Consulting means lending your expertise to companies who desperately need some help. And given the current turmoil, more companies than ever require assistance.
What all that means is you should not postpone becoming a consultant any longer. It’s an occupation that’s well-suited to situations such as the one we find ourselves in. With the help of expert coaching teams such as My Consulting Coach, you’ll be able to compete for a position at a high-level consulting firm.
And you’ll need all the help you can get. McKinsey, one of the Big Three, accepts only 1% of candidates who apply. Therefore, to break into one of the best consulting firms in the industry, you need the assistance of a coaching company that knows the ins and outs of the entire process.
Let’s see what you can do to prepare for a bright future in consulting.
Who is the MBB?
Before we get to the whole process of applying for a consulting firm, you might be wondering who or what the MBB is.
The Big Three (McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company) are the top consulting companies in the industry. They’re the three leading companies according to revenue.
However, it’s not just the massive income that sets them apart from the competition. The Big Three are the richest consulting firms, yes, but they got there by being the best.
That’s why the competition is quite steep. Many wish to join one of the MBB companies, but most don’t make it. Those who do make it, become some of the most prestigious consultants in the industry. The stakes are pretty high, so you’ll need someone who can show you the way.
Find a coaching team that has the know-how and the expertise to help you break into some of the best consulting firms in the world.
What Do You Need to Know?
The application process for any one of the most prestigious consulting firms is incredibly difficult. The most important thing you need to know is that you’ll need to invest quite a bit of time if you’re going to succeed.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll get far if you just plan on improvising. It’s fair to say that breaking into top-notch consulting companies requires more than simply wishing to do so.
Even if you have plenty of experience applying for work at huge multi-billion dollar corporations, you will need to alter your approach when it comes to consulting firms.
Consulting agencies are very specific in their requirements, which happen to be unique as well. But don’t let any of this discourage you. The purpose here is to ensure you’re aware of how much commitment is necessary to break into top consulting firms. You need to prepare like never before.
Here’s what you should do.
Make Adjustments to Your Resume and Cover Letter
It’s crucial to avoid using the same resume and cover letter you would use elsewhere.
Adjusting your resume and cover letter to better fit the nature of consulting firms means you won’t fail before the screening process even begins. 60% of applications won’t make it past the initial screening phase, and all because the resume and the cover letter don’t show what the interviewers want to see.
Optimize your resume to show what the recruiters are looking for. For a consultant, some of the crucial traits include problem-solving and analytical skills. Communication is also pretty high up there. Focus on such traits and avoid those irrelevant to a consultant. Quantify your achievements as much as possible — consultants love data.
The cover letter should be unique and tailored to consulting as well. Don’t use templates, and don’t go on about unimportant details. Again, focus on skills that matter, explain why you’re applying for that company in particular, and tell them what you’re bringing to the table.
Prepare for Quantitative Tests
Quantitative tests are an opportunity to show off your math skills. Quick thinking and calculating are must-have skills for any consultant out there.
McKinsey uses a Problem Solving Test (McKinsey PST), Boston Consulting Group has its famous Potential Test, and Bain & Company has opted for an online test.
Each serves more or less the same purpose, and that is to test your problem-solving capabilities. McKinsey’s test, in particular, is incredibly tough, testing across a diverse pool of skills under tight time constraints.
Get the help of experts who are seasoned MBB consultants with years of experience in the Big Three. Who better to help you understand the quantitative tests than individuals who had taken them and succeeded.
Nail Behavioral Interviews
Behavioral interviews consist of either Personal Experience Interview (PEI) questions or fit questions.
A fit question looks like this: “Why McKinsey?” On the other hand, PEI questions focus more on specific events and challenges that you faced and resolved.
MBB companies use one or the other. McKinsey is known to focus on PEI questions alone, while others apply a mix of the two.
In any case, coaches acting as interviewers can prepare you for both kinds of questions. You will nail the behavioral interview after you learn what all the potential questions are. That’s why the best plan of action is to get an expert involved to assist you.
Case Interview — What Is It?
There is a part of the interview process at a consulting firm that is very specific to this industry alone. Case interviews are hypothetical problems that businesses face and that you’ll need to solve.
They will show how competent you are at problem resolution and how you deal with high-pressure situations. Case interviews reveal if you have the necessary combination of skills and critical thinking that every consultant should possess.
You should learn to think like a consultant. Instead of memorizing one framework after another, pay attention to how consultants arrive at solutions. Also, notice what frameworks are all about — breaking down larger problems into their smaller, more easily solvable fragments. Apply that mindset to every case ahead of you.
In the End
The key to breaking into one of the best consulting companies in the world is preparation and perseverance. You would do well to get some help in the process as well. With experts at your side, you’re certain to go much further than you would on your own.