Hello, Sankalp, I am Sudeep Bhurat, secretary at Communiqué. First of all, congratulations to you for securing your placement at Boston Consulting Group.
Thank you so much. Lets begin
First off, what was the general interview process for the companies you interviewed? Please mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process.
OK. So for my placement, I was preparing for consulting and finance profiles. BCG was one of my target firms and fortunately they came early for campus recruiting in August and hence I did not have to sit for other firms. The general interview process for Consulting firms is the same. There is a CV shortlist, followed by 2 weeks of buddy rounds and finally 3–4 rounds of Interviews by Senior Management on the final day.
I had 2 buddies assigned to me who helped me prepare for the final day post the CV shortlisting. The buddies practice a few case interviews with you, providing valuable feedback and tips on how to perform on the final day. On my final day, I had 4 rounds of interviews, starting at 8 AM. The first 2 rounds were taken by a Principal & a Project Leader. The final two rounds were taken by MD&Ps. All rounds generally involve a general introduction and a candid conversation followed by a case interview taken by the interviewer to judge the candidate’s prowess. Every round is eliminative and feedback is passed on between each rounds to ensure an overall assessment of the candidate.
Got it. Could you please list down the questions you were asked in different rounds? Puzzles, technical questions, some particular Guesstimate case you remember till now and any other discussion in general which would help which would be helpful for the students who are preparing for placements this year.
So it’s been a while, so I don’t exactly remember the questions, However if I remember broadly, my first round was a Profitability Product case on the Hyperlocal Delivery market. My second round was extremely candid where I bonded with the interviewer on our shared passion for Football and Finance, and he asked me to do a Breakeven Analysis involving Guesstimates for a Football Club recently in the news. My first Managing Director & Partner Round involved a Profitability case on the Automobile Industry and my final round was a Pressure Test/Guesstimate on the Steel Industry.
In general, candidates might or might not have a specific HR round. In my case, my second and final round were very situational, however it’s very likely that one would be asked a case problem in every round, so it’s necessary to be prepared well with the various types of case interview methodologies. Apart from this, please be very candid and confident with the interviewer as they are really looking forward to knowing you and understanding why you would like to work for the firm.
What are some frequently asked questions in most companies that you faced and think student must definitely prepare for more specifically in context of hr rounds?
In the context of HR rounds, Consulting Firms place a high emphasis on the cultural fit of the candidate with the firm’s values. Thus, it is important to be well prepared to answer questions like why Consulting? Why BCG? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? ,etc. It is suggested to be honest, do ample research about the firm and build a gripping story as to what led you to making this choice and how you want to make the most out of it.
Got it, What are the things students sitting for placement next year can do to maximize until December to maximise the chances to getting into a company in this sector, especially as consulting companies come before the placement transition during July from July?
So for Consulting, we can break the procedure into two parts, getting the shortlist & clearing the interview rounds. I personally feel the first part is the most difficult one. Please have a v1 of your resume ready, post your summer internship and send it out for reviews to seniors. The feedback is highly crucial to the improvements that can result in a shortlist. Consulting resumes are famous for being very attention to detail and impact-based and hence it takes time and a lot of feedback to arrive at the final version.
In order to clear the interview rounds, candidates have to be well versed with the various case interview frameworks & methodologies. Generally preparation can be started by forming Case groups with fellow interviewees 2.5–3 months before the final day of the interview for a comfortable schedule. One can start practicing cases, once well versed with the frameworks from notable casebooks available on the internet like CIC & Day One. I would personally recommend two other casebooks from IIM A & SRCC as they cover multiple industries and cover MECE frameworks very well.
Can you please suggest some YouTube channels on case guesstimates to the people who are sitting for placements which they can try for the last three months.
Yeah sure. So Case Interviews Cracked (CIC) by IIT Bombay is the starting point for most beginners and it provides a very satisfactory introduction to case interviews and how to solve them particularly from an Indian context. Apart from this, I found a particular channel called Crafting Cases extremely useful. They have multiple YT videos, free courses and teach crucial concepts like how to be MECE in every step which is a differentiating element in your case interviews.
We’ll move forward with the next question. How did your preparation for different rounds evolve once you were shortlisted? It is a follow up for the previous.
Right, so once you are shortlisted, you get an idea about the rest of the candidates as well. It’s essential to form a case group now if you haven’t already. I was a part of a case group of 3 people where we practiced 1–3 cases between each other everyday covering various types & industries. It is extremely important to be brutally honest for feedback and collaborative to ensure mutual growth. I practiced a few cases, outside my case group with the rest of the shortlisted candidates to learn different approaches taken by them. This time is very crucial to make the most out of the cases you can practice with your buddy and learn from the feedback provided by them. Try doing cross-buddy cases if you have the time as well. Keep your case-sheets handy and keep on revising them and try to understand how you could have performed better. I would advise to revise more and brainstorm new approaches to old cases than to keep on solving new ones.
You anything else you want to share with the students?
Regarding this, I think with respect to KGP, currently there has been a boom in consulting. A lot of people have been aiming for the profile. One of the things that I would like to share is the importance of networking in this profile. People really miss out because they don’t talk to a lot of seniors who have secured offers and know how to build a profile for a shortlist
Since Consulting shortlists depend heavily on a system of spikes, every shortlisted candidate has something special about their CV resulting in the same. Hence, it would be useful to understand how a recruiter’s mindset might work by looking at the various CVs of shortlisted candidates and engaging in conversation with them regarding their thought process on choosing Consulting.
Great, Sankalp can i ask you a different question, why consulting?
Interesting question, so I was exposed to Consulting as a field from my first year itself. I participated in Case Study competitions and being part of two societies where most of the seniors I looked up to ended up in the same field definitely piqued my interest. Consulting was a field that really values one’s all round development and leadership abilities. I feel my trajectory in college was similar in taking up internships & PORs that built a profile suited for Consulting. I talked to seniors working in the profile and developed a serious liking towards the work they were doing, the growth potential and the lifestyle. Hence, I started working hard towards securing an offer from my pre-final year and thankfully ended up with one.
It was good to hear that Sankalp. As you mentioned about the recent glamor in KGP, for consulting. Any words of advice and guidance for aspirants in this domain?
Sure, I would like to say that honestly from my perspective, Consulting firms really value individuals who have worked hard and excelled at fields that they are passionate for. The people I have looked up to before have been those who have lived their KGP life to the maximum, making the most of the multitude of opportunities available here. Hence, I would really advise incoming enthusiasts to really pursue their passion diligently and excel in their fields. If you are good at Sports/SoCult/Tech try making it to Inter IIT, participate in competitions, take up leadership positions and maintain a good academic profile. In general, try to do well in every endeavor you take up and that should be something that would be rewarded by the Consulting firms while shortlisting.
Got it Sankalp. So I guess with this we’ll end our interview. It was nice talking to you, Sankalp. Have a good day. Thank you again.It was really insightful interview. Do you have any questions which you wanted to add on other than this?
No Sudeep. I think that’s OK.