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Breaking into Consulting with Sisi - Ep 1

This podcast features Sisi, a former McKinsey consultant and current career coach, discussing her experiences in consulting, the challenges and rewards of the job, and providing detailed advice for aspiring consultants on how to prepare for interviews, especially at strategy consulting firms like McKinsey.

Key Takeaways

  • Sisi's journey into consulting began in high school with an interest in McKinsey, leading to a career where she enjoyed client interaction and problem-solving.

  • A typical day for a junior consultant at McKinsey involves morning standups, client meetings, and problem-solving sessions, with frequent travel.

  • The value of consulting work lies in effectively structuring and presenting information to ease client operations and decision-making processes.

  • Leaving clients after project completion is challenging due to the strong relationships formed and concerns about the lasting impact of the work.

  • Consultants must balance technical skills with a broad strategic vision, often adjusting their focus between detailed tasks and overall project goals.

  • Navigating internal politics for project assignments can be challenging, especially when trying to align personal interests with available opportunities.

  • Sisi is particularly interested in the innovative and growth aspects of consulting, driven by her background in startups and passion for creativity.

  • Misconceptions about consulting careers often include the necessity of specific academic credentials or experiences, which Sisi clarifies are not absolute requirements.

  • Effective preparation for consulting interviews should focus on quality practice of specific skills and components, rather than a broad approach.

  • Receiving targeted feedback from experienced professionals is crucial for improving performance in consulting interviews.

  • Behavioral interviews, such as McKinsey's Personal Experience Interview (PEI), are critical and require specific preparation to discuss personal experiences and skills effectively.

  • Candidates often struggle with creative brainstorming and synthesizing information during interviews, which are key skills that can be developed through targeted practice.

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