Very Difficult Interview
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – Interviews were rigorous and difficult. Important to maintain cool under pressure. Must have hypothesis driven approach and interviewee must drive the case. Good structure and math are expected. Solution - practice... a lot.
1 round interview - 2 interviews in local office. Mix of behavioral and case interviews with Project Leader and Principal.
Decision round - 3 interviews in the office of choice/preference. Again Mix of behavioral and case interviews with Partners and Principals.
Interview Question – Rigor of the cases. Must have creative solutions yet also suggest implementable solutions to tough problems in a very short time (approx. 25 min cases). Answer Question
Negotiation Details – None. Best in class offers.
Very Difficult Interview
I applied in-person and the process took 3 days - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – Long and strenuous interview process, but a great experience
Interview Question – I was asked about a trucking company that was experiencing revenue loss year-over-year. View Answer
Interviewed at Boston Consulting Group
Interview Details – Applied through the Advanced degree route. BCG came to campus for a presentation. Case practice workshop was conducted for first round interviewees. First round was in Chicago. Interviewed by two projects leaders. Each interview consisted of a 10 min fit component, a 30 minute case and 5 min Q&A. Fit and case were both pretty standard.
Interview Question – Heavy on data analysis from graphs/tables. Need to be quick/thorough with math. Answer Question
I applied through college or university and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group in October 2011.
Interview Details – 2 round 1 interviews followed by 3 round 2 interviews
Interview Question – All interviews were typical case interviews. Familiarity with charts is important as they tend to use a lot of exhibits Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiation
I applied online and the process took 5 months - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group in August 2013.
Interview Details – There are two rounds 1st round I had two interview with a project leader and a principle. The Second round I had two interviews with Partners. With the exception of one of my final round interviews all the interviews had the same standard format. Fit interview for 15 min and then candidate lead case interview for 30 min. One of my final round interviews was a written interview where I had 45 min to look through information and compose a recommendation. I then had 45 min of discussion and follow-up questions with my interviewer regarding the situation. Then I had 15 min of Fit interview to finish up.
Interview Question – The most difficult question was probably some of the math in one of the cases. Not complicated mathematically, but conceptually trying to figure out how to structure the solution. Answer Question
I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group in October 2012.
Interview Details – Recruitment took place at Columbia University campus. The first round interview was with one of the CU graduates currently working at BCG HR. It was a very pleasant conversation about my background. The second round interview was in Philadelphia. I had 2 half-hour case case interviews with two different offices-Moscow and Kiev. To my surprise the interview was in Russian. I do speak fluent Russian, however, I got lost in terminology which I learn in English only. The interviewers were very nice and I felt that they liked me and even tried to help me. Nevertheless, I didn't pass this round. I was simply not prepared to do case interviews in Russian. Great experience though, gotta do a better job next time:)
Interview Question – Russian company discovered 9 huge oil fields with different capacity. Analyze and prioritize each oil field. Answer Question
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – It was an interview on campus and there were 2 case studies, 45 mins/ ea. They asked me to analysis the business of a coffee shop providing the background of the market as well as the details of the shop and give a solution after the calculation. The following case study interview is given by a guy who had been in BCG for 1 year. We chatted a little bit football (he is from Europe) and finished the case. It went very smoothly. The second interview was easier for me. Whether or not the recruiter led you in the case analysis is important.
Interview Question – Some details you may ignore in the case study Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group in August 2009.
Interview Details – Standard consulting case interview process. 2 rounds of interviews, 2 interviews in the first round, 3 interviews in the second round. All interviews with consulting staff, 2nd round with more senior staff. In both rounds decisions came the same day. Practice case offered between rounds. Interviews each took about 45 min.
Interview Question – All the interviews had business cases, exactly as expected. All the cases were interesting problems to solve. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – I did not negotiate, which is typical for top consulting firms under normal circumstances.
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – There were two back to back 45 minute interviews. To give some background, I had more work experience and a more advanced (and higher ranked) education than both of my interviewers. I only say this since this firm cares a lot about school names (I don’t). The first interviewer was very friendly, laid back, and asked normal behavioral questions that were easy to answer. He also gave the case interview properly. The only problem was the poorly made graphs. I have created many dual axis graphs in my life – but I don’t create a jumble of numbers within those graphs – that’s what the Excel option to put a table *below* the graph is for. Also, I haven’t done math without Excel or a calculator since I was in grammar school. I practiced for a week beforehand, but I still made mistakes with very easy numbers. Since they adamantly believe that clients will entrap you in situations where you have to immediately spit out numbers from thin air without hesitation, it is imperative that you do not make a mistake with anything mathematical.
