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Why Consulting?

Are you considering a career in consulting?

Consulting is a great career. You get to work in a variety of industries, at diverse companies, on different projects and in varied roles. If you thrive on new challenges, continuous learning and making a difference, you should consider a career in consulting. What does a successful consultant look like? Successful consultants are creative thought leaders and natural problem solvers. They never lose sight of the big picture, but are able to dive into the details of a client's business need and its solution. There is no perfect consultant profile, but many of the most successful share the following traits: Thrive in a fast-paced environment that is constantly changing Thrive when presented with new and different challenges Thrive when surrounded by intelligent and talented peers that push you to your potential Passionate about continual growth both personally and professionally Passionate about making a real difference for clients Have strong problem solving skills Have a strong affinity for leadership and helping others

1. How would you describe yourself? Sample excellent response: My background to date has been centered around preparing myself to become the very best financial consultant I can become. Let me tell you specifically how I've prepared myself. I am an undergraduate student in finance and accounting at _________ University. My past experiences has been in retail and higher education. Both aspects have prepared me well for this career. See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial. 2. What specific goals, including those related to your occupation, have you established for your life? Sample excellent response: I want to be working for an excellent company like yours in a job in which I am managing information. I plan to contribute my leadership, interpersonal, and technical skills. My long-range career goal is to be the best information systems technician I can for the company I work for.

See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial. 3. How has your college experience prepared you for a business career? Sample excellent response: I have prepared myself to transition into the the work force through realworld experience involving travel abroad, internship, and entrepreneurial opportunities. While interning with a private organization in Ecuador, I developed a 15-page marketing plan composed in Spanish that recommended more effective ways the company could promote its services. I also traveled abroad on two other occasions in which I researched the indigenous culture of the Mayan Indians in Todos Santos, Guatemala, and participate din a total language immersion program in Costa Rica. As you can see from my academic, extracurricular, and experiential background, I have unconditionally committed myself to success as a marketing professional. See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial. 4. Please describe the ideal job for you following graduation. Sample excellent response (equates ideal job with job he's interviewing for): My ideal job is one that incorporates both my education and practical work skills to be the best I can be. Namely combining my education in finance with my working knowledge of customer service operations, entrepreneurial abilities, computer skills, and administrative skills. I want to utilize my analytical expertise to help people meet their financial goals. This is exactly why I am convinced that I would be a very valuable member of the Merrill Lynch team. See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial. 5. What influenced you to choose this career? Sample excellent response: My past experiences have shown me that I enjoy facing and overcoming the challenge of making a sale. Without a doubt, once I have practiced my presentation and prepared myself for objections, I feel very confident approaching people I don't know and convincing them that they need my product. Lastly, I like sales because my potential for success is limited only by how much of myself I dedicate toward my goal. If any profession is founded on self-determinism, it surely must be sales. See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial. 6. At what point did you choose this career? Sample excellent response:

I knew that I wanted to pursue information systems technology about my sophomore year in college. It was then that I realized that my that my hobby (computers) was taking up most of my time. My favorite courses were IT courses. I also realized that I was doing computer-oriented workstudy that I enjoyed so much I would have done it for free. 7. What specific goals have you established for your career? Sample excellent response: My goals include becoming a Certified Financial Advisor so I can obtain a better working knowledge of financial research analysis, which would allow me contribute to my client base as a better financial consultant since I would have that extra insight into the companies they are seeking to invest in. Also this is the foundation block to advancing my career to portfolio manager or even branch office manager. See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial. 8. What will it take to attain your goals, and what steps have you taken toward attaining them? Sample excellent response: I've already done some research on other workers at Merrill Lynch to see how they achieved similar goals. I know that Merrill Lynch encourages the pursuit and will reimburse for tuition of a graduate degree. I plan on pursuing a MBA to give me an even more extensive knowledge of business and financial analysis. See also this page of our Job Interviewing Tutorial.

Call me biased, but I received the best years of business training possible in my time at McKinsey. Thorough and at times intense exposure to textbook business principles and practices. In addition, the project team model leads to mentorship opportunities with managers, partners, and coworkers. Finally, you have constant client interaction which develops client skills from managing client teams to running meetings to learning how to navigate different corporate environments.

That being said, heres a quick list of what you can expect to learn in both fields: By hard skills, I mostly mean software (ie Microsoft Office Suite), analytics (ie financial valuation). By soft skills, I mean the interpersonal, qualitative interactions that you have with coworkers, the broader firm, clients, etc CONSULTING Hard skills: 1) Microsoft Powerpoint you will (and have to) 2)

become a master at this, and will eventually have the ability to produce presentations quickly, concisely, and meaningfully Microsoft Excel less exposure than investment banking. Still, modeling is a meaningful component of a consultants work, and something every consultant is expected to have significant exposure to. Note -firmsodeling done in case work may not be directly comparable to the financial modeling more common at investment banks 3) Business knowledge typically broad exposure across different topics like strategy, operations, organization and several areas where youll have expertise. This expertise may be as broad as operations turnaround and as specific as benchmarking for insurance companies. Soft skills: 1) Client interaction (explained above) 2) Heavy

team interaction 3) Presentation skills this is a cornerstone of consulting work. After all, findings dont mean anything if you cant convince the client to believe in and adopt them 4) Project/workflow planning and execution this is subtle but important. Much of the time at investment banks, you are given incremental work eg, add these updated numbers to the model, bind these presentations, insert a graph on chart 11.

Consulting is focused on you OWNING a piece of the entire project, setting your own deliverables and timeline, and executing against that framework. This helps you develop the ability to be standalone in consulting lingo. INVESTMENT BANKING Hard skills: 1) Microsoft Excel clearly you will become a

master at this, and is a mandatory for success. Youll know the ins-and-outs, every keyboard shortcut known to man (and then some), and so forth 2) Microsoft Powerpoint much less exposure here depending on the focus of your work (for instance, more in Corporate Finance, less in Mergers & Acquisitions). Very little experience in building a presentation from scratch. Financial valuation self-explanatory. Differs based on group/focus, but at the very least youll understand financial statements inside and out, and have strong knowledge of how companies are financed Soft skills: 1) Work endurance this is the upside to those 3)

100+ hour weeks, which is the ability to work incredibly long and incredibly hard. Basically, every job you take post investment banking will feel somewhat like a vacation. Its a great trait to have 2) Seeing deals get done investment bankers have, at times, better access to the leading business leaders of the day. As a junior banker, you may not have direct interaction but will be exposed through countless meetings, conference calls, etc to these people and see how deals are done and groundbreaking changes in business emerge day-to-day.