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Getting tactical: the interview day

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

What should you do to maximise your chances and reduce stress the days before and after your interviews? Here are a few tips to help.

Before your interview

Let's say you have been a good student. You practiced many cases, prepared your personal experience stories, had a few coaching sessions with ZeroToMBB. Great. But now, your interview date is only a couple days away and your stress levels start to increase: what was that variable cost lever again? what if the math is too hard? maybe I should practice a few more cases? You find yourself frantically browsing for new cases, spending nights on Quora, in the hunt for any last tips. Don't do this.

If you have prepared with ZeroToMBB, you are ready. Period. Seriously, we are interview preparation monsters and now so are you: we have given you all the tips that matter, we have coached you honestly (and sometimes bluntly, but it was for your own good!). Here is what you should do 2-3 days before your interview: read the cases you have already done, watch the methodology videos again, and that's it. And to keep you mind clear on the day, don't do any interview-related work the day before. Go for a walk, prepare your outfit (pro tip: if you are not familiar with ties, train here beforehand, don't wait for the morning of) eat some good food and fall asleep to your favorite book (early!). If like me you couldn't fall asleep because of stress, I can recommend a quick meditation (works for me).

The day of your interview

Interview day is here. Because you have prepared your outfit the day before, your preparation is stress free. Now, here the important next steps: you need to have sugar in your blood. An interview is an extremely intensive intellectual exercise and you will do at least 2 or 3 of them in a row. Sometimes more with round both morning and afternoon. Your brain can only process sugar so you need to make sure it has plently of it to feed on while avoiding post-sugar crash. So before your interviews, have an hearty breakfast and bring along some quick acting sweet snacks for in-between your interviews . This is very important because you will not be able to perform as well on your last interview if you don't refuel in-between. Consulting firms will always provide you with water so no need to bring any. Don't forget to also bring plenty of A4 or letter-sized sheets of paper and a couple of pens! Plan to arrive 10mn in advance to your appointment. I find it often less stressful to arrive 30-40mn early and have a coffee in a nearby café so I don't have to worry about traffic and so on.

You messed up a case? This is not the time for a retrospective. It's time to nail to next one! You usually have 2 or 3 interviews in a round, and there is a reason! Top consulting firms know that even the best candidates mess up a case sometimes. Maybe you blanked out, maybe you went off on the wrong path and the hints from the interviewer to get you back on track didn't resonate. Fine! Move on and focus on nailing your next case. If 2 out of 3 consultants loved you, chances are, you will make it through, so don't worry!

You nailed a case? Congrats! But now is also not the time to lower your guard. Stick to the methodology, don't rush into calculations, keep your ears wide open and don't get cocky. You will have time for that after you have an offer :)

After your interview

You are done. Maybe it went well and you have a good feeling, maybe you really messed up that one math question and you are thinking 'no way I made it'. Either way, things are out of your control now so why spend energy and time worrying? You did your best and if you trained with ZeroToMBB, you were as prepared as one can be! Top consulting firms are usually pretty good at getting back to you quickly, they will usually call you back within 1-2 business days, whether you made it or not, and provide feedback. Whether the news is good or disappointed, take note of the feedback and ask clarifying questions. I know these calls can be very emotional (I have personally given many good and bad news, so I know) but it is very important to take notes and ask questions because, if you made it, you are expected to address this feedback on the next round, and if you didn't make it, this will be very useful for interviews at other firms!

What now? Check out the ZeroToMBB book for end-to-end application and interview preparation.


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