How to Get into Consulting: Comprehensive Guide for 2024

How to Get into Consulting


If you want to know how to get into consulting, then this is the article for you. I’m a former Bain Manager and interviewer and I’m going to share with you step-by-step exactly how to get into consulting.

 

From researching firms, to networking, to crafting your consulting resume, to passing your consulting case interviews, we’ll cover every step of the consulting recruiting process in detail.

 

Along the way, we’ll provide insider strategies that you can use to maximize your chances of getting into consulting.


If you’re preparing for your upcoming consulting interviews, make sure to check out our comprehensive consulting case interview course. These insider strategies from a former Bain interviewer helped 30,000+ land consulting offers while saving hundreds of hours of prep time.

 

What is Consulting?

 

Consulting is a profession centered around providing expert advice, guidance, and solutions to individuals, businesses, governments, and other organizations facing complex challenges or seeking opportunities for growth and improvement.

 

So, what do consultants do?



 

Consultants leverage their expertise, analytical skills, and industry knowledge to diagnose problems, develop strategies, and implement solutions that drive tangible results.

 

Consulting spans a diverse range of industries and sectors, with consultants specializing in specific areas or niches.

 

There are six different types of consulting: management or strategy consulting, operations consulting, implementation consulting, economic consulting, Human Resources consulting, and IT or technology consulting.

 

Each type of consulting focuses on addressing a specific set of business challenges and opportunities.

 

1. Management or Strategy Consulting

 

Management or strategy consulting firms specialize in providing high-level strategic advice and guidance to organizations seeking to enhance their overall performance and competitiveness. Consultants in this field work closely with senior executives and business leaders to develop corporate strategies, identify growth opportunities, and optimize organizational structures and processes.

 

2. Operations Consulting

 

Operations consulting focuses on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of a company's operations and processes. Consultants in this field analyze an organization's supply chain, production systems, and workflow to identify areas for optimization, cost reduction, and performance improvement. They may recommend process reengineering, technology implementation, or organizational restructuring to streamline operations and drive operational excellence.

 

3. Implementation Consulting

 

Implementation consulting firms specialize in helping clients implement new technologies, systems, or business initiatives. Consultants in this field work hands-on with clients to execute strategic plans, manage change, and ensure successful implementation of projects.

 

4. Economic Consulting

 

Economic consulting firms provide expert analysis and advice on economic issues, legal disputes, and regulatory matters. Consultants in this field utilize economic theory, statistical analysis, and financial modeling to assess the economic impact of various decisions, policies, and market conditions. Economic consultants may support litigation cases, antitrust investigations, regulatory compliance, and public policy analysis.

 

5. Human Resources Consulting

 

Human resources consulting firms specialize in providing HR solutions and services to organizations seeking to optimize their human capital management practices. Consultants in this field advise clients on talent acquisition, performance management, employee engagement, compensation and benefits, and organizational development. They may also provide training, coaching, and HR outsourcing services to support HR functions.

 

6. IT or Technology Consulting

 

IT or technology consulting firms focus on helping organizations leverage technology to achieve their business objectives. Consultants in this field assess IT infrastructure, systems, and applications to identify opportunities for improvement, innovation, and digital transformation. They may advise on IT strategy, cybersecurity, cloud computing, data analytics, and software development, helping clients harness the power of technology to drive business growth and innovation.

 

What are the Different Entry Points into Consulting?

 

Consulting firms attract talent from various backgrounds and there are three primary entry points into the field: undergraduates, advanced degree holders, and working professionals.

 

1. Undergraduates

 

Many aspiring consultants join the field straight out of undergraduate programs. Consulting firms actively recruit top-performing students from leading universities worldwide. These candidates typically possess strong analytical and problem solving skills, often demonstrated through their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and internships.

 

Undergraduate candidates interested in consulting often pursue degrees in fields such as business, economics, engineering, mathematics, or other related disciplines.

 

They may participate in case competitions, business clubs, or internships to gain exposure to consulting methodologies and develop relevant skills.

 

2. Advanced Degree Holders

 

Another common entry point into consulting is through advanced degree programs, such as Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (MS), or PhD programs.

 

Advanced degree candidates bring additional expertise and specialization to consulting firms, making them valuable assets in tackling complex business challenges.

 

Candidates with advanced degrees often have prior work experience in industries related to their field of study. They may have worked in roles such as analysts, engineers, scientists, or researchers before transitioning into consulting.

 

Advanced degree programs also provide opportunities for networking and consulting internships, allowing candidates to gain exposure to consulting firms and secure entry-level positions.

 

3. Working Professionals

 

Consulting firms also welcome experienced professionals from diverse industries who bring a wealth of real-world knowledge and expertise. These candidates may have worked in corporate roles, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or entrepreneurial ventures before pursuing a career in consulting.

