Dr Florian Smeritschnig (CEMS Master’s in Management exchange 2013/14 graduate) is an author, Founder and CEO with consulting experience. In this blog, he describes his time at LSE, his career journey, and how he is sharing his entry into consulting with others.
Name: Dr. Florian Smeritschnig
Programme studied and year of graduation: CEMS 2013/14 (Exchange from HKUST MIMT)
Tell us about yourself
I am the Founder and CEO of StrategyCase.com, one of the leading platforms for consulting applications and case interview training and preparation. I have since become one of the most successful case interview coaches on the internet with more than 1,400 meetings conducted over the last 3 years, and almost 500 offers generated with McKinsey, BCG, Bain and many other firms through the direct coaching of clients.
I am also a self-employed advisor for start-ups, FinTech firms, consulting firms, financial institutions, high network individuals and regulators on Blockchain and Web 3. Alongside being a self-employed angel investor and VC for start-ups in Blockchain, Web 3, and fashion.
I am proud to have found a way to combine distinctive value creation for my clients both B2C and B2B, whilst at the same time creating several businesses that allow me to maximize personal freedom and location independency.
Why did you choose to study with the Department of Management?
I was an incoming exchange student from HKUST MIMT and prioritized LSE as my first choice due to the reputation and recommendation I received from peers.
Describe your time as a student at LSE
It was over way too quick.
What is your fondest memory of LSE?
The people I shared the experience with in and outside of class.
What piece of advice do you wish you were given during your time at LSE?
You will face difficulties and problems no matter what path you choose. Hence, increase the quality of your problems to increase the quality of your outcomes.
What is one piece of advice/tip you would give to students starting their programme?
Enjoy the London music scene. 😊
Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE
Please tell us about your book and the inspiration behind it
I was preparing for top-tier consulting interviews twice, in 2012 for internships and 2014 for full-time roles. I read all the materials out there and practiced a lot. Still, I never felt fully prepared and securing a case right always seemed a bit of a hit or miss. The two most prominent books in the space do not teach applicants how to solve problems and cases, they show them memorized frameworks that they then should apply in every case. This is highly ineffective and faulty advice as cases have become way more creative over the last couple of years. Consulting firms want to see how you think about nuanced problems, not if you can memorize and repeat generic cookie-cutter solutions and options. In total, 1% of applicants with the top firms receive an offer, yet 100% consult the same faulty advice repeatedly.
That was the reason why I registered StrategyCase.com already before I even joined McKinsey, even though back then I was just using it as a blog about consulting life in general. However, I knew there was a market for high-quality advice on consulting applications and case interviews going forward. Once I left the firm I sat down and used my knowledge gained over the years to draft a new approach that essentially dissected a case interview into its individual components. I thought about how to best tackle each area and how to best learn the skills that are needed.
My approach focuses on what to do at each stage of the case (like a roadmap) and how to think about problems from a first-principles approach (e.g. how to deconstruct problems and create frameworks, how to interpret charts, how to use hypotheses to drive insights and how to think about maths problems), regardless of what the case is about or what industry/function it is placed in. I show candidates how they are solving problems in their everyday life (unconsciously) and how they can do the same with every case problem in an intuitive yet structured way, provided they have the right tools, mindset, and communication strategies.
Everything else about the right application documents and tactics, networking and referrals, recruitment tests and games, and fit interviews followed, as I wanted to create a comprehensive end-to-end offering for consulting applicants in one spot with StrategyCase.com.
The book and the website are based on my 10 years’ experience in the industry from all different angles and comprises the strategies that have helped facilitate 100s of offers through direct coaching. I am constantly refining it based on new coaching experiences and slight changes that I see consulting firms implement.
How can alumni find your book?
The book “The 1%: Conquer Your Consulting Case Interview” is currently available on all Amazon websites in print and ebook format.
What are your future career plans?
I would like to further grow StrategyCase.com and then I’d like to make it more of a passive business, so I would take myself out of the day-to-day management, operations, and coaching.
I would also like to more actively grow the advisory and VC arm, alongside continuing to write books, as I really enjoyed the process and have a lot more to say/publish in the coming months and years. In fact, my new book on how to ace your entry into consulting and create a long-term sustainable career in the industry will launch in May (provided there are no hiccups with the design stage this time!)
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I’d like to continue the path that I am on by increasing the number of people I can reach, whilst creating a good life and personal liberty for my family.
Hopefully everything else will fall into place!
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