While in a 1-year program in B school, you intend to make the best out of every day and the same is with everyone around you. Our inflated resumes, our passion to learn every new technology, our common aspiration to be good corporates - we encounter these things every single day during the 11 months. Amidst this, placements is the finale that all dread (read Compete) for. Moreover, when it is the Day 0, knowingly or unknowingly you do aim for it.
It is definitely a great thing to make it to the Day 0 placement especially when you know you aspire to be one of those ‘few’ placed. However, even if things do not happen the way planned, you do get an all-rounded experience.
My interview experience was no less of a roller coaster ride. Right from the CV shortlists, it was unpredictable, fulfilling, and definitely an awaited milestone.
We were sent the Day 0 JD a day prior to the actual interview process.
Couple of hours and we were supposed to share our CVs. That certainly is the most important part of the process. It decides your first impression of the panels. So I made sure that my CV was on point.
The CV primarily is a one-pager glimpse of your entire education and professional career. In 1 year PGPM, everyone had a minimum of 2 years of work experience topped with commendable Pre- PGPM milestones hence, it was important to stand out.
How did I achieve that?
I knew what Consulting companies look for and worked towards highlighting those in my perspective:
- Spikes in CV
- Good academics
- Couple of notable recognitions right from under graduation
- Attention to details (It precisely even included the font in the one-pager CV, the text alignment, and the format)
My Interview Experience
The time span between the shortlist announcement and the actual interview process is minimal hence, it goes without saying that the preparation is not an one day affair; it goes all along especially in the 1 year program your prior PGPM achievements count a lot. In addition, what really adds to it is your perseverance throughout.
Coming back to the interview experience, the process began with a group discussion with ~12 fellow candidates in each group.
Like a normal Consulting interview, we were handed over a detailed case study for analysis – a retail market leader attempting E-commerce for the first time in an upcoming market and the outcomes relating to the transformation from brick and mortar to online sales – followed by a brief Q&A session.
Although it was a highly competent cohort that I was in, what worked for me in my opinion were four things that are also important in Consulting as an industry and if you have been on the introvert side most of your life, this is the way to go:
- Proactive attitude all along the discussion
- Data-driven analysis that accentuated the points said
- Eagerness to let others put across their point of view (listening skills are underestimated but one of the most important traits required in Consulting in my experience)
- Presentation with a structured and tidy approach
Three panels including the firm Partner, Directors, and managers judged the group discussion.
As soon as we received the results of the GD, we were suggested to go for the Personal Interview (PI).
It was one round of PI (consisting of a lady and a gentleman as the interviewers).
The questions majorly belonged to the industry and market trends, live projects that I had pursued as part of my PGPM and the highlights in CV (academics, past projects, extracurricular achievements, and behavioural questions). Three major areas that were quite prominent in the discussion as my background was of IT: Industry, brands I had worked with, and the future of Digital.
It was a 30 minutes discussion and a good one.
Three takeaways from my day 0 experience that would help:
- Confidence while answering
- Data and facts that substantiate the answers
- Positive attitude
It surely took us the entire day and our selections were announced towards the end of the day. Also, its true that the process stays gruelling and it surely would be, but once you crack it, it is worth all the hustle (Also, the remaining course tenure post the day is all yours).
The day still flashes time and again in front of my eyes and is way too special not to cherish.