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time to give up

 
#1 time to give up
08/05/2007 18:38

vodka

I've been rejected from:

Without interview: Roland Berger, OC&C, Parthenon, Deloitte, Marakon, BAH, Mercer.

After interview: Monitor, Bain, BCG, Mckinsey, ZS, Credo, LEK.

Feedback was weak case structure. I did practice a lot with others (who got into Mck) and concentrated on this point, but to no success.

What would you guys do?

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#2 RE: time to give up
08/05/2007 18:46

no to vodka (#1)

Never Stop Trying

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#3 RE: time to give up
08/05/2007 19:08

Paul to vodka (#1)

I agree with the last poster to keep trying.

Top-Consultant do a course on this which I did a while ago, and I found to be very good, and not very expensive.

Many of the consultancies that you listed have practice cases on their websites. I would do/redo these and pay specific attention to the structure.

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#4 RE: time to give up
08/05/2007 19:39

Anon to vodka (#1)

Congratulations on owning up to your (long) list - most normal people have got one! Definately don't give up, if this is what you want to do. But remember 'if you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always got...' Rethink, revise, reapply yourself. Good luck!

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#5 RE: time to give up
08/05/2007 20:33

anon to vodka (#1)

Yes, bravo to owning up. Perhaps try getting some other corporate work experience first (even if only on a temporary basis), which will both strengthen your CV and give you opportunity to see how some of these business situations play out in reality - it helps with bringing the case studies to life in your own mind so you can analyse them in a more insightful manner and understand what structures work best to prioritise the facts.

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#6 RE: time to give up
09/05/2007 02:47

MR to anon (#5)

Vodka:

Good for you for having the chutzpah to ask in this forum--it can be a bit severe at times.

I have been rejected from BAH, ACN, IBM, Secor, Deloitte, Bain, ATK, Kurt Salmon (US), ECG (US), BT and PwC. The interesting part is that I was recommended in every instance by a colleague who worked at the firm, and with whom I completed the MBA.

Consistent academic distinction, extra-c activities, leadership, recommendations, excellent work references from past multi-national clients and supervisors didn't mean a thing. It all came down to the case.

I noticed two things. First, the more I practised cases, the better I became at them. Second, firms that continue to use cases as a screening tool are only getting half the talent pool. Case study requires positivist / logical thought (which most men use). If you're an analogous thinker (which most women are), then logic can seem obvious at times. Analogous thinkers find the parallel, and begin reasoning in similarities, rather than through null hypotheses.

Great logical thinkers include Einstein, Hubble, Dirac, and Derrida. Great analogous thinkers include Mandela, Bohr, Michael Creichton (Jurassic Park), and Susan Sontag.

That won't change the consulting firms' recruitment models any time soon. So, as other posters have suggested, check the McK, Bain, Acc, etc. websites for cases. There's also a website called The Vault (US-based) which, for a fee, offers 'crack the case' materials.

Although I don't know you, I see parallels between what each of us has experienced, and I suspect that to get your foot in the door with firms of this calibre, you are highly intelligent and capable; probably with more to contribute than a purely logical thinker.

Please hang in there, give it a little practice, and let us all know how you do. Good luck. I have an interview on Friday with a firm that has already rejected me. I circled back a year later, and here I am. The same might work for you.

MR

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#7 RE: time to give up
09/05/2007 17:46

Beng to MR (#6)

"Consistent academic distinction, extra-c activities, leadership, recommendations, excellent work references from past multi-national clients and supervisors didn't mean a thing. It all came down to the case."

MR,

I can see how one could possibly arrive at that conclusion from the outside looking in. So I won't blame you and instead provide some insight.

It is BECAUSE you had "consistent academic distinction, extra-c activities, leadership, recommendations, excellent work references from past multi-national clients and supervisors" that you got invited to the interview. Do you think we would actually invite someone who had poor academic performance, no ECAs, no demonstrated leadership skills, poor recommendations, and weak work experience to an interview? And then gauge whether they had the fit and capability to be a MC?

The fact is, you are competing against the same over-achieving, high-potential, top-caliber people. You have already been pre-screened...so congratulations, you look great on paper. The next step would then be to differentiate these so-called top-caliber candidates through the case interview. Cracking the case demonstrates not just business acumen and the ability to think clearly and logically, it also demonstrates communication skills, the ability to withstand pressure, desire and determination (typically only the ones who rigorously practice can crack it), etc. Don't fall into the trap of thilnking all you're getting gauged on is logical thiking. You're being gauged on everything.

Having been a MC for many years and leading recruiting efforts at my alma mater, I'm used to your background. It's not exceptional...it's the norm for MBBB firms. So keep practicing. If you think you got the structure and logic down pat, think of all the other variables that impact your interview -- communication skills, poise and confidence, etc.

PS. I posted a long thread a few months ago regarding how to crack a case where I discussed all these things. Assuming Tony hasn't deleted it, maybe one of you guys can find it.

