We conducted a chat session with Ms. Saumya Gupta, a PwC consultant, on how you can best crack the consulting interviews in the upcoming recruitment season on 18th December 2015. She is currently working with the Government & Public Sector practice through PwC and is an IMT- Ghaziabad alumna. Prior to her MBA stint, she was working at Infosys Ltd. The chat session was attended by a diversified B-School students PAN India.
We bring to you some interesting excerpts from the chat here.
What role is offered to a newly hired candidate in a consulting company? What are the other avenues other than campus recruitments for a fresh graduate to get into a consulting company?
When a new recruit joins a consulting company they undergo an orientation session to smoothen their process of involvement
Primarily, there are two types of projects
- Project Management: You work with the clients and earn revenue for the company. These are client facing roles.
- Business Development: You get involved in the activities pertaining to the creation of RFP (Request For Proposal) & other bidding activities. This type of a project earns revenue once they go live.
Can you help the students on how to prepare for the consulting interviews within one month?
The resume plays a very vital role in the preparation of an interview with any company. Do remember to highlight your skill set and the impact those skills had on the organization. For each line in the resume, there should be at least a paragraph about it. Reading about the general topics and having an opinion about it also matters a lot.
Polish your communication skills, dress neatly and nicely. & remember that your attitude towards the problem is as important as the answer.
What kind of case studies are put forward during an interview with a consulting company?
Generally, a live case study is given to the students or it can be a business problem that the firm encountered in the past. An evaluator always looks out for innovativeness and logical approach to the problem. Problem-solving and keenness to learn are the two most attractive features for the consulting company HRs.
Can you suggest some reading material/ reference material to prepare for the consulting interviews?
Consulting can be learnt from books. Read more of successful market strategies. Quoting real life examples to support your answer strengthens your case. I read a lot of magazines, marketing websites, & case studies given during the classes.
I am an IIT Alumnus with 3 years of work experience in category management. My graduation GPA is low as compared to the ones required by the consulting companies. I apply but hardly get a response from the recruiters.
This is a profile and company specific question. Eligibility criterion varies from profiles to profile & from company to company.
How are Marketing Research and Consultant Roles are related to each other?
Market research is the supporting base for consulting but is not client facing.
Are experienced candidates preferred over fresher’s by consulting companies?
It depends on the company. Any company would require both.
What was your main drive to join consulting?
A consultant gets exposure and works across a broad spectrum of industries thus building the knowledge base. I attended a workshop at KPMG during my MBA where they taught us how a consultant actually approaches a problem and using what all parameters they analyse a problem. Consulting exposes one to various business domains. Since you handle different projects, your knowledge pool never becomes stagnant.
What is the most important skill to be a consultant? What level of freedom is given to the consultants?
A logical approach to a given situation & keenness to learn & adapt are the most important factors to be a good consultant. If your solution is solving the problem on the table you will have all the freedom in the world. Companies give consulting companies projects to mitigate risk and to minimize the risk, and always the client comes first.
What was the trickiest question in your interview? And how did you handle it?
I was asked why I had a switch from IT to marketing to consulting. I had prepared my answer and reviewed (it many times) which justified my switches. I supported each step with a reason and made it (look) a logical flow.
Which is the most preferable domain to enter consulting? I specifically want to be an Oil & Energy business consultant?
Companies generally prefer Marketing & Finance, but they hire also from operations. For Oil & Gas businesses you can opt for marketing. In PwC, they have GRID practise dealing with this.
Hope this interview experience helped you get an idea about preparing for interviews at consulting companies.