How to conquer Consulting and Case Interviews?

With this piece, we help you take a look at how to conquer consulting and crack case interviews. Consulting, today, is one of the most sought after roles for Business school grads, only a few make it. It requires sheer dedication and hard work from the very first day. The author, Anoushka Banavar, a student at IIM Lucknow, is the coordinator of Consult club of IIM Lucknow. She interned at Bain & Company, one of the biggest consulting firms across the Globe. She is also one of the nicest people you will meet. In this piece, she talks about her preparation, experience and finally a few tips for the D-Day.

Let’s jump right in the piece.

There are some experiences in one’s college life that change you for the better, make you stronger, and equip you for the real world beyond the gates of a college campus. One such experience is the summer placements process at B-Schools. The process is ruthless and spares no one in its path. However, if one happens to be one of those on campus aiming for a consulting summer, the storm hits you far earlier!

With this piece, we take a look at how to prepare for consulting interviews, the preparation starts way before your placements. So hold tight while we walk you through the journey to help you understand things you should be doing right if you’re an aspiring consultant. But keep in mind, consulting may not be for everyone, how so ever cool it may sound, it really has a different set of folks it appeals to. We will talk about this too.

Related: Take a look at the few tips to crack Summer Interviews
Self-introspect, ask yourself, is consulting for me?

Consulting as a domain is possibly one of the most hyped things on B-School campuses. Pause, take a minute and don’t get carried away by the crowd. Ask yourself the cliched question ‘Why consulting?’ and only if you have a heartfelt reason, go down the consulting path. Because at the end of the day consulting is not just about fat pay-cheques and exotic locations but is also about long hours and living out of airports!

Don’t get disheartened by shortlists!

Shortlists come fast and furious, elevating the spirits of some while disheartening many others. One thing I have taken back from this period is the number of shortlists one gets doesn’t matter, but, it’s your mental state of mind and case prep that counts at the end of the day. I have seen many friends who had a single consult shortlist and converted it due to sheer hard work. Have faith, if you want it – you will get in.

Eat, breathe and live cases!

Those 40 odd days between the time of the first shortlist to your final interview truly test you mentally and physically. Just a word of caution here, one can never reach perfection, irrespective of the number of cases one does or the breadth of industries one covers. However, what one can achieve is becoming a ‘MECE Bhakt’ and an ardent believer in the structured school of thought, a life lesson that will go a long way. Also, everyone has their unique success mantra, find yours, have confidence in it and you will crack any case that comes your way!

Some case interviews prep tips!
  1. Form a case prep group with 3-4 members. Ensure that these students are from diverse backgrounds and are all dedicated towards consulting as a domain
  2. Pick up the case books of IIMA, IIML, ISB or IITB’s Case Interviews Cracked to get started with case prep within your groups
  3. Start diligently practising cases and guesstimates with seniors on campus who have interned at consulting firms during their summers. Try to also do some cases with alumni
  4. Take buddy calls very seriously. Ensure that you show a huge improvement from your first case with your buddy to your second case
  5. Leverage your buddies to prep for company-specific HR answers
  6. Actively participate in all firm organised workshops and events
Related: Take a look at how to crack guesstimate questions
Put your best foot forward, ALWAYS!

The first-hand experiences you will hear from alumni working at the top consulting firms, the conversations you will have with your buddies who become a true support system as Day Z approaches, the insights you will gain during sessions with Partners from these firms, truly give you an actual peek into the life of a consultant and a flavour of how people-centric the consulting industry is.

Breathe, relax and smile!

As Day Z approaches, you will be bogged down by opinions from all quarters- advising you on which firm to rank higher in your priority list, which firms have the best growth opportunities, the best culture, the best prestige, the best projects and what not! Stay calm and focused and introspect as to which firm you see yourself the best fit for. This is where all the interactions with people from the firms over the past month actually help!

On D-Day, always be calm, cool and composed with a smile on your face. Remember that the interviewer is looking for a candidate he can present to a client, a candidate he can have an easy conversation with at the end of a 14-hour long workday, and most importantly, a candidate who brings his own unique perspective to the case at hand. While luck plays a huge factor and innumerable other external factors may not be controllable, what you can control is your demeanour on D-Day, and that can win you interviews!

Author

The author of this piece is Anoushka Banavar, a co-author at Casereads, and a student at IIM Lucknow. If you liked the piece, go ahead and share it on WhatsApp for good karma.

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