going about it wrong! (Feel free to PM me for more help/clarify)

A cover letter is much more why should you want me than why I like you guys. Think about it, are they interested in hearing about how great they are, or how great you are?

Make sure your cover letter focuses on you....and you can premise it as "I value how your company is x. I am also x. Here is why"

Here are some general tips:

  1. Step 1 - Figure out the topics for your key paragraphs. These need to be based on what consulting companies are looking for. I recommend any of the following
    1. Quantitative + qualitative analytical skills
    2. Communication (written + verbal)
    3. Client managment skills/experience
    4. Leadership
    5. Teamwork
    6. Diversity (can be working with diverse clients, teams, etc.)
    7. Curiosity / passion for learning
  2. Step 2 - Once you've picked 3-5 of these, write your paragraphs
    1. Make them succinct (3-5 sentences)
    2. Make sure they lead with e.g. "x company values y, and I do too"
    3. Make sure they focus on your achievements. You have to sell yourself here
  3. Step 3 - For any given company cover letter, find out what the company cares most about. Then slot in 3 of the paragraphs that fit best (again, ideally you have 5 to choose from)
  4. Step 4 - Tweak the language of each paragraph to fit the company's website, application posting, etc. I.e. Curiosity might become passion for learning.

Then, of course, you need an intro paragraph summarizing your interest + reasons why as well as a closing paragraph doing the same with new language.

Was this answer helpful? 20

Hi there,

You can choose three points out of those below to structure an answer:

  • Sectors of interest: specific focus of the company in areas/products interesting for you
  • People you met and culture: specific people of the company you talked to, and the things they shared on the company
  • Your growth opportunities: specific programs of the company you heard about to enhance your growth
  • Company potential: how much the company grew in the last year and its recent development in new areas, which is a good guarantee for your future career as well
  • Size/reputation of the firm: smaller companies usually offer a more entrepreneurial culture, with higher growth potential internally. Bigger companies have more resources and support staff, and more prestige in terms of exit.

Whatever topic you choose, you should apply a simple rule of thumb: if you can change the name of firm X with another and the answer still makes sense, it means your answer is not specific enough and you need to provide more details.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Was this answer helpful? 16

The story of your life is in progress, how does firm X fit into that story at this stage- their culture, values, poeple you know there, pipeline of work, attitude towards risk/innovation, reputation, Digital transformation projects etc

Also, answer why firm X hire you? What do you bring to them- values, skills, experiences, network, innovative ideas etc. Go a step further and talk about your 90 day plan when you get hired. Come across as if you are already in the firm!

Keep it relaxed but make the language emotive (e.g. add some humour if you can). Have fun with this and dont go by the same boring template which 90% of candidates use.

Feel free to send me a direct message if you want to discuss this and/or the cover letter further.

Was this answer helpful? 11

Hi, I would talk about the experience in getting to know employees of the firm. How inspired and engaged you have been, how enthusiast and excellent they were

Best,
Antonello

Was this answer helpful? 8

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
​Best regards.

Was this answer helpful? 0

How you answer this question should vary for when you are answering it.

  • In a cover letter
  • In person - after a few interviews
  • In a final round - once you've got to understand the company better

The critical factor here is to be specific. The best way to do it is to think about yourself. If you had an offer from this firm along with the others you applied to - would you reject all the others in favour of this one? Why would you take this offer? (though as a grad doing my first interviews for myself it was more why not!)

There is no magic formula but there are various ways you can come up with a great answer for yourself and for the interviewer

In order of priority:

  • Speak to people working at the firm - why do they like it, what's good / bad (reach out to friends of friends, mutual LI connections, even cold emails - you'll be surprised how few do this and how most people will respond)
  • Reflect on your own interactions - during the interview process ask the right questions at the end to refine your understanding of "what makes this place different, really)
  • Read the latest thought leadership - build an idea in your head of what this firm is good at or known for
  • Good old google is your friend - look at forums like this

A great answer is specific around a few different areas that make consulting firms different:

  1. Culture - team, history, work style
  2. Specialisms - type of work they are known for
  3. Sectors - e.g. OW is FS, Bain is IP/Retail/CPG, BCG is TMT
  4. Clients - working with the biggest and best vs. the small but cutting edge vs. government/non-profits etc
  5. Brand
  6. Growth Potential
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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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