 

Working professionals often join consulting firms at different levels, depending on the number of years of work experience. They may specialize in specific industries or functional areas based on their prior expertise, contributing valuable insights to client engagements.

 

Regardless of the entry point into consulting, successful candidates in consulting demonstrate strong analytical thinking, problem solving abilities, communication skills, and a passion for making an impact in the business world.

 

Consulting firms value diversity of thought and experience, welcoming individuals from various backgrounds to contribute to their teams and deliver exceptional client solutions.

 

What is the Consulting Recruiting Process and Timeline?

 

The entire consulting recruiting process can take anywhere from a week to a few months to complete. The exact consulting recruiting steps and timeline may slightly differ depending on the role, company, and office that you are interviewing for.

 

However, there are generally five steps in the consulting recruiting process: attend networking events, submit your application, pass first round interviews, pass final round interviews, and receive an offer.

 

1. Attend networking events

 

Consulting networking events play a crucial role in the recruiting process, providing candidates with opportunities to connect with consultants, recruiters, and alumni from consulting firms.

 

These events may include information sessions, coffee chats, career fairs, and campus presentations.

 

Attending these events allows candidates to learn more about the firm's culture, projects, and opportunities, as well as to establish connections that can potentially lead to referrals or interview invitations.

 

2. Submit your application

 

After networking and gathering information about consulting firms, candidates typically submit their applications online through the firm's website or campus recruiting portal.

 

The application usually includes a resume, cover letter, and sometimes additional materials such as transcripts or letters of recommendation.

 

3. Pass first round interviews

 

Consulting first round interviews typically consist of one or more interviews, either on-campus or virtually, with representatives from the consulting firm.

 

These interviews may include a mix of behavioral questions, case interviews, and sometimes technical questions depending on the firm's interview format.

 

4. Pass final round interviews

 

Candidates who successfully navigate the first round of interviews are invited to participate in consulting final round interviews, which usually take place at the firm's office or virtually.

 

The final round interviews often involve more in-depth case interviews, as well as discussions with senior consultants or partners.

 

5. Receive an offer

 

After completing the final round interviews, successful candidates receive job offers from the consulting firm. Offers typically include details such as the position, salary, benefits, start date, and any other relevant information.

 

Candidates may have a limited time frame to accept or negotiate the offer, so it's essential to carefully consider all aspects of the offer and communicate any questions or concerns with the recruiting team.

 

Overall, the consulting recruiting process is designed to identify top talent who demonstrate the skills, qualities, and potential to succeed in a consulting career. While it can be rigorous and competitive, it also offers candidates the opportunity to showcase their abilities and pursue exciting opportunities in the consulting industry.

 

What do Consulting Firms Look For?

 

Consulting firms generally look for five key skills or qualities: logical and structured thinking, analytical problem solving, business acumen, communication skills, and personality and cultural fit.

 

1. Logical and structured thinking: Consultants need to be organized and methodical in order to work efficiently.

 

  • Can you structure complex problems in a clear, simple way?

 

  • Can you take tremendous amounts of information and data and identify the most important points?

 

  • Can you use logic and reason to make appropriate conclusions?

 

2. Analytical problem solving: Consultants work with a tremendous amount of data and information in order to develop recommendations to complex problems.

 

  • Can you read and interpret data well?

 

  • Can you perform math computations smoothly and accurately?

 

  • Can you conduct the right analyses to draw the right conclusions?

 

3. Business acumen: A strong business instinct helps consultants make the right decisions and develop the right recommendations.

 

  • Do you have a basic understanding of fundamental business concepts?

 

  • Do your conclusions and recommendations make sense from a business perspective?

 

4. Communication skills: Consultants need strong communication skills to collaborate with teammates and clients effectively.

 

  • Can you communicate in a clear, concise way?

 

  • Are you articulate in what you are saying?

 

5. Personality and cultural fit: Consultants spend a lot of time working closely in small teams. Having a personality and attitude that fits with the team makes the whole team work better together.

 

  • Are you coachable and easy to work with?

 

  • Are you pleasant to be around?

 

All of these five qualities are screened for during the consulting recruiting process, from your resume to your performance in consulting interviews.

 

How to Get Into Consulting: Identifying Consulting Firms to Apply to

 

Before diving into the consulting recruiting process, candidates must first identify the consulting firms that align with their career goals, interests, and preferences.



 

There are three key considerations to keep in mind when selecting consulting firms to apply to: determining the type of consulting, determining the type of firm, and determining an industry focus if desired.

 

1. Determining the Type of Consulting

 

Consulting encompasses a diverse range of specialties and practice areas, each addressing specific business challenges and industries. Candidates should reflect on their interests, strengths, and career aspirations to identify the type of consulting they want to pursue.

