What is a case interview?
If you're reading this then you are probably looking to apply for a job in consulting, specifically strategy consulting. Case interviews have been used by strategy consultants for many years and even decades and every strategy consultant has passed a case interview.
Over 60 consultancies in London use case interviews in their recruitment process. These will all vary between firms but the fundamental requirements are the same - show the key characteristics required to be a good consultant.
At Grad Interview Prep we have helped over 10,000 candidates study for their case interview and many of our alumni are now working in the top strategy consulting firms in the world. We are yet to come across a strategy consultant that has passed the case interview without practising beforehand. Answering case interviews isn't complicated when you know how.
The case interview is a hypothetical business problem often based on a previous project the interviewer has completed:
A national energy retailer is looking to double operating margins from 2% to 4% in the next 4 years, what would you recommend?
An African bank is looking to expand to Australia, how can they do this successfully?
Both questions are very high-level and very vague but have been used in case interviews before.
There is always more than one answer to a case interview and the interviewer is rarely interested in your answer and instead more interested in how you arrived at the answer. A strategy consultant is expected to bring structure and logical thinking to the question in order to generate a strategy founded in reasonable evidence and assumptions.
This is because strategic business decisions will come under scrutiny by multiple stakeholders, including shareholders, board members, customer, regulators etc. So when a decision is questioned business executives need to be able to evidence how they arrived at the strategy. This is why consultants love to arrive at conclusions founded in data analysis. It is easy to justify and defend the decision to the client.
In the real world, consultants will gather the data required to reach a conclusion through client interviews, customer interviews, expert interviews, public data, private data, surveys and more. In a case interview the only source of information is the interviewer so candidates are expected to engage in dialogue and ask questions throughout the interview.
To pass the case interview you must therefore demonstrate the key characteristics of a good consultant:
If you can demonstrate these skills during your case interview then you will score highly. If you can demonstrate these skills as well as good emotional intelligence i.e. conversational and rapport building skills then you will receive a job offer.
To demonstrate these skills there are different methodologies and frameworks you can use. The most important thing is that you start by building structure, from there it is easy to demonstrate the other skills.
Structure can be applied even when answering the most basic questions such as 'walk me through your CV'. Your CV is likely already structured into Education, Work experience and Extra curricular. When giving an overview of your CV why not open with a sentence outlining that structure e.g. "Okay, I will talk through the three sections; Education then Work experience and finally extra curricular." This sentence immediately demonstrates structured thinking that is easy for the interviewer to follow.
When answering a case interview we recommend a five step methodology to provide structure:
After you have heard or read the question you need to clarify your understanding with the interviewer. This can be a technical component e.g. what is operating margin? or a contextual understanding e.g. have I understood correctly that an airline has multiple sizes of aeroplane in their fleet?
By clarifying you prevent yourself starting in the wrong direction and also buy yourself valuable thinking time to digest the question.
To buy an extra 10 seconds and maintain dialogue with the interviewer repeat the question back with your clarifications intertwined in the question and ask "is my understanding correct?".
At this point the interviewer will give you the green light to move forward with the case and if there is any confusion later on then you are unlikely to be marked down as you made a conscious effort to clarify and align your understanding at the start.
Designing a framework forces you to consider all the areas of focus. This may be a concept you haven't used before but it is essential when answering a case interview.
A framework should be drawn on paper and show all the component parts that make up the business question. Each component should be given consideration when working through the framework; ultimately one or two will be the focus of the answer.
A framework is a structure that can be used to explore the question and identify the root cause of the problem. It also shows your interview how you are expecting to reach an answer and gives them the opportunity to course correct if needed.
Physically showing your framework to the interviewer allows them the chance to follow exactly how you are thinking about the problem and make suggestions if needed.
Before you move onto working through the framework give your initial thought at what the answer may be.
