Four competencies to highlight in your application to OC&C Strategy Consultants
OC&C asks that in your cover letter to the firm you ‘highlight the major reasons why we should choose you’. You should set out your academic results, and highlight achievements, work experience and extracurricular activities. Aim for clarity and make yourself distinguishable from other applicants. While you’re doing this, bear in mind four key qualities that are mentioned throughout the firm’s recruitment literature and show you’re a good match because you possess:
A life outside of your studies
‘Clients tell us they like that our advice is clear, insightful and creative yet practical, says OC&C.’ As consulting is all about coming up with solutions, the more different life experiences and interests you have in your pocket, the greater the chances are that you can think creatively. Candidates should have a strong academic record, but OC&C also states that it looks for candidates with broad and intense extracurricular activities. It advises: 'If you’ve mentored disadvantaged students, played Badminton for Belgium or ventured to uncharted areas of Nepal, we want to know. Don’t shoehorn it all into a couple of lines on "Other Interests" at the end of your CV. It’s what makes you you, and it’s important.'
Communication skills (written and oral)
As the firm says, ‘Great strategies are only valuable if we can convince both our clients and our colleagues that they are correct: you will need to demonstrate your ability to communicate and motivate.’ Your ability to communicate should be evident in your application. It must be well written, easy to understand and proofread. In addition, you could describe a situation in which by using communication skills in this way I was able to resolve it. At interview stage you should be confident, smile and make eye contact. Shake hands and remember names (there are techniques for this), and don’t forget that a lot of communication is non-verbal – this is one of the reasons why most application processes involve face-to-face interviews at some point or other.
Consultants usually work in teams and with clients. OC&C is particularly proud of its participative culture: 'Whatever your level, you will be expected to contribute to team debates and client meetings.' Make sure that you highlight any experience of working with other people to reach a common goal. The more diverse the team members, the better. Show how by working together you managed to achieve a goal or target.
An analytical, intellectually curious mind
'CEOs hire us to answer their most difficult questions because no one else can,' says OC&C. Its recruiters need to see that you can think strategically and make rational, logical judgements based on a solid understanding of the fundamentals of a problem. Think about a time when you identified a problem, came up with a solution and implemented it. Quantifiable results are the best examples, and obviously the more complex the situation, the more impressive a successful result is. OC&C also highlights that candidates should demonstrate an understanding of business: this could be through work placements, jobs or their own ventures. 'If you have a brain for business, we'll take note,' says the firm.