Welcome back!



Forgot password?

Don’t have an account? Subscribe now

Quarterly

Where else can you learn from ex-McK, BCG et al. senior partners?


Learn from the people who make the final hiring decision in the final round of interviews.

Management Consulting

Start Here with Case Interviews

We use ex-McKinsey, BCG et al. partners to prepare you for case interviews at the most elite consulting firms. We are the only firm worldwide using ex-partners. We do this because we believe only partners who make the final hiring decision in the final round case interview should be training you. My name is Kris Safarova and I am the CEO FIRMSconsulting.com. I work with a network of eminent ex-McKinsey, BCG et al. partners, like Kevin, Bill, Michael and many others who produce all the content on the site. Since 2010, when FIRMSconsulting.com was founded, I have assembled a universe of digital platforms teaching case interviews and business strategy. Our goal is not only to get you into McKinsey but to help you succeed far beyond the firm. We see McKinsey and BCG as mere stepping stones and while we focus on case interviews, we use ex-partners to equip clients with the broader thinking skills to solve mankind's toughest problems. [bctt tweet="I have noticed one thing in common with everyone who either comments on FIRMSconsulting.com or our case interviews podcast channel which is ranked #1 in the world for case interviews: everyone is unsure of what to do and/or starting…

Management Consulting

We use ex-McKinsey, BCG et al. partners to prepare you for case interviews at the most elite consulting firms. We are the only firm worldwide using ex-partners. We do this because we believe only partners who make the final hiring decision in the final round case interview should be training you. My name is Kris Safarova and I am the CEO FIRMSconsulting.com. I work with a network of eminent ex-McKinsey, BCG et al. partners, like Kevin, Bill, Michael and many others who produce all the content on the site. Since 2010, when FIRMSconsulting.com was founded, I have assembled a universe…

Read more…
Networking

Guide to FIRMSconsulting Content

We produce an extensive list of podcasts, books, videos, slides and other media. This content guide can help you navigate your way through and build your career development plan. It’s helpful to remember that a leader gets things done. Therefore, always think about how to implement your ideas. We offer 6 services: Books—use in conjunction with video training programs to quickly grasp core skills. The Strategy Journal Succeeding as a Management Consultant The Strategy Engagement Marketing Saves the World Mavis Turquoise Eyes Slides—use our curated editable studies, tools, templates, proposals and letters to significantly reduce the time it takes to generate results, lower your costs and improve the quality of your work. Videos—gain mastery of core concepts to ensure that you solve the problem, implement the solution and bank the benefits. Coaching—to avoid roadblocks and trial-and-error, you can book 1-on-1 advice sessions in which a partner will evaluate your plan and help you develop a bespoke career strategy and solution. This is subject to availability and your admittance to the program. Coaching— Eligible to apply for 1-on-1 coaching only if referred by a prior coaching client. We do not accept applications without a referral. These are the longer coaching programs…

Networking

We produce an extensive list of podcasts, books, videos, slides and other media. This content guide can help you navigate your way through and build your career development plan. It’s helpful to remember that a leader gets things done. Therefore, always think about how to implement your ideas. We offer 6 services: Books—use in conjunction with video training programs to quickly grasp core skills. The Strategy Journal Succeeding as a Management Consultant The Strategy Engagement Marketing Saves the World Mavis Turquoise Eyes Slides—use our curated editable studies, tools, templates, proposals and letters to significantly reduce the time it takes to…

Read more…

Consulting job applicants: 4 best case interviewees we ever trained

Consulting Job Applicants: 4 Best Case Interviewees We Ever Trained In this article, we will share the key lessons of the top 4 consulting job applicants we trained, as measured purely by their consulting interview skills. A consulting job applicant who was the first person in her country, and university, to join McKinsey At #1 is Sanda, an undergraduate from one of the poorest countries in South East Asia who barely spoke English. She was the first in her family to attend university, a university without a website, and became the first person in her country, and university, to join…

Read more…

Business terms glossary – A to Z

Business Terms Glossary - A to Z If you’re new to business, you may hear a lot of words and phrases that you do not know and that are not well (or are not) defined in a standard dictionary. Our business terms glossary will explain some of the meanings of the most commonly used business terms. If you are a Premium member or an FC Insider, you know that many key business terms are used throughout our programs and other resources (e.g. books). While they are sometimes explained when they are used, this page is intended to capture most of…

Read more…

Business Case Example: The 10 Best Free Examples in 2020 (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte etc.)

