Management consulting interviews: 10 key preparation tips

This is my final post in the management consulting interview series. Previous topics included case studies, followup questions, and fit interviews.

Here, I’ll focus on 10 key steps to prepare for consulting interviews. As a general piece of advice, the best way to become a great interviewer is to interview in real situations often – thus the rationale behind spreading a wide net and applying to many firms.

Case study preparation

1. Read Case In Point – a high-quality, 100% case-focused resource.

2. Review Victor Cheng’s Case Interview Secrets – a former McKinsey consultant, Victor has a great handle on successful case tips and techniques.

3. Practice online cases – most consulting firm websites have plenty of cases (Bain even has simulated video case studies). The key here is to attempt answering the question before reading the real answer. There are good consulting websites with case resources as well, including Rice’s Consulting Club.

4. Practice cases with friends – if no friends have relevant experience or interest, search Craigslist, consulting forums, and the like for partners.

5. Practice sizing and estimation questions all the time (e.g., if you see a Lexus while driving, think about how many Lexuses are manufactured in the U.S.). Sounds silly, but this is how you become fast and resourceful.

Most important: practicing cases with and getting feedback from actual consultants. Never underestimate their willingness to help, as evidenced in Consultant99’s comment.  Read more for your case study preparation: Case interview questions.

Fit interview preparation

1. Generate sample fit interview questions and prepare outlined responses – the key is to avoid rote memorization, but outline your main points. A useful resource is my guide to consulting interview questions.

2. Practice responses in front of a mirror – this helps you become comfortable with body language, pacing, tone, etc.

3. Practice with friends – have them ask you questions without prepared responses. Improvisational interview skills will serve you well far into the future.

General interview preparation tips

1. Wear something that looks good and makes you feel confident – never underestimate the power of first appearances. Dress like a consultant, and you’ll look like you belong. Great post on consulting dress code here.

2. Talk to as many current and former consultants as you can – the better you understand the work, the more comfortable you are with consulting terms like “on the beach” and “scope,” the better you’ll do. It’s also great for job networking.

This is just the tip of the iceberg…to jump ahead of your competition for your case interview, get The Consulting Bible – the best consulting interview course available. With 50 interview questions and 16 case studies, you’ll learn every secret we know about getting jobs at the world’s best consulting firms.

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  • Guanfra

    If I only can buy one book between Case in Point and Case Interview Secrets, which one would you recommend and why? I’m a newbie to the consulting industry. Also, if I’m getting your Consulting Bible, do I still need to buy one of these two books? Or would it be sufficient to dive into practicing cases? Thanks!

  • Guanfra

    Hi Jenny, thanks much for you quick reply. I just bought your Consulting Bible. Looking forward to read it. Another random question regarding the topic is that can I submit GRE as an alternative for GMAT for MBB consulting job applications? All the top MBA program have started to accept GRE now. Thanks!

  • Nico

    Hi there I was wondering if someone could perhaps give me some advice on which case book to purchase. I have an interview for entry-level management consultant role at KPMG Toronto and am going to start prepping soon. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  • shab nawaz

    Rina Chandran passed out of a business school with specialization in marketing and information

    technology. She joined an IT firm as a technical writer writing software documentation for sales

    and marketing division of a large client. In the beginning she was excited about the fast paced

    life, salary structure, and growing software industry, but lately she has started having doubts.

    She keeps hearing how important her job is to the organization but she does not understand

    how her work contributes to the success of a large IT firm. Her exposure to the company is

    limited to the Bangalore office, her colleagues, cafeteria, and the personnel department.

    5. What should IT firm do to make her see the whole picture and gain an understanding of and commitment of how her company functions?