I didn’t consider a consulting career when I came to IMD. However, through the multiple breakout sessions and teamwork, by June I started to feel the flavor of case cracking. That’s why I was excited to join the Case Leadership Elective, organized for those who wanted to advance in case interviews for consulting jobs.
From a personal development point of view, problem-solving and structured thinking are useful skills for any job, not just consulting. Over the course of the week, we went through the complete problem-solving sequence as a team, just like consultants do. We learned quick problem structuring and creativity. We practiced Personal Experience Interviews (the notorious McKinsey’s PEI) and case interviews.
In fact, by the end of the elective, I was so thrilled about consulting that I added it to my job search strategy.
A cherry on the cake was training in presence. Presence is a concept encompassing all aspects of one’s appearance in space – the way we use our body, speech and mind to not only display ourselves but also to perceive and influence others. Presence has only 10% weightage in the interview evaluation. But it can make or break your whole interview. Every interviewer asks themselves “Do I want to work with this person?”. The way you present yourself will help you to be remembered and will give additional points if there is a draw with another competing candidate.
3 main learnings from Case Leadership elective week
- Analyze the problem before solving it. When I get a problem, I have this burning need to get rid of it as soon as possible, which is a natural reaction as we want to avoid discomfort. Consultants are different in this regard. They need to have the resilience to look the problem in the face with curiosity and to observe every single detail in order to come up with the best solution.
- Think broadly about the problem. Broader factors can jeopardize even the best thought plan if the analysis is too narrow. Therefore, you must think broadly.
- Understand and embrace the emotion behind each problem. I thought that consultants work with problems that sometimes happen to be people. However, during the elective, I realized the opposite is true. From collecting information to understanding company dynamics and top-management aspirations, the key is to emotionally connect with those around you and to understand their pains and joys. If you take a problem personally, you can find a better solution for sure.
I felt a bit of sadness when the course ended as it was fun and I got lots of personal insights. It was one of the best courses in the program so far and I hope future participants will also get a chance to take advantage of it.