Business Case Example: The 10 Best Free Examples in 2020 (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte etc.) The Consulting Offer within our Premium membership is, by far, the best way to prepare for case interviews. However, you may be just starting your case interview preparation and not ready yet to commit the resources, time, the effort that is required for serious preparation. So you may be looking online for a business case example to practice with and dip your toe, so to speak, to see if pursuing consulting is even of interest to you. Or it may be the case that you,…

Read more…

Physics Skills in Business: 3 Case-Interview Concepts I Learned From Physics

Physics Skills in Business: 3 Case-Interview Concepts I Learned From Physics Physics has been defined as the study of the laws of nature, in all their broad glory! In contemporary physics curricula, students are supposed to study mechanics (descriptions of motion, generally), electricity and magnetism (which are two sides of the same coin), and even quantum particles (the unimaginably small constituents of matter as we know it). Yet a deeper understanding of “physics” typically emphasizes that analogous patterns exist across different natural phenomena -- for example, the equations that describe a gravitational force and an electrostatic force are written identically, just…

Read more…

The Fine Art of MBA Application

The Fine Art of MBA Application With nine (9) fully-funded offers, 5 out of which also included monthly stipends, from fourteen (14) applications to top 10 – 50 MBA programs in the US and Canada, I have learned that business schools' MBA application is a fine art that should be honed. If you are not new to Firmsconsulting, you will have heard Michael talk about how networking isn't different from dating. The same is true here. Now, before you call me Casanova (I assure you I am not) who courted fourteen different ladies, let me tell you a story. A…

Read more…

Mental Math Practice: Round to the Nearest Dollar: Getting the Most “Bang for your Buck”

Mental Math Practice: Getting the Most "Bang for your Buck" In case interviews, you may be asked to undergo mental math gyrations from Minute 1. Consider the following excerpt from this sample case. https://youtu.be/pF1HTYg8Vhg This deluge of information might come as a series of facts, sprinkled throughout the case – or it might arrive after a two-sentence prompt citing a client’s desire to reduce their R&D costs. “[…] All of the R&D facilities and staff are concentrated in the Boston area. There are approximately 2,300 R&D employees and the total R&D costs are approximately $12B per annum. The client has…

Read more…

Best Consulting Firms To Work For in 2020

Best Consulting Firms To Work For in 2020 Management consulting firms operate across the world and serve basically every industry. And while everyone knows about McKinsey, BCG, Bain and Deloitte, there are many other consulting firms that offer high quality of service and powerful working experience. If you are considering consulting as a career and would like to know what are some best consulting firms you should consider, below are some obvious choices like Deloitte and McKinsey, but also other consulting firms you can consider to join. If you are considering consulting as a career or would like to spend…

Read more…

QUESTIONS FOR CONSULTING INTERVIEWS

Questions for Consulting Interviews In providing an answer to the topic of questions for consulting interviews, we will start by urging you to think about the true meaning of a question. After which we will examine the different ways to breakdown questions for consulting interviews, the most popular question categories in each broad bucket with examples, and then conclude with some general advice on how to approach any kind of question for consulting interviews. What is a question? One lesson you will learn as a consultant is the importance of problem definition. So why don’t we take a moment to define…

Read more…

What is the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview)?

What is the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview)? Overview of the McKinsey PEI In this article, we are covering McKinsey PEI (personal experience interview, also called FIT). McKinsey PEI is not very different from FIT (PEI) portions of the interview in other consulting firms like BCG and Bain. However, there are some unique aspects to keep in mind. We will be covering: Sample PEI questions How is the McKinsey PEI different from other consulting firms Qualities McKinsey is looking for Insights from former McKinsey worldwide strategy practice co-leader and senior partner, Kevin P. Coyne Insights from Ritika Mohan on joining…

