Marc Cosentino, author of Case in Point, walks you through his top interview advice.
You know the interviewer is going to ask you why you want to become a consultant. Not only should your answer be immediate, but you must also look the interviewer right in the eye. Authenticity in the FIT interview is crucial.
If you look away, it indicates that you are thinking about the question, and that’s enough to end the interview right then and there. You should have given this answer a great deal of thought long before you walked in to the interview. It is one of the only areas where a ready-made answer is definitely acceptable. That being said, make sure not to sound too robotic!
While you shouldn’t memorise your answer or rehearse it too much, it is important to know your bullet points in detail. This makes your answer focused, linear, and of an appropriate length.
Avoid talking aimlessly by structuring it and adding detail around your key points. This is a good opportunity to try top-down and MECE methods of communication. It’s not always what you say but how you say it and, most importantly, what they hear. Your voice should carry sincerity and enthusiasm.
The interviewer will also want to know, “Why our firm? What’s your motivation for a job with our firm?” You need to know the differences between the various consulting organisations; a generic answer will hurt you. How do you do this? Do your homework. Go online and read about the firms, the people, and the work. Learn about the firm’s culture as best you can by attending recruiting events, talking to anyone who works there or used to work there.
12 Reason to become a consultant
Just in case you’re not sure or are struggling to crystallise your own reasons, below are 12 of the most popular reasons students go into consulting:
- Work with and learn from very intelligent and articulate people.
- Develop a vast array of marketable skills in a prestigious environment. Consultancy is intense. Anyone who hires an ex-consultant is likely to pay a premium because they come with the gold star that they have probably survived massive pressure from demanding clients.
- The learning curve never ends.
- Receive exposure to the corporate elite: the way they think, act and analyse their problems.
- Be exposed to many industries.
- Work as part of a team.
- Solve problems. Due to the breadth of project work, consultants have a reputation for being creative. Compared with other jobs in financial services, there is a much higher emphasis on innovation.
- Make organisations more efficient.
- Work on multiple projects. Over a 2 year programme a consultant would engage with 8-20 projects, generating an immense breadth of experience across these areas.
- It will always look great on your resume. Remember, it is totally acceptable to let people know that you just want this grounding before heading off.
- The money’s good.
My personal favourite – the learning curve never ends. It should be your pursuit not only in consulting, but in life as well.