I’m going to take a break from reporting on our vacation to write about yesterday’s happenings and put them in context. Jenny, Elena and I spent the whole afternoon and a good portion of the evening shopping for a new suit. We first looked at a Brooks Brothers factory store in the nearby outlet mall, and found some decent options. After that, just for fun we went to the Zegna outlet, where even after the half-off discount, suits still cost easily more than a thousand dollars.
After a brief rest and food break at home, Elena seemed to be happy and ready for more, so we decided to head out to the old standby, JoS. A. Bank. When we entered, we were the only customers in the store, and the salesmen attended to us immediately. They were friendly and helpful, and explained to us the numerous sales and special offers. I thought I wanted a plain charcoal suit, but after showing me a few of those, the salesman pointed me to perhaps the best deal in the store.
Due to its pinstripe pattern, it didn’t quite fit my requirement for an extremely conservative suit. However, it came from their premium line of suits; before I had been looking at the basic level. Price wise, this suit was on clearance so it would cost the same as the sale price on one of the basic suits. After looking around the store a little longer and thinking about the suit, we decided to go for it.
You might ask why I need a new suit. For one thing, the suits I currently wear are getting a little bit long in the tooth. I think they still look nice enough, but Jenny suggested that I needed a new one some time ago and I had to agree with her. And now I have even more of a reason to need one. This summer, an email came across the wire from the career services department of my school. It said that McKinsey, a prestigious consulting firm, wanted more applications from advanced degree candidates. At first the application was just for a weekend-long “Introduction to Consulting program” for those graduating in the next two years, so I applied. Although they didn’t invite me to the weekend event, a few months later they invited me to interview for a regular position within the company.
The first round of the process took place while we were on vacation. I left Jenny and Elena in Washington and headed to Atlanta, where the company put me up in a pretty nice hotel the night before the interview. In the morning, along with about a dozen other people I took an hour-long written exam, called the McKinsey Problem Solving Test, that served as the main evaluation tool for the round. It was followed by a pair of group interviews that were designed to help us prepare for the next round, if we happened to make it.
The next day, back in Washington, I learned that I did make it through to the next round, which I attended this past week, just before classes started at school. In this round I had three ‘case interviews,’ like the group interviews before, but one-on-one. A case interview puts the interviewee in the position of a consultant. They present a business case (usually based on a real engagement), and ask for analysis and recommendations. After three hours of interviewing, I was pretty tired.
Two days later, I got a morning call from one of my interviewers. He shared the good news that they were inviting back for a final round, this time specifically for the Washington, D.C. office. That interview will be on September 18th, hence our day of suit shopping. I’m not sure that I’ll wear the suit that I bought to the interview; I might go with the navy suit I currently have, but it will be good to have a second option to consider. Now I can turn my attention to preparation and practice for the interview.