Meet the Guy Who Passed 60 out of 61 Case Interviews (You Can Too!)

No time like the present to revisit one of our most popular admissions episodes of all time!

If you missed it the first time around, stop whatever you are doing and listen to our interview with Victor Cheng, former consultant and interviewer at McKinsey and author of Case Interview Secrets.

Click here to listen to the show!

*Theme music is courtesy of

Related Links:

• MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting, Accepted’s free guide to b-schools for management consultant wannabes. 
• Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng
• Which B-Schools Send Grads Into Consulting?

Related Shows:

• How to Become a Management Consultant
• An Inside Look at INSEAD
• The Facts about Financial Services

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Are you a future management consultant? Learn how to research & identify the best MBA programs to apply to!

How to Become a Management Consultant

IV with Michael BorickiConsulting is one of the hottest destinations for b-school graduates and is becoming increasingly popular for PhD and grad students.  If you dream of McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, then this show is for you.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Michael Boricki, Managing Partner at Firmsconsulting, for the lowdown on this very unique firm and excellent advice for consulting hopefuls.

00:02:18 – A consultant’s journey.

00:05:20 – Michael’s definition of “ethical behavior.”

00:07:06 – What makes Firmsconsulting different.

00:09:03 – The (very cool) services and application process.

00:13:53 – Case interview coaching and the secret to Firmsconsulting’s success.

00:18:39 – Free resources for the uncommitted.

00:22:20 – A strong social theme: The Emerging Fellows Program.

00:26:05 – What personal qualities make good management consultants?

00:30:25 – Advice for a recent college grad who hopes for a future at Bain or McKinsey.

00:33:22 – What a first year MBA should do (and NOT do) to prepare for a consulting job.

00:36:14 – $300,000 for a McKinsey interview: Do you need to go to HBS, Wharton or INSEAD to land a top consulting job?

00:43:03 – Counterintuitive advice for aspiring consultants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of

Related Links:

• Special Reports Library

• HBS Graduate Discusses Path to McKinsey & BCG
• Introduction to Consulting: Interview Video with Kevin
• Interview with Sanda: On Joining McKinsey, BCG et al
• Podcast about Sveta: From Siberia’s Winter Plains to an Elite University
• Firmsconsulting Documentary: On the Edge

Related Shows:

Case Interview Secrets and More with Victor Cheng
• Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
• MBAs Across America: Entrepreneurs with a Heart 
• Is a PhD a Good Idea?
• Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Click here to download your free copy of Focus on Management Consulting: Learn how to research & identify the best programs for you to apply to given your management consulting goals!

Consulting at Top MBA Programs

MBA In Sight: Focus on Management Consulting - Click here to download your copy!Entrepreneurship is the sexy post-MBA job, but the reality is that less than 5% of grads from top MBA programs start a business at graduation. Per GMAC’s just released Prospective Students Survey Report, 34% of all graduate business students seek consulting positions after they earn their degree. My suspicion is that the figure is even higher among full-time MBA candidates. True, many will work as consultants for a few years, and then down the road start their own business.

If you are in that vast mass of MBA wannabes planning/hoping for a job in consulting immediately after you earn your degree, this ranking is for you! We’ve examined US Newstop MBA programs and the number of grads who have gone into consulting from each one. (The data here is from U.S. News.)

Schools Ranked by Percentage of Grads Going into Consulting

Schools Ranked by Number of Grads Going into Consulting

The biggest surprise is how low Stanford places on these lists. I would attribute that low ranking to the relatively high percentage of MBAs going into entrepreneurship (approximately 18%, the highest of any of these programs by far.).  Yale’s placement as #1 in percentage as well as Duke Fuqua’s, CMU Tepper’s and Emory’s as respectively #2,#6 and #8 on the percentage list also indicate real strength in consulting placement, which sometimes isn’t recognized.

Similarly Wharton’s #1 placement and Chicago Booth’s #4 spot in total numbers call into question the meme that these two programs are “just” finance powerhouses.

Certainly a high ranking in either of these lists indicates that the program has the recruiting ties, placement track record, and alumni network, as well as the curriculum, to support your consulting goals.  However, these numbers don’t tell the full picture. Dig into the schools’ class profile, placement stats, curriculum, extra-curricular activities and opportunities to determine which schools to apply to.

Ultimately you want to apply to programs that will take you where you want to go and that are likely to admit you.

Click here to download your free copy of Focus on Management Consulting

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

An Inside Look at INSEAD

Listen to the full recording of our interview! INSEAD. The place where graduates speak three languages. And where 40% of graduates go into consulting.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Pejay Belland, Director of Marketing, Admissions & Financial Aid at INSEAD, for great insights into the program and tips that applicants to any MBA program should know.

00:01:42 – Singapore, Fontainebleau, and the USA in 10 months?

