CQConsultalks | Tanay Jagani | McKinsey & Co.

Tanay Jagani
Placed at McKinsey & Co.

Interviewed By:

Hello Tanay, this is Abhishek from Communiqué, and I would like to ask you a few questions for Communiqué’s initiative, CQ ConsulTalks.

Hello Abhishek, sure go ahead.

Can you give a general overview of the consulting firms that come for campus recruitment?

There are tier 1 firms that come in the first half of that semester such as BCG, McKinsey, L.E.K. Consulting, EY Parthenon. Auctus Advisors and Dalberg come in the later half of the semester. Final rounds for Auctus happen on Day 1. L.E.K. Consulting might not come because they might be shifting to an internship — PPO based model. There are some firms like EY, Deloitte, KPMG that come during the placements, which can be classified as tier 2 firms.

Why did you choose consulting as a career option? What do you think are the pros and cons of consulting, and who should look at a career in consulting?

I was a part of B Club in my first year, that is where I first heard about consulting. I realized the actual value addition of consulting when I was interning at Uber. My manager was an IIM-A graduate, and he had worked at a consulting firm for three years. The thought process and the structured problem solving approach that he had was fascinating. I had never been impressed so much with anyone in my life. He told me that consulting is something that gave him these skills and taught him how to break down problems and look at the solutions, and I was drawn towards consulting as a career option. I got an internship at LEK Consulting, and that experience helped me understand what consulting really is. I loved the experience at L.E.K. and I knew this is what I want to do. Pros: The learning is unparalleled as compared to any other industry. You will be working on multiple projects across different industries, and there’s an exponential learning curve. Everyday during my internship, I was working on different problems. This isn’t something any other industry would offer you. Consulting allows you to exit anywhere you’d like. What people usually do is that they stay in consulting for 2–3 years, and then transition into VC, Private Equity, Corporate Strategy or even start their own companies. Cons: There will be a lot of pressure; you will be working at least 12 to 14 hours a day, and if you’re looking for a 9–5 job, consulting is not for you.

As the consulting shortlisting process is extremely competitive, as a 1–2rd year, how do you build your profile for consulting?

So for the tier 1 firms around 500–600 people apply, and nearly 30 people are shortlisted for the interview round just based on CV. So the main step is building your CV. There are four aspects of your CV: CGPA: It is very important to keep it above 8 to be considered for at least the top consulting firm. Some people have shortlisted at 7.8 or 7.9. But 8+ CG is a must. Internships: In the final placement process, I have realized that most of the people who were shortlisted were people who had Day 1 internships. That is something they look for. BCG particularly paid a lot of attention to day 1 internships. They look for good brands, but the impact you’ve been able to bring at any firm is important. Particularly for first- and second-year students, it’s very important to explore things. For me, I interned at a start-up in my first year, which helped me a lot. It is not important to run after brands at least in the first and second year. So, build your internship part accordingly and try to land a Day 1 intern through CDC. Position of responsibility: Mostly all the Placecoms, GymK Gsecs, VP, Kshitij, SF with decent CGs were shortlisted. It’s important to differentiate yourself among the competitive pool, and showing that you’ve taken up these leadership positions is a great way. But don’t worry if you aren’t a part of any of these. I did not have any of the flashy PoRs, I wasn’t even a governor of any society until my 5th year. Extra Curriculars: For me, the extra-curricular helped me in differentiating myself. I have been a part of Inter IIT cultural meet, tech meet, and an inter IIT sports probable. I was working on a start-up, ‘InfinityBox’. So that start-up experience is also something that consulting firms really value and helps you differentiate yourself. Pick two or three things, and do amazingly well in those aspects.

As a pre-final year student, what can students do to maximize their chances?

As a pre-final student, most of your profile has been built. There is not a lot that you can do in terms of your Resume. There are some things you can focus on: Try and land that Day 1 intern: Talk to students who’ve interned there, start preparing 1–2 months in advance. Start working on your communication skills: All the people that I know who got it into consulting have very good communication skills. I was the part of DebSoc that really helped me, and communiqué is doing great work to help people to build those communication skills. Get your resume reviewed: Get your resume reviewed by seniors who are at consulting firms or who have just got in. Don’t make your resume very technical, remember the person who’s reading your resume will most likely not understand your industry. Focus on the impact you’ve driven, and the results, and make sure the resume is written in layman terms.

If someone has been shortlisted for the interview, how should they go about the interview process?

Start prepping at least 1–2 months in advance. Start with the case group. The case group are three or four people who have been shortlisted or who might be shortlisted whom you can case-prep with. Some very useful resources were Victor Cheng Videos on youtube, IITB Case Interviews Cracked, IITM Day1.0, and IIMA case book. Once you’ve started preparing with your case group members, reach out to seniors who have got in the consulting firms, ask them to do mock interviews with them. McKinsey pays a lot of attention to HR questions as well. I was asked a few questions such as “Tell us about the time when you have faced a conflict”, , “What are you most proud of?” , “What have you done for your department?” ‘ “You have a lot of extracurricular achievement, how has that shaped you in life?” So if you have been shortlisted for McKinsey, it’s very important to focus on these questions and build stories around your life so you can effectively answer these questions. My McKinsey buddy told me that nearly 40% of the decision will depend on this.

Which part of your placement preparation did you find most effective & rewarding, and if so, why?

Case prep with my case group members and my seniors was particularly helpful. I interned at L.E.K., and a few seniors at L.E.K. really helped me in strengthening my communication skills and helped me structure my thought process. I was also shortlisted for Parthenon before McKinsey, and through the interview process with Parthenon I was able to gain the confidence that I needed for my McKinsey rounds.

How did your KGP life & your 4–5 year stay at IIT Kharagpur help you in fetching your dream job or more or less your dream profile?

I will give a lot of weightage to my DebSoc experience. There’s a lot of overlap between debating and case interviews, and the communication skills I built through DebSoc was helpful. A few of my DebSoc seniors were at consulting firms. So I could easily reach out to them and ask them about their interview experience as well. My intern experience at L.E.K. consulting was a short 2 month stay in the world of consulting, and the problem solving approach I built at L.E.K. came in handy for my McKinsey interviews.

Anything else that you’d want to share with the students?

Students in their first-second year are running after consulting, Data analytics, and big brands. In the first 1–2 years, no big brand will give you any responsibility as an intern, because you don’t have any experience and they can’t take risks. The biggest piece of advice from my end would be to work at start-ups. Pick up a problem you really care about, and see which startups as solving it. Reach out to them, and stop running after brands. Consulting is a great way to start your career and if you are really keen, and you don’t get in through your undergrad, you can look at an MBA. Most of these consulting firms such as Mckinsey, BCG, Bain, L.E.K hire extensively from the top IIMs. So, if you are sure that you want to go-to consulting and you could not get in through your undergrad, then an MBA is the best way. It’s also important to reach out to seniors, to understand their experiences. If anyone wants to have a conversation, then they can reach out to me as well. Here’s all the resources you’ll need for your consulting prep: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yUNmd0xA5LZnlP9V7V-BFQq-2faWbho1

Thank you very much for guiding us Tanay and for giving us your valuable time. I hope your interview will help students in preparing for consulting. Thank you.

Thank You

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