Read more…

Questions about consulting answered

Questions about consulting answered If you are considering management consulting as a career you likely have questions about consulting. In this article, we attempt to answer some of the common questions about consulting. We will keep it very brief as you can get in-depth answers for many of the questions below, and well beyond, in our numerous articles, podcasts, programs, and books. Questions about consulting: The application process What is a consulting job? Consultants are hired as advisors to corporations. They tackle a wide variety of business problems and provide expert opinions, analysis, and solutions for their clients. These problems…

Read more…

How to network to get consulting interviews

In today’s video we will focus on how to network to help you get consulting interviews and increase your chances to get an offer. So the real question here is how do you network to get a result you want. And the first thing to realize is when we talk about networking to get into consulting we are not talking about networking with a standard definition. For a lot of people networking is a hard sales process. They go into a meeting with a list of things they want and they try to sell person on that. Especially in the West networking is a sales process. And yes networking to get into consulting is still a sales process but you should not hard sell. It's a process where you get the result you want but you do it in a much more professional, cleaner way, as opposed to forcing people to help you and trying to explain why you are valuable. Because this makes you look pretty desperate. And desperation does not work in consulting, or with any elite firms. It just does not help you create the right image. And, in fact, you can argue that in any field…

In today’s video we will focus on how to network to help you get consulting interviews and increase your chances to get an offer. So the real question here is how do you network to get a result you want. And the first thing to realize is when we talk about networking to get into consulting we are not talking about networking with a standard definition. For a lot of people networking is a hard sales process. They go into a meeting with a list of things they want and they try to sell person on that. Especially in the…

Read more…
Uncategorized

Our unique case interview preparation approach

Our unique case interview preparation approach Hey, it’s Kris Safarova. And this is Fridays with Firmsconsulting! In the previous episode we discussed 3 foundational skills you need before you should start learning full cases. If you missed it, go and check it out RIGHT NOW as you need those insights to fully benefit from this episode. In this episode we will explain the general case interview preparation sequence you need to follow AFTER you have mastered the 3 foundational skills. And this is based on the 509 clients we have placed into McKinsey, BCG and Bain, which is a 68.9% success rate, the highest in the industry. After you have mastered the 3 foundational skills, the next step is to do very simple profitability cases and only focus on the technique. Ignore speed and communication. Here is an example of such a case. Mary Elizabeth Moss wants to build a lemonade stand in Times Square. But the city of New York wants her to pay a licensing fee, which is quite high. Mary wants to increase her profits. She has come to you for help. Simple right? Don’t start with complex profitability cases such as General Electric wants you to…

Uncategorized

Our unique case interview preparation approach Hey, it’s Kris Safarova. And this is Fridays with Firmsconsulting! In the previous episode we discussed 3 foundational skills you need before you should start learning full cases. If you missed it, go and check it out RIGHT NOW as you need those insights to fully benefit from this episode. In this episode we will explain the general case interview preparation sequence you need to follow AFTER you have mastered the 3 foundational skills. And this is based on the 509 clients we have placed into McKinsey, BCG and Bain, which is a 68.9%…

Read more…

Case interview math (mental math) tools, formulas and tips

Case Interview Math (Mental Math) Tools, Formulas and Tips Consulting case interview mental math practice is a must as part of one's overall consulting case interview preparation. All management consulting firms, and certainly McKinsey, BCG and Bain, expect candidates to be very comfortable with quantitative data, statistics, and the ability to make decisions and client recommendations based on data. Management consultants at firms like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte spend a lot of time working with numbers, charts, calculations, financial models in excel and other math work, often mental math work. So any consulting case interview mental math test, and there…

Read more…

23 McKinsey, Investments

Session 23: Development Areas, Regional-focus, Corporate Finance-Investments & Partner-style cases Corporate Finance cases elicit the same response in candidates as math does to the average person. Yet, corporate finance cases should be addressed like a math problem. First, a candidate needs to identify the corporate finance issue being tested. Consulting candidates need only focus on two issues: valuation and return-on-investment calculations. In a valuation case either a multiples-method or discounted-cash-flow method is being tested. That said, a candidate will rarely be expected to do the calculation. It requires more finance knowledge than the average candidate needs to know. A candidate should understand how to do the calculation and talk the interviewer through the very, very basic steps. Return calculations are different. Candidates may be tested on these. Return on investment calculations are very simple since all the candidate needs to do is calculate all the returns and all the costs and apply the ROI formula. The challenge for most candidates is first identifying a corporate finance case, then determining ROI must be calculated and finally not double counting costs and revenues for the formula. In our experience, it is more important for a candidate to understand the above and how…

