Need Management Consulting Help
August 5, 2011 11:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently a rising senior at Harvard University thinking about applying to management consulting positions among others. I was wondering if the MeFi community had any advice or tips regarding what to do to prepare for the interview and what Management Consulting firms look for in an applicant. Any help or advice would be much appreciated; our career service center simply does not offer enough information. Thanks.
posted by da_wump to Work & Money (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Really? I thought Harvard offered mock interviews and job fairs throughout the year... have you tried to meet with one of the counselors? If anyone offers adequate preparation for applying for consulting jobs, Harvard does.
posted by noonday at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2011

Get a book with a lot of case studies, like Case in Point, and practice working through them. Those case studies are the heart of any junior level management consulting interview.
posted by atrazine at 11:19 AM on August 5, 2011

In September-November there will be infosessons. Constant infosessions. Go to all of them you might even be a tiny bit interested in. There will be recent Harvard grads there who work at the firms and you can ask them your questions about what they're looking for. I'm really surprised OCS wasn't helpful because the interview process is through them and very structured and don't, what, 30% of the class or something absurd like that go into consulting? Do you have any friends who are recent grads in consulting that you can ask? If you don't, at the very least OCS should be able to put you in touch with some who would be willing to do an informational interview.

I can tell you that having a good GPA in the first cut is really helpful. I got the impression that they look for a) crazy smart b) workaholic. (But then I didn't get any offers...probably not the right person to ask.)
posted by phoenixy at 11:22 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Interesting -- I remember thinking that management consulting positions were the only ones that HCS offered any preparation for. Have you gone to the job fairs? I remember those being mostly geared toward management consulting positions, although maybe that's changed over the past few years.

Do you have any group networks you can tap for advice? (People you might know through your activities, your House, or your department?) I am actually in a totally different consulting field, but I have some friends from undergrad who are still in management consulting -- I've heard the field has become more competitive and it's good to know people.
posted by pie ninja at 11:25 AM on August 5, 2011

I think Bain has a bunch of sample interview questions on their site. Study the case interview format like you've never studied before.

Whether you want to join Bain or not, I think this is a great interview prep resource in general.
posted by GuyZero at 11:57 AM on August 5, 2011

Seconding Case in Point and similar books.
posted by ewiar at 1:02 PM on August 5, 2011

Talk to the office of career services. They'll walk you through the whole process and even do mock case interviews with you. You're doing what many seniors at Harvard have done for years. No need to worry about anything before you get back to school in a few weeks.
posted by eisenkr at 2:57 PM on August 5, 2011

I found Victor Chen's to be extremely helpful, and less complex than Case In Point, which is also a good resource. His business situation framework will help guide you through the majority of non-market sizing case questions.

There are also a number of practice case questions offered by the various consulting firms' websites, as well as by some business schools, do some creative Googling (e.g. here). These give you example questions, and run through what quality answers will look like. Read through as many as you can.

Finally, get a partner (should be easy to find someone else at school who's also applying) and practice as many cases as you can - both market sizing and strategy. Get really comfortable figuring out which framework to apply, and then working through the issues. Don't be afraid to adjust on the fly - just explain where you went wrong and how you would correct it. Structure is honestly the top thing they are looking for, as well as some solid quant skills. Good luck.
posted by KilgoreTrout at 6:15 PM on August 5, 2011

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