Entering the Mindset of a Professional Management Consultant

Reading 150-page documents, designing PowerPoint presentations and interviewing with coaches prepares students for consulting season

Fernando Martinelli, CEO of Prep Lounge

Forty-five MBA students ended their summer vacations early this year to attend Peak Week, a six-day event jointly organized by the Career Center and the Consulting Club. An intensive preparation for the upcoming consulting-recruitment season, the week featured case-cracking sessions and workshops designed to hone students’ interview skills.

Events kicked off with Fernando Martinelli, CEO of Prep Lounge. As someone who has interviewed more than 500 consulting-management candidates, Martinelli emphasized that “it’s not about knowing the solution, it’s showing how you can break down the question into logical steps.” He illustrated the different types of business cases and how to best structure them.

The next workshop featured Sébastien Ritter, a career coach and HEC Paris alumni with more than 4 years of experience in strategy consulting. He presented the 8 key competencies management-consulting firms look for during a fit interview.

Sébastien Ritter has been a career coach since 2012.

On September 2, AlixPartners, a global business advisory firm, came to campus with one of their clients, Albéa. Participants were divided into groups to solve a real-life business case. After 2 hours of flipping through 150-pages worth of data, crunching numbers, group discussions, and PowerPoint design, students presented their recommendations to Albéa.

Peak Week, held this year from August 29 to September 2, 2016, also involved cracking businesses cases, mock case and fit interviews, and networking with HEC alumni.

Still smiling on the first day of Consulting Peak Week

Participants said:

“Peak week is an intensive training session: for five days you do 3 case cracking and fit-interview sessions in a row, each lasting two hours. This tests both your skills and stamina. It is exhaustive. But it’s like going to the gym; after you finish you feel lighter and the next exercise round becomes much easier. At the end, the improvement in my performance was clear.”

—Edmundo GARDOLINSKI, September ’15 intake
“The project with AlixPartners was beneficial in several ways. First, it allowed us to work with real data and lots of ithow I’d imagine a real case would be. During this ‘competition’ we weren’t guided as we are when we crack cases, so we had to really filter and focus in on certain data. Second, we received mentorship from real consultants, to understand how they think. Finally, having the actual clients there allowed us to see if our recommendations were practical and showed us that AlixPartners truly does work closely with their clients.”

—Dustin YEE, September ’15 intake

“I found the one-on-one session with Fernando to be very fruitful. He detailed my weaknesses and my strengths. I walked out with very clear idea of what I need to work on in the next few weeks.”

—John SHIJA, January ’16 intake