Mr. Recent Graduate Consultant graduated from an Ivy League university, Class of 2012, and is now working in Beijing. Here’s his take on his unorthodox choices and the personal growth these have sparked.
1. Why consulting?
I simply drank the cool aid of consulting: interact with senior management at a young age, learn about different industries, work on intellectually challenging projects, never be bored at your job, etc. All of these facts attracted me as I wanted exposure to a variety of industries while learning about the problems large corporations face.
2. Tell us about the “process” - your résumé, the interview.
The typical consulting interview is quite different than other interviews. Consulting firms typically employ the case interview method to test the applicant’s thought process. Thus, it's important to start preparing for the interview process early to learn some frameworks to answer case interviews. Because of this method, there isn't any one standard question that's asked at the interview; but it's much ‘funner’ than a standard interview since you're just problem solving!
3. How did you land your job?
I was studying abroad in China at the time and decided that I wanted to see if I could start my career in China. I was referred to the HR (department of my current firm) by one of my friends who previously interned at the firm and ended up being offered an interview. I went through 2 formal rounds of interviews along with a "pre-talk" (10 minute short interview before round 1). Each round of interview involved 2 case interviews.
4. How would you describe your transition from college to career?
It's been quite different than what I expected. Transitioning from college to career is hard enough in a familiar environment but to do so in a new country, makes it much more difficult. In terms of transitioning from school to work, the hardest part is not being able to take a break whenever you want. Furthermore, consulting in China is a tough job (regularly 14-16 hour days), which makes the balance of work and life more difficult. On the other side, transitioning to a new country means making new friends, learning about the area and just familiarizing yourself with how things work. I was lucky in that I stayed for a while in Beijing before but combining the two aspects was very difficult. With that said, I think I've grown tremendously by choosing this path as compared to a more traditional path (going to NYC). I've met a bunch of bright individuals and learned so much (both in a personal and professional way). I'm looking forward to growing more.
5. Your biggest surprise?
In terms of the job, the Sunday-Friday travel model. Typically in consulting in the U.S., you travel Monday-Thursday but that's not the case in China.
6. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I see myself just graduating from business school and either returning to consulting or pursuing entrepreneurship!
7. Your hobbies?
I really enjoy reading, travelling, running (though can't do that too often in China) and hanging out with friends!
8. Two tips (Do's and Don'ts)?
Do learn about the company you're applying to. Try not to have too generic of an answer for the inevitable "why are you here" question.
Do prepare for interviews. You already worked so hard to get the interview, make sure you value the chance!
Don't memorize answers to questions. You don't want to sound like a robot.
Don't get too sad if you are rejected by a firm. Confidence is very important in the interview process!
9. Your résumé.
10. What do you think shines in your résumé?
I think my variety of internship experiences (Bain, Oliver Wyman & U.S. Department of State).