Consultants are hypothesis-based problem solvers. This means starting with an idea of what the answer may be and then working to prove or disprove that hypothesis. Once proven or disproven then you can move onto the next hypothesis.
For example, you may state "Given the economic climate I suspect it will not be possible to increase profits by increasing sales and instead they will need to reduce costs, therefore I will begin by exploring the cost base of the client..."
This is a reasonable hypothesis to make and if it is ultimately disproven you can still move onto exploring sales but it provides a place to start.
Different consultancy firms have different types of case interview but there are two main types you should be aware of:
This case type follows a structured case interview style whereby the interviewer provides an information pack (usually containing data) and asks pre-determined questions about the case. You will be given a set amount of time to digest and analyse the information pack before the interviewer begins questioning you.
There will be too much information for you to consume within the amount of time you are given so skim read the whole document first to give yourself the context and then go back and focus on the key areas.
This style can be confusing as it doesn't follow a known framework and showing structure can be difficult. We recommend that you gather your information and analysis in a structured way so that when you are being questioned by the interviewer, you can show them that you are organised and structured.
Companies that use an interviewer-led case style:
The more traditional case type begins with an open-ended question and the data and information must be gathered from the interviewer.
This unstructured case interview style is well known and requires the candidate to take control of the dialogue, much like a client meeting in a real-life project scenario. Maintaining the dialogue whilst continually improving your understanding of the problem is what the interviewer is looking for.
Frameworks are easier to apply to this case interview style because most of the questions follow similar scenarios e.g. market entry, profitability, revenue growth etc.
Companies that use an candidate-led case style:
In rare circumstances you may find yourself facing the written case such as an online application. As it suggests this is an exam-style case whereby you are presented with the situation context and supporting information and expected to communicate your answer in written form.
The information is likely to dictate the hypothesis that you must then prove or disprove with the other information available. This uses the same skills as a numerical reasoning test as it is using data and graphs to find answers in order to test the hypothesis.
When writing an answer it is important to still remember structure. The use of basic writing tool techniques such as bolding titles, using bullet points for lists and line spacing for paragraphs will have a positive impact on your scoring. This is because being able to communicate clearly and concisely in written form is critical for a good consultant.
With a written case you may also be asked to present your findings at the end of the given time period to replicate a client-facing scenario whereby you are expected to talk through your findings. If you are asked to present then the key is to maintain confidence and talk with conviction throughout. Even when someone says something correct it can be interpreted as incorrect if it is communicated with nervousness or a lack of confidence.
Some hiring firms have used group cases to test candidates ability to work in teams. The overall test is how candidates cope with having their ideas challenged and how they accept ideas that aren't their own.
Whilst it is good to be a proactive member of a group and take the lead, a common mistake in a group case is to not give others the opportunity to contribute. An easy way to do this is ask for quieter members input into the conversation explicitly e.g. "Mary, do you have any thoughts on this?"
Managing the interpersonal dynamic of a group case replicates a real-life project situation. On a project you will be working with people that you may not know very well or are very different to but it is important to gather viewpoints from all team members to ensure alignment and the best chance of reaching the right answer.
Types of frameworks
There are three key framework types that can help tackle the toughest of case interviews. Whilst it is possible to learn particular frameworks prior to interviews, using frameworks from memory can result in being penalised by the interviewer. Deploying one of the following framework types with bespoke parameters is all that is required to develop an exceptional answer.
The three framework types are; bucket, issue tree and matrix. All three allow for a methodical approach but are more effective when used to answer different types of questions.
Issue tree: Great for profitability questions and any market sizing elements. Each ‘root’ of the tree allows for isolation of the problem and clear analysis. Often this is used in conjunction with a bucket framework.
Matrix: Usually taking the form of a table but sometimes a pair of axis (BCG matrix). This framework is great when having to draw comparisons such as in competitor analysis or M&A suitability. The key is to use only the minimum necessary parameters in order to make a clean and simple comparison.
