P. G. Wodehouse once said, “I always advise people never to give advice.” This is not the case with management consultants – they advise businesses and their advice better be good.
A management consultant helps companies enhance their performance.
Firms will hire a management consultancy, or an external advisor, if the expertise of the consultant is not available in their management resources.
Note – this profession is sometimes called business analyst or financial analyst.
The management consulting practices include: analysis of business functioning, defining business weaknesses/problems, and developing plans for improvement – short term plans and long term plans. Therefore, though it is a one-time project, the effectiveness of the business advice should last long, as the consultant is expected to bring added value to the organization in a short yet crucial period of time.
This article provides interview questions for management consulting. The questions can be categorized into two groups: case interview questions and the “tell us about yourself” questions in an interview.
Case consulting interview
Tips for a management consultant interview
As opposed to a regular job interview, where the company hires an employee who may provide future benefits, the interview for management consulting focuses on ‘real time’ benefits that the consultant can bring. This includes looking at one’s background, his or her related expertise, and most importantly, the consultant’s reputation.
Some of the deliveries expected from the management consultant are: management coaching, change of management methods, strategy development, evaluating cross-company performance, and exploring the progress towards their long term goals. At the end, the consultant provides a well-organized business plan to the management that presents the actions he recommends taking for enhancing performance and productivity.
The Case Interview
Case Consulting Interview Questions
A case interview (also called situational interview) is an interview in which the candidate is required to provide a solution for a given problem or a business situation. The skills to evaluate are: problem solving, analytical thinking, presentation skills, and business skills. The interview can be conducted as a group interview (or panel interview) – management members ask the questions, receive answers, and evaluate how the consultant generally arrives at a solution. Below are examples of case interview questions:
- Your client is a major pharmacy chain. Every year they make more sales and every year, they lose more money. They are considering closing more and more pharmacies. Should they implement this strategy?
- You are consulting for one of the largest shoe store chains in the country. Their sales start to shrink and they are considering selling fast food in the stores’ locations. What would you recommend?
- You are consulting a small firm that sells a quality and well reputed product. A large competitor starts selling a similar product incorporating the newest technology. What should they do?
- You are consulting a company in which their major business is in Western Europe. They are considering an expansion into China. What is your advice?
How to handle the case interview:
The best way to answer the case questions is to think out loud and to ask questions for gathering more information before answering. Don’t rush your answer.
The interviewers want to evaluate your way of thinking through the elements in which you build your answer. Therefore, provide an answer that is based on the particular case information and not a structured, pre-prepared answer. You may tell about a similar case to support your answer, if you have one.
“Tell about yourself” Questions
- What is your background? Your experience in this field? References?
- What would you bring to us if hired – the value added?
- What are your special skills and expertise?
- Tell us about your greatest achievements so far. Rewards? Recognitions?
- How do you deliver your advice?
- What are the differences/similarities between other firms you’ve been consulting and our firm?
One should do his best to present his career accomplishments thoroughly and accurately.
It is also recommended to give examples of success stories to prove your experience.
Job Interviews for Executives