This F1Y offers tips based on his experience going through the case interview process and securing an offer from Booz Allen Hamilton -- after deciding to switch to consulting from the medical field.
I hope this email finds you in good health. As per many of the people who have used your materials, I am grateful for time and effort in producing the work. Let me just tell you my path and offer some advice to budding consultants, essentially reiterating the advice many people have already given.
I have just received an offer from Booz Allen Hamilton in [European city] and will be joining this month.
I am a doctor by trade, but wanted to make a career switch into consulting to learn new skills and make a greater impact. Before transitioning, I did undertake another Masters in Health Economics but not an MBA. However, I didn't apply through our campus recruitment as I really didn't know what I wanted to do at that stage. I would say this was my first big mistake.
As many people have stated before, the hardest part about getting into consulting, is getting an interview at a top firm. Fortunately, I had five years of working under my belt, so was able to apply 'off cycle' - but this is a difficult route in as companies obviously have quotas they meet in their cycles. I would very much recommend networking to help get an interview. Using my contacts I was able to land interviews with BCG and Booz Allen Hamilton.
Your materials were invaluable to someone like myself, coming from a completely different background - it really showed me what the interview would be like. Reading books and cases is in my opinion a waste of time, as it does not give one a feel of what the interview will be like on the day.
I listened to LOMS around 4 times in total which was very helpful, but as you have stated - knowing what to do is different from being able to do it well in an interview situation.
Before my BCG interview, I maybe did around 10 live cases with a friend from the industry - but it was not enough. I ended up being quite nervous in the interview and did a really stupid math error which meant no progression to the next round.
Unfortunately, one downside with your LOMS programme is that it becomes clear what interviewers are thinking - so when I made the maths error - I knew it was over! In their feedback, they advised me just to do some preparation and actually invited me to apply again in 8 months (shorter than expected). Also, I had only applied to one firm at this point, and had put all my eggs in the one basket - again an error, as it puts too much pressure on yourself and nerves can kick in.
As previously stated, the best way to be confident is to practise and do lots of different cases. I then had an interview with Booz, and practised like hell. There is a website where one can meet other budding consultants so practise partners became readily available. I ended up doing around 60 cases myself, but became much more confident.
The main thing that happens after doing many cases, you become less reliant on frameworks and are able to start thinking like a consultant (which is quite similar to thinking like a doctor actually). I became able to formulate my own structures which were hypothesis driven, without having to rely on remembering frameworks. So as you have stated so many times, it becomes more of a habit.
By the time of the Booz Allen Hamilton interviews, I was much more confident - I breezed through the first round and had two further rounds - 6 interviews in total. It was apparent in the later stages, they really do test your business judgement and asked many questions as I was going through the case. In the last round, the cases were very different to anything I had done before - but because I was confident, I worked out a case specific framework and was able to receive an offer.
My take home messages from my experience:
- Network to get interviews, especially 'off cycle'
- Use LOMS especially if you are coming from a completely different industry.
- Practise a lot - the more, the better as you experience more industries which you can use in your interviews.
- Do not rely too heavily on frameworks, as I suspect in the later rounds, the cases are much more tricky than expected.
- Be confident and try stay relaxed, and remember to make it a conversation.
If you could add me to your F1Y mailing list I would be grateful.
Thank you for taking the time to share your story and journey.
Congratulations on your offer! You can join my email newsletter for new consultants at:
Best of luck in your new position.