While offering some solid foundations LOMS has a few shortcomings everybody should be aware of. Hearing another candidate can be a useful way to consolidate one's knowledge and skills, however, the important factor is to actually have the required knowledge and skills to begin with.
LOMS is rather useless for this core aspect of preparation; hearing another candidates' attempt to solve cases is not a particularly effective way to learn how to solve the case to.
Imagine trying to learn a new language from scratch by only listening to radio shows from a country where the language is spoken -- one wouldn't get very far. A structured approach to, at the very least, the basics of grammar and core vocabulary is necessary for success. Once those fundamentals are understood, the radio might be useful to refine them -- but not before.
The same holds true for LOMS. A person already fluent in the relevant theory and fairly proficient at solving cases might find it useful to listen to Cheng's audio recordings of interviews. However, for most candidates, quite a bit of work is required to get to that stage, and in all honesty, the extra value LOMS could add at that level of proficiency is dubious at best.
How to Prepare Then?
After discussing the pitfalls and shortcomings of LOMS, an effective plan of preparation is the utmost priority. Planning is the most important aspect of preparation. Too many candidates dive into their preparation without so much as a basic structure and suffer in the end from patchy knowledge and blind spots.
How much and what kind of preparation is necessary will depend a good deal on a candidate's specific background. Taken from another blog post, the following outline is a good general starting point for most candidates. My Consulting Coach offers many of the resources for free and fairly prices its premium content.
1. Learn the Theory
Both Cosentino's Case in Point / Ivy System and Victor Cheng's LOMS skip over the actual theory by focusing on easy cases which are addressable by prepackaged frameworks. We think this is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, we believe candidates need to learn how to "think like a consultant" and understand business fundamentals. Our case interview course has been developed by MBB consultants with clear goals in mind - To teach you how to think, act and communicate like a world-class strategy consultant. By going through it you'll become equipped not only to ace the interview process, but also to be a top performer at your firm. Our course supports you in:
i) Understanding business fundamentals: Get your mini-MBA with our Marketing, Strategy and Economics, Accounting & Finance modules
ii) Learning how to crack a case: Identify the problem, Build a problem driven structure, Lead the analysis and how to provide recommendations.
iii) Shaping your approach with our building blocks: Master profitability analysis, competitive dynamics, pricing discussions, among others.
2. Solo Practice
The best use of solitary practice is reviewing mental mathematics. This important skill is neglected by many applicants much to their misfortune in case interviews. My Consulting Coach has various articles to help strengthen mental math.
Once the mathematics skills are fully sharpened, start working through the cases in My Consulting Coach's case bank. Start on easier cases to build confidence, working through them without regard for the time. Then, as performance increases, move on to more difficult cases and begin keeping time, trying to consistently get through them more quickly.
3. Practice With Case Partners
Practicing with good cases partners is arguably the single most important aspect of preparation. Some online services offer help, but often suffer poor design and are invariably expensive.
My Consulting Coach offers and intuitive, user-friendly and most importantly free meeting board for prospective consulting applicants from across the globe to get in contact with one another to practice cases. Candidates are listed along with their background and case experience, and the board has simple tools for both direct invitations and scheduling opening meetings. My Consulting Coach also provides over 30 interactive cases to work through with partners, all free of charge.
4. Expert Help
This optional final step is the most effective way to prepare for a consulting interview. Preparing for an interview with someone who has actually worked as a consultant at a top firm for a number of years will always be the most effective path. Nobody else will be able to spot foibles and weaknesses, nor offer the best solution, than a professional.
Of course, one will never be able to do so for free. However, it is worth considering the difference in pay over even a few years between a second-rate and a top tier firm. In light of the thousands of dollars of potential revenue, getting expert help is one of the best investments for a successful future.
Should this final step appeal to a candidate, My Consulting Coach provides a premium service to match students with coaches, each having years of experience as working consultants at top firms.
Remember the Fit Interview!
Most candidates spend the whole of their time preparing for case interviews only and forget the fit interview. This is major problem as both components of the selection process are weighed equally by recruiters and a spectacular performance in one will not make up for a lackluster performance in the other. The bottom line is that consultancy firms will not employ someone who they doubt is a good for for their company, regardless of how many cases they can solve.
Whilst a few resources from business schools can help somewhat, there is almost no material out there covering the specific demands of the fit interview. With this in mind, My Consulting Coach developed and offers the very first course to prepare for this critical aspect of selection. The following video explains further:
Our case interview method
Our case interview course has been developed by MBB consultants with clear goals in mind - To teach you how to think, act and communicate like a world-class strategy consultant. By going through it you'll become equipped not only to ace the interview process, but also to be a top performer at your firm.
Other methods focus on helping you memorize dozens of frameworks and pre-packed structures. We take a different approach. We believe that distinctive candidates and distinctive consultants don't rely on crutches and that they use their own minds to solve the toughest problems. We're here to help them master the concepts and processes they need to be able to shine. We can support you in:
1) Understanding business fundamentals: Get your mini-MBA with our Marketing, Strategy and Economics, Accounting & Finance modules
2) Learning how to crack a case: Identify the problem, Build a problem driven structure, Lead the analysis and how to provide recommendations.
3) Shaping your approach with our building blocks: Master profitability analysis, competitive dynamics, pricing discussions, among others.