The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is one of the world's leading management consulting firms and has been ranked by B-school students and MBA graduates as one of the top three most desirable consulting firms to work with. Working with BCG is a dream-come-true for many, as it was for this IIM Indore student, who made it through BCG's rigorous interview process. This is a detailed account of her BCG interview experience.
The Boston Consulting Group is one of the most coveted management consulting firms on campus and, expectedly, has a very rigorous selection procedure. The process involves a resume based shortlist, followed by an elimination round of telephonic interview and then two to three rounds of interviews at their Mumbai office.
Watch this video where Simran Ahluwalia, an IIM Indore student, gives a detailed account of her BCG interview experience!
Stage 1 - CV Shortlisting
Starting with the first step – I had spent a considerable amount of time in resume preparation. The initiatives of the college PrepCom were very helpful. Two most important factors were:
- making sure all points follow the RAC format (result followed by action and then context).
- quantification of the impact created or the scale of the work done.
After this stage, BCG assigns a buddy to every shortlisted candidate. The buddy is usually a current consultant who is an alumnus of the concerned college. My buddy was immensely helpful – he suggested case books and took mock interviews to help me ace the case format of the interview. I had largely referred to Victor Cheng’s book and videos.
Here are some brilliant tips by an IIM Ahmedabad graduate and McKinsey & Co. PPO holder on how to craft the perfect resume to get shortlisted!
Stage 2 - Telephonic Interview
The second stage involves a telephonic interview. It usually lasts for about half an hour and follows the case interview format.
I was given an M&A case in the Ed-Tech industry and was asked to suggest the parameters to evaluate two target firms. I began the case discussion by first clarifying the objective of the acquisition – followed by an evaluation of financial and non-financial parameters. For non-financial factors, I covered the available technology of the two firms, products offered, market share, cultural fit and consumer awareness. For financial parameters, I covered the D/E ratio and capital structure and also suggested projecting cash flows of the firm and finalising the discount rate.
Through all this discussion, it had emerged that the two firms are similar in almost all criteria, except that the second firm is a scaled-up version of the first. To bring the discussion back to the question in focus, the interviewer divulged that the prices charged are similar as well. I jumped to say that it would mean that the second firm has a higher number of consumers, and that meets the objective of the acquiring firm to enter this industry.
I confirmed whether the firm had the capacity to absorb losses – the interviewer replied in affirmative and I went on to conclude our discussion.
Stage 3 - Final Round Of Interviews At BCG's Mumbai Office
Post this round, the selected candidates travelled to BCG’s Mumbai office for the final round of interviews. For the final preparation, all of us had divided ourselves in groups and were taking mock case interviews of each other. Our respective buddies were still around to help us – they also conducted an extensive case-solving session to demonstrate an ideal case interview.
We were flown to Mumbai a night before and the process began at 9 AM the next day and continued till about 5 PM in the evening. All of us had 2-3 rounds of interviews. The first round is usually with a consultant or a project leader, followed by one with a Principal and then a Partner.
BCG Case-Study Interview Experience
My first case had the objective of increasing sales for an M&S store located at the airport. This was a very extensive interview – and we spent a lot of time going through many nuances. The interview began with some HR questions, where I was asked to introduce myself and why I wanted to shift from finance to consulting. I began with clarifying the objective and the location of the airport and discussed with the interviewer which segmentation might be the best to follow here. We defined the parameters of success, the ideal location and the product-mix. In the end, he asked me if I had any questions, and I asked him about how the actual case is coming along and we chatted on those lines a bit before departing.
My next interview came after a bit of waiting, and this was a pricing case. The problem statement was to price an eye drop that could remove spectacles forever. I enquired about the quantity per bottle, how regularly the eye drops have to be used and the average price of a pair of spectacles. We then figured out how many bottles will be used in a year and compared it to a year-worth of expenditure on a pair of spectacles. Similarly, we considered the prices of contact lenses and LASIK surgery.
The minimum of these three was to be the correct price of the bottle of eye drop. The conversation again ended with him asking if I had any questions for him and I asked him about the BCG Henderson Institute. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the case that we had discussed and the interview hadn’t gone as smoothly as I wanted – so I was really hoping for a third interview.
Fortunately, only a couple of minutes later, I was called for the third and final interview. It was a profitability case and the problem statement was to figure out the driver behind the declining profits of an Insurance firm in Sri Lanka. I began with clarifying if it’s an industry-wide issue and then drilled down the profit equation. He revealed that it’s a revenue issue and we segmented on the lines of distribution channels and as we went down the line, it turned out that the agents were not pushing the sales adequately.
Again, the case ended with him asking if I had any questions for him, to which I asked how consultants gain specialisation as they climb up the ladder.
Overall, the interview experience was quite gruelling and required a ton of practice – the focus areas being developing a general method to problem-solving and acing the communication as well. The case interview is supposed to be a discussion and it’s not only required but expected to engage with the interviewer and solve the problem with him/her.
To whoever is preparing this year – good luck!
Recommended Reads For You
Don't forget to check out this three-part series with Seema Bansal, Director at BCG, where she shares excellent insights and anecdotes around life at BCG.