Session 23: Development Areas, Regional-focus, Corporate Finance-Investments & Partner-style cases Corporate Finance cases elicit the same response in candidates as math does to the average person. Yet, corporate finance cases should be addressed like a math problem. First, a candidate needs to identify the corporate finance issue being tested. Consulting candidates need only focus on two issues: valuation and return-on-investment calculations. In a valuation case either a multiples-method or discounted-cash-flow method is being tested. That said, a candidate will rarely be expected to do the calculation. It requires more finance knowledge than the average candidate needs to know. A candidate…

Read more…

22 McKinsey, BTO

Session 22: Development Areas, Regional-focus, BTO & Partner-style cases We like BTO cases because it is a great skill of a candidate to extract the strategy issues from seemingly mundane information technology problems. What these cases show is that the outcome of the analyses is completely dependent on the framework used. A framework which only evaluates operating issues will not address the strategy elements and vice versa. We teach candidates to apply a very elegant thought-process to identify which operational issues are essential to support the information technology strategy, and which parts of the information technology strategy are essential to support the corporate strategy. Those three areas sit at the core of BTO cases and are ignored by most candidates. The way to tackle IT issues is to understand that IT problems involve a disaggregated set of data points across the organization over which all parts of the organization have control. It is not like finance where a key set of known personnel control invoices or payments with strict checks and balances in place. Information technology and the data collected cannot be controlled but needs to be governed. The single largest reason candidates fail BTO cases is they ignore the…

Session 22: Development Areas, Regional-focus, BTO & Partner-style cases We like BTO cases because it is a great skill of a candidate to extract the strategy issues from seemingly mundane information technology problems. What these cases show is that the outcome of the analyses is completely dependent on the framework used. A framework which only evaluates operating issues will not address the strategy elements and vice versa. We teach candidates to apply a very elegant thought-process to identify which operational issues are essential to support the information technology strategy, and which parts of the information technology strategy are essential to…

Read more…

21 McKinsey, Corp. Strategy

Session 21: Development Areas, Regional-focus, Strategy & Partner-style cases The training wheels are now off and the dynamic of the relationship should have changed. The final two candidates are no longer rookies in the program. We see them more as refined ambassadors of Firmsconsulting with the demonstrated competence to engage a partner on any type of case, in any situation, sector or function. The focus of their development and training is to round out their development: pin-point the areas which were not as carefully addressed in the beginning of the program and carefully guide their development through them. Earlier in the program we focused on sector themes and now we will focus on functional themes. In today’s session we want to ensure the candidate is able to solve a case even if the case follows no conceivable style they may have seen. We call these partner-style cases where the case develops from a seemingly innocent conversation, thereby misleading the candidate. Both of the final two candidates are targeting offices where they have very little experience and knowledge. Our fundamental objective starting in this session, and continuing over the next 7 sessions, is to start drilling them in understanding value creation…

Session 21: Development Areas, Regional-focus, Strategy & Partner-style cases The training wheels are now off and the dynamic of the relationship should have changed. The final two candidates are no longer rookies in the program. We see them more as refined ambassadors of Firmsconsulting with the demonstrated competence to engage a partner on any type of case, in any situation, sector or function. The focus of their development and training is to round out their development: pin-point the areas which were not as carefully addressed in the beginning of the program and carefully guide their development through them. Earlier in…

Read more…

20 McKinsey, Econ. Strategy

Session 20: Energy, Conciseness, Brainstorming, Communication & Objective Functions The five areas highlighted listed above are the most important areas the remaining candidates need to focus on. We find the development areas are split neatly down the middle. • Felix needs to focus on not withdrawing from an interview if you she perceives her own performance to be weak. It has been a consistent challenge. She also needs to continue developing her body language and working on being very concise, especially when she is struggling to understand a concept. • Sanjeev is struggling in three clear areas. He is still a little unsure on brainstorming. Unfortunately, this is a key area he needs to master and, especially, understand how to deploy without any prompts from the interviewer. Sanjeev also tends to pause too long when taking time to think things through and this breaks his communication style. He is excellent at solving cases once he has identified the objective function to maximize/reduce etc. However, he does struggle to move the case from objective function to objective function. The issue is that Sanjeev has underestimated the effort to network and to some extent is unwilling to change his habits. In this…

