I Want To Work In … Management Consultancy
- What is management consultancy?
- Job profiles
- Background to working in management consultancy
- Getting in
- Market sizing questions
- Case study questions
- Brainteaser questions
- Other questions
- Tips from past interviewees
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 provide objective advice and expertise that will identify options for the organisation, and suggest recommendations for change. They 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. It is also common to move into consultancy after building up expertise in areas such as HR, finance, systems, production, marketing or operational research.
- Job profile of a management consultant from the Prospects website
- Job profile of a management consultant from the TARGET Jobs website
- Inside Careers: management consultancy
- Profiles from the Management Consultancies Association
- Management Consultancies Association www.mca.org.uk/career-development Includes careers advice and a jobs board
- TARGETJobs https://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/management-consulting advice and information on careers in management consulting
- Management Consulting Career Guide from efinancial careers http://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/en/cifm_sector/management-consulting-careers
- Top Consultant www.top-consultant.com Includes career forum and free PDF career guide
- Wetfeet Career Overview www.wetfeet.com/articles/career-overview-management-consulting
- Are management consultants losing their place as masters of the universe?
- Consulting is More than Giving Advice www.linkedin.com/pulse/consulting-more-than-giving-advice-tom-s-heer
These include specialist consultancy firms, management consultancy divisions of chartered accountancy firms and IT consultancies such as IBM and Accenture.
- Accenture www.accenture.com/gb-en/careers/work-we-do-consulting
- Arthur D. Little www.adlittle.co.uk/career-opportunities_uk.html
- Bain & Co www.bain.com/careers
- BCG (Boston Consulting Group) www.bcglondon.com/careers
- BDO www.bdograduaterecruitment.co.uk/Consulting
- Booz Allen Hamilton www.boozallen.com/careers/find-your-job/graduating-students
- Cap Gemini www.uk.capgemini.com/careers/your-career-path/graduates
- Credo www.credoconsulting.com/careers/graduate_recruitment
- EY Advisory Consulting Programme
- IBM www-05.ibm.com/employment/uk/graduate-programmes/consulting/index.shtml
- KPS Consultants http://kps.biz/careers
- L.E.K. www.lek.com/join-lek/apply/undergraduate
- Marakon www.marakon.com/careers/why-marakon
- McKinsey & Company www.mckinsey.com/careers
- Oliver Wyman www.oliverwyman.com/careers.html
- PA Consulting Group www.paconsulting.com/careers
- PWC www.pwc.co.uk/careers/student/graduateopportunities/consulting.html
- List of 2015-2016 consulting deadlines from LSE – use as a guideline for any future applications but check current dates
Many management consultants use interview techniques which aim to test your logical, analytical, numerical and problem solving skills. These include:
Typically, these involve making good and justified guesses about quantities. They evaluate your analytical skills and your ability to think on your feet and remain calm under pressure. They are also known as Fermi problems, after a physicist known for his ability to make good approximate calculations with little or no actual data to go on.
- How many piano tuners are there in the UK? (L.E.K)
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
- How many photocopies are taken in the UK each year? (McKinsey)
- Give the weight of a fully loaded Jumbo Jet at take-off. (LEK)
These may seem impossible to answer, but the skill in answering these questions involves making reasoned guesstimates. For example, to answer the question about piano tuners, you would need to estimate:
- What is the population of the UK?
- What is the average number of people to a household?
- What proportion of households have a piano?
- How many concert venues with a piano are there in the UK?
- How often does a piano require tuning?
- How many pianos can one tuner tune in a day?
- How many days a year does a piano tuner work?
The interviewers will not be looking for a precisely accurate figure but for an approach that produces an estimate that sounds reasonable.
“How to estimate and What You Really Should Know”
These assess your problem-solving skills, business acumen, initiative, creativity and confidence by presenting you with a business problem of the type that you would be dealing with as a consultant. Typically, you will be given background documentation to read through, asked to produce a brief summary of the key issues and to make recommendations, and then to discuss these with your interviewers. Be prepared for the interviewers to challenge your conclusions: they will want you to justify your decisions and argue your case.
|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.
Accenture gave me a case study about a medium sized family run business with 30 shops who had profit problems. I was asked to say how I would turn it around, what services Accenture could sell to the business and whether the business could be saved?
My 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?
Feedback from University of Kent students
- CES web pages on case study interviews www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/CaseInterviews.htm
- Practice cases from McKinsey www.mckinsey.com/careers/join-us/interview-prep
- Case interview advice from Bain & Co: video clips, tips and sample cases www.bain.com/careers/interview-preparation/case-interview.aspx
- Ace The Case www.AceTheCase.com Case interview questions which candidate s have been asked in real life interviews.
These may seem completely off-the-wall but test your lateral thinking skills, creativity, logical reasoning and resilience. Don’t panic, and take a moment to think through the question. Ask any questions that you like to clarify the situation. It’s better to think out loud than to sit in silence.
You are in a room with three light switches. Each controls one of three light bulbs in the next room. You must determine which switch controls which bulb. All lights are off. You may flick only two switches and enter the room with the light bulbs only once. How would you determine which switch controls which light bulb?
The power has gone out in your hotel room and it is pitch black. You have 11 white socks and 10 black socks in your suitcase. You must put on a matched pair of socks, or you'll look terrible at your presentation! How many socks must you take out to be assured of a matched pair?
If all else fails, a “cheat” answer might work – at the very least, it shows chutzpah! For example, you could just say “I would use the light from my phone to check what colour my socks were”
- Riddles Brainteasers https://riddlesbrainteasers.com/category/brain-teasers
- Daily Consulting Brain Teaser www.facebook.com/daily.consulting.brain.teaser
- Glassdoor www.glassdoor.co.uk/Interview/management-consultant-interview-questions-SRCH_KO0,21.htm
- Tell me about a situation where you were working hard towards a goal …. and another.
- Describe a time when you faced opposition in making a decision.
- Give an example when your team experienced good achievements of team work?
|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 exactly does a consultant do?
- What do you know about our firm?
- Can you name some of our clients?
- Who are our main competitors?
- Why do we stand out among our competitors?
- Name two ways we would help a business
- Let's talk about a current business issue that interests you.
- Why do you want to be a consultant?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- If in two years time you decided consulting wasn't for you and you left the industry, why do you think this might be?
- Describe the most enjoyable project you have worked on.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
- Do a lot of research about the employer and what a consultant does. Know about the consultancy market.
- Practise case studies. Read up on the firm and what makes it different from other Management Consultants. Prepare good questions for them.
- Be yourself. This is a very thorough but very individualised interview process. Enjoy it, be confident.
- 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.
- Know why you want to go into consulting, and why that firm. 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.
- 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.
- 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 that firm different from others. This is one of those situations where the interview really will depend on the individuals involved – i.e. no set CV style questions.
- 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”
Last fully updated July 2016