Hello, I’m Aparna, a secretary at Communiqué, and today we have with us Mr. Aryansh Singh who recently bagged an internship at BCG.So, in this short interview, I’ll ask you a few questions for our consult-oriented blog series.What was the general interview process for the companies you interviewed? Could you also mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process?
Hello Aparna! I interviewed at BCG, after which I got my offer. There was a CV shortlisting process that involved selecting a group of roughly 25 to 30 candidates based on their academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and academic achievements. Therefore, there were two rounds: the first round involved the project leader, and the second round involved the managing director and senior partners. In addition, I was shortlisted for Bain & Company, LEK, and P&G. There is a buddy round for each of these consulting firms.
That was insightful. Coming to the second question, Could you please list the questions that were asked in the different rounds? Cases, HR Discussions, or puzzles in general that you think will be helpful for students.
In my first round, which I had with the project leader, he gave me an example of a problem that he had handled. We needed to identify the underlying reasons why our client wasn’t as profitable as the competitors. He said, “You can compare the company to an Indian IT Multinational like Infosys or Wipro”. For this, I looked at the decisions made and eventually came to the conclusion that there were a variety of costs involved, and the problem was a cost-related one. For instance, the business had server maintenance expenditures that were an issue for our firm but one that the competitors did not have. This was all about the first round, and then in the second round, a Managing Director & Senior Partner at BCG took the round. I was given a question concerning a supermarket chain that was experiencing lower profits than its competitors in the same region. We had to diagnose the reason why the business was not performing and generating revenue. This case was a bit complex, for it was a cost as well as a revenue issue, and I had to perform a root-cause analysis and propose potential solutions.
What are some of the FAQs in most companies that you faced and think students must prepare for? More specifically, in the context of HR rounds.
In an HR interview, there are often two different thought processes that can occur; one is that your CV is pointing toward one particular direction, and my case was the other one, which is towards multiple domains and internship areas. The interviewer eventually questioned me, “You are oriented towards entrepreneurship, so would you continue to be a consultant, or would you quit our firm and become an entrepreneur or startup founder? “. It was a natural question because my CV was focused on startups and entrepreneurship. I tackled this through an emphasis on gaining industry exposure before making a real venture to change the way an industry behaves. On the other hand, it can also be very peculiar when people read very specific points that we have written in our CV. For example, someone wrote he likes to read Harry Potter, so they inquired as to why he read it, what he learned from it, and what three lessons he took away from it.
All right, so moving ahead, this is for the students who will be sitting for the placements next year. So what are the things they can do from now until December to maximise their chances of getting through a company in consulting?
Okay, so they will first go through a CV shortlisting process, where 20 to 30 people will be chosen for these positions at McKinsey & Company, BCG, LEK, Bain & Company and other consulting firms. What we need to do is to take care of all the sectors. Therefore, an excellent consulting CV is relatively balanced and includes a few interns (2–3), and having at least one well-known company demonstrates your credibility as an employee of the company. Post your academic achievements like department ranks, scholarships and prizes won. After that, scholastic achievements can be mentioned, like if you are an NTSE scholar, or if you have any additional fellowship or anything that distinguishes you from the crowd, they also focus on your CG. This time, I noticed that all of the shortlists were above 8–8.5 CG, which is something that everyone should keep in mind. I believe that PORs have a specific role to play in the consulting sector, such as being a member of or leading a club, as it shows your time management and leadership skills.
How did your preparation for technical rounds evolve once you were shortlisted?
Once the CV shortlisting was completed, we had a very limited amount of time. The interviewers took only 2–3 rounds when hiring interns, but more rounds (5–6) can be expected when hiring full-time employees. I think that practising case interviews using resources like the Victor Cheng videos on YouTube and DayOne: IIT Madras Consulting book will be helpful, which can be topped up with Case Interviews Cracked to ensure practice.
Okay, so would you like to share any last-minute tips that are very important, and it helps a lot?
I think it’s crucial whom you practise your cases with, that is your case buddy, because handling a case is not something you can do alone. Additionally, getting advice from seniors is vital since, say, you’re discussing a case with a friend, and both of you have a general grasp of how it works. If you practise together, you’ll acquire a collaborative understanding. You’ll be able to tell what the other guy is trying to communicate, for example. But performing cases with a neutral partner or a senior really helps you out, as it becomes a levelling ground for making mistakes and learning from them. For example, my most significant cases were with alumni and seniors from IIT KGP/K/D, who gave me advice on how to act in diverse situations, which was a chunk of knowledge that did not reside at the batch level. Therefore, I would like to emphasise that choosing the appropriate case buddy and advisor is crucial
Thanks a lot for your suggestions. With this, the interview comes to an end. All right, Aryansh, it was great talking to you and knowing your experiences and insights.
Thank You, Aparna