5 Questions To Ask When Deciding Between Consulting Offers

It’s that time of year again. February: the month of the sell weekend. Many of you are in the fortunate position of having received multiple incredible offers, but how do you decide which firm is the right fit for you? Lately, we’ve been reflecting on our own decision process, and thought of 5 questions we wish we knew to ask when deciding between our own consulting offers. Learn from our experience, and go in armed with the right questions to ask!

Your Goal For Asking These Questions Is Three-Fold:

  1. To gather information that will help you decide which offer to accept
  2. To enjoy the process of being courted
  3. To enhance your personal brand

Want to talk through your situation 1:1 with an ex-MBB coach? Book a 1:1 Coaching Session today. Have more sage questions you’d like to share? Hit us up in the comments below! Without further ado, the 5 Questions to ask when deciding between consulting offers.

  1. How Does The Firm Handle Staffing During Downturns?

Have an idea of what your work life will look like during the bad times, not just the exciting ones. What are the firm’s SOPs during downturns, and how will they affect you?

  1. Why Would A Client Pick [insert your firm here]? How Does A partner Sell The Firm To A Potential Client? 

Once you’ve landed an offer, it’s helpful to know how the firm sees itself. What is a Bain partner’s biggest selling point vs. a McKinsey partner’s? How do OW and ATK differentiate themselves to potential clients? Not only will this question give you insight into how a partner thinks, it will better inform you on how to interact with clients, and which kind of firm you’d rather be at.

  1. What Are The Reasons People Stay At Firm X? What Are The Reasons People Leave? 

This is a big one. While it’s acceptable to ask why consultants stay on at the firm during the interview process, once you’ve received the offer, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Why do people ultimately leave? Is it simply the better exit opportunities? Or is there a gap in professional development offerings? Perhaps the firm culture isn’t as warm and collaborative as advertised. Ask your contacts and consultants at sell weekends real questions – asking about hard things by positioning them softly can encourage a good response.

  1. What Is The Pathway I Take If I’m Unhappy On A Project/Team? What’s Expected?

A More Tactful Way To Ask This: What Happens If One Of My Colleagues Has An Issue On A Project? How Would They Raise That? 

This is another thing to think about now. Chances are, there will be at least one team you don’t work naturally well with, and one project/client that will present more difficulty for you than the rest. Knowing the firm’s expectations of you for these times is critical. Ask how the firm handles the “hard stuff.” You’ll find that the good days in consulting are similar across firms, but the tough days might not be. Hint: Big 4 firms will most likely have a defined process for you to follow. At MBB firms, you’ll more likely go to a person and leverage a relationship.

  1. If you were in my shoes, what would you decide?

Let your firms know where else you are looking. It makes turning them down easier (you have a legitimate reason), and will get you insight from someone who’s probably been where you are now.

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Filed Under: consulting recruiting