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How to Get Into the Top Consulting Firms: A Surefire Case Interview Method Paperback – March 24, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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About the Author

T. Darling is an associate at a top consulting firm.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Intaglio Publishing (March 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061518393X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615183930
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,953,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I would not recommend this book, especially compared to Cosentino's "Case in Point" book. Let me give a few reasons why:

Considering the price paid ($30) I was a little bit taken aback by the thin content when the book arrived at my house. The book is about 90 pages long, if you're generous. Content starts on page 7, and between that and the end at page 89, there are 12 blank or essentially blank pages (of which several are fill in the box pages for you to do work on the example problems -- do we really need this?), followed by 3 tables/charts for use with the problems, and a few supplemental pages and index. On first opening, I'm sorry to say it gave me the feeling of an elementary school workbook.

The page count of course, in itself, need not be a signal of whether the book is good, but the content on the remaining pages is also rather thin. In the introduction and first chapter, there are a few pages on the lifestyle of a consultant, resume format tips (which you have already gotten past if you're getting this book), networking techniques, all of which are covered better in other books, and not the primary reason for buying this one.

In the 55-60 remaining pages after taking away the above extraneous elements, the example problems are standard fare, and present some interesting, but not mindblowing ways to attack them with a framework. I don't think the single framework proposed is really *that* amazing, the way people have commented here.

Most of all, what struck me when comparing with the Cosentino book, is that in the example problems, aside from the 3 with supplemental charts (which is also odd -- why do relevant charts have to appear at the back, separate from the problems?
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Format: Paperback
Coming from math school, business cases were a bit intimidating and
unfamiliar to me. Nevertheless, I wanted to get into management consulting. Darling's book really helped me understanding the whole process of case interviews better. However, practising case interviews online at Preplounge.com was just as important in my preparation. Well, something must have worked because I landed a job offer from Bain and Company. I can really speak for those coming from a math or any other background than business school: read the book, understand the process, but also practise real cases like you can on Preplounge.
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Format: Paperback
The obvious comparison to this book is Marc Cosentino's Case In Point, which has been a best-seller in case interview preparation for many years. So perhaps the most obvious place to start a review is to say how this book differs from that.

The focus of Darling's book is on problem solving and how to get your hands dirty with a problem for 15 minutes, then to come up again for air and communicate a coherent, polished recommendation based on it. The problem-solving tips he suggest are simplified - but still surprisingly effective - variations of the problem-solving techniques used by strategic management consultants. Key topics include defining the problem/objective, building a MECE tree to disaggregate the key drivers of the problem, and understanding how to analyze that tree to solve the problem.

Most interesting to me (as someone with an MBA and 2 previous years' experience in a strategic consulting firm) was his explanation of how to use the various industry standard frameworks (such as the 3 C's, Porter's 5 Forces, the Value Chain, the 4 P's ...). In my previous experience, as with Cosentino's book, these frameworks were just thrown into a general toolkit with little guidance offered on how to use them. Do you know how and when to use the 3 C's or 5 Forces while solving a generic business problem? Darling offers his thoughts and they are very lucid and insightful. I don't know that they are the "right" or only answers, but his vision is well worth reading and considering for anyone in business - not just consultants, and certainly not just consultant firm candidates.

This brings me to the contrast with Cosentino's book. Cosentino offers more tools for your toolkit; Darling offers fewer tools with more detailed explanations.
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Format: Paperback
There is only 1 question that really matters: will reading this book increase your chances of getting a job at a consulting firm? My vote is "yes" --- or at least, "probably". Having said that, this book is a tough read if you're brand new to business and case interviews. Case In Point is better on that level -- you can read it like a novel almost with no previous knowledge or context and really start to see how things work. This book is the next obvious step. Once you have some sense of what you're doing and you want to build the logic/knowledge base to go from "good to great", read this one. If you're brand new to all of the terms and concepts, it can be a bit overwhelming. It's very focused and content-deep (despite being just 130 pages). For example, the section on how to value mergers and acquisitions is a good overview of the financial literature that's already out there, but synthesized for the level and style of the case interview. It's also well-woven into an overall approach for other case types that makes a complete story as opposed to the independent, isolated frameworks other books provide.
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