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#8 RE: time to give up
09/05/2007 17:54

Beng to Beng (#7)

Also, contrary to the advice that most people give on this Board -- there comes a time when you should just give up. If I reject you once and you apply again, I might give you some extra brownie points for persistence. But if I reject you a second time and you apply again, then you're just wasting my time.

If you're planning to apply a second time, make sure that at least 1 year has passed, and you've done something truly exceptional within that year.

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#9 RE: time to give up
09/05/2007 18:21

p to Beng (#8)

I agree overall with the theme of Beng's post. If you have been rejected for a solid reason and you want to reapply, make sure you've done something in that time period to plug that gap and expand on your knowledge/skill base.

Saying that, I definitely believe that interviews are a bit of a lottery (esp. towards the latter stages when its as much about the 'fit' of a person as his/her technical abilities. If you strike it lucky and are interviewed by someone who you engage with i.e. someone who 'likes' you, then chances are you will be remembered above other candidates.

As Beng states, most of the people who apply have some sort of IQ, its then sorting out the wheat from the chaff. And as much as people may not admit it, personalilty/likeability goes a long way. Which brings me (in a very roundabout way) to say:

It's a bloody lottery, DONT give up if you feel you didnt represent yourself well enough in your interviews and get back there.

If it dont kill you, it'll make you stronger...

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#10 RE: time to give up
09/05/2007 18:39

purdy to p (#9)

Also, have you condsidered apply to anyone else apart from those you have mentioned? Or was your heart set on those where you do more strat work?

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#11 RE: time to give up
09/05/2007 22:51

Beng to Beng (#7)

Also, contrary to the advice that most people give on this Board -- there comes a time when you should just give up. If I reject you once and you apply again, I might give you some extra brownie points for persistence. But if I reject you a second time and you apply again, then you're just wasting my time.

If you're planning to apply a second time, make sure that at least 1 year has passed, and you've done something truly exceptional within that year.

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#12 RE: time to give up
10/05/2007 09:12

Anon to Beng (#11)

I agree with Beng, and if my email didn't make it clear it is you who should be reapplying, but not to the same companies who have already turned you down - unless you have got a good reason why things have changed,

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#13 : time to give up
10/05/2007 13:00

aryan to Anon (#12)

Guys

One advice for whatever its worth

Until 6 months ago, I never thought i could clear a case interview. Did lot of practice but never got it right - problem was the structure!!!

This was until i found the best book in this world - its available at www.consultingcase.com.

Its all about structure and this guys gives u a totally different structure which will fit in every case interview. I failed BAH in final round as it was still early and i needed practice.

But then i hav offers from BCG, LEK and McK all in London. I have accepted Mck and will be starting in august

It all came down to practice and structure and oops forgot good analyticals skills i.e. to be able to do numbers quickly during the interview- this is a bit difficult to learn if you are not mathematically inclined.. but practice always help. BCG was particularly foucssed on analytical skills

No promises or guarantees but I bought 7 books and the one mentioned above is the best. Rest others are good- only for practice cases - Use the structure in consultingcase.com and just be reading the book you will know the whole thing has become a lot easier..

4ps, 3cs are all crap as none of them will solve all cases

Hope you find this useful

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#14 RE: time to give up
10/05/2007 22:12

MR to Beng (#7)

Hi Beng:

Thanks for that important comment--there is much more to logical thought in a case interview. It wasn't my intention to short-change the importance of persistence, communication skills, etc.

The logical thought comment reflected feedback from my own interviewers who saw no issues with communication, etc.

You ask rhetorically and somewhat paternalistically (but since you're an insider, I'll forgive you) whether a firm would invite someone without various qualifications to interviews. I don't know which firm you represent, so I'll use the plural pronoun (as you have) to lump firms together.

Considering friends, classmates and colleagues, yes, you have invited poor academic performers, many without extra-curricular activities, or leadership experience to interviews. You have invited some without any evidence of ambition, risk, boldness, or courage to interviews. And--in several cases--you've hired them. So it's natural to question the efficacy of the "pre-screen".

There is an old logical injunction that the best indicator of future performance is the most recent performance. If that's the case, a candidate's recent performance must bear some testament to his/her skills, capabilities and future performance. MBBB is (take a deep breath) not the only industry which values effective communication skills, leadership, persistence, logical analysis, etc. Believe it or not, energy, pharmaceuticals, medical engineering, automotive, finance, and aeronautics (among others) also require employees with these skills.

Finally, to give the dogma one last kick, one could speak so highly of the value of a case interview if it were either an accurate, or the most effective screening tool available. Presumably, a suitable hire is not just one who fits and contributes to the intellectual rigour, but one who contributes to the firm's business development, knowledge resources, mentoring, and value in short, medium, and long-term capacities.

Experienced and senior colleagues at some of the larger firms have complained of the poor calibre of new recruits. "Quantatively competent, but functionally incompetent, socially distracted, and uncouth," to paraphrase one.

My turn for a rhetorical question:

If the case-interview competence is a worthwhile, effective determinant of a candidate's suitability for client projects and the firm's development, why is industry turnover so high, as either attrition or incompetence induce a gutting at the bottom floors of the industry so that recruitment is a distinct process in itself?

