The consulting interview series
With this series, we want to give you insights into how the consulting roles differ across firms and geographies. We reach into our network to talk to people from the McKinseys, BCGs, and Bains of this world and get their perspective on their jobs and the industry.
If you have any requests for particular firms or geographies and particular questions, let us know and we will reach out to our network to conduct an interview for StrategyCase.com.
Today we have interviewed one of our peers who works as an experienced hire for BCG in Germany to answer the questions on What does a BCG consultant do and How does the day of a BCG consultant look like. See the interview below.
The experience of a BCG consultant
StrategyCase.com: Where do you work? What position?
Interviewee: I am currently with BCG working as a Consultant out of one of their German offices. I joined as an experienced hire with previous work experience.
StrategyCase.com: What kinds of cases do you work on?
Interviewee: So far I have worked across a variety of industries, covering a wide range of topics: Commercial strategy, Digital transformation, M&A, Corporate development, and others
StrategyCase.com: How is the travel for BCG consultants in your geography? Do you travel every week? How far?
Interviewee: This varies quite a bit and depends on client/project demands and sometimes personal choice. I have had anything from full home office to weekly travels to the client site Mon-Thu up to extended stays for weeks in the US and APAC. On average I would say that I am traveling 70-80% of the time for 3-4 days a week.
StrategyCase.com: What are your favorite travel hacks?
Interviewee: Without a doubt collecting miles. My Star Alliance Gold status is literally worth ‘Gold’ to me. When you travel around as often as you do as a consultant, there is incredible value to priority check-in and boarding (less time in queues, more time to get work done/relax), booking guarantee (our plans change quite often), upgrades, and many more.
StrategyCase.com: How does a typical day look in your consultant life? (e.g., distribution between client meetings, problem-solving, analytical work in excel, slide preparation, etc.)
Interviewee: This varies across engagements, but commonly the day will start with a team check-in to align on priorities for the day and further involve client meetings (be it calls, informal meetings, workshops), research and analysis, story-lining and slide-creation, and whatever else comes up. The unpredictability of what you might be doing in a given week or even day is what makes this job so exciting (and yes, sometimes painful).
StrategyCase.com: What’re the typical hours you work during the week and on Friday? How about weekend work?
Interviewee: On average I would usually work 8.30 am – 10/11 pm during the week. Mondays can start as early as 5 am to catch flights; Thursdays I will usually be back home by 8 pm and not work past that. On Fridays, we will usually try and end work by 5-6 pm, rarely later. I have so far managed to avoid weekend work, and outside of unexpected project needs, this is the norm.
StrategyCase.com: How do you unwind during the week and on weekends?
Interviewee: I like to use the hotel gym at least twice during the week, have (team) dinners with colleagues, and might watch an episode or two if there is time. On weekends, I like to do sports, meet friends and family, cook. Reserving enough ‘me time’ on weekends is important for me to recharge for a busy week ahead.
StrategyCase.com: What’s the best part of the job?
Interviewee: Smart colleagues, interesting topics, the value you bring (even when you are junior), your development, and (most of the time) the travel.
StrategyCase.com: What is the worst part of the job?
Interviewee: Long hours (though this will vary), constant stress, being away from home more often than you’d wish sometimes
StrategyCase.com: What tip would you give applicants for your role and your firm?
Interviewee: Research the company you are applying for and determine your fit – why exactly this company? Prepare for interviews through extensive case training ahead of time, ideally with a training partner – interviews are a ‘game’ with specific rules, and you need to know those rules. But most importantly: be yourself and show authenticity.
StrategyCase.com: What exit opportunities are you considering?
Interviewee: I have not yet come across the opportunity. If I ever moved to industry, I could imagine working for a smaller or mid-sized biopharma/ medtech company where you can really move the needle.
StrategyCase.com: What have you learned on the job?
Interviewee: There is a solution to any problem, even if not apparent at first. If you are stuck, you are most likely looking at the problem from the wrong angle.
StrategyCase.com: Anything else you would like to add?
Interviewee: Always stay true to yourself. Consulting can be an amazing opportunity and life experience, but it can also be the worst experience if not aligned with your personal priorities. Whenever you get a chance, try to do a consulting internship first. It will usually also be easier to receive a full-time offer afterward if both sides see a fit.
How we can help you to get into BCG
If you want to break into BCG, check out how we can help you below.
Our approach follows the stages of the consulting application life cycle.
1. Start out by reading our freely available articles on consulting applications, digital assessments, case interviews, and the consulting lifestyle to get an idea of where you’ll be heading. More info here.
2. Check out our application document guides for cover letters and resumes (including ready-to-use templates) that allow you to complete stellar consulting applications within less than 1 hour. The guides and templates are tailored to contain the right content, keywords, phrases, and stories to maximize your chances to receive the invitation to the interviews. More info here.
3. Specifically for BCG candidates, we have developed a guide on the BCG Online Case on how to prepare and ace it. The information and strategies contained in the guide will put you on top of current BCG applicants. More info here.
4. Specifically for McKinsey, we have developed our Ready-for-McKinsey (RfM) video academy, which consists of 40 educational videos that dissect a typical McKinsey interview step by step. We cover both the business case interview including structuring, exhibit, and math questions as well as the personal experience interview with its dimensions leadership, personal impact, and entrepreneurial drive. We employ a “contrasting method” by showcasing to you how bad, good, and excellent candidates would answer the questions. Through this, we are able to demonstrate interview best-practices, the most common mistakes to avoid, and what it really takes to receive an offer. This video program is the best resource for McKinsey interviews out there. You can use this academy also for your BCG preparation. More info here.
5. Book a case interview appointment to benefit from our real MBB interviewer experience. We have successfully coached 100s of candidates on their journey of getting offers with top-tier firms such as McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. Our approach differs from the usual interview coachings and teaches you specific habits and tools to crack every case, regardless of the context or industry. We also offer behavioral and personal experience interview practice and coaching. To maximize your chances, we recommend you to book a 6-sessions program with us (3 typical MBB cases and 3 personal fit simulations). More info here.
Florian spent 5 years with McKinsey as a senior consultant. He is an experienced consulting interviewer and problem-solving coach, having interviewed 100s of candidates in real and mock interviews. He started StrategyCase.com with the goal to make McKinsey more accessible for top-talent, using tailored and up-to-date know-how about its recruiting.