Session 20: Energy, Conciseness, Brainstorming, Communication & Objective Functions The five areas highlighted listed above are the most important areas the remaining candidates need to focus on. We find the development areas are split neatly down the middle. • Felix needs to focus on not withdrawing from an interview if you she perceives her own performance to be weak. It has been a consistent challenge. She also needs to continue developing her body language and working on being very concise, especially when she is struggling to understand a concept. • Sanjeev is struggling in three clear areas. He is still…

Read more…

19 McKinsey, Strategy

Session 19: Random Full Case & Random Drills Candidates should now be in the interview process and/or practicing with colleagues. The candidate needs to be become skilled at applying the case techniques with as many different interview styles as possible. They should be practicing and networking at this stage. We select cases testing their ability to handle any type of problem. In the session descriptions which follow, we are using one description for 4 different candidates. Yet candidates do not perform the same, and while the descriptions are mostly accurate, there will be some differences as a few cases are brought forward, others moved back or candidates fail to prepare adequately. While these differences are minor, they sometimes occur. Cases questions taught in the session: Felix’s cases recorded in the session; Talk me through how you are leading the lab to meet the obligations to the Pharma partner (Fit Question), Clinical trials hypotheses development, Brainstorm options available to the Pfizer CEO to reduce the cost of clinical trials, Clinical trials investment case, Brainstorm why the government of Mozambique would allow clinical trials to take place, BCG Healthcare sector data interpretation & one-sentence test & Insurance article discussion. Sanjeev’s cases recorded…

Session 19: Random Full Case & Random Drills Candidates should now be in the interview process and/or practicing with colleagues. The candidate needs to be become skilled at applying the case techniques with as many different interview styles as possible. They should be practicing and networking at this stage. We select cases testing their ability to handle any type of problem. In the session descriptions which follow, we are using one description for 4 different candidates. Yet candidates do not perform the same, and while the descriptions are mostly accurate, there will be some differences as a few cases are…

Read more…

18 FIT & PEI

Session 18: Fit/PEI While fit is done in this session, we expect candidates to have prepared adequately leading up to this session by listening to podcasts 58-65, listening to other podcasts, leading samples, collecting our feedback, loading more samples etc. If a candidate does poorly here it will be very difficult for them to recover, since they will need to apply these skills in networking, and the skills will not be ready in time. In fact, they probably will never recover. That means an unpleasant networking experience and no interviews. We teach candidates the NY Times method in preparing their fit responses on analytical skills, leadership, teamwork, weakness, the resume overview etc. If you think about case preparation in career strategy terms, the fit part is where we expect to differentiate our candidates and give them that extra edge to beat all other candidates. Why do we pursue this strategy and not just focus on cases? First, everyone is focused on the case. There is so much obsessive focus on the case that it is hard to differentiate a candidate on the case. Even if you are exceptional in cases, there will be many others at the same level. You…

Session 18: Fit/PEI While fit is done in this session, we expect candidates to have prepared adequately leading up to this session by listening to podcasts 58-65, listening to other podcasts, leading samples, collecting our feedback, loading more samples etc. If a candidate does poorly here it will be very difficult for them to recover, since they will need to apply these skills in networking, and the skills will not be ready in time. In fact, they probably will never recover. That means an unpleasant networking experience and no interviews. We teach candidates the NY Times method in preparing their…

