The BCG Case Interview is something you’re going to have to be prepared for in order to land a job at Boston Consulting Group, one of the world’s top consulting firms. If you’ve already started doing your research into the interview process at other top firms, some of the details about the BCG Interview process will seem familiar. But there are also many specifics that make BCG and its interview process unique. These specifics include timeline, round structure, and interview format.
What Is the BCG Interview Like?
The BCG interview process is somewhat complex and takes many different forms. The interviews include written or computer-based questions, in-person interviews, as well as “case interviews”. These involve handling sample business problems and delivering formal presentations in person. These steps are all quite professional and formal in behavior and attire. However, candidates report their interactions with BCG employees as being friendly and supportive. The overall process is designed to evaluate not only your technical expertise, but also your in-person communication abilities and your personality fit.
BCG Interview Process
While there can be some regional differences and individual deviations, the BCG interview timeline occurs over the space of 4-6 weeks. This typically involves four steps of evaluation. First, you submit your application, including a cover letter and CV. Then you proceed to the first round of interviews and examinations, conducted at a BCG location and with BCG employees. Then there are 10-14 days before the second round of interviews. After the second round, offers are received within 7-10 days.
The assessments over the first and second rounds come in four types:
- A fit interview, in which you are asked specific BCG interview questions. This allows interviewers to get to know you as a person and coworker. This usually lasts about ten minutes and occurs in both rounds.
- The BCG Potential test, an exam of certain business, data-analysis, and mathematical skills. This occurs in the first round of interviews and comes in two different versions, a computer-based test and a paper-based test. The computer test typically includes 23 questions and takes about 45 minutes. The paper test usually has 53 questions and 50 minutes. This test is more commonly given to candidates coming from non-traditional backgrounds.
- The BCG consulting case interview questions involve in-person BCG employees providing you with scenarios based on real-world client experiences. You are given a certain amount of information and asked to recommend a strategy for meeting the client’s needs. These questions occur in both rounds of interviews and take 30-40 minutes.
- Written case questions are similar to standard case questions, except that the information is provided to you in a set of documents, roughly 40 pages. You are given two hours to examine the documents and prepare a recommendation, to be presented in a 15-minute, 3-5 slide slideshow. BCG employees will also ask you questions. This type of interview occurs only in the second round of interviews.
How Is the BCG Interview Unique?
The BCG potential test, as well as the firm’s extensive focus on personal fit, make the BCG interview process somewhat unique. In addition, the BCG Consulting Case Interview is unique in that it is quite candidate-led. Some other top firms—most notably McKinsey—conduct much more adversarial and interviewer-led case interviews. This reflects the fact that consultants at BCG are trusted with a lot of independence when it comes to working with clients and leading projects.
BCG doesn’t just emphasize technical expertise and knowledge. They don’t care exclusively about your knowledge of frameworks per se. They are more interested in your ability to accurately apply creativity and innovation to strategic thinking.
Preparing for the BCG Interview
You’re definitely going to want to go hard on your BCG consulting case interview prep to maximize your chances of receiving an offer. As one of the world’s top firms, BCG can afford to be highly selective and the BCG interview process is rightly competitive. BCG case interview practice is required.
The first-round interview success rate falls somewhere in the area of 20-25%. That means you need to be better than 80% of the competition. You’ll want to study real BCG consulting interview questions. Practice working with these until you’re totally confident in your ability to successfully structure your approach to problems using the various frameworks. You’ll also want to focus on your general math & business skills, as well as your communications skills and in-person presence.
Sharpening your arithmetic skills sounds basic but it’s important. You will have to do rapid calculations in front of interviewers. This isn’t only about the math skills themselves. Part of the job of being a consultant is to rapidly test and adapt hypotheses to fit different problems and scenarios.
You’ll also want to network to get a read on the workplace culture at BCG to get a better understanding of what consultants there do, what kind of personalities fit in, and what the BCG case interview is designed to look for in applicants. The interviewers are your potential coworkers, and it’s in their interest to maintain a harmonious work environment and select candidates that appear to be a good “fit.”
Next Steps for the BCG Interview
If you really want to maximize your chances of getting hired, you should work with proven experts as you conduct your BCG case interview practice. Management Consulted has experienced coaches and a system with proven results designed to help you prep for every step of the interview. Our Black Belt program will help you polish every facet of your game, from increasing your data literacy to editing your résumé.
- Free Case Interview Prep Course
- Case Interview: Complete Prep Guide
- BCG Consultant Salary
- Consulting Firm Directory