An interesting comment from a multi-billion dollar BCG client: "The only tangible thing they left us with was a bill for 1 million. Not a single executable idea in the plan. But lots of pretty diagrams."

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#15 RE: time to give up
11/05/2007 15:28

borg to MR (#14)

Two points - Beng works for Mck. And he believes his onw hype, so don't expect a reply to your post.

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#16 RE: time to give up
13/05/2007 16:19

don't worry be happy to borg (#15)

Look, the brilliance of tier 1 strategy consulting firms (and often the leading players in other sectors as well) is not in the talent of their people, it is in the way they market themselves. They get the market to believe that it would be a big risk not to use them. Such high positioning and the complacency that follows often leads to sloppier standards than you would ever think. Clients would often be better to use an emerging player than an estblished one in real terms but fear being the person who made the decision to hire an unknown.

The way the MBBB companies market themselves is truly remarkable. The actual value added is often so negligeable but the ability to claim complete credit for a clients success while avoiding the flack when it goes wrong is an incredible achievement.

At junior level, you are very much a commodity. The money is made by putting cheap graduates on client sites at very high charge out rates. They only want a small percentage to get through.

Ultimately there are pros and cons of consulting. On the pro side, you can do some interesting work and may be well positioned when you leave. On the con side, you can end up as a mid tier generalist with an over inflated view of your own worth.

I would strongly advise against joining a strat firm as a graduate. To me the way in is to get some real time experience, do an MBA and join at post MBA level. This way you have jumped over a massive divide without killing yourself as a badly paid over worked graduate.

If you want to do consulting, my advice would be to shelve it as a plan for the time being.

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#17 RE: time to give up
01/06/2007 15:23

ascot to vodka (#1)

Vodka, have you tried the vault.com case studies book ?

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#18 RE: time to give up
29/11/2007 14:11

vodka to ascot (#17)

I can't believe I'm actually writing this message.

When ZS phoned me with my final rejection, I was at work and pretty close to tears. I didn't even want to work for them. Hence, why I initially started this thread.

I spent a lot of time on this forum when I was doing my research, trying to get snippets of advice. I even found some very cool people who helped me practice cases (she got into McK). In the end however I failed. I found structuring cases hard. I read all those case prep/crack case/etc books (cheers anyway Ascot), tried to use their systems, but found myself being counterintuitive.

Anyway, I decided to follow some advice on this thread that seemed reasonable - to do something else. So, I applied to banking. I've now received two offers in IBD from two bulge brackets.

I'm not really sure what happend between then and now. Infact, none of this stuff makes any kinda sense to me anymore. I guess we all eventually find something. I think Beng and some of the others are right in that if it ain't working you have to change/improve/do something. For what its worth, for all of you normal guys still out there, I kept trying and I now believe there's never a time to give up.

Cheers.

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#19 RE: time to give up
29/11/2007 15:11

anon to vodka (#18)

What's yer background mr vodka?

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#20 RE: time to give up
29/11/2007 15:12

Hip Hop Master to vodka (#18)

Get rich or die tryin...

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#21 RE: time to give up
18/02/2008 10:26

mBb to Hip Hop Master (#20)

In several of the posts above various people state that the value of MBB is next to nill.

I was (highly) sceptical too a couple of years ago, but due to a series of events I ended up interviewing at a particular MBB. I got in.

90% of the most amazing people I now know work for that MBB. I sincerely love the company and never bothered to apply elsewhere. The single best thing is that the office politics are extemely limited, since our career track is merit - and not availibility - based and because head hunters are calling every friday with good offers anyway.

Although it is my personal opinion of course, we do add value. At the very least, we are more unbiased and less politically limited than the insiders. Almost all of the cases I worked for involved drastic change, and I read about half of them in the paper - sometimes only months later. We are doing something, believe me.

Criticism here also goes to the marketing of MBB. It is true that we are perceived as an expensive 'necessity' by many clients. We are also political 'insurance' for the existing executive team from time to time. Both of these are merely an indicator of the strategic value we provide.

I guess I just wrote all this to say, especially to all high potentials out there, that the MBB I work for is an amazing place to be part of.

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#22 RE: time to give up
18/02/2008 10:31

anon to mBb (#21)

Thanks for that, Ms H.R. Department.

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#23 RE: time to give up
18/02/2008 11:32

I'm GW Bush and I endorse this message to vodka (#1)

If you really want to get in these firms, practice the cases again, and in the meantime ( wait for about 1 yr), makesure you do something great-a good accomplishment...

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#24 RE: time to give up
18/02/2008 11:40

cynical note to mBb to I'm GW Bush and I endorse this message (#23)

"90% of the most amazing people I know"

of course, if like most at MBB you have lost the ability to communicate with the outside world, it is probably accurate to day that 90% of the people you now know are at your company

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#25 RE: time to give up
18/02/2008 11:52

anon to cynical note to mBb (#24)

Quote: "I sincerely love the company and never bothered to apply elsewhere. The single best thing is that the office politics are extemely limited, since our career track is merit [based]..."

*snip*

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

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