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:
1. 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 'consistently add creative, insightful ideas' during discussions with colleagues and clients. Candidates should have a strong academic record, but OC&C also states that it looks for candidates with broad and intense extracurricular activities.
2. Communication skills (written and oral)
OC&C says it aims to 'deliver clear thinking and unique strategic insights' to its clients. 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.
3. Teamworking skills
Consultants usually work in teams and with clients. OC&C is particularly proud of its collegial and collaborative culture: 'As a new associate consultant, you will be particularly relied upon within the team to organise data effectively and add insight from primary and secondary research.' 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.
4. An analytical, intellectually curious mind
'We work for senior executives, providing solutions to some of the most exciting strategic problems in consulting today,' 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. 'From day one you’ll be dealing with problems that need to be broken down into their component parts and analysed strategically from the bottom up,' the firm says. 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.