The following is an excerpt from the Interviews chapter of my consulting guide.
There are 2 components to the consulting interview, which are the same whether you’re an Indian graduate student at UC Berkeley or a student at IIT-Delhi– the fit interview and the case study.
Let’s dive into the first type of interview:
The Fit Interview
The fit interview is basically a resume/CV walk-through. Your interviewer will take 10-15 minutes to talk through your extracurriculars, work experiences, and allow the applicant to add color to what’s on his or her resume.
This is an opportunity for you to really make a compelling story out of those bullet points. The interviewer is evaluating you not on analytics and quantitative work , but on the softer side of things –communication skills, presentation skills, maturity level, poise, etc.
Be confident. Have a lot of energy.
The question the consultant is asking herself is – “Can I put this person in front of a client?” For a perspective on this from inside Bain, click here.
Another question the interviewer is asking is, “will this person fit in with the culture of the firm?” The culture of the company is important – whether it’s McKinsey or a boutique firm. That’s why it’s emphasized so much in consulting fit interviews.
As a student, I was always skeptical when senior consultants would talk about how important culture was to their firm, and how everyone gets along and supports each other, etc. But now that I’m inside Parthenon, I’ve realized the importance of company culture — and I understand why it’s an important evaluation metric for fit interviews.
In consulting and banking, you’re working at least 12-13 hours a day, and when it’s in a testing and stressful environment (especially with the constant changes and ambiguity you can’t control), it’s very important for a case team and office to really like each other and gel.
It’s all about teamwork – yet another thing on which you will be evaluated in a fit interview!