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留学参考:How To Get A Consulting Offer During Your MBA  

2016-12-12 01:25:28|  分类: DIY留学综合信息 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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留学参考:How To Get A Consulting Offer During Your MBA


 BY: ALICE VAN HARTEN ON APRIL 18, 2016

 

 

For many applicants, an MBA is only the stepping stone to their next target: Getting an offer from a top consulting firm, like McKinsey, Bain or BCG. Roughly one in three MBA graduates head into consulting, but many more apply. Here are six tips to help you succeed:

1. Begin early.

Many would-be consultants begin their preparation by joining the campus consulting club. The collaborative approach at the schools is a wonderful thing, but you should not forget that the ultimate goal is to stand out from your peers. Accordingly, the best time to start preparing for your consulting internship interviews is before you start the MBA.

You need to be ready for the consulting interviews right after the winter break, and that first quarter or semester of your MBA will be very busy and spent settling into a new place, making friends, and figuring out what’s expected from you and what you want to get out of the program. Coming to campus with a firm grip on the case interview means that you can use those last months before the actual interviews to practice and refine, while still enjoying all the good things the MBA has to offer.

2. Make connections and seek out referrals.

Making connections is useful in two ways: You will learn more about the company and you can draw positive attention to yourself. Talking to current or former consultants is a great way to learn about consulting. Besides gaining general knowledge about the job, it will allow you to learn more about a particular firm and why it might be a good fit for you. (Motivating your choice for a certain firm in the interviews is really no different than what you did in your MBA application when you motivated your choice for this or that school.) Don’t forget to ask consultants you speak with about the hard parts of the job.

As a former Bain consultant, I can assure you that everyone always enjoyed presenting results to the client, and the initial brainstorming sessions for new projects. But a successful consultant is also willing to put in long hours, do boring but necessary tasks in Powerpoint or Excel, and in general, take one for the team. When you show this knowledge in interviews, it will go a long way in convincing your interviewer you’re a good fit for the job.

You should also view the recruiting process as a way to show off and practice your business skills. Demonstrating initiative and good networking skills is certainly part of the package. Find people you know with consulting experience such as friends or friends of friends. There are multiple ways to use your connections, like having someone put in a good word with the recruiter or pass on your resume. Maybe you can even get a call with a partner or manager at the firm you’re applying to. While the single most important factor is whether you nail the case interviews, the personal dimension matters too, and networking is a great way to show what you will add as a person.

3. Attend recruiting events and present yourself professionally.

Recruiting events allow you to learn about the firm, make connections and check out your competition. You should attend as many as possible. Consultancies will often give you the opportunity to register for pre-MBA events at a local office, which are even better than on-campus events.

When I attended a McKinsey presentation for PhD students at Stanford, hundreds of smart candidates were there (mostly from engineering and scientific fields). At the time, I was a lecturer in a humanities program, and I worried that my quantitative skills might not stand out. As I was discussing, the case interviews with some other attendees, a woman who was finishing her PhD in Physics sighed, “It’s the zeros that get you,” referring to the back-of-the-envelope math you need to do during the interviews. I was shocked that this scientist could be tripped up by any numbers and decided to devote myself to always getting the zeros right. I practiced this mental math until I could do it in my sleep. I have no doubt it was one of the factors that helped me nail the case interviews.

Lastly, don’t forget that you need to leave a good impression. It’s wise to limit yourself to one glass of alcohol and skip the shrimp skewers–you don’t want to be munching away on that shrimp when the partner you’ll interview with next month walks by and asks you which office you’re interested in!

4. Practice, practice, practice.

Do as many practice case interviews as you can with people who have consulting experience, such as former consultants and second year students with internship experience. But also practice with peers who have no consulting experience. This allows you to give feedback to others and to learn from their mistakes. Experiencing what it is like to be at the receiving end of irrelevant questions, long pauses, and a lack of structure has a powerful impact and helps you to understand your future interviewer. And helping someone else to solve a case can really make the insights stick with you. (The ancient philosopher Plato makes the point that you don’t really master a subject until you can teach it to someone.)

If you can’t find enough practice partners locally, find them online. Brush up on your math independently. Yes, you may want to revisit those algebra and arithmetic questions from the GMAT! By practicing a large number of cases and your math skills, you eliminate the element of luck and prepare yourself to succeed even with difficult or obscure cases.

5. Approach the interviews as a conversation.

During the interview, keep your interviewer engaged and keep track of how he or she is responding to you. The case interview is not just about the right answer–it’s also about showing your structured thought process and communication skills. Start with a clear structure and stick to it throughout the interview. Apart from the fact that consultants live and die by structures (ideally MECE structures), a winning structure makes it easy for the interviewer to follow your train of thought. Avoid heavy reliance on structures from strategy or case interview prep books, but take the approach that makes most sense to you in light of the question. That approach can be as simple as ‘volume X price = revenue’ or it can be a long list of possible reasons why the competitor has an advantage over company.

Once you’ve decided on a structure, remember two things: Follow the structure you’ve laid out through to its end and, if necessary, introduce a new structure if you’ve exhausted the one you started with. Say you started with ‘volume X price = revenue’ and identified decline in volume as the problem. Now introduce a new structure that helps you to go systematically through the possible reasons why the volume has declined.

That brings me to he next point: You need to earn the right to crucial information–don’t just ask a long list of questions you hope will give you something to work with. As soon as you’ve introduced your structure, suggest some hypotheses around it and then ask your interviewer for targeted information that will allow you to dismiss or confirm any of these hypotheses.

Don’t ask for a minute or two to think, but keep the conversation going. Pauses are awkward and most often will only serve to make you more nervous. Moreover, consultants are incredibly busy and rather impatient people and they have better ways to spend their time than watching you think. Of course, it’s tough to feed the interviewer some useful information right away–so you need to practice how to do that, too!

6. Believe in yourself.

Applying to a consulting job can be daunting. At the McKinsey presentation I attended at Stanford, we were told that only about 5% of us would be hired! Despite my lack of business experience, I told myself that I was going to be one of those people. That McKinsey event kickstarted a process of intense preparation where I left no stone unturned. And the process was tough at times. For example, one consultancy initially didn’t invite me to interview. I contacted the recruiter who gave me a second chance to motivate my fit for the job–and then invited me to the first round.

In another instance, the case interview had an awkward start. Then the fire alarm went off and I used the informal chat outside to reconnect with the interviewer. I also know people who fail one interview after the other and get an offer only from the last company they have left to interview with. I have seen many of them go on to have very successful careers in consulting. Know that if you are willing to put in the effort and are creative and persistent, you can be one of them.

 

 

Alice van Harten is the owner of Menlo Coaching, an MBA admissions consultancy and a former Bain consultant. She received offers from Bain, McKinsey and BCG. 

 

 

以上内容摘自:

http://poetsandquants.com/2016/04/18/get-consulting-offer-mba/ 

 

 

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