At the request of local business leaders and members of the Hawaii military community, COMMIT facilitated a Mentoring Workshop on September 27th and 28th in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sixteen exceptional servicemembers participated in this event, supported by mentors from the Hawaii business community. Participants focused on determining a career path aligned to their values, and benefited greatly from time with mentors. COMMIT will continue to support these participants through their transition to civilian life, and looks forward to future work with the PACOM community.
Read more in the Pacific Business News: https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2017/09/28/hawaii-business-leaders-participate-in-veteran.html.
Transition Azimuth Check: COMMIT Workshop Bozeman, MT
Over the past five years, COMMIT has gleaned a tremendous amount of insight and lessons from its programs. In 2017, we are excited to begin more deliberately sharing this information with America. We are pleased to share our first article regarding interview preparation for the management consulting sector. For the content of this article, COMMIT interviewed a small group of its transitioning veterans that recently prepared for interviews and secured jobs at tier one management consulting firms. We hope that our information sharing encourages discussion and continued information flow - perhaps even a healthy debate!
Success in any interview takes the same focus and time that you dedicated to preparing for a professional school entrance exam, like the GMAT. When preparing for an interview with a management consulting firm you should focus on two primary components: studying and networking. Expect to dedicate at least two to three months of preparation to feel comfortable when you begin the interview.
Luckily, studying and networking can and should occur simultaneously. Studying will help you connect with professionals in your desired field. Their feedback and recommendations will expose you to the critical thinking and other skillsets they prize in colleagues and employees, and potentially open the door for the target interview you seek.
Timing can be tricky. You will need to balance your desire for an immediate job interview/offer with the time required to prepare sufficiently for that interview. Exercise patience. It is a good idea to conduct at least ten mock case interviews before you walk into an interview for your desired role. The consulting contacts you made during your networking rounds may be willing to take part in mock interviews to help you prepare.
Firms typically conduct two days of interviews, with multiple rounds each day. The first day will include two to three separate interviews with Consultants who are one to three years out of business school.
First round interviews usually include a standard “personality/fit” portion followed by a case interview. The personality/fit portion is a critical arena where veterans should shine.
Most questions involve a discussion of your leadership abilities. Do not forget to prepare for this portion of the interview. A typical veteran mistake is to assume he or she has plenty of “leadership stories” and neglect to take time to sit down and polish those narratives.
In most consulting firms, the case interview is the most important part of the interview. Here you will be judged on critical thinking, business acumen, and basic quantitative skills during the “case.” Keep your cool and apply what you learned during your months of studying and networking. If you are successful during the first round of interviews, you will typically be asked back for another day of interviews, one to two weeks later.
The second day consists of two interviews with partners or principals at the firm. Partners/principals tend to ask more open-ended case interview questions that might make you feel they are not conducting an actual “case.” They are. Make sure to answer their question in the same logical and structured format as you did during your case preparation studies.
Success in the second day of interviews will lead to a job offer. If you do not receive the offer use any feedback from the process and apply it to your next interview.
Resources and Additional Information:
Learn how case interviews are conducted. Recommended books include:
• Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng (Victor Cheng offers his book and all online resources to veterans for free. See www.caseinterview.com for more details.)
• Case in Point by Marc Cosentino.
After reading Cheng and Cosentino’s books, use Cheng’s LOMS (Look Over My Shoulder). LOMS is a preparation program consisting of audio files of mock interviews.
Quantitative/Math Preparation is crucial. Math mistakes can derail an interview so make sure to always “write out” your answer to longer math problems. If you have written out your work during an interview and make a mistake, the interviewer will often help you or correct the mistake without failing you on the interview. Do NOT do all your math in silence and then throw out an answer. Always connect your final math answer to the larger “so what” of the particular business scenario. Resources include:
• Smartphone applications such as “Math Mental Cards”
• “Case method” math on Marc Cosentino’s website (see COMMIT for login information)
• Purchase GRE Quantitative Preparation Books or utilize free resources such as: https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_math_review.pdf
• Khan Academy for simplified instructions on math topics: www.khanacademy.org
Conduct mock case interviews, with a goal of executing 10 mock interviews. These interviews can be done over the phone or in person. Always practice case interviews with someone in the industry. Networking is key to finding enough people to conduct mock interviews. Locate veterans to conduct mock case interviews. You will need a solid pool of people willing to conduct mock case interviews.
