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Management Consultancy Assessment

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Deza | 18:26 Fri 29th Aug 2008 | Career Advice
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I have been invited for a full day of Selection Assessment (9 am to 5 pm) for a prospective position with a management consultancy in London.

I have been told that the day will include - a maths test, spelling test, group exercises, case studies, interviews and presentations.

I am so keen not to mess this chance up, has anyone any advice please? Are there any online sites where I can practise? People I could to talk to? etc

Many thanks

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This is essentially an Assessment Centre, Deza.
If you type the word into Google you may find some helpful ideas from some of the better recruitment organisations that explains the principles.
The verbal and numeric tests will almost certainly be a test of your reasoning ability. You can't really practice for these - they are a powerful indicator of innate intelligence - though not foolproof because some people just can't do tests.
The Group Exercise will involve you and other recruits given some sort of task to deliver against time pressure. You will be watched around the outside by observers and possibly the group will be asked questions about how they felt it went afterwards. These type of exercise is designed to help the recruiter determine your likely behaviour in when working in teams. Try and avoid either overdominating the exercise, or contributing little. If you have ever seen The Apprentice programme, think carefully about how those poor chaps get thrown together in the early programmes when they don't know one another. Success in completing the TASK is not relevant - never forget that - what the observers are looking for is the PROCESS by which the team works. While you are engaging yourself - try and think about what is going on in the background - who is leading, who is dominating, who is doing nothing to contribute and try and get your points (words) and actions across in a persuasive way. It is probably best to try and avoid being the task leader - too risky - as you will have seen on The Apprentice.
If you know something about Belbin Team Roles, look at it again this weekend. Or search on it. Also try searching on 'group dynamics'.
Being an MC involves presenting to clients - so they will almost certainly set you or individual (or group) task to solve and present back. I trust you've done this before and know the 'rules' for wowing the audience.
The interviews will very likely occur later in the day - they will include topics that one normally expects at interview - plus some one-to-one questions about how you thought the group exercises went - your role - who led, how effective they were.
Expect something like an In-Box exercise. An individual exercise where they are thrown lots of data (sheets of paper with written instructions, often) and you need to analysis it, extract the relevant materials and produce a written output. This is designed to find out if you can work fast and sort the strategic from the more trivial.
Above all, try and enjoy it. I wish you well and it is a powerful experience to help you know yourself better. if you are unlucky and unsuccessful do ask for personal feedback.
Well, did you ever look back at this, Deza?
One does sometimes wonder, you know.
Did it help?
Question Author
This was my only my second AB question and didn't know about AB etiquette. I didn't know whether to write back to say 'thank you' or if that would annoy AB members by 'filling up' the site!

Dear Buildersmate

Your comments were exceptionally helpful, especially the tips on the group session as I do tend to be rather task focused. I intend to follow your advice on the day. I have also looked up Assessment Centres and Belbin.

Thank you for your support and I will let you know how I get on (the day is near the end of September).
No worries.
It's just if you don't write a comment, it's impossible to know if the author ever came back to look for an answer.
Good luck.
Agree with almost all of what buildersmate says as usual, although you CAN practice the psychometric tests and research shows something like up to 3 practices ups your score (after that it doesnt affect the result). So do some online free IQ tests to warm up and get the gist.

If youre going to one of the Big 5 they will be looking for analytical ability as this is the entry level work. This isnt just being able to work a spreadsheet, its about how you approach the problem. The McKinsey site used to have a worked example where you were asked something like how many people in China had a car. The 'correct' approach lists your assumptions and knowledge and how you would estimate the answer - NOT hazarding a guess! Like buildersmate says, its about the process not the number itself.

If you dont get it its not the end of tehe world - they are very particular about the type of people they employ and it is very demanding. But having said that its excellent training and youd learn alot and make an excellent network. Good luck!
Question Author
Thank you for your posting, Maypole. It isn't with one of the larger companies but they are in the Top 100! Your comment about entry level needing analytical skills is relevant as my last job didn't.

I am not worried about the spelling test but as it is years since I did maths I have bought the Daily Mail 30 Second Challenge books for brain training. (I didn't see anything relevant in the local library). I have also bookmarked the SHL site and Kent University (that has a numerical test on it).

If you have any other ideas I would be grateful. Many thanks.
Question Author
Buildersmate and Maypole - are you there?

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