From Business Insider
RACHEL GILLETT CAREERS MAR. 14, 2016, 11:56 PM
If you’re looking for a job with one of the most prestigious employers in the management consulting industry, you better start preparing.
According to The Gateway, an independent business and careers newspaper for students, the world’s biggest consulting firms, known as the “Big Three,” are extremely selective about who they hire, often taking on high-scoring graduates and MBAs from top universities.
Notable alumni include HP CEO Meg Whitman from Bain & Company, former GE CEO Jeff Immelt from The Boston Consulting Group, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg from McKinsey & Company.
According to Bain & Company, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and McKinsey & Company‘s respective careers pages, interview questions generally fall into one of two categories: case study questions and experience questions.
During the case study portion of the interview, interviewees analyze a real business problem and develop and discuss solutions to the client challenge it poses. During an interview job seekers may also be asked to solve logic questions. The experience portion of the interview is a more familiar format where interviewers can learn more about the job seeker’s background and personal experience.
From Glassdoor, here are some of the toughest non-case-study interview questions job seekers have been asked at “Big Three” firms (practice cases are available on each consulting firm’s careers page):
“How much does a 747 plane taking off from La Guardia en route to London Heathrow weigh?” — Bain consultant candidate
“Give me the book title and chapter titles for a major accomplishment [of yours].” — McKinsey summer associate candidate
“Who are your two favorite authors? Why? What have you read most recently by them?” — BCG consultant candidate
“Let’s say I’m your manager and you get hired at Bain. At the end of one year, what will I write in your performance review?” — Bain associate consultant candidate
“How many postmen are in this city?” — McKinsey business analyst candidate
“How do you manage your work-life balance?” — BCG consultant candidate
“Tell me a time when you were not a formal leader but became a leader.” — McKinsey associate candidate
“Tell me two characteristics of your personality you have to improve and how you’ll do that.” — BCG consultant candidate
“How would you evaluate the value of a cow?” — Bain intern candidate
“How many tennis balls can fit in a plane?” — McKinsey associate candidate
“What skill would you need to work on most in starting this position?” — BCG consultant candidate
“What is the exact angle formed by the hands on a clock when the time reads 9:30?” — Bain associate consultant candidate
“What should I know about you?” — McKinsey senior business analyst candidate
“Why were you the top student in your class? What’s the reason behind this?” — BCG associate consultant candidate
“What do you think is the biggest challenge for a consultant? How would you personally cope with that?” — Bain intern candidate
“What would you do if you didn’t come to work here?” — McKinsey associate candidate
“Who is the leader you admire most?” — BCG associate candidate
“What do you think is the biggest problem in the economy?” — McKinsey consultant candidate
“How many pianos are in Poland?” — BCG intern candidate