00:03:25 – Does the exchange program come at the expense of community?

00:05:04 – Why INSEAD likes consultants and consultants like INSEAD.

00:07:33 – Entrepreneurship at INSEAD (50% of grads start their own company at some time in their career!).

00:09:52 – Changes to the INSEAD application: Really getting to know candidates as people.

00:16:25 – The new dean and his initiatives.

00:18:51 – The video essay: in the cards.

00:20:38 – INSEAD’s admissions process and what it means for applicants.

00:24:32 – Can you demonstrate “international outlook” if you’ve never left your home country?

00:25:42 – What Pejay wishes she could tell all applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss  a single show!

*Theme music is courtesy of

Relevant Links:

•  INSEAD Admissions Video
•  INSEAD Application Essay Tips
 MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Terrific Tips
•  2014 Virtual Panel: Exploring European B-Schools

Related Shows:

•  Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet
•  Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute
•  The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
•  Case Interview Secrets and More with Victor Cheng

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

What Are My Chances? Adopted Vietnamese-American Teach for America Alum

This blog post is one in a series of MBA applicant profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?” authored by Michelle Stockman. Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, will provide selected applicants with school recommendations as well as an evaluation of their qualifications.

If you would like Michelle to evaluate your profile at no charge and as part of this series, please provide the information requested at

Profile 3: “Cecilia” Adopted Vietnamese-American Teach for America Alum

Tips for handling a low GMAT quant score.

The question will be: “Can she hang with the quants?”

-Background: 27-year-old adopted Vietnamese-American female. Learned English at the age of 5. Participated in state-level speech competitions, attended Ivy League (think Dartmouth, Cornell) as molecular biology major.

Normally I steer applicants away from discussing their pre-college years. But in your case, full steam ahead! Almost all schools will give you a chance to tell this story, whether in the regular set of essays or the optional essay. Focus on what you learned about yourself by going through the experience. How did it inform your future career choice, and the impact you desired to have on the world around you? Also, both Dartmouth and Cornell are feeder schools (not the top feeder schools, but definitely feeder schools) to top B-school programs such as Wharton, Harvard and Stanford.

-Work Experience:
 Teach for America alumna in Philadelphia. Taught for 3 years, Biology Team Lead, had 90% passing state exam, served as mentor to incoming TFA teacher. Currently working at in charter school network in New York as a recruitment coordinator. Grew applicant pool by 30% through both travel and online networking.

TFA is a great credential, as you’ve already been through a substantial vetting process and taken on a challenging, impact-driven career move. Most business schools have some sort of application waiver, deferral program, or major tuition break for TFA applicants. Some of the best packages are offered by Yale, Darden, UT McCombs and NYU. You likely haven’t been making huge money, so seriously consider schools with a good scholarship package so your debt won’t be so burdensome. I would think you’re a dynamic and persuasive speaker as a recruiter, so you’re well on you’re way to having that “executive presence.” The question will be: “Can she hang with the quants?” when it comes to the academics at top programs.

-Short-Term Goal: Work for management consulting firm (Deloitte, McKinsey, Bain) in human resources efficiency and recruitment.

Great goal in line with your past, making sense with your future. Do yourself a favor by researching now the recruitment rates for these companies from your set of schools. Talk to current students about the interview process for internships, and how best to angle yourself for this niche.

-Long-Term Goal: Start consulting firm intent on assisting for-profit companies and academic institutions to attract talent to economically struggling US cities.

Inspiring goal. As you are focused on a large geographic swath of the US in the future, think about how the “brand” of your future institution is respected, not only in the city where you anticipate taking up residence post-MBA, but also across the nation.

-GMAT: 680, 45 Q, 38 V

Your GMAT is not a W/H/S median score, which is floating right around 730. Those don’t have to be your only dream choices though, and may not be the best fit. Even so, your quant score is a bit low. You may want to think about retaking for a better shot at your stretch schools. Also show you have significant “quant-ability” through your GPA or on-the-job demands.

-GPA: Increased GPA each semester, from 2.5 freshman year to 3.8 last two semesters.

If low scores in core humanities courses, or a failed foray into classes like Sculpting 101 brought down your GPA, I wouldn’t worry too much. But if you did poorly in quant courses, you really should retake the GMAT.


- Mentoring inner city dance troupe

- Started foodie society mapping out monthly “restaurant crawl” meet-ups that now boasts +200 members with healthy online following, and average attendance of 20 per event.

Very cool extracurriculars. I expect these are your most current, and you left off those from college. What’s great is that you are still currently involved, and they show a sort of entrepreneurial leadership, and joie de vivre—you know how to work hard, and play hard.


Stretch matches: Stanford, Yale, NYU

On-par matches: Darden, Michigan, UT McCombs, Vanderbilt

Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report,

Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.