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Big Three

Common Interview Questions At “Big Three” Consulting Firms

The best things come in threes. Ever hear that one? Well, it certainly applies to circuses, charms, and dimensions (though rarely movie trilogies). In business schools, you have the big three: Harvard, Stanford, and Booth (Sorry, Wharton). When it comes to consulting firms, there is another big three: McKinsey, Bain, and the Boston Consulting Group.

Their very names conjure images of prestige, influence, and exclusivity. Here, you work with the top firms across the world on the most pressing and impactful issues of the day. Most times, you’re interacting with the c-suite – and (most times) they care about what you think. Accordingly, the bar is higher for entrance. Leadership experience is a given. So too are the analytical abilities honed from reading hundreds of cases. And soft skills, particularly humility and communication skills, are often what set candidates apart.

Alas, consulting firms are often the exit ramp and end around to high-paying leadership roles (many times with former clients). If you look at “Big Three” alumni, they’re often the who’s who of modern business: American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault (Bain), Clinton Foundation Vice Chairman Chelsea Clinton (McKinsey), Reed Elsevier CEO Erik Engstrom (McKinsey), General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt (BCG), Pepsi CEO Indra Noy (BCG), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (McKinsey), Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam (McKinsey), and Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman (Bain). To get in the door at these firms, they had to answer some very difficult questions.

This week, Business Insider pored through GlassDoor to find some common questions asked by Big Three firms. While the list doesn’t include questions based on assigned cases or your standard background questions, it should give you an idea of exactly the types of brain busters that you’re bound to encounter. Here is the list:

“How much does a 747 plane taking off from La Guardia en route to London Heathrow weigh?” — Bain

“Who are your two favorite authors? Why? What have you read most recently by them?” — BCG

“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

“Tell me two characteristics of your personality you have to improve and how you’ll do that.” — BCG

“How would you evaluate the value of a cow?” — Bain

“What skill would you need to work on most in starting this position?” — BCG

“Why were you the top student in your class? What’s the reason behind this?” — BCG

“What do you think is the biggest challenge for a consultant? How would you personally cope with that?” — Bain

“Who is the leader you admire most?” — BCG

“What do you think is the biggest problem in the economy?” — McKinsey

“How many pianos are in Poland?” — BCG

To read the full list, click on the Business Insider link below.

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Source: Business Insider

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