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Boston Consulting Group Consultant Interview Questions & Reviews
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Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Boston Consulting Group
Interview Details – 6 interviews divided into 3 rounds. First round with more jnr staff and last round with partners. Case based interviews. First 10-15mins about you, 35 mins on a case questions then time at the end for you to ask questions. Get on www.caseinterview.com to help you prepare and do lots of practice with friends.
Interview Question – Calculations with lots of zero's Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Very little negotiation possible other than start dates
Very Difficult Interview
Consultant Interview (Positive Experience; 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.
Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – The whole process took almost 3 months from application to the first round. Before the first round the candidate has to pass written case interview. On the first round there were 2 1:1 case interviews. One was an exploratory case on starting a new business, the other case was on valuation
Consultant Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – BCG is a fantastic Firm, and its selection process is one of the most professional. I have only good things to say about their US team.
The Indian office (esp. Delhi), however, is another story altogether. They are a right mess.
Lateral recruitment and career progression are not aligned with US or Europe, and seem patently illogical and unfortunate.
The recruitment process is fairly standard - with 2 rounds of interviews. Each round consists of 2-3 interviews. Each interview is supposed to be composed of a case and a behavioral part.
Unfortunately, the Delhi-based interviewing consultants evidently lack a key skill - listening. And irrespective of how many interviews they might have conducted, they seem particularly poorly equipped to manage case interviews. In fact, in one case, (based on the feedback later provided to me) the interviewer actually expected me to do the exact opposite of what one is supposed to do in solving a case.
To top it all, they seem pretty cavalier and unprofessional as far as the process and logistics go.
Interview Question – Nothing difficult or unexpected. Only unexpected thing was the unprofessionalism of both HR and interviewers (multiple reschedules, turning up late, lack of structure, not adhering to scheduled time slots, etc) Answer Question
Consultant Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
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
Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – introduced by ex-colleague who is now working at BCG. The interview took place three times. First one is with Manager, and the second one is with senior manager, and the third one is with engagement partner. I failed in third interview. The 3rd interview looked going well, but he doesn't conduct any case interview.
Interview Question – how many drug store in your city? how profitable they are? Answer Question
Consultant Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group in December 2012.
Interview Details – Campus recruiting information session. Invited to interview within a month of application submission. Current consultants reached out to provide mock interview prep prior to the actual interview and were very friendly and welcoming. Actual interview was pleasant and just as friendly as prep call was. It was difficult to gauge performance due to the general positivity of the interviewer. Feedback session afterwards was provided, but very generic.
Interview Question – An operations case was provided which was difficult as it wasn't a standard type of case that is available in the prep books that I had used. However, using logic to deduce bottlenecks and capacity issues is doable. Answer Question
Consultant Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a staffing agency and interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – The cordination of the interview process was very professional and everything was nicely set up during the interview. For successful candidates I was told there would be 5 interview rounds and after each there would be an evaluation if the process should continue.
The interview started with a brief review of my CV and fit questionaires and the questions were fairly straight foreward.
The main part was a case from an industry I was unfamiliar with and the data was very old. I received the case description and a supporting graph for a market entry study. Then I had some time to decide my approach. Finally we discussed the case over abt. 30 min where gradually new data was presented. I felt my logic of entering less developped markets was accepted but I was not able to pull out the correct economic terms during the discussion though I had an OK approach. I felt my recommendations though were a bit untraditional. I thought the interviewer was fairly easy to read and I did leave with a big question on whether I had passed or not.
One week later I received a polite rejection.
Interview Question – There were no very difficult or unexpected questions as I believe one of the points is to have cases the candidate is unfamiliar with. Answer Question
Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience)
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
Consultant Interview (Positive Experience)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took a day - interviewed at Boston Consulting Group.
Interview Details – Submitted application, scheduled informational phone interview. Phone interview went well; however, the travel commitments and my career aspirations did not fit well. All together, very positive experience.
Interview Question – Fairly straight forward Q&A. Answer Question
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