Management consulting career is popular among recent graduates and experienced candidates because it offers intellectual challenges, a great sense of fulfillment and an attractive compensation and benefit package. Because it’s highly sought after, thousands of applicants submit their job application to top-tier firms each year. The competition for a single position has become tough; the reason why you must prepare hard for the recruitment process if you wish to land a job in this industry.
Begin your preparation by being aware of what you getting into. Before the recruiters gauge you for the vacancy, reflect first on how fit you are for it. Read the job advertisement and evaluate if you acquire the competencies to deliver the expected deliverables. Are you capable of analyzing and problem-solving activities? Can you communicate your ideas logically and get along with anyone well? Is going through quantitative data an effortless move on your part? Are you interested in learning about business operations conscientiously? These are just three of the questions you need to answer truthfully.
If you believe you have the right credentials, then it’s time to proceed with the next step – research about your target firm. The knowledge you gain from reading their website, from following their social media profiles and from communicating with those who are connected with the firm will guide you in the entire recruitment process – from preparation of your job application to acing case interviews. At times, because many applicants skip this aspect, they couldn’t get through with the selection procedure successfully. They fail to build a connection between their qualifications and the firm’s goals.
The next step is writing an excellent cover letter and resume. Excellent is the term used because it must be superior enough to pique the interest of the recuiters. Craft your marketing tools in a manner that will make the firm realize that you will be of great contribution to the company. This is possible as long as you keep in mind your research results. Further, make sure that you state only relevant information. This includes your achievements, work experience, education and other significant awards. Writing too many unnecessary details only puts your application aside.
You also need to prepare for the written tests. Though some management consulting firms skip this aspect, some also believe that it’s an effective way of weeding out applicants. Two of the most common pre-employment tests measure your verbal and numerical skills. The former determines your comprehension on text passages while the latter usually assesses how well you interpret charts and graphs. Some firms also request candidates to take a personality test to see if their personality or values match the non-technical aspects of the job or the corporate culture.
Candidates who get a good mark in pre-employment tests are often contacted for interview. In management consulting, there are two kinds of interview: fit and case. The goal of the fit interview is to determine if you attain the values required for the job. Questions focus on your commitment, previous experience and education. The questions are mostly behavioral in nature; recruiters will often ask you to describe a situation in the past where you exhibited either brilliance or weakness. It can be about your greatest achievement at school, about how you handled a difficult colleague or the weakness you’re trying to improve.
On the other hand, the case interview concentrates on your technical skills. Recruiters give you a vague business scenario, and you are expected to come up with acceptable recommendations within 20 to 30 minutes. To do well in this part, it is highly recommended that you master consulting frameworks. These are structures that illustrate how to analyze and resolve the problem on a step-by-step basis. In the actual interview, things can be very overwhelming, so it would help to come in with a guide in mind.
On top of these suggestions, keep meeting key people in the industry by joining networking events and activities. These connections may bring in some information and job referrals. Remember that most vacancies are circulated through the word of mouth. Who knows the firm representative with whom you had an engaging conversation at a career fair will refer you to a recruiter or hiring manager?