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Other Interview with BCG - any tips?

  1. Sep 26, 2016 #1
    Hey guys,

    I have an interview with BCG, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Consulting_Group, next friday and I'm just wondering if any of you have experience with this company and have any tips? Till now I have been doing cases, reading a caseinterview book and practicing mental math, but I suspect it's not enough. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I'd appreciate it if any of you could provide me tips to help prepare.

    I am currently doing my final year of my MEng in engineering physics and I have applied for a consulting position in the Norway office.

    PS If anyone finds themselves in the same shoes as me, I suggest:

    *Read Viktor Cheng's book. Not every tip there is good, but it's a great intro into consulting and case interviewing.
    *Don't underestimate the mental math - they can reject you even if you do just one mistake. I bombed my internship interviews with AT Kearney & Bain last year because I thought "yeh I'm a physicist no way head calculation's gonna be a problem". It turns out these MBA types are really good at arithmetic, multiplication & division.
    *Practice lots of cases by yourself and then find some fellow candidates that are knowledgeable and motivated to practice interviewing.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Some general pointers are to review your application and resume that you sent to them as most questions asked during the interview will come from the interviewers reading these documents.

    Having said that, you need to have good clear and concise answers for everything that you mentioned in them.

    As an example, if you have a gap in employment like you worked at company X and then stopped working for a few months and then started college. They might ask what happened.

    If you mentioned any projects you worked on either singly or with a team then you need to have a concise description of the project (one sentence with a one paragraph backup) big picture and what you did on the project. A common question is what problems did you encounter with a team member and how did you deal with it.

    I had one student mention on a resume that they worked with the Google map-reduce algorithm in some project setting but couldn't explain it concisely and what they said led to more questions. Your goal should be to impress the interviewer with your communication skills and understanding of things and not give them the impression that you don't know what you're doing.

    You need to ask questions too when things come up in the interview. If they like you then they have to convince you to come work there. Ask about the work environment, maybe they can show you around. Ask about the types of tools they use to do the job, comment on the tools you've used. Ask about the kinds of problems they have. You can then use what they tell you to suggest that you have the skills to work in their environment and the skills to solve their problems.

    Some interviewers try to throw out pop quiz type questions. Its okay to ask specifics about the question and to think out loud as you work through the problem. If you don't get it that's okay you can then ask how the interviewer would have solved it and then compliment and learn from what he/she shows you. Sometimes its useful to have similar problems that you can share with the interviewer (which is especially helpful if you didn't get it fully).

    In one interview I had I was given a C++ question that was listed in a Dr Dobbs journal article that I had read in preparation for the interview. I solved it and remarked quickly that they must have read the same article. When I found out that the interviewer hadn't, I posed one of the questions from it and then a few moments later shared the answer. This really impressed the interviewer and we started into a conversation instead of a question/answer style interview (icebreaker). By that time, I didn't really like or care for the work environment and job (project/release manager instead of senior programmer) and was bold enough to do that ploy.

    Lastly, one thing is to consider the interview as a sort training by fire. You may or may not get the job through no fault of your own so enjoy meeting new people and practicing your interview skills. Remember their names and emails (write down of get a business card) and send thank you notes later with comments on what you talked about. The best is if you have a suggestion for solving a problem they mentioned.

    When you're interviewed by several people remember anyone can blackball you for reasons unrelated to the interview so your goal is to make as good as an impression as possible to drown that person out the voting process.

    Also you may have several interviews with one person at a time and maybe a lunch interview with several members asking questions (hard to eat your lunch on these interviews so choose something simple and cheap from the menu to eat as you don't want to have something embarrassing happen). My friend interviewed a candidate at a major corporation who was so nervous they literally choked on their food (hotdogs) and needed a Heimlich maneuver to recover. I don't think they got the job but they did get noticed.

    Good luck and have fun,
  4. Dec 6, 2016 #3
    It's a bit late but I was wondering how it went? I'm looking at consulting at the moment.

    One correction I'd make is, you say it's a 'once in a lifetime opportunity'. I don't think that's true - a common route is get a job, then take a break to get a prestigious MBA, then go into consulting.
  5. Dec 7, 2016 #4
    <<Emphasis added>>

    I'd be careful here. I'm not a consultant, but several years ago I looked into the option of becoming one (after a long career in industrial R&D), and I know people who are consultants. The problem is there are limited entry points into the field. Firms will recruit fresh grads. They are typically young and unattached. The firm will train them and ship them to random places, often for extended periods. After a while, some firms will sponsor you for an MBA and you can work up the ranks.

    If you are well-established, have extensive technical and business experience, and have many connections, then firms will hire you into a senior position, especially if you have enough connections to bring in new clients.

    But if you have extensive technical experience, but have no business experience and connections, then you are in limbo. They can't fit you into the program for rookies (especially if you're older, and married with kids); at the same time, you don't qualify to be hired into a senior position. So unless you some exceptional value to offer, you won't get your foot in the door (even if you wrangle an MBA on your own).
  6. Dec 7, 2016 #5
    They told me I solved the cases correctly and were impressed by my creativity (though they also said I didn't stick to my case trees enough), however I didn't end up getting an offer because I didn't talk enough about my "accomplishments" .. So basically I didn't sell myself enough/was too humble (though to my defense, vast majority of those who've studied physics/maths for a couple of years tend to become humbled).

    Anyway I've fixed this "flaw" since, and I encourage you to not be too humble either. But then again you should gauge who is interviewing you before deciding how to present yourself and how hard to sell yourself.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
  7. Dec 7, 2016 #6
    Well I got my information from the book 'What they teach you at Harvard Business School'; the author implies that basically everyone there gets an interview at McKinsey. It's not really a serious book but I would have thought if you get into a top 10 MBA programme they should at least interview you (albeit you'd start from a junior level).
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