 

Examples of different types of consulting include:

 

  • Strategy or Management Consulting: Focused on advising clients on strategic decision-making, market analysis, growth strategies, and organizational transformation

 

  • Operations Consulting: Specializes in improving operational efficiency, supply chain management, process optimization, and cost reduction

 

  • Human Resources (HR) Consulting: Centers around talent management, organizational development, workforce planning, and employee engagement initiatives

 

  • Economic Consulting: Provides expert analysis and advice on economic issues, legal disputes, and regulatory matters

 

Candidates should research and explore consulting firms known for their expertise in their desired specialty to ensure alignment with their career goals.

 

2. Determining the Type of Firm

 

Consulting firms vary in size, reputation, client base, and organizational culture, offering candidates diverse opportunities and experiences. Understanding the distinctions between different types of firms can help candidates make informed decisions.

 

Key categories of consulting firms include:

 

  • MBB (McKinsey, Bain, BCG): Often regarded as the top-tier strategy consulting firms, known for prestigious client engagements, rigorous training programs, and global reach

 

  • Tier 2 Firms: Include firms such as Deloitte, Accenture, and Oliver Wyman and offer a mix of strategy, operations, and implementation consulting services

 

  • Boutique Firms: Specialized consulting firms, such as Putnam or Simon Kucher, with niche expertise in specific industries or functional areas

 

Candidates should assess their career objectives, preferences for firm size and culture, and desired level of client exposure when evaluating different consulting firms.

 

3. Determining an Industry Focus

 

Some consulting firms specialize in serving clients within specific industries, such as healthcare, technology, financial services, or consumer goods. Candidates may choose to target firms with industry expertise that aligns with their interests or background.

 

Industry-focused consulting firms offer deeper insights, sector-specific knowledge, and opportunities for specialization. Considerations when selecting an industry-focused firm include:

 

  • Healthcare Consulting: Addressing challenges in healthcare delivery, regulatory compliance, payer-provider relations, and digital health innovation

 

  • Technology: Supporting clients in technology adoption, digital transformation, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and IT strategy

 

  • Financial Services: Advising clients in banking, insurance, asset management, fintech, regulatory compliance, risk management, and mergers & acquisitions

 

Candidates should explore consulting firms with a strong presence and track record in their target industries to maximize opportunities for industry-specific projects and professional growth.

 

By carefully considering these factors, candidates can strategically identify consulting firms that align with their career aspirations and increase their chances of success in the consulting recruitment process.

 

How to Get into Consulting: Networking

 

Consulting firms typically host networking events before the application is due.



 

There are two goals you should focus on in these networking events:

 

The first goal is to learn more about the firm. You’ll be better able to answer interview questions that ask why you are interested in consulting and why you want to work for the firm if you get a chance to hear consultants talk about their work experience.

 

The second goal is to make a positive and memorable impression. By chatting with representatives that attend these networking events, you will get the opportunity to get your name in front of recruiters and potential resume reviewers. If you connect or bond with someone from the firm, they may try to push strongly for you to get an interview.

 

Attending these events is not required. If you have a strong resume and background, you can still receive a consulting interview even if you did not attend any events.

 

If you attend a top-tier undergraduate or MBA school, these networking events are less important. Many consulting firms have relationships with these schools and consistently hire students from these schools every year for internship and full-time opportunities. Your resume will get reviewed regardless of whether you attend a networking event or not.

 

If you do not attend a top-tier undergraduate or MBA school, these networking events will be much more important. Since your school is not a school that the consulting firm necessarily targets, recruiters spend much less time looking at applications from your school. Networking is crucial to giving your resume an opportunity to be reviewed.

 

Similarly, if you are applying to the consulting firm as a working professional, networking events are much more important. Although consulting firms hire people from nontraditional backgrounds, you will need to do the work needed to get your name and resume in front of recruiters through networking or referrals.

 

There are three different types of networking events:

 

  • Information sessions

 

  • Coffee chats

 

  • Invitational lunches and dinners

 

Information Sessions

 

If you attend a top-tier undergraduate or MBA school, many consulting firms typically hosts one large information session in which they bring 20 – 30 consultants to give a presentation. Afterwards, there will be time to mingle and ask these consultants questions.

 

You can find the dates of the information session through the consulting firm’s website, your school’s career services center, or through your school’s consulting club.

 

If you are applying as a working professional, many consulting firms will host an information session through an online webinar or at a hotel in major cities.

 

Given that hundreds of people attend these information sessions, finding opportunities to network with consultants at this event can be difficult.

 

What typically happens during these events is that 10 – 15 people will swarm around each consultant at the end of the presentation to chat and ask questions.

 

The best strategy for networking during information sessions is to show up early.

 

Recruiters and consultants will already be there to greet you. Since much fewer people tend to show up to these events early, there will be fewer people around. This gives you a better opportunity to chat and ask questions with a firm representative one-on-one.

 

Coffee Chats

 

If you attend a top-tier undergraduate or MBA school, many consulting firms typically host coffee chats to give students an opportunity to ask individual, specific questions. These coffee chats are usually one-on-one or done in small groups.

