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First Round Interviews…

February 4th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’ve finished interviews with each of the big three consulting firms.  Wow!  An intense few days, but I feel like it went fairly well over all.  I do love that each of the firms hosted on a different day… makes it much easier to go through the grind.  A couple interesting points about the interviews… 

All of the interviews were in hotels (either the Doubletree or the Charles).  It’s kind of strange – a recruiting person leads you to a chair outside of a room, then the Partner / Manager comes out and leads you into (his/her?) hotel room!  You sit around the little hotel desk and conduct the interview.  The Doubletree is particularly odd with its large open atrium.  You can look across the center of the hotel and see 50+ HBS students sitting in suits in chairs outside of each hotel door.  Quite the bizarre picture:

Interviews at Doubletree

Interviews at Doubletree

Consulting firms are after brains, not people.  Consistent across all the firms (even the boutique one I interviewed with) was a very quick jump into the case interview.  I’d say about half of the interviewers didn’t even ask me a typical “behavioral” question!  Part of me agrees with this process – after all, most behavioral responses are so polished and refined that they say very little about the person.  On the other hand, it does make it feel a touch impersonal. 

Just a quick rundown on each of the firms:

  1. BCG (Mon): Friendly and open, surprisingly diverse.
  2.  Bain (Tues): Very friendly, managing partner was one of the interviewers.
  3. McKinsey (Weds): Abrupt and obviously reading a script.

 I was impressed with BCG and Bain, but a bit disappointed with the McKinsey one.  It’s always hard to tell, but I doubt I’ll get a callback.  The first interview went OK (although it was very scripted).  The second one was more fluid, but had this odd bar chart that we talked about for a while (too long).  The interviewer was obviously waiting for me to see the insight, but I don’t think we were talking about the same issues.  It’s discouraging because I’m actually a bit of a chartophile, and I love well-designed, Tuftian data presentation.  This did not fall close to that category. 

Ahhh well, you take some and you leave some.  I’m probably hopelessly biased now, but I don’t think the McKinsey interview would’ve left me with a great impression regardless of outcome.

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