Bucket: The most commonly used framework, it is very good for finding the root cause and developing a good idea of the bigger picture. Laying this framework out at the start also provides a checklist to work through which should prevent any unexpected mental blocks.
Five Key Frameworks
1) Profitability framework
This framework takes the form of an issue tree (sometimes referred to as a logic tree), it isolates the clients profitability problem into its key components. Following its branches, it is easy to identify where the issue lies and visualise where it fits into the bigger picture. The branches of this issue tree satisfy the MECE principle and therefore, if followed correctly, it should lead you to the cause.
Often a case will require you to identify the root cause of an issue and then subsequently recommend solutions. In this scenario it is likely that a bucket framework will be required for the solution section.
A profitability question will normally contain a sentence such as “PepsiCo has experienced declining profits” and therefore should be easily recognisable. Any case involving profits or one of its components (revenues and costs) will require a profitability framework.
Three equations to learn:
Profits = revenue – costs
Revenue = units x price
Costs = Variable costs + Fixed costs
Profits = revenue – costs
This is the overarching equation that you are looking at but as always you must dig deeper into each component of the equation to find the crux of the issue.
Revenue = units x price
Units can be increased by increasing the number of customers buying the current products (usually sales & marketing) or by increasing the number of products purchased by the current customer base (upselling).
Increasing the price of a product is usually the quickest way to increase profits but this will effect the number of units that can be sold at that price, the magnitude of the effect will depend on the elasticity of demand and alternatives available to the consumer.
Costs = variable costs + fixed costs
To increase profits variable costs can be reduced by reducing the costs of inputs per unit. Increasing buying power or increasing efficiency on a per unit basis, such as automating steps of the manufacturing process, are ways of achieving this.
Fixed costs can be reduced by removing unnecessary costs or by maximising the efficiency of current resources. Relocating the office to a cheaper location is an example of reducing fixed costs directly and increasing manufacturing production to 100% from 80% capacity would reduce the fixed cost per unit.
2) General framework
Developed on a framework made popular by Victor Cheng, this general purpose framework is capable of being adapted to the majority of case interview questions. This framework can be an alternative to the growth and market entry frameworks below if you are short of preparation time and cannot learn all the suggested frameworks.
This case interview framework primarily serves as a checklist to ensure you cover all the relevant elements in the case. It is still important to remain disciplined and methodical by exhausting each point before moving onto the next.
Useful mnemonic: Whales Wave With Police Constables
Who – the demographic of the customer base e.g age, gender, individuals, businesses etc.
What – the products they are buying and reason for buying this product e.g stapler to help organise paperwork
Where – the location of the customer base e.g UK, Europe, global
Price – the prices that customers have been paying
Consumer risk – how concentrated are these customers, what effect will losing certain customers have on total revenues? (Usually fewer customers = higher risk)
Useful mnemonic: Every Dog Is Four
Expertise – What the client is capable of and where their limitations are e.g great at manufacturing clothes cheaply but bad at luxury design?
Distribution channels – How is the client getting their product in front of customers? e.g wholesale, retail, direct to consumer, e-commerce etc.
Intangibles – does the client possess anything intangible that may effect the strategic decision? such as strong brand recognition or intellectual property.
Financial Situation – what financial resources does the client have to make the necessary investments or absorb the cost if the project fails?
Useful mnemonic: Why Eight Children Started Laughing
What – the details of the product the client sells
Elasticity of demand – how much of a necessity is the product to consumers? For example, petrol has high elasticity of demand for those with petrol cars it’s a necessity.
Compliments – are there any existing compliments to the product? e.g a phone case compliments a phone
Substitutes – are there any indirect competitors (especially emerging ones) such as tablets were to the laptop market (different products competing for the same constumers).
Lifecycle – how long does the product last? When will consumers be purchasing again? E.g a sandwich may have a lifecycle of 24 hours but a car more like 5 years.