 

These coffee chats are more informational than evaluative. During these chats, you want to ask intelligent questions that have answers that can’t be easily found online.

 

Asking questions that have answers that can be found on Google shows a lack of preparation and may leave a negative impression.

 

If you are applying to consulting as a working professional, you’ll need to set up coffee chats yourself. Use your LinkedIn network to identify former colleagues or school alumni that would be open to chatting with you.

 

You can use this opportunity to learn more about the firm and to ask to be put in contact with a recruiter.

 

Invitational Lunches and Dinners

 

If you attend a top-tier undergraduate or MBA school, many consulting firms will invite high-potential candidates to join them for a nice lunch or dinner.

 

Consulting firms identify high potential candidates by looking through the resume book or by asking current employees for names of high potential individuals.

 

Receiving an invite to these events is a great sign that you have a high chance of receiving an interview.

 

However, just because you do not receive an invite does not mean that you will not get an interview. Many people that don’t receive invites for these exclusive events still receive consulting interviews and offers.

 

If you are applying as a working professional, you likely won’t have the opportunity to attend a consulting firm’s lunch or dinner event.

 

How to Get into Consulting: Applying to Consulting Firms

 

After all of the consulting networking events are over, each consulting firm will have a deadline for submitting your application, which typically consists of four components:

 

  • Application questions

 

  • Resume

 

  • Cover letter

 

  • Referral

 

Application Questions

 

A consulting firm’s application will generally ask for several basic pieces of information, such as your name, demographics, and background. The application will also ask for what languages you speak and what your top office choices are.

 

Most firms will ask for your top three office preferences. Although they ask for three, you will usually only be considered for your top office choice. This will most likely be the office that you will be interviewing for.

 

When listing your top three office choices, make sure that you meet the language requirements to work at these offices.

 

Resume

 



Keep your resume to one page and quantify the impact of your accomplishments in your work experiences and extracurricular activities. That is the single biggest piece of advice that most candidates do not follow.

 

Consulting firms like to see:

 

  • High grades (if you are an undergraduate)

 

  • Prestigious schools that you’ve attended

 

  • Brand name companies that you’ve worked for

 

  • Significant impact in your work experiences

 

  • Leadership roles at work and in your extracurricular activities

 

If you need professional help crafting the perfect consulting resume, check out our resume review and editing service.

 

Cover Letter

 



The consulting cover letter is usually optional. During information sessions, some consulting firms will often tell candidates that they do not need to submit a cover letter because they will not read it.

 

However, you should always confirm with the recruiter whether or not you will need a cover letter.

 

Your cover letter should be concise and straight to the point. Introduce yourself, explain why you are interested in consulting and the firm, and then explain why you would be a great fit for the role and company.

 

To avoid having a generic cover letter, include specific reasons why you are interested in the firm. Mention the representatives from the firm that you have spoken to and what aspects of the firm you find most attractive.

 

Your resume is far more important in determining whether or not you will get an interview, so make sure to focus the majority of your time on optimizing your resume.

 

Referrals

 

Referrals are not part of the official consulting application process, but are a quick way to make your application stand out from the crowd.

 

If you have a friend or colleague that works or used to work at the firm you are applying to, ask if they would be comfortable giving you a referral. If you really hit it off with someone you met during a consulting networking event, you can also ask them.

 

Getting a referral basically means that someone at the firm will send your name and resume to the recruiter that is in charge of the resume reviews. Your application will get a closer look and be viewed a bit more favorably.

 

Again, this is not required to get a consulting interview. Many people get consulting interviews without getting any referrals.

 

Getting a referral also does not guarantee that you will receive an interview. It only guarantees that your application will be reviewed more closely.

 

How to Get into Consulting: Pre-interview Online Screening Tests

 

In addition to traditional resume screening and interviews, many consulting firms utilize pre-interview online screening tests as part of their recruiting process. These tests are designed to assess candidates' analytical abilities, problem-solving skills, and aptitude for consulting work.

 

Examples of these tests include:

 

 

 

 

We have full guides on each of these pre-interview online screening tests, linked above.

 

Pre-interview online screening tests serve three major purposes for consulting firms:

 

1. Assess Analytical Skills: These tests evaluate candidates' ability to analyze data, interpret information, and draw logical conclusions—a critical skillset for consulting roles.

 

2. Predict Success in Case Interviews: Performance on these tests can provide insights into candidates' potential success in case interviews, which often involve similar problem-solving scenarios.

 

3. Efficient Candidate Screening: Online tests allow consulting firms to efficiently screen a large volume of candidates and identify those who demonstrate the requisite analytical capabilities for consulting roles.

