Monday, September 27, 2010

BCG whiz

This morning I submitted my first application for full-time most-MBA employment, to the Boston Consulting Group. When you arrive at business school, people tell you that you will at some point consider consulting. I didn't believe that, but a series of events and realizations have led me to think that it could be a great opportunity and very educational for me -- kind of like boot camp. I may have the chops, or I may not. That's for the consultancies to decide.

For those who don't know, consulting is a job where businesses hire your firm to solve problems they either can't figure out or don't have the time or resources to figure out. Then you and your colleagues go to the business and try to solve their problem. At least this is how it's been presented to me.

Applying to be a consultant invovles a lot of work because the interview process notoriously entails a "case," or multiple cases. This is where the interviewers will give you a problem, usually rooted in a lot of math and analysis, and ask you to think through it, using pencil and paper and talking out loud. The idea is to get a notion of how the candidate processes problem-solving, and whether that process jibes with the firm's approach. Naturally they want logic, brilliance and creativity, and they want to see how professional you are and how well you work under pressure. Students often practice casing so that they can nail down a few frameworks and go into the interview prepared to work quickly. I've been casing with my friend Kate for the past two Sundays. She's in my boat -- coming a little late to the party. One of my friends who worked at BCG over the summer says she did 100 practice cases in advance of her interview. Not sure I'll have the time to go quite that far, but I'm trying to be prepared.

So, application submitted, and we'll see. Consulting applications are, as you can tell, among the earliest in the recruiting process, so looking into these opportunities is no way mutually exclusive to seeking others. My list of ideas and potential employers is ever-growing.

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