Determining Your “Fit”

by Victor Cheng

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Question:

I just wanted to drop a note to say thanks and to also ask a question about fit.

I found your LOMS series to be exceptionally helpful and a great complement to all the case prep that I was doing. I will definitely be recommending it to future students in my MBA cohort.

I probably put in over 100+ hours into case prep over the past 2 months. Thanks to your help, I’ve secured a summer associate position with McKinsey and advanced to round 2s with BCG/Bain.

As such, I was wondering if you might have any insight into how you determine your fit with a firm/office? What questions did you ask, and what data did you gather to figure out if a firm/office was right for you? Any insight you have would be much appreciated.

My Reply:

Congratulations on the offer!

With respect to fit, it’s generally done more at the office level than the firm level. So BCG vs. Bain in the grand scheme of things does not differ that much, but BCG Boston vs. McKinsey Houston might vary by a lot more.

Key “hard” questions to ask:

  • What’s the industry mix in the office (do they serve the industry you want to get exposure to)?
  • What’s the staffing mix (e.g., ratio of undergrads to MBAs, to managers to partners)? This ratio influences your role on the team.
  • What time did you leave work every night last week? How many weekends did you work in the last 3 months? (impacts lifestyle )

For “soft” factors, you just need to meet as many people as possible from that office and ask yourself if you would enjoy working out or hanging out with them. If you’re on the road, these people will be your weekday buddies (often breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them every weekday for months on end). If you don’t like the people, it’s not going to be fun.

Once again, congratulations!

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