Blog: Consulting Blog #3

Saturday, July 31, 2021

This message was shared by the UVA Career Center for those students interested in management consulting. This is message #3 of 3. For additional information, see Collab/ECO Resources/Vault Guides/Consulting Careers and the ECO website’s Industry Overviews in the “Management Consulting” section.

This email focuses on interview preparation and strategy. You will likely experience both a behavioral and case interview during your recruitment process at most firms. It is critical that you practice both of these in advance, so you present the best version of yourself in interviews.

The Career Center offers many options for support with both, if at any time you have questions on how to practice, come and see a career counselor by visiting Handshake. Mark your calendars for the events highlighted below to get practice directly from employers on both behavioral and case interviews!

If you are concerned about virtual interviews, this blog post provides advice on how to make a good impression in a virtual space.

Behavioral Interviewing: 

Your interviewer is using this as an opportunity to assess your fit within their firm. They want to see if they could spend hours working with you at a client site or traveling with you week to week, and if they'd be comfortable putting you in front of a client. 

  • Practice telling your story but using the VMock Elevator Pitch tool. For more information on this resource, check out the resources page on the Career Center website. 

  • When responding to questions, be articulate and concise -- Use the STAR method to structure your answers. This stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result and provides a framework for answering behavioral interview questions. [The ECO adds an extra “R” for Reflection. This final piece, allows candidates to discuss what they’ve learned/what they may do differently now. 

  • To help prepare, practice answering questions aloud -- check out page 64 of the HoosGuide for a list of sample behavioral interview questions. 

  • Street of Walls also provides a comprehensive guide on consulting interview questions and answers that will give you a better idea of what to expect. 

  • Lastly, the Career Center offers Mock Interviews as appointment types so you can practice with a counselor. Schedule an appointment today to get practicing. 

Case Interviewing: 

This is a way for the employer to assess your thinking and analytical skills in a real-time environment. The focus does not need to be on answering the problem correctly but more on how you think and structure the response. For more information on case interviews click here.  

Learning the Case: 

Running the Case: 

  • Throughout the case interview, do not be afraid to ask questions if you need clarification. 

  • Take thorough notes; be sure to compose your thoughts before moving forward. 

  • Be confident in your analysis but pay close attention to how the interviewer is guiding you and change direction if you need to. 

Practice Makes Perfect: 

It takes time to feel comfortable with both the behavioral and the case portions of the interview. To perform well on case interviews, it is crucial that you understand how to approach them, and practice is key to that success. 

  • Create a Case Interview Preparation Plan 

  • Utilize case guides found on Handshake. (Handshake > Career Center > Resources > Business Community) 

  • Check out the "Help Topics" in Virginia Alumni Mentoring, one of those areas are Mock Case Interviews for practice with alumni 

  • Our Career Peer Educators created this helpful session on case interviews that is a fantastic resource 

  • Practice, practice, practice! Find classmates who are also pursuing consulting and set up a time to practice case interviewing together.

Mental Math Tips: 

Sometimes cases are more quantitative than qualitative. This likely will depend on the organization you are interviewing with and the type of role you are interviewing for. Try to gain as much insight as possible before, so you know more of what to expect. If it is math heavy, here are some tips: 

  • Use round numbers where you can. 

  • Do “ballpark” calculations – there is some margin of error allowed. 

  • Memorize key numbers: World Population (7b), US Population (320m), Life expectancy (US: 80y, World: 70y). Check out these key statistics to know. 

  • Practice mental math; download this app to fine tune this important skill. 

  • If you are looking for even more practice, RocketBlocks provides comprehensive drills to help with the entire case framework. [The Department of Economics subscribes to RocketBlocks for our majors. You may claim your account by logging in with your UVA email (example and using the password “monroe.”