Graduate Application Process
Average length of process: 8 weeks
Glassdoor rating: 4.7/5
The initial application is done online via BrightNetwork and requires you to fill out your contact details and upload a copy of your CV. The CV's on BrightNetwork are read by a computer so make sure that your CV is uniformly formatted and appropriate to be read. If you need a template then there are free templates here.
Alpha FMC is a financial markets specialist within the consulting industry and so therefore make sure your CV includes relevant experience you may have to the financial markets sector. It is not compulsory but keywords such as "finance" are likely to be picked up by the computer.
The online application also requires you to complete a short psychometric assessment but it is straightforward and the majority of candidates pass.
The video interview is the next stage in Alpha FMC's hiring process and uses a generic platform to facilitate it's video sequence. There are four main questions in the video interview:
1) Why Alpha FMC?
2) Why consulting?
3) What three words would your friends use to describe you?
4) How would you describe Alpha FMC to a family member?
The way the video interview works is you will be sent a link to follow in order to access the interview. From there you will enter a couple of basic details to confirm that is you taking the test for yourself and then you will be shown a practice question. This is where you will get the best idea of what is expected and you should definitely take the time to answer the practice question.
You will click start question and the first timer will start as the question appears on your screen. You will be given more than enough time to read the question and begin thinking of an answer. It is recommended that you use this time to write down a couple of key points that you are going to talk about when the answering time begins.
Once the time is up on the first timer, your webcam will become live and you will see yourself on the screen, there will be a 3 second countdown and then there will be another timer that starts. In the time that you are given you need to answer the question concisely and so do not feel the need to use all of the time if you don't need to. Finishing the recording early will not have a negative effect on your score.
The process is the same for all the questions.
The software does analyse your body language and language so speak properly into the camera and present yourself as you would in an interview.
If you are successful in your online application and phone interview then you will be invited to a 'super day' at the company offices. The day consists of multiple interviews and you will be told whether you have made it through to the tests at the end of the day. The interviews used are a mixture of competency interviews, case interviews and market sizing questions.
The competency interview will consist of generic questions such as:
Why are you interested in consulting?
Why are you interested in the work we do?
Are you willing to travel with work?
What are your interests outside of work?
Why do you think you would be a good fit at Alpha FMC?
As well as specific questions about what is on your CV. Be aware that interviewers are not looking to find out if what you wrote on your CV is true but they want to see how you articulate that experience. Being able to communicate your prior experience in a confident and interesting way is very valuable so be prepared to talk around the points on your CV.
A case interview is a business case that involves a strategic problem such as entering a new market or increasing profitability and as the interviewee you are asked to recommend an appropriate strategy. An example question might be:
The CEO of Deutsche bank has become increasingly concerned about their declining profitability over the last 36 months and has asked you to determine the factors causing the decline as well as recommend a strategy to reverse this trend.
The most critical part of any case interview is the selecting, customising and presenting of the approach you are going to take to the interviewer. If you can do this well then you will score highly as long as you follow that approach through, even if it doesn't get you to the right answer.
If you have not come across a case interview before then you should definitely research them and practice them more than anything else as they are very easy to get wrong but are crucial to almost every consulting interview you take.
Read our comprehensive guide to case interviews to get yourself up to speed.
Market sizing questions (sometimes known as guesstimates) are often used in interviews because they require a mix of logic, maths and common sense. They can be asked as a standalone question or as part of a larger case interview. Candidates that are competent with market sizing questions can find them extremely easy to execute.
All the top tier consulting firms are likely to test their candidates with a market sizing question at some stage in the process as it is considered a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation. For instance, you may be sat talking to a UK clothing retailer about their growth strategy and someone may put forward the idea of opening an e-commerce store inviting the question “how much revenue could we expect to generate from an e-commerce store?” and on the back of an envelope (or more likely a piece of paper) you could estimate the size of the UK’s online clothing market and apply a market capture percentage for the client to give them a rough figure. Being quick with these calculations keeps the conversation flowing with the client and maintains a good impression.
There are two structures to know when answering a market sizing question; issue tree and tabular. It is sensible to practice these frameworks before an interview that involves a market sizing question because it can be the difference between being successful and unsuccessful.
If you are not familiar with market sizing questions, see our full guide here.
The phone interview is a screening process done by a junior consultant to test your business acumen, communication skills and scratch the surface of your motivations to work in consulting and more specifically Alpha FMC. For them, this allows them to not waste your time, or their time, if the fit and ability is not good.
The key to phone interviews is to be confident in the answers you give and communicate clearly. As there is no body language to take notice of be sure to take your time and pause before and after your answers. You do not want to talk over your interviewer or rush an answer, filling a pause with random thoughts will not stand you in good stead.