Read more…

17 McKinsey, Deregulations

Session 17: Deregulation Cases If consulting cases would be grouped into seasons, deregulation cases would be Halloween – they scare everyone! We use deregulation cases to show candidates that just because something appears intimidating, it does not mean it should always have fancy structures or approaches. Logic dictates that the best approach be used to solve a case, even when that structure is really simple. Deregulation cases can cover a wide range of sectors so they make for very interesting, and challenging, discussions: telecoms, water, electricity, gas, banking, aviation, rail, and media etc. In fact just about every sector has been regulated at some point and therefore had to undergo deregulation. A deregulation case is very simple as long as we understand that the entire market is going to be affected, and the deregulation is going to force a few pivotal changes. The candidate’s job is to identify those changes, understand the impact of the changes on the clients business, and ultimately generate a list of options to respond to the deregulation. Concluding cases is easy. At this point we teach Samantha how to generate options for the client once she has identified the problem. She needs to, thereafter, develop…

Session 17: Deregulation Cases If consulting cases would be grouped into seasons, deregulation cases would be Halloween – they scare everyone! We use deregulation cases to show candidates that just because something appears intimidating, it does not mean it should always have fancy structures or approaches. Logic dictates that the best approach be used to solve a case, even when that structure is really simple. Deregulation cases can cover a wide range of sectors so they make for very interesting, and challenging, discussions: telecoms, water, electricity, gas, banking, aviation, rail, and media etc. In fact just about every sector has…

Read more…

16 McKinsey, Pricing

Session 16: Pricing Cases There is no framework for pricing, but there is a simple way to approach pricing problems. Candidates are too often, incorrectly, taught that there are just 4 pricing strategies: product-based, cost-based, market-based or competition-based. In reality, there are a lot more different pricing strategies. What happens if the solution to the case does not require one of these 4 pricing strategies? So learning four is worthless and trying to memorize 60+ strategies is inefficient and counter to the managing consulting approach to understand and develop solutions from first-principles. So what must a candidate do? Pricing is an instrument of strategy, and is one of the tools deployed to achieve a strategic/operational objective. Strategy should be the starting point for pricing cases. Thereafter, one needs to consider the consumer appetite for the price, competitive parity and response, and finally, the margin objective. We need to teach Samantha how to apply these 4 considerations to any pricing case, and how to do the calculations in a pricing case. The technique is very easy to understand once it is taught, since it combines the strategy and calculation of pricing cases. In these cases we hope to explicitly show candidates…

Session 16: Pricing Cases There is no framework for pricing, but there is a simple way to approach pricing problems. Candidates are too often, incorrectly, taught that there are just 4 pricing strategies: product-based, cost-based, market-based or competition-based. In reality, there are a lot more different pricing strategies. What happens if the solution to the case does not require one of these 4 pricing strategies? So learning four is worthless and trying to memorize 60+ strategies is inefficient and counter to the managing consulting approach to understand and develop solutions from first-principles. So what must a candidate do? Pricing is…

Read more…

15 McKinsey, Strategy

Session 15: Complex Profitability Cases Samantha should now be able to handle any estimation or brainstorming case we throw at her. Moreover, by focusing on her technique and not her speed, she should be faster since speed is an outcome of using the right techniques. No one is trying to be slow so simply telling them to be faster is very counterproductive. It is better to fix the technique which causes the slow-down. At this stage, we have spent a lot of time showing her techniques, her speed is now totally dependent on her ability to remember them and apply them in a case. We do not encourage our candidates to practice on websites or material which purport to increase the speed of mathematical calculations, unless the material helps the candidate analyse the structure of their approaches. If it does not do this, it is most likely hurting the candidate by creating false hope. There are 5 levels of difficulty for profitability cases. There are straightforward profitability problems, turnarounds, core competency/health-performance issues, organization challenges, and finally, marginal pricing graphs. In this session, we teach the important limitations of simply following the numbers from the financial statements and why candidates need…

Session 15: Complex Profitability Cases Samantha should now be able to handle any estimation or brainstorming case we throw at her. Moreover, by focusing on her technique and not her speed, she should be faster since speed is an outcome of using the right techniques. No one is trying to be slow so simply telling them to be faster is very counterproductive. It is better to fix the technique which causes the slow-down. At this stage, we have spent a lot of time showing her techniques, her speed is now totally dependent on her ability to remember them and apply…

Read more…

FREE CHAPTER & VIDEO

How McKinsey Developed It's Strategy

Sign up now to receive a free video from The Bill Matassoni Show and a sample chapter from Bill Matassoni's memoir (Exclusive to FIRMSconsulting)

ACCESS NOW