With acceptance rates lower than 1%, getting an offer from McKinsey, Bain, BCG or another top management consulting firm is a notoriously difficult affair.
You need to be familiar with both the case interview and fit interview formats and prepare extensively for both. When it comes to the case interview, nothing beats live practice with a partner. In fact, most candidates who go on to receive an offer from a top consulting firm like McKinsey, BCG or Bain complete at least 25 live practice sessions before their interview.
In addition, some candidates choose to supplement their preparations by enlisting the services of a consulting interview coach who has been an interviewer at a top firm. In this article, we explore some of the benefits of receiving coaching ahead of a consulting interview, and provide some tips to consider when choosing who to work with.
What are the benefits of consulting interview coaching?
1. Accelerated preparation
Experienced consulting interview coaches can help to accelerate your preparation by gauging your level of performance and helping you identify your areas of strength and weakness. This will allow you to focus on the areas that most urgently require your time and attention. As well as providing their own feedback and advice, a good consulting interview coach can show you how to work with learning resources effectively to gain proficiency in these dimensions quickly.
2. More accurate and helpful feedback
In a competitive process, the insights of a consulting interview coach who has been an interviewer at the firm or office where you plan to interview can be invaluable. They will know what your target firm is looking for, the assessment methods they use and how other candidates tend to perform there. In addition, your coach will be able to provide a highly-calibrated assessment of your performance that’s focused on the specific dimensions that the firm assesses.
3. Support for managing stress
A great consulting interview coach who has been an interviewer at a top firm can provide you with the opportunity to practice your interview skills in a realistic environment. Tackling mock interviews with a coach can help you to acclimatize to the pressures of the interview environment and take on cases with more confidence. Your coach will also be able to provide you with tips for managing stress and making sure your nerves don’t get the better of you on the day of your interview.
Tips for choosing a consulting interview coach
If you decide to work with a coach as part of your consulting interview preparations, it’s vital to invest some time in exploring your options and ensure that you choose the right consulting interview coach. Here are three areas to consider when you’re conducting your research.
1. Ensure your coach has interviewer experience
Interviewer experience is one of the most important things to look for in a coach. Ideally, you want a coach who has been involved in the recruitment process – most preferably as an interviewer – at the firm or office where you plan to interview.
For McKinsey, this is likely to be a former or current Senior Associate or Engagement Manager. At BCG, you’re looking at a Project Leader, and at Bain, a Case Team Leader or Manager. Of course, if you can connect with one, a former or current Partner or Principal at your target firm would make a great consulting interview coach as well.
2. Make sure they have relevant professional experience
The selection process and interview format varies between consulting firms, location and practice areas. This means that it’s essential for your coach to have a relevant professional background, ideally with the firm or office where you plan to interview. If you’re looking for a practice-focused role, for example, you should look for a coach who has worked in the same practice area to ensure you get the most relevant and helpful advice.
3. Check that they receive good reviews
When you’re choosing a consulting interview coach to work with ahead of an interview at a top consulting firm, reviews from former candidates matter a great deal. In their feedback, former candidates often point to qualities in a coach that aren’t discernible from their interviewer experience or professional background alone. These might include how insightful, helpful, thorough or patient the coach is, among other characteristics that might indicate that they might be a good match for you.
Preparing for a consulting interview and looking for a consulting interview coach who can deliver mock interviews and provide you with feedback and guidance? Our coaches are all former consultants and interviewers who have been handpicked from the alumni of top firms such as McKinsey, BCG and Bain.