 

Consulting firms may administer various types of pre-interview online tests, including:

 

  • Numerical Reasoning Tests: These tests assess candidates' ability to interpret numerical data, perform calculations, and analyze quantitative information under time constraints

 

  • Verbal Reasoning Tests: Evaluating candidates' comprehension, vocabulary, and critical reasoning skills through passages of written text and associated questions

 

  • Logical Reasoning Tests: Assessing candidates' logical thinking, pattern recognition, and deductive reasoning abilities through sequences, diagrams, and logic puzzles

 

  • Personality Tests: Some firms may include personality assessments to gauge candidates' interpersonal skills, communication styles, and cultural fit with the organization

 

While online screening tests are just one component of the consulting recruitment process, performing well on these tests can significantly enhance your candidacy and increase your chances of progressing to the next stage, such as case interviews.

 

Therefore, investing time and effort in preparing for these tests can ultimately contribute to your success in securing a consulting role.

 

How to Get into Consulting: Passing Your First Round Interviews

 

A few weeks or months after the application deadline, you will receive an invitation from the consulting firm for the first round of interviews.

 

If you are applying as a student, interviews will take place on your school’s campus. If you are applying as a working professional, interviews will take place at the consulting firm’s office that you are applying for.

 

Your consulting first round interview will generally consists of one to two separate 40- to 60-minute interviews. The majority of the time will be focused on case interviews, but you will also get a few other types of questions.

 

There are five types of consulting interview questions that are common for first round interviews:

 

  • Case interview

 

  • Behavioral interview

 

  • Tell me about yourself

 

  • Why consulting?

 

  • Why this firm?

 

Case Interview

 



Case interviews are a special type of interview question that consulting firms use to assess a candidate’s potential to be a great consultant.

 

A case interview or “case” is a 30- to 60-minute exercise in which you and the interviewer work together to develop a recommendation to answer or solve a business problem. These business problems can be anything that real companies face.

 

Here are a few examples of case interview questions:

 

  • Should a tech company invest in developing a new gaming console?

 

  • Should a major retail chain acquire a local grocery store?

 

  • Should a telecommunications company expand its services to rural areas?

 

  • How can a healthcare provider improve patient satisfaction in urban communities?

 

In short, the case interview will begin with the interviewer reading you the case background information. You’ll have the opportunity to ask clarifying questions to ensure that you understand the business situation and the objective of the case.

 

You’ll then create a framework, which is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into simpler, smaller components.

 

Most case interviews are interviewer-led, which means that the interviewer will be steering the direction of the case. They’ll ask you several questions including quantitative questions that require you to make calculations and qualitative questions that require you to use your own business judgment.

 

At the end of the case interview, the interviewer will ask you for a recommendation to solve the business problem.

 

To learn case interviews quickly and save yourself hundreds of hours, check out our comprehensive case interview course.

 

We also offer personalized, one-on-one case interview coaching.

 

Behavioral Interview

 



Consulting firms often include behavioral interviews as part of their recruitment process. Consulting behavioral questions ask candidates to draw upon a time or experience in the past in which they demonstrated a particular skill or quality.

 

Behavioral interviews aim to assess candidates' soft skills, interpersonal abilities, and fit with the company culture. Here are some common behavioral interview questions candidates may encounter:

 

  • Tell me about a time when you had to work in a team to solve a problem

 

  • Describe a situation where you had to persuade others to accept your viewpoint

 

  • Can you give an example of a challenging project you've worked on and how you managed to overcome obstacles?

 

  • Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize competing tasks or deadlines

 

  • Describe a situation where you had to provide constructive feedback to a colleague or team member

 

Preparing responses to these behavioral interview questions with specific examples from past experiences can help candidates demonstrate their competencies and suitability for consulting roles effectively.

 

To be ready for 98% of behavioral and fit interview questions in just a few hours, check out our consulting behavioral and fit interview course.

 

Tell Me About Yourself

 

The "tell me about yourself" question is often one of the first prompts in a consulting interview and serves as an opportunity for candidates to provide a concise overview of their background, experiences, and qualifications.

 

Here's how candidates can effectively respond to this question:

 

1. Start with a brief introduction: Begin by introducing yourself with your name and a brief summary of your academic and professional background. Keep this introduction concise and relevant to the consulting role you're applying for.

 

2. Highlight key experiences: Focus on highlighting key experiences, achievements, and skills that are directly relevant to consulting. This could include past internships, projects, or coursework that demonstrate your analytical, problem-solving, and communication abilities.

 

3. Connect to consulting: As you discuss your experiences, emphasize how they have prepared you for a career in consulting. Highlight any instances where you have demonstrated skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, or leadership, which are valued in the consulting industry.

 

4. Demonstrate enthusiasm: Convey your enthusiasm for consulting and the specific firm you're interviewing with. Express why you're passionate about pursuing a career in consulting and what attracts you to the firm's culture, values, or client work.

 

5. Conclude strongly: Wrap up your response by summarizing how your background and experiences align with the consulting role and why you're excited about the opportunity to contribute to the firm's success.