Useful mnemonic: My Children Tried Saying Rebellious
Market share – the breakdown of competitors and their respective market shares of the target market.
Competitor observations – the competitors response to the same situation or anything notable in how they differ from the client.
Threat of new entrants – what is going to prevent another entrant to the market and what effect would this have?
Supplier risk – how concentrated are the suppliers, what effect would losing the current supplier have? (usually few suppliers = higher risk)
Regulations – are there any regulations that have or will have an effect on the client?
3) Pricing framework
Whilst pricing cases are less common it's sensible to know at least the basics of pricing strategies. Without the basics it would be easy to flunk the case unnecessarily. The three common pricing strategies are cost-based, value-based and competitor-based.
Cost based pricing: The addition of a target profit margin to the full unit cost.
Value based pricing: The value that the product provides to the consumer. Usually worked out via a cost saving, additional benefits over and above existing products or similar.
Competitor based pricing: Taken from what competitors are charging and what this product offers in comparison.
4) Market entry framework
This market entry case interview framework is a development of the general framework, it places more emphasis on the strategy of understanding the target market and market capture. It is still possible to answer these questions with the general framework but it is likely to convey a lack of originality to the interviewer.
Market entry questions usually explicitly state the intentions to enter a new market such as “Bosch is looking to enter the South American market”, making them easily recognisable.
Useful mnemonic: Small Childish People Prefer Marrying Red-heads
Size – what is the size of the target market?
Customers - who are the customers and what are their needs and preferences?
Product types – what products is the market receptive too? Do changes need to be made to existing products?
Profitability – are the current players in the market profitable and by how much?
Market share – what is the current market structure of its participants?
Regulations – are there any regulations that could effect the client from successfully entering?
Useful mnemonic: Fighting Is Overly Exuberant
Financial situation – what financial resources does the client have to make the necessary investments or absorb the cost if the project fails.
Investment required – to enter the market what initial costs are there? E.g building of manufacturing facilities.
Ongoing costs – what costs will be incurred following the initial investment of entering?
Expected revenue & ROI – what is the expected return from entering the market?
Useful mnemonic: Children Eat Children Maltesers
Expertise – what the client is capable of and where are their limitations? e.g great at manufacturing clothes cheaply but bad at luxury design.
Entry experience – has the client entered a market before?
Market entrants – has anyone entered the market before? If so, does the client have the same capabilities?
Useful mnemonic: Tall People Try Oranges
Timing – when is the best time to enter?
Pilot – will a pilot be used (99% yes) and what size will it be? Who will participate?
Type – how will the expansion be executed? Self-build, M&A, Joint venture?
Operation location – will the new operation be run from head office or the new location?
4) Growth strategy
This growth framework is an alternative to using a combination of the profitability and general frameworks. It simplifies the question of growth nicely by segmenting the problem into internal and external factors.
During a growth strategy case it is important to remain pragmatic. It is easy to get carried away with elaborate ideas such as ‘build an app’ but hard to offer sensible ideas with real potential for the client and their current operations. This isn’t to say you should not offer all of the ideas in the beginning but then choose which ones you would recommend they explore further based on the situation in front of you. This is a good chance to show good business acumen.
Current situation - what is the financial health, growth and profitability of the company today?
Drivers of financial performance - for this particular company what impacts profitability the most?
Industry - what is going on in the industry? (market share, growth rates, new entrants)
Customers - who are the customers and what have their historical buying trends been?
Competitors - who are they and what have they been doing? How have they grown themselves?
Using frameworks effectively
Following the steps to case interview success recommendations; Clarify, Repeat, Framework, Present, Hypothesise. When you begin working through your framework data collection is your main aim. You want to exhaust each branch and find any relevant data that could help you diagnose the problem. Sometimes you may receive blunt answers but always make sure there is nothing more, for example, enquiring about the fixed costs may be met with the reply “fixed costs have remained the same” and it would be easy to move on but asking about the breakdown of fixed costs may win you some data in which you find that an increase in rent costs has been offset exactly by a reduction in labour costs. This then leads to the question “why have rent costs increased” and thus a potential way to increase profits. Segmenting numbers in this way is a great way to avoid missing any deep rooted issues within the question and scoring highly on case interviews.
