We sat down with Jenni Abrahams to find out what advice she’d give to students preparing to interview for a graduate spot at Partners in Performance:
Think about why you want to be a management consultant, and why you’re interested in a career with PIP. An interview is an opportunity for you to work out whether or not you want to work for a particular organisation, but to do this you need to have worked out what you are looking for and what you hope to gain from the opportunity. Use the conversation with the interviewer to think about whether or not you want to work with this person doing the type of work she/he is talking about.
Practice case studies. Use the preparation material suggested by PIP, and check out practice case studies online – there are lots of good resources, plus some great books. Work through at least two or three case studies and become familiar with them. Case studies can be difficult to begin with, but you can get very good at them with a bit of practice. PIP look for people who can break down a problem into the various levers using a driver tree analysis, then work through the issues to give an answer that is practical and achievable.
Listen to the interviewer. If you’re going off track in a case study or not answering a question to give an interviewer the information needed, then she/he will step in and try to guide you back on track. Look out for these hints, and follow the interviewer’s lead. If you need to clarify something, just ask the question – it’s much better than guessing and getting the wrong answer. We ask questions all the time in client situations and interviewers expect to have to answer questions in interviews.
PIP’s value proposition to clients is measurable, sustainable results. Ensure that you are results focused in answering all questions — use examples that include data to back up your reasoning (why you acted as you did). And never forget to outline the actual outcome delivered, don’t just get close. Without being too wordy, make sure that you include enough detail in your answers to help us evaluate not only what you have done but what you may be capable of.
Engage with the interviewer as an individual. If you’re asked questions about your interests, talk about what you’re passionate about and show what you’re like as a person. Interviewers are judging you as a potential colleague — somebody they will work closely with, share long flights with and somebody they can have fun with at client dinners etc. Go the extra mile to be friendly. A smile will relax both you and the interviewer.
Practice answers to behavioural questions using the STAR technique (situation or task, action you took, results you achieved). We look for people who are self-aware and understand the people and contextual elements of business problems as well as the technical problems. Ensure that you articulate your role in addressing issues and delivering results.