 

Why Consulting?

 



You’ll likely be asked why you are interested in consulting at some point during your interview.

 

In short, there are many reasons you can give for why you are interested in consulting:

 

  • You want to make a significant impact by working with billion-dollar companies on their most challenging business problems

 

  • You enjoy solving business problems across multiple different industries and functions

 

  • You see consulting as the quickest way to develop the skills to be a business executive

 

  • You enjoy working closely with teams on tough, challenging business problems

 

  • You value the mentorship and personal development that consulting provides

 

  • You find fulfillment in working with and servicing clients

 

  • You are excited to travel around the world for work

 

Select three compelling reasons why you are interested in consulting.

 

You can use the following simple, but effective structure while answering the “why consulting” question:

 

  • State that consulting is your top career choice

 

  • Provide three reasons to support this

 

  • Reiterate that consulting best fits your professional needs and goals

 

Why this Firm?

 

In addition to being asked why you are interested in consulting, one of your interviewers may also ask why you are interested in working at the firm. This is known as the "Why this firm" question.

 

There are many different reasons you can give:

 

  • You’ve really loved the people that you’ve met from the firm and would enjoy working with them

 

  • The firm has an empowering work culture where you would grow and thrive

 

  • The firm has deep expertise in a particular industry or function that you are passionate about

 

  • The firm has a strong presence in a particular country, which you are interested in working in later in your career

 

  • The firm places a heavy investment in mentorship and personal development, which you value tremendously

 

  • The firm has a global staffing model and you appreciate the opportunity to work in different countries

 

  • Several of your mentors that you respect and look up to have worked at the firm and they have highly recommended working there

 

Again, try to structure your answer in a clear way:

 

  • State that the firm is your top choice consulting firm

 

  • Provide three reasons to support this

 

  • Reiterate that the firm best fits your professional needs and goals

 

How to Get into Consulting: Passing your Final Round Interviews

 

Your consulting final round interview will typically consist of two to four separate 40- to 60-minute interviews. You’ll see the same four types of interview questions that you saw in your first round interviews.

 

  • Case interview

 

  • Behavioral interview

 

  • Tell me about yourself

 

  • Why consulting?

 

  • Why this firm?

 

However, you may also see two new types of interview questions:

 

  • Group case interview

 

  • Written case interview

 

Group Case Interview

 

Group case interviews are a unique format of case interviews employed by some consulting firms to assess candidates' collaborative problem solving skills, teamwork abilities, and communication prowess in a team environment.

 

In a group case interview, candidates are placed into teams and presented with a case prompt or problem statement to analyze collectively. The case may involve a real-world business scenario, a market entry dilemma, or a strategic decision facing a fictional company.

 

Teams are given a set amount of time to brainstorm ideas, develop a solution strategy, and prepare a presentation to deliver to the interview panel.

 

Within the group, candidates have the chance to showcase their leadership potential and contribution to the team's success. Taking initiative, assuming leadership roles, and effectively delegating tasks can help candidates stand out as proactive and influential team members.

 

However, it's crucial to strike a balance between assertiveness and inclusivity, ensuring that all team members have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the discussion.

 

Following the brainstorming and solution development phase, teams are typically required to present their findings and recommendations to the interview panel.

 

During the presentation, candidates must effectively communicate their team's rationale, insights, and proposed solution strategy in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner.

 

Group case interviews also provide insights into candidates' interpersonal skills and ability to navigate team dynamics. Candidates may encounter differing opinions, conflicting viewpoints, and varying levels of participation within the group.

 

Successful candidates demonstrate adaptability, diplomacy, and conflict resolution skills, fostering a collaborative environment where all team members feel valued and engaged.

 

Written Case Interview

 

Written case interviews are another special type of case interview used by consulting firms. Written case interviews evaluate candidates' analytical thinking, problem solving capabilities, and written communication skills.

 

Unlike traditional case interviews conducted verbally, written case interviews require candidates to analyze a business case or tackle a strategic challenge within a specified time frame, presenting their findings and recommendations in a written format.

 

In a written case interview, candidates are presented with a detailed business case or problem statement, often accompanied by relevant data, charts, and exhibits.

 

Candidates are given a designated period, typically ranging from 1 to 2 hours, to review the case materials, analyze the information provided, and formulate a comprehensive solution strategy.

 

Following the analysis, candidates are required to draft a written report outlining their insights, recommendations, and rationale.

 

Effective time management is crucial in written case interviews, as candidates must efficiently allocate their time between case analysis, solution development, and report writing.

 

Prioritize the most critical aspects of the case, focusing on high-impact insights and recommendations that address the core issues. Establishing a clear roadmap and timeline for completing each phase of the written case can help candidates stay organized and maximize their productivity within the allotted time frame.

 

Written communication skills are paramount in written case interviews, as candidates must convey their analyses, insights, and recommendations effectively through presentation slides.

