Guest blog by LSE alumna Maria on what it’s like to work as a consultant:
In the last five years I’ve changed jobs within the consultancy sector twice: first to move to another country and secondly to move to another city. I have spent hours in preparations, have seen many meeting rooms and have had quite a few telephone calls. I learnt that any interview has highs and lows even when you’re well prepared and followed the advice of LSE Careers and other knowledgeable people. However, I figured that there are a few things that could help your highs to outweigh your lows:
Practice with people you don’t know well.
Even though practicing with friends is better than preparing on your own, it is important to get yourself out of your comfort zone. You won’t know your interviewer on the day but you need to be prepared that your way of thinking might be different from someone else’s. The ability to stay calm and focused while doing tasks with a person you don’t know well can help you to gain the points. You could, for example, find classmates who are also preparing for consulting interviews and practice in turns or book a 30 minute practice interview or case study with an LSE Careers consultant once you have an interview offer.
There are several questions you are likely to be asked at an interview. Once you have a good think about your motivation to join the company or why you are keen to work in a particular industry, you need to say it out loud. Even if things are clear in your head, you might simply be short of words especially if you feel stressed – that’s when the memory from practice kicks in. It doesn’t matter if you communicate your pitch to someone else or just say it out loud over and over again, what ultimately matters is that you feel confident and your interviewer is sure in your motivation.
Reach out for people in the company from your network.
It is essential to do your research on the company before going to an interview but at the end of the day it is a two-way process. When you don’t have a job, the only thing you want is a job but once you get a job, you realise that it wasn’t the end of the journey but rather a beginning. For this exact reason, you want to know about the company more before you join and also before your interview as your intrinsic motivation will get stronger and it will be easier to explain at the interview why you like the company and the team. Or alternatively, you might decide to focus your efforts elsewhere.
Finally, always remember to prioritise your own career aspirations and look for the place where you can make a difference rather than follow someone else’s dreams and force yourself doing what you are not happy to do. Good luck!