Another useful tip is to constantly think out loud during the case. The interviewer is on your side and wants to see you do well and by talking out loud you are giving them every opportunity to help you. It is also helpful for consulting as your recommendations are useless if your client doesn’t understand them, explaining your method helps them understand the recommendations better.
The best way to use case interview frameworks effectively is to adapt them. Interviewers are well aware of many frameworks out there and whilst you are not going to be sent home for using them, creating frameworks especially for the question presented is the best way to score highly in case interviews.
The easiest way to create bespoke frameworks is to adapt existing ones. There is a reason they became popular in the first place and that is because they are effective. It could be something as simple as changing the titles on the buckets to disguise it slightly or replacing a couple of elements in response to the nature of the question but being different is definitely beneficial.
Case Interview Maths
Interview maths isn't the same maths you come across in online tests, this is the maths you begin learning at an even younger age, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with the occasional percentage thrown in for good measure. They become difficult because you are working under pressure with big numbers such as multiplying 70,000 by the 356 days of the year. It is extremely easy to miss a 0 or get yourself into a mess when you don't have a calculator!
Sitting outside interview rooms at assessment days talking with other candidates, one of the most common comments is along the lines of "Oh my god, I had a complete brain freeze with the maths". If practiced, it isn't difficult to perform the maths part of interviews quickly and competently. Demonstrating good maths skills can be your differentiator as it is so often where mistakes are made and fellow applicants stumble.
It is particularly useful in market sizing/guesstimate questions as well as consulting case studies. This is because you are often talking about market sizes or populations and want to only consider subsets of these large numbers.
For example, you may be working through a consulting case study and be told that a manufacturer of hairbrushes has fixed costs of £3,000,000 and they sell 175,000 units a year, what is the fixed cost per unit?
The example above was a question used by a tier 2 consulting firm in 2018 and a good candidate will be able to tell you that it's approximately £17.1 within 30 seconds. Being quick is not only a major plus for your performance but it also helps keep a natural flow to your interview, helping you build rapport with your interviewer.
However, it is important to remember that the interviewer is unlikely to be directly testing your maths skills and therefore, if you have the choice, make the numbers easy for yourself. As an example it is always helpful to take the UK population as 60 million rather than its true value of 66 million. They aren't always looking for perfect answers, just a good thought process and ball park figure.
It is also possible that a calculation isn't required at all and and if you are in doubt then explain out loud the calculation you are about to make and the interviewer may agree it is a good thing to do, they may give you the answer or they could course correct and push you to a different part of the problem. It is important to give the interviewer the opportunity to help you as much as possible.
As consultants tend to work with large firms the numbers involved are often large e.g. revenue, profits, customers etc. This means that when making calculations you will find yourself multiplying big numbers together to get even bigger numbers. In order to prevent miscalculations always note the units of the number (billions, millions, thousands). Whilst it is acceptable to not find an exact answer it isn't acceptable to be out by a factor of one thousand.
McKinsey case interviews
The image that McKinsey portrays to clients and the public is one of authority and superior intellect. They have invested heavily in Thought Leadership to appear as the market leaders in multiple industry's and maintain their relationships with C-suite executives. The 'McKinsey way' is their own approach to problem solving for clients that they rarely deviate from and they employ it with extreme confidence. This persona is carried through to their consultants and confidence combined with intellect is their main priority.
This strategy has provided them with impressive results over the years and often McKinsey are able to charge a premium for their services. MBB are always expected to charge more than other strategy consultants for their services however, McKinsey are known for giving few discounts and being tough negotiators.