 

Craft clear, concise, and well-structured narratives that articulate your thought process, assumptions, and conclusions in a coherent manner. Pay attention to formatting, grammar, and clarity, ensuring that your report is professional, polished, and easy to understand for the reader.

 

Differences Between First Round and Final Round Consulting Interviews

 

There are three important distinctions between your consulting first round interview and your consulting final round interviews.

 

One, your interviewers will likely be more senior people at the firm. This means that the case interviews you receive may be a bit less structured and more qualitative in nature. The case interview may feel more like a discussion where you and the interviewer are discussing your opinions and ideas on a business problem.

 

Two, there will be more of an emphasis on assessing your fit with the firm. The first round interview is primarily used as a screener to determine whether or not you can solve case interviews effectively and whether or not you have the potential to be a great consultant.

 

Final round interviews will also continue to assess this, but interviewers will also be determining whether or not you would be a great fit with the office. Are you coachable and easy to work with? Are you collaborative? These are a few of the qualities that interviewers want to see.

 

Three, your interviewers may read the notes that your interviewers wrote during your consulting first round interview. If there was a particular area of the case interview that you struggled with, interviewers may want to test you again on it to make sure that it is not a significant weakness.

 

Besides these three distinctions, you should use the same strategies that you used in your consulting first round interview for your consulting final round interview.

 

How to Get into Consulting: Receiving a Job Offer

 

After finishing your final round interview, all you have left to do is to wait for your consulting job offer. Consulting firms typically call candidates to tell them that they are being extended a job offer before emailing them.

 

Some candidates receive a phone call with good news on the same day of their final round interview. Most candidates receive their call within a few days.

 

If you have not heard back from the firm after a few days, that does not necessarily mean that you did not receive a job offer. Sometimes, you may be on the borderline of receiving an offer and the firm would like to finish interviewing other people before deciding whether or not to give you an offer.

 

Be patient on waiting for the firm to get back to you. If you have not heard back in a week, you can send a follow-up email with the recruiter to ask if there are any updates.

 

When you finally get your call and offer letter, all that is left to do is sign to secure your job in consulting!

 

How to Get into Consulting: Starting the Job

 

Transitioning into a consulting role marks the beginning of an exciting and challenging journey in the world of business advisory. As you embark on this new chapter, it's essential to prepare yourself for the demands and expectations of the consulting profession.

 

Here are some key steps to help you navigate the transition and excel in your new role:

 

1. Orientation and Onboarding

 

Upon joining a consulting firm, you'll typically undergo an orientation and onboarding process to familiarize yourself with the firm's culture, values, policies, and procedures.

 

Take advantage of this opportunity to meet your colleagues, learn about the firm's client engagements and service offerings, and understand the expectations for your role.

 

Ask questions, seek guidance from mentors, and immerse yourself in the firm's professional development programs to accelerate your learning curve.

 

2. Building Relationships

 

Relationship-building is integral to success in consulting, as strong client relationships and effective teamwork are essential for delivering value-added solutions.

 

Take proactive steps to establish rapport with your colleagues, clients, and stakeholders, demonstrating professionalism, empathy, and integrity in your interactions.

 

Cultivate a network of mentors, sponsors, and peers who can offer guidance, support, and career advice as you navigate your consulting career.

 

3. Continuous Learning and Skill Development

 

Consulting is a dynamic and fast-paced industry that requires continuous learning and skill development to stay ahead of the curve. Invest time and effort in expanding your knowledge, acquiring new skills, and staying abreast of industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices.

 

Leverage internal training programs, external resources, and experiential learning opportunities to enhance your capabilities and broaden your expertise in areas relevant to your role and practice area.

 

4. Managing Workload and Priorities

 

Consulting roles often involve juggling multiple projects, deadlines, and client demands simultaneously, requiring strong time management and prioritization skills.

 

Develop effective strategies for managing your workload, allocating resources efficiently, and meeting deadlines without sacrificing quality or client satisfaction.

 

Use tools and techniques such as project management software, to-do lists, and time-blocking to organize your tasks and optimize your productivity.

 

5. Seeking Feedback 

 

Feedback is a valuable tool for professional growth and development in consulting, providing insights into your strengths, areas for improvement, and opportunities for advancement.

 

Actively seek feedback from your peers, managers, and clients on your performance, communication style, and project deliverables, and use this feedback to refine your skills and enhance your impact.

 

Embrace constructive criticism with a growth mindset, and leverage performance reviews as an opportunity to set goals, track progress, and chart your career path within the firm.

 

6. Contributing to Firm Culture and Community

 

As a member of a consulting firm, you have the opportunity to contribute to the firm's culture, values, and community through your actions, initiatives, and engagement.

 

Get involved in firm-sponsored events, volunteer activities, and affinity groups to connect with colleagues, give back to the community, and make a positive impact both within and outside the firm.

