The KGI consulting case and interview preparation consists of two essential parts: (1) the personal experience interview and (2) the business case portion.
The personal experience interview consists of a “get to know” conversation including questions about the graduate student's resume, motivations to become a consultant, strengths, experiences working in teams, and a variety of other scenarios. In contrast, the case portion of the interview consists of the interviewer presenting a business problem, often a problem the consultant has actually faced. During the case portion (often a 30 minute to 1 hour interview) interviewees are expected to logically, creatively, and in a structured manner describe how they would approach the problem. While problem-solving skills and the ability to present logical arguments and hypotheses are skills that KGI masters, Ph.D., and PharmD students have in spades, the ability to think on the spot and coherently address issues relevant to businesses takes practice. Thus, the Keck Graduate Institute Consulting Club provides a wide range of programming aimed at helping advanced degree applicants confidently approach the interview.
There are a few general suggestions from alumni to consider when preparing for the interview.
(a) First, do not neglect preparing for the personal interview section of the interview. While performing well on the case is a necessary component of getting a job, it is not a sufficient criteria. Interviewees should come prepared to answer the commonly asked interview questions with stories that demonstrate the interviewee’s key abilities and achievements.
(b) Secondly, when interviews come, there are often up to five in one day so be prepared to spend many hours each week for the months preceding interviews practicing and building stamina. A bench mark is to practice cases with a partner (NEVER ALONE) 3-5 times per week for two months before interviews.
(c) Finally, when applying for firms, remember that consulting jobs are very difficult to land. However, with enough determination, enough preparation, enough networking with companies, and by spreading your job search net wide you will be able to enter this exciting industry!
Examples of programs that the Keck Graduate Institute Consulting Club offers to help members prepare:
1. Weekly Case Prep Sessions – Offered on the Keck Graduate Institute campus and the Claremont Consortium Campus as well. These sessions provide an opportunity for members to practice cases with different people and gain different perspectives each week.
2. Consulting Alumni Panel - Annually, the club hosts a panel discussion featuring Keck Graduate Institute graduate students and alumni who have recently received offers from consulting firms.
3. Case Competition – The competition is an event designed to give members the opportunity to experience a consulting teamwork environment. Please contact KGICC for more information and ways to get involved.
4. Team Master's Project (TMPs) – Gain firsthand experience in consulting through working with industry leaders. The capstone of the MBS program is the TMP, in which graduate teams of three to six students work with sponsoring companies to solve real problems. The Team Master's Projects ideally include both business and technical aspects; for example, students may be asked to validate a new technology and to develop a strategy for market penetration of the technology. The actual deliverables for each TMP are negotiated by the student team and the company liaison.
5. Individual Professional Development – Develop skills to strengthen your professional profile, resume, cover letter, etc. We help students find opportunities for growth and development in the consulting industry