For aspiring consultants applying to McKinsey it is understandably daunting to sit in front of a consultant and work through a case study and rightly so as less than 1% of applicants receive job offers.
During a McKinsey case interview they will look to test:
Problem structuring and solving
Creativity under pressure
Problem structuring and solving
This is the use of frameworks and methodologies as outlined above. McKinsey prefer to use structured case studies and test the robustness of your framework by asking sporadic questions that don't follow a specific order.
To impress you need to demonstrate structure in your thinking and analysis by having the answers to hand. The ability to recall and find information quickly will be a sign that you have used structure effectively.
As always, solving the problem doesn't necessarily mean finding the right answer but rather having an answer that you are able to support with solid evidence and back up with the right analysis or calculations.
To fit the McKinsey mould you need to demonstrate the ability to talk with absolute confidence and clarity. Many people are good at speaking with confidence but too much or in vague terms. Talking clearly and concisely with absolute confidence is only possible if you have fully understood the problem.
Being able to understand the problem quickly and then speak with confidence takes practice. However, in the McKinsey case interview you are given plenty of time to understand the situation and digest the necessary information. To increase your communication skills prior to the McKinsey interview make sure you practice out loud and preferably with someone else.
Creativity under pressure
As project scope's creep and resources become constrained, strategy consulting can become a high pressure environment where you are expected to deliver high quality work in short amounts of time.
A lot of consulting work relies on being creative around information gathering, synthesis or communication and as McKinsey set such high standards they are always keen to test how you react under pressure.
An example of how they have done this in the past is starting with a simple question that has multiple answers and then continuing to ask for further examples:
"What is a way that a building materials manufacturer could increase revenues?"
There are many answers and they range from an acquisition to opening an online store however the interviewer will keep pushing you for more answers until you have exhausted your thinking. It tests your ability to come up with a plan A,B,C and D when required.
Bain case interviews
Bain prefer to be a friendlier neighbour than their counterparts at BCG and McKinsey, promoting a diverse and friendly culture that cultivates different ways of thinking. They are also less instructive to their clients and do a large amount of work for private equity clients, predominantly commercial due diligences. These projects are outside-in focused and involve providing an independent opinion as often as hard recommendations.
The difference in culture and style naturally means that Bain are looking for slightly different characteristics beyond intelligence:
To maintain an inclusive and supportive culture Bain prioritise interpersonal skills in their interview. This is something that is scored by every consulting firm but Bain place an increased importance on it. The ability to build relationships with colleagues and clients relies on emotional intelligence and it is not a skill that is developed through traditional education.
During an interview this is remarkably easy to detect but not from a single question, answer or moment. Interpersonal skills are required throughout the interview, from the first handshake to the initial small talk to the end.
Displaying competence and warmth during the interview can be hard when you have had multiple interviews in a day and are tired but it is important to talk with a smile on your face and take interest in the interviewer. Simple questions such as 'how has your day been?' are enough to positively influence your interpersonal score.
This is a difficult characteristic to display when there is seemingly no one else to lead in the room...but there is. The interview expects you to lead them through the case. This can seem daunting and it is but leading the interview with competence (not arrogance) is the sign of a good consultant for Bain.
Leading the interviewer through the case means dictating the pace and keeping a consistent dialogue going with them; asking probing questions in a concise manner without rushing. They will interject when they need to or deem it appropriate but you are the one in control of the conversation.
Consultants are hired for their ability to solve complex problems but in the business world the quicker a problem is solved the quicker money can be made or saved. This means that strategy consultants often work at pace and so being able to produce deliverables for the clients quickly is paramount. By simple maths the quickest way to do something is to do it first time and for consultants this means analysis, calculations and writing.
During a case interview there will usually be calculations and it is important to use our Case Interview Maths tips to ensure that you are able to answer these quickly and accurately. Quick Maths will allow you to score highly here.