 

Act as a brand ambassador for the firm, embodying its core values and principles in your interactions and endeavors, and strive to be a catalyst for positive change and innovation in the consulting profession.

 

By embracing these principles and practices, you can navigate the transition into consulting with confidence, resilience, and a commitment to excellence, setting yourself up for success and fulfillment in your consulting career.

 

Our Best Tips for Getting into Consulting

 

Getting into consulting requires careful planning and a proactive approach to the consulting recruiting process. To maximize your chances of success and secure a consulting job offer, follow these tips:

 

1. Plan Ahead

 

Start your consulting journey early by researching consulting firms, understanding the recruiting process, and setting clear goals for your career path.

 

Create a timeline with key milestones, such as networking events, application deadlines, and interview preparation sessions, to stay organized and focused on your objectives.

 

2. Apply to Enough Consulting Firms

 

Cast a wide net and apply to a diverse range of consulting firms to increase your chances of receiving interview invitations and job offers.

 

Consider both large, prestigious firms (such as MBB) and smaller boutique firms that align with your interests, values, and career goals.

 

3. Try to Get a Referral

 

Networking and securing referrals from current employees or alumni can significantly enhance your candidacy and differentiate you from other applicants. Reach out to professionals in your network, attend industry events, and leverage online platforms like LinkedIn to establish connections and request referrals.

 

A referral or personal recommendation will significantly increase your visibility to recruiters.

 

4. Invest Significant Time Crafting Your Consulting Resume

 

Your resume is the single most important component of your consulting application that will determine whether you receive multiple interviews or no interviews at all.

 

Take the time to craft a tailored and impactful resume that highlights relevant accomplishments, quantifiable results, and transferable skills valued in consulting. Use concise, action-oriented language and format your resume for readability and visual appeal.


Remember that you don't have to craft your consulting resume alone. Check out our resume review and editing service to transform your resume into one that will land you multiple consulting interviews.

 

5. Invest Significant Time Preparing for Case Interviews

 

Case interviews are a core component of the consulting recruitment process and require diligent preparation and practice to excel. You will need to ace every single one of your case interviews to land a consulting job offer.

 

Dedicate sufficient time to familiarize yourself with the structure of a case interview and strategies for tackling them efficiently and effectively. Practice structuring your responses, synthesizing information, and delivering clear and compelling recommendations under pressure.


To learn the best case interview strategies in the shortest amount of time possible, check out our comprehensive case interview course.

 

6. Have Genuine Reasons for Why You Are Interested in the Firm

 

During your consulting interviews, articulate your genuine interest in the consulting firm and demonstrate your understanding of its culture, values, and offerings.

 

Research the firm's recent projects, industry focus areas, and company culture to identify specific reasons why you are excited about the opportunity to work there. Tailor your responses to showcase your alignment with the firm's mission and vision.

 

7. Be Enthusiastic

 

Display enthusiasm, passion, and energy throughout the recruitment process to demonstrate your genuine interest in consulting and the firm.

 

Show enthusiasm for solving complex problems, collaborating with diverse teams, and making an impact on clients' businesses.

 

Let your enthusiasm shine through in your interactions with recruiters, interviewers, and fellow candidates to leave a positive impression.

 

8. Be Confident

 

Confidence is key to performing well in consulting interviews and showcasing your abilities effectively. Believe in yourself, your skills, and your potential contributions to the firm.

 

Project confidence in your communication, body language, and demeanor, and approach each interview with poise, clarity, and self-assurance.

 

9. Get Feedback from Your Interviewers

 

Seek feedback from your interviewers after each interview to identify areas for improvement and enhance your performance in future interviews. Reflect on the feedback provided, acknowledge areas of strength and weakness, and incorporate constructive criticism into your interview preparation strategy.

 

Use feedback as an opportunity for growth and refinement to continuously elevate your consulting interview skills.

 

10. Seek Help from Others

 

Don't hesitate to seek help, advice, and support from mentors, peers, and career advisors throughout your consulting journey.

 

Tap into the expertise and insights of experienced professionals, alumni, and industry insiders to gain valuable advice, guidance, and resources. Collaborate with peers to practice case interviews, share tips and strategies, and provide mutual support in navigating the consulting recruitment process.

 

By following these ten tips and implementing effective strategies, you can position yourself as a competitive candidate and increase your chances of success in getting into consulting.

 

Resources to Help Get into Consulting

 

Here are our recommended resources to help give you the best chance of getting into consulting:

 

  • Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.

 

  • Hacking the Case Interview Book (available on Amazon): Perfect for beginners that are short on time. Transform yourself from a stressed-out case interview newbie to a confident intermediate in under a week. Some readers finish this book in a day and can already tackle tough cases.

 

  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.

 

 

  • Behavioral & Fit Interview Course: Be prepared for 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours. We'll teach you exactly how to draft answers that will impress your interviewer