It is a well known topic that management consulting firm selection process is one of the toughest in professional world. This challenge is mainly due to two factors
- The case study that makes most of the consulting interview and which is a tricky exercise requiring improvisation and stucturation skills
- The increasing level of candidates both in volume and in preparation
Knowing that the price to recruit a candidate from consulting is high, around 20 k$ per consultant, one’s understand the will of consulting firms to decrease their recruitment costs by hardening their selection process.
One of the most critical decision taken so far by McKinsey in a set of offices was to impose some strong international experience to accept any candidate for an interview. Even if most of management consulting candidate do have this kind of experience, the fact to officialize this criteria as an exlusion one is new. Now to anticipate any chance to get invited in McKinsey interviews, candidate should then well anticipate their international footprint. Let’s also precise that this condition applies for all business schools and universities, even the target institutions. Currently having a degree from most prestigious university is no more a guarantee to pass the invitation barrier.
Second element that would impact any candidate preparation : the generalization of pre-selection test like the McKinsey PST or Problem Solving Test, which is a real challenge for more than 70% of candidates who just fail it. One of the challenge is clearly the time, and also the level of precision, good and business sense that is necessary to have to succeed the test.
One’s could say that by preparing for classical case, a candidate would be ready for the PST. In therory this is true, but in practive it’s far to be obvious. First, this is due to the format of the test, which is really different from a classical consulting case. Second, the fact to be alone in front of your paper or computer means that you would have to be able to move alone, without guidance and without building any relationship upfront with your recruiter to ensure that he would be reinsured about your performance before making a case. But the goog news is that you definitively can prepare this test, as it’s quite academic in its format.
Now, if on this pre-selection test, McKinsey is leading the market, the Boston consulting group decided also to launch its own pre-selection test, called the Potential Test. This one is more calculation driven than the PST, reflecting the difference of culture between the two consulting firms. Also the PST is still on beta format.
In this context, don’t hesitate to make all PST tests available publicly to ensure you reach the good level to acceed to the consulting interviews. Not to say that this focus on stressful test will obviously ensure a better performance on consulting case, especially on the consulting maths dimension.
To have more information about McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group selection process, please go to management-consulting-formula.com for english speaking candidates and etude-de-cas.fr.