My second interview was worse. The consultant asked much more lengthy behavioral questions that she hadn't bothered to sort out ahead of time. Every time I answered one, there was a long delay as she fumbled through her papers to find the next interview questions to ask. She had a very cold demeanor, and she could barely fake any interest in my background or experiences. When she asked me about a setback in my life, she checked out while I was answering it - and then asked a follow up question that I already answered ("what did you learn from it").
Her case delivery was a mess too. Again, she did not pay attention to half of the things I said. She did not know a basic term about the industry she supposedly worked in (that the case was about). I would state hypotheses and information I needed, and she ignored anything I said that did not fit the precisely predetermined case structure and wording that she expected. It was the end of a day, so maybe this was part of the problem. However, if you are going to be a case interviewer (as I have been) you have to flexibly adapt to the areas that the interviewee goes. You can’t stonewall them if they don’t go in your exact order and vocabulary. You CAN say “let’s ignore this part of the issue for the case” or “can you describe what you mean?” to guide them without giving away answers. I had far more direct work experience and exposure to the exact problem I was asked than the interviewer had. I knew how these issues worked in reality, and parts of the case were so absurdly outside of reality, I couldn’t arrive at the logic they had embedded in the case (e.g., obtaining 100% market share in an industry with massive established competitors - that was the goal!).
She also kept demanding that I ask her questions during the case, even though I stated the information I needed. I used this approach with the first interviewer, and he simply gave me the information. I said “I would need the market share” but unless I ASKED her “what is the market share?” – she would virtually yell at me “if you ask a question, I can answer it!” Huh? Alex Trebek? If people state what they need (and it is not in “question format”) I give them the information. It was very disruptive to have to keep rephrasing everything.
I had to read two charts (and I have read thousands of charts in my life) – and one had no clear label on the Y axis. I asked what that axis was supposed to be and she literally yelled “it’s a histogram!” This was the second time I got a badly designed chart, and part of the problem was my own confusion about why BGG would give such awful charts (was I missing something or was the mess deliberate). If they said “the client gave us this data” it would make a little more sense. Instead, she just said “here".
Also, since I made some mistakes early on (within the first 5 minutes) and once I did this, she was checked out. She could barely fake it for the other 25 minutes once I misread the first chart.
BGG recruiters: If you just want someone who can crunch numbers (which appears to be the sole criteria despite technological advancements called calculators and excel), don’t interview people who have the backgrounds like mine. It wastes everyone’s time and just causes ill will and frustration for everyone involved. Use a test like McKinsey and you won’t have to do this. Also, train your staff to give case interviews properly. I wouldn't have posted all of this if it wasn't such a mess. I interviewed at another strategy firm, but that interviewer was extremely experienced. He explained, in depth, why the theories and ideas I put forth would (or would not) work. He knew how to give a case. The BCG people did not and should not be doing it. I had no issues with the other firm rejecting me based on my poor case performance since it was very reasonable and professional. This was another story.
Interview Question – Interviewer 1 basically wanted a history of my working life since undergrad, and then he asked a few follow up questions. He wanted to know why I wanted to go into consulting and why I wanted to work for BGG. His case started as a basic profit = revenue – cost case with some deeper issues that involved further calculations and poorly made graphs.
Interviewer 2 asked when I led people and had an impact – and what that impact was. I answered that, though it was impossible to gauge if it was sufficient. She also asked about a time when I had to redo work or take another approach because my first approach didn’t work (or something like that) – which was sort of odd because she also asked about a major setback which is in a similar realm of questioning. Answer Question
Interviewed at Boston Consulting Group
Interview Details – The process was very professionally managed with clear expectations and numerous follow ups. First round consisted of two back-to-back case interviews and second round was similar but took into account feedback from the first.
Interview Question – Case where the client's had an unrealistic plan to expand into a particular market. Need to deliver that by doing calculations and guiding clients to the conclusion in a friendly way. Answer Question
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