• Always ask veterans if they would be willing to conduct a mock case interview.
• Make sure you understand the flow of an interview and have rudimentary knowledge before starting. Don’t waste their time.
• After practicing case interviews, contact expert case interviewer Marc Cosentino. COMMIT will finance mock case interviews with Marc or his coworkers but you’ll need to have a solid foundation for the sessions to be beneficial. His mock cases are difficult but will provide the finishing touches for your preparation.
Network within the industry. Networking should help you determine if Management Consulting is the right job for you. Conduct a self-assessment. Is this the right job? Does this fit into your five year plan? Are you comfortable transitioning from being a leader to an individual performer? Use the following methods:
• Reach out to fellow veterans in the field. Ask them to share their own transition story.
• COMMIT can provide contacts of veterans in the consulting industry.
• Cold-calling/messaging” on Linkedin has a high success rate. Fellow veterans want to help you transition.
Lastly, use your contacts to secure an interview at a target firm. Evaluate whether COMMIT has contacts/resources at your target firm. Evaluate whether your new veteran contacts (through Linkedin, etc.) will advocate on your behalf with the target firm’s recruiting team. It is best not to contact the firm’s recruiting team directly or apply for a position on a firm’s website (unless directed). Professional contacts will give you a better chance of standing out amidst the “noise.” Leverage COMMIT’s existing relationships with recruiting personnel.
For the content of this article, COMMIT interviewed a small group of its transitioning veterans that recently prepared for interviews and secured jobs at tier one management consulting firms.Download PDF
The COMMIT Foundation was honored to be a part of the 2016 Veterans on Wall Street Program. Executive Director Anne Meree Craig participated in a panel where she shared perspectives on the Veteran value proposition. The 2016 VOWS Symposium convened leading thinkers and stakeholders to discuss and explore continuing issues related to veterans transitioning into the civilian workforce. Veteran employment and retention, veterans’ contributions to the community, unique value to the community, and how our nation should maximize that value, were focal areas of the 2016 Symposium. More information about VOWS can be found here
Executive Director of the COMMIT Foundation, Anne Meree Craig, was proud to deliver the keynote speech at Senator Tester's Small Business Opportunity Workshop, an event to help Veterans and Business better connect across the state of Montana. The event took place on October 27th in Great Falls. More information about the event can be found here
COMMIT was honored to partner with FirstWave to hold a mentoring workshop for transitioning service members and veterans at the Capital Factory in Austin, TX. The workshop was a unique opportunity for select veterans to meet with mentors to establish clear career goals and strategies for a successful transition. COMMIT believes in the power of mentorship and knows that just one story from an inspirational leader can be life changing. Thank you to all of the service academy graduates that served as mentors for this program.
With COMMIT’s focus on filling gaps in information, confidence and imagination, we were excited to partner with Training the Street and Deutsche Bank to provide select military veterans the opportunity to participate in a unique mentoring and education workshop. Participating veterans completed preparatory courses, participated in a weeklong educational course, and met with mentors from across the financial sector to discuss careers, goals, and strategies for a successful transition. We were thankful for our sponsors with the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, The Navy SEAL Foundation, Guggenheim Partners, and The Cowen Group for enabling this amazing opportunity.
COMMIT was honored to once again partner with the Whitefish Veteran Support Team to bring 6 couples from the Special Operations Community out for a retreat in Whitefish, MT. COMMIT works with WVST twice each year bringing its career transition services to the Montana based organization to add depth and perspective to its existing programs. COMMIT focuses on coaching and transition for these service members and makes referrals to partnering organizations where it sees the need for additional services. COMMIT’s next program with WVST will take place in January 2017.