I Want To Work In … Management Consultancy
Management consultancy is "The service provided to business, public and other undertakings by an independent person...in identifying and investigating problems concerned with policy, organisation, procedures and methods, recommending appropriate action and helping to implement those recommended."
Management consultants may advise on: organisational structure and development; production management; marketing, sales and distribution; personnel management and selection; systems analysis and design, and economic and environmental studies.
This is a very popular career choice for students, but is not easy to get into as a new graduate. You will need a strong academic background; good numeracy, analytical and communication skills, confidence, determination and a strong interest in business.
PROFILE: Management Consultant
INVOLVES: The service provided to business, public & other undertakings by an independent person in identifying & investigating, problems concerned with policy, organisation, procedures & methods, recommending appropriate action & helping to implement those recommended. Working with all kinds of business to enhance their short - term or long - term performance. Projects may last anything from 1 month - 1 year. Management consultants may advise on: organisational structure & development, production management, marketing, sales & distribution, personnel management & selection, systems analysis & design, economic & environmental studies.
include specialist consultancy firms, management consultancy divisions of chartered accountancy firms (see above) and IT consultancies such as Logica and Accenture.
|A consultant is someone who takes a subject you understand and makes it sound confusing.
AssCo has refactored the theory of M&A. The capacity to embrace virally leads to the capability to syndicate cyber-micro-extensibly. Do you have a strategy to become world-class? What do we syndicate? Anything and everything, regardless of anonymity! Think intra-24/7/365. If you whiteboard strategically, you may have to morph magnetically.
Learn how to do this properly with the Corporate Gibberish Generator
- By Direct entry. There are relatively few vacancies for new graduates - except in information technology consultancy. Postgraduate business qualifications may be useful.
- After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.
- After relevant work experience, e.g. in personnel, finance, systems, production, marketing or operational research.
Useful information sources
- Prospects Occupational Profile: Management Consultant www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ManConsult
- Inside Careers www.insidecareers.co.uk vacancies, company profiles and careers advice
- Management Consultancies Association www.mca.org.uk
- www.consultancylinks.com The site includes a list of companies offering UK graduate schemes, lots of tips on the applications process (including
guidance, interviews, case studies and aptitude tests), a comprehensive directory of management consultancy firms and extensive lists of useful
contacts and websites.
- TARGETjobs targetjobsconsulting.co.uk advice and information on careers in management consulting
- Real World Magazine: Consultancy www.realworldmagazine.com/consultancy
- Ace The Case www.AceTheCase.com provide advice and guidance on management consulting case interview questions which have been asked of candidates in real life interviews.
- Accenture www.accenture.com
- Arthur D. Little www.adlittle.uk.com/careers/graduate
- Cap Gemini www.uk.capgemini.com/careers
- McKinsey & Co. www.mckinsey.com includes the chance to try your hand at a case study
- PA Consulting Group www.pa-consulting.com international management, information and technology consultancy
- Towers Perrin www.towersperrin.com actuarial and Human Resource Consultants
- Oliver Wyman www.oliverwyman.com/ow strategic consultancy firm dedicated to the actuarial and financial services industry
- KPS Consultants www.kps.biz management consulting organisation specialising in portfolio, programme, project management (P3M), change, risk and leadership management capabilities.
If you have been to an interview or assessment centre recently please fill in our interview report form to help other students.
MARKET SIZING questions
|How to select the right person for the right job
Put one hundred bricks in a ten by ten rectangle on the floor of a closed room with an open window. Then send two candidates into the room and close the door.
Leave them undisturbed in the room for two hours, then go back into the room to analyse the situation.
And then last but not least, if they are gossiping with each other and not a single brick has been moved, congratulate them and assign them to Senior Management.
These evaluate your temperament and analytical skills and are often used in CASE STUDY interviews by consultancy and banking firms. They test your logical, analytical, numerical and problem solving skills. A lot of the skill in answering these questions involved making reasoned estimates of the market size. For help with answering these see our page on CASE interviews
- How many women sell AVON products in the UK? (McKinsey)
- How many photocopies are taken in the UK each year? (McKinsey)
- How many piano tuners are there in the UK? (A brain-teaser – they want you to logically arrive at a guestimate e.g. 10,000,000 households in the UK, 1 in 5 have a piano etc.) (LEK)
- Give the weight of a fully loaded Jumbo Jet at take-off. (LEK)
Competency questions. See our page on How to Answer Competency-based Questions
Describe a situation where you led a group of people … and another. (McKinsey)
- Tell me about a situation where you were working hard towards a goal …. and another. (McKinsey)
- Describe a time when you faced opposition in making a decision. (Mercer)
- Explain a people management issue you had in the past and the way you managed it. (Accenture)
- Tell me about a hard decision you had to make. (Accenture)
- Tell me about your IT knowledge. (Accenture)
- General competency questions based on drive, difficult situations, teamwork. (CSC)
- What’s the best, and what’s the worst team/organisation you’ve been part of? (Marakon)
- Give an example when your team experienced good achievements of team work? (Accenture)
- Explain a complex problem in layman terms. (Mercer)
Commercial Awareness Questions. See our page on How to answer Commercial Awareness Questions
- Why do you want to be a consultant? (McKinsey) (LEK) (Accenture)
- What exactly does a consultant do? (Accenture)
- Why do you want to work for us? (LEK) (Accenture)
When I take a long time to finish,
I am slow.
