As part of my recruiting saga, I covered the initial recruitment impressions and for those specifically interested management/strategy consulting, I covered how strategy consulting recruitment is done at INSEAD.
This post is a short write-up on how my own consulting interviews experience was, with no names taken for obvious reasons.
- It takes a lot of time to do it the right way - meet the consultants on chat sessions, go to the presentations, go to the cocktails, go to the mock interview sessions, write the cover letters.. while many speculate where one could take chances ("this is not important/that is not necessary") - I took no chances. Where possible, I put the necessary effort.
- It is very hard to figure out why you get rejected without an interview, and why you did get selected. I saw no pattern in mine at all! In one amusing case - the company in question rejected my application without an interview. Later, they were conducting case interview workshops and I attended one - and since it was among my earlies mocks, I did not do too well. So the interviewer said "if you did this in the real interview, you would be rejected" - I almost laughed, you can't reject me twice ;) In another case the company emailed me asking to apply because they wanted to talk to me. And when I did, they rejected me!
- Case interviews need practice - I'm sure there are few superstars who get it all right without practice, but most I know practiced. It takes a certain mindset and approach to do it right. And I also realized that it is very hard to be consistent in every interview - there were times I sailed through and interview, and then bomb miserably in the next. I am not writing a post on how to do case interviews - there are tons of resources out there, research them.
- Overall, majority of consulting companies did manage to keep up to their schedules, and in many cases made offers quickly as promised. Overall, in particular, I should say McKinsey is very impressive how they do this whole process in INSEAD (no, I'm not going to McKinsey). There were those, as usual, who sent rejects online, never sent a mail, or we figured out we got dinged after we saw the interview lists on the boards!
- Getting that initial connection with your interviewer is, indeed, important.
Just as a side thought, today a blog visitor had some questions to me about consulting after INSEAD and he mentioned that friends/acquaintances from a couple of US schools mentioned that INSEAD "inflates" the numbers because a large number of them are already from those consulting companies going back. Oh boy. Here we go again. Guess it's time for another numbers post! (in the next day or so.. I'm slacking out, seriously!)
just as an extension to the debate of top-US vs. INSEAD, say INSEAD and Chicago GSB - there is sometimes a feel that there is a big gap between the two. So in the next 2 weeks, I'm running a simple comparison of Chicago and Ross with INSEAD just so you can judge by facts rather than by "a friend of a friend of mine said that in 1967"
The weather outside is miserable, which explains me writing blog posts. But thankfully I had a great 4 days with fantastic weather when in New York. It's OK, I don't need to cry myself to sleep.