Before you start preparing for the recruitment process, ask yourself 2 questions:
Is a job in management consulting a good choice for me?
Not everybody is willing to spend long hours working for a demanding client. At McKinsey or BCG there is no such thing as a “typical day”. Forbes, however, gives you an overview of what a working day may look like here. You can also check out the LinkedIn and Instagram profiles of McKinsey & BCG – there’s a lot of useful insights out there.
Do I have the discipline and time needed to prepare for the interviews? Is it the right time?
As the saying goes, “the harder you work, the luckier you become”. No one gets a job without preparing the interviews for at least a few weeks. If you lack discipline or your studies/current job doesn’t leave you a couple of hours a day to practise, you need to be aware that this will likely have an impact on your performance.
Is this the right time to apply? You cannot go through the process more than once per year (sometimes even 2 years), so be strategic in choosing when to do it. Also, start preparing the interviews as soon as you submit your application (or even a bit earlier) – they may call you soon to start with the process! Generally, recruitment processes with McKinsey and BCG take no longer than 2 weeks after you’ve had your first interview.
The Recruitment Process
The recruitment process at McKinsey and BCG generally has three stages:
- Sending your application (CV, cover letter, transcripts, references).
- Being invited to take the math standardised test. This step is skipped in some McKinsey offices or if the candidate has recently completed an MBA.
- Being invited to a first round of interviews. The first round usually contains 2 interviews (each 1h with business case & personal experience part). You will receive feedback after the first round.
- Being invited to the second round of interviews if you were successful in the first round. The second round usually contains another 2-3 interviews (each 1h with business case & personal experience part).
Note: All case interviews are with consultants & partners of the respective firm. Depending on the country and position you’re applying to (e.g. generalist track or expert track) there may be an additional final interview and the interviews may have a more technical nature. Usually, there is no “HR-interview” prior to the first round of interviews.
Please be aware that this outline is just to give you an idea of the process. It may differ slightly depending on the country and position you’re applying to. But don’t worry – at this stage you don’t need to know more! The respective firms will inform you about the process once you’re accepted to the first round.
You will find that there are many books out there which promise to turn you into a master at passing interviews. Books are a great way to give you an introduction into the world of consulting recruitment, what firms to target, and what methods you can adopt to ace them. We recommend using books as an introduction, a first basis, but not more! You still need to practice a lot in order to put your knowledge to good use.
We read quite a few of them and recommend you to read only one (essential) book:
- “Case in Point” by Marc Cosentino – This is a MUST in our opinion. It allows you to gain a perspective on how to approach certain problems and what frameworks can help as guidance in certain situations. You can easily find it on the internet.
Marc P. Cosentino: Case in Point (7th edition, 2011)
- “Case Interview Secrets” by Victor Chen – Only if you are completely new to the consulting world and need a general introduction.
Getting an offer from McKinsey or BCG isn’t easy. Being determined and hard working gets you half way. The rest has to do with having access to good materials to prepare your interview. We are confident that the resources available on Consulting Challenge are enough to take you there!
This website is designed to help you master each part of the recruiting process:
- Math & Standardised test
- Business cases
- Personal experience questions
The website is structured into 3 key sections:
Section 1 – Math & Standardised test:
Consulting Math Drills: This section contains exercises to become more comfortable with numbers, shortcuts to increase speed and other useful resources.
Standardised Test: This section contains free sample tests as well as guidance and tips.
Section 2 – Business Cases:
Business Case: Step by Step: This section walks you through all the steps, to do’s and common mistakes in a business case. These are our most valuable insights!
Business Case: Casebooks: This section includes a collection of the most valuable case books available on the internet as well as a summary of business and financial concepts you need to have clear before your interview.
Section 3 – Personal Experience Questions:
Personal Experience Questions: This section gives you an explanation of what the respective firms are looking for, a simple tool to help you structure your own answers and other useful resources. These are our second most valuable insights!