When my boss takes a long time,
he is thorough.
When I don't do it,
I am lazy.
When my boss does not do it,
he is busy.
When I do something without being told,
I am trying to be smart but
when my boss does the same,
he takes the initiative.
When I please my boss,
I am apple polishing.
When my boss pleases his boss,
he is cooperating.
When I make a mistake,
I'm an idiot.
When my boss makes a mistake,
he's only human.
When I am out of the office,
I am wandering around.
When my boss is out of the office,
he's on business.
When I have a day off sick,
I am always sick.
When my boss has a day off sick,
he must be very ill.
When I apply for leave,
I must be going for an interview.
When my boss applies for leave,
it's because he's overworked.
When I do good,
my boss never remembers.
When I do wrong,
he's an elephant: he NEVER forgets!
- What do you know about our company? (CSC)
- What do we do? (Accenture)
- Can you name some of our clients? (Accenture)
- Who are our main competitors? (Accenture)
- Why do we stand out among our competitors (CSC)
- Name two ways we would help a business. (Accenture)
- Why do organisations fail? (Marakon)
- How do you evaluate aesthetics? (Marakon)
- How do you evaluate a business? (Marakon)
- Let's talk about a current business issue that interests you. (Marakon)
- What's the best, and what's the worst team/organisation you've been part of? (Marakon)
- If in two years time you decided consulting wasn't for you and you left the industry, why do you think this might be? (Marakon)
- Why are the railways in such a mess? (I'd expressed a strong interest in transport). (LEK)
- Let’s talk about a current business issue that interests you (Marakon)
- Can you explain what you think you'd be doing in this role? (Accenture)
- What is the benefit of the Channel Tunnel Rail link. (LEK)
- Why did you study English; (L.E.K.)
- Why did you do a PhD? (L.E.K.)
- Who would you put on top of Nelson's Column? i.e. instead of Nelson. (Marakon)
- What motivates you. (LEK)
- Have you travelled before in a role? (Accenture)
- What does flexibility mean to you? (Accenture)
- What would you think about being stuck doing programming for a year should it happen? (Accenture)
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of working around the country? (Accenture)
- Describe the most enjoyable project you have worked on. (Accenture)
- How would your friends describe your personality? (Accenture)
- Do you have problems with 60 hour working weeks? (Accenture)
- What are your salary expectations? (Accenture)
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? (Accenture)
- First is the LET'S KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU. Here you talk about your studies, family, hobbies and special projects, all that you may consider not to be interesting, they certainly think in a different way. Then comes the MARKET SIZING time, and when you are done, they ask you if you have any questions about the firm, the industry, specific tasks, or any other doubt you may still have. (McKinsey)
- First Interview was with an associate consultant. I asked nearly all the questions. He asked one: What’s your idea of a good night out in London? (Marakon)
- Second Interview (Partner interview). Similar to 1st round interview: more of a discussion than an interview, very much tailored to the interviewee. (Marakon)
Tests given. See our practice aptitude tests
- Numeracy – 20 minutes, they supplied calculators. The easy end of GMAT maths questions i.e. no simultaneous equations, but averages, percentages, very basic algebra. (Marakon)
- 3 case studies. 20 minutes. preparation per case study, then a consultant would come in and I would have to discuss the case with them. Very demanding but enjoyable. (Marakon)
- 20 mins. numeracy test. See GMAT test book. Warning! The questions do not require anything beyond GCSE maths but they are tricky and time is limited – I failed it and was invited to resit it because the interview went well. (McKinsey)
- None, almost all consulting firms give you an numerical/analytical oriented test as a first step, and then they determine which people go to the first interview (second step). (McKinsey) I resolved the AVON case quickly, about 5 minutes. I took more time to deliver an answer in the photocopies case; because I figured two different methods to solve it and I wanted to make a comparison of both answers. At the end, I made a compensation of both answers (NOT an average, things are more complicated in market sizing than just averages, please avoid this). I gave 75% weight to the answer I felt more likely to be correct and 25% the other (A1*0.75 + A2*0.25 = FINAL ANSWER) (McKinsey)
Case studies. See our page on assessment centre exercises
- Case studies in the interviews – 1 per round. Check out websites of competitors (e.g. McKinsey/BCG) to see how to handle these – it’s not rocket science, the maths is pretty simple, just practise them. (L.E.K.)