BCG case interviews
BCG are focused on attention to detail, sharp insights and using strong evidence to back up their conclusions. There is an expectation from BCG that their consultants will be competent handling numbers and concise in everything they do. The result is the most important thing to BCG and they will use detailed analysis to arrive there.
The main characteristics you need to display in a BCG interview are:
Problem solving and structuring
Problem solving and structuring
BCG are incredibly focused on structure and even have a matrix named after them (BCG matrix). Their approach to structure is that the simpler the framework the better however this can't come at the cost of insight. Simple frameworks such as the BCG matrix are good for grouping and prioritising in order to reduce the scope of what it is you are looking at and they enable you to justify why you have only conducted a detailed analysis of a few subjects.
Just as with other firms, to impress you need to demonstrate structure in your thinking and analysis by having the answers to hand during your interview. The ability to recall and find information quickly will be a sign that you have used structure effectively.
Being confident, concise and accurate is important at BCG and so if you can portray these characteristics during an interview then it will stand you in good stead. A couple of quick ways to demonstrate leadership are:
If walking into the interview room together, insist the interviewer goes first
Initiate the first conversation with a simple 'how're you?'
Give a firm handshake
Don't just answer questions, ask them too
Like Bain, BCG also expect you to lead the case interview so dictate the direction of the conversation with confidence and maintain a good pace throughout.
The focus on mathematics and quantitative skills from BCG means that accuracy is of the upmost importance. They are focused on moving quickly with rigorous analysis and so that means they need to trust the consultants doing the analysis. Being able to do the case interview calculations at speed is the best way to demonstrate accuracy.
Use our Case Interview Maths tips to ensure that you are able to answer calculations quickly and accurately. Quick Maths will allow you to score highly.
Example case interview questions
A small energy company operating in the UK (1 million customers) currently has an operating profit of 2%. They want to double that margin to 4%. What would you recommend?
A large Middle Eastern airline is looking to upgrade some of its fleet to larger planes. Firstly, estimate how many passengers come through Dubai airport each year and secondly, what should the CEO consider before they upgrade the fleet?
An African bank is looking to enter the UK market, aiming to capture a proportion of the migrant community. The board have asked your advice on an entry strategy.
There has recently been a merger between three tap manufacturers, one based in the US, one based in the UK and one based in Japan. A new Chief Revenue Officer has just been appointed and wants to double revenues. What would you recommend?
Before you reach the case interview stage of the application process you will have to first pass the online tests and CV screening. Although you may be an excellent candidate, making your CV standout is often hard and so we have collated our top tips to get your CV reviewers attention:
Remove all pronouns
Communicate your value via qualitative statements
Keep it to a single page
Structure your CV correctly
Beat the computer
Feedback and proofread
Read our full guide here
Consulting cover letter
Alongside your CV it is best to submit a cover letter even if it is optional. Whilst not every CV reviewer will read your cover letter, it is possible that they will and it would be disappointing to not make it to interview because you didn't submit a cover letter.
In order to make sure you hit all of the criteria required to keep the reviewer interested in your application we have put together five tips that will cover all bases:
Feedback & proofread
Read our full guide here.
When applying to graduate jobs it can hard to keep on top of what stage you are at with each of your applications. Every employer has different deadlines and different requirements for their application process.
Use our excel spreadsheet to help you keep organised during your job applications. It allows you to easily see what you have completed and what you have upcoming so you are always best prepared.
Due to the sheer volume of applicants, it is unavoidable that some exceptional applicants get lost in the process. This means that it is important to apply to more than a handful of consultancies. There will be those that you really want, those you'd be happy with, those you'd accept and those that you'd really rather not join but keeping a good pipeline of interviews will increase your chances of getting a job and give you good practice along the way.
Check out our comprehensive list of London consultancies if you are looking to apply for consulting jobs in the UK.
Having said this, do not take this to the extreme. Spreading yourself too thinly is likely to result in you coming across as slightly underprepared and uninterested in the firm. They want to feel your desire to work there.