- Case-study – A lot easier than other companies – the consultant supplied the structure, I just had to draw out and analyse the relevant info. Check out other consulting websites for sample case studies and hints and tips. (Marakon)
- Two business case studies. Check out their website for hints and tips, and the websites of other consulting firms e.g. Bain, BCG, Accenture (McKinsey)
- I was given a case study. Nothing about IT though! It was a medium sized family run business with 30 shops who had profit problems:
- How would I turn it around?
- What services could Accenture sell to the business?
- Could the business be saved? (Accenture)
- Case study was: You are working for Accenture and have to speak to the CEO of British Airways about how Accenture can help them. What would you discuss? (Accenture)
Tips from interviewees
- Practise the case studies. Read up on what makes LEK different from other Management Consultants. Enjoy it, be confident. Prepare good questions for them. (L.E.K.)
- Be yourself. This is a very thorough but very individualised interview process. Like all consultancies they claim to be looking for “individuals” etc., but unlike some of the others their interviewing is very much interested in you as an individual and whether or not you want to work in consulting, and could. They take your CV as read and want to know what makes you tick/how you think. Oh yes and STRUCTURE. One of the key skills they're after is the ability to structure, both in the interviews and the case studies i.e. the ability to think laterally and make links, and be coherent. (Marakon)
- Know why you want to go into consulting, and why Marakon. Enjoy it, be prepared for very demanding questions – i.e. expect them, there’s not much you can do to actually prepare for them. Be confident at every stage. (Marakon)
- Remember that you communicate something 10% with your mouth and 90% with your body language, please feel comfortable and enjoy the interview. (McKinsey)
- If you're not sure what they are trying to get at and don't understand check with them after to see if you have answered the question. I answered one slightly differently to what they were looking for and said 'is that what you meant' and they said no and explained and then I was able to re-answer it. (CSC)
- Prepare for the Maths test; Focus on the 4 competencies – personal impact/leadership/drive/analytical ability; Prepare for the case studies. (McKinsey)
- Don't hesitate asking for the essential stuff, if not already mentioned by the recruiter (not only it is valuable information for you, the recruiter also appreciates your interest). In my case, i asked this extra information: next steps in the selection procedure; job description, city, country; my availability for next interviews or employment. (Accenture)
- Read up on the business as much as possible. Practice your presentation in front of people so you aren't stumbling. (Mercer)
- Do a lot of research about Accenture and what a consultant does. Know about the consultancy market.
- Check out what differentiates the firm from other consultants; Enjoy it; Be confident; Practise for the case study and maths test.
- Searching questions that led to discussions. Don't be afraid of spending a while thinking before answering. It's hard to prep for this sort of interview but take a look at what makes the consultancy different from other companies. This is one of those situations where the interview really will depend on the individuals involved – i.e. no set CV style questions.
- Almost all consulting firms give you a numerical/analytical oriented test as a first step, and then they determine which people go to the first interview.
- Check out what differentiates Marakon from other consultants; enjoy it; be confident; Practise for the case study and maths test. (Marakon)
- A hotch-potch of CV based/behavioural questions and general questions about your motivations. No maths test! The associate consultants who interviewed me in my first round didn’t seem too happy to be there….! The 2nd interview was the same format but tougher questions – a little more rigorous than the 1st. (L.E.K.)
- The most challenging interview I’ve had – also the one where the company got the most honest (if not the best!) impression of me. Searching questions that led to discussions. Don’t be afraid of spending a while thinking before answering. It’s hard to prep for this sort of interview but take a look at what makes Marakon different from other companies. This is one of those situations where the interview really will depend on the individuals involved – i.e. no set CV style questions. (Marakon)
- They were very good at ensuring I understood and was calm. (CSC)
- McKinsey’s go out of their way to prepare you for the interview. All the people I met in the process were extremely helpful. Be confident, do you research and prep and enjoy it. (McKinsey)
- Very friendly HR women making you feel at ease. At the end she confirmed this interview was positive, so she will arrange the next interview. (Accenture)
- Very friendly. They don’t always just accept your answers but ask you to be “more specific” or they pick on something you have said and ask you to “develop that idea further” (Accenture)
- The assessment centre was very laid back and the people friendly. (Mercer)
- The interviewer was really nice and easy going. (Accenture)
Last fully updated 2012