Application tips

Before you apply, take some time to learn about OC&C: visit the website, read some of our publications and attend a recruitment session. Think about our business proposition and what we do.

Build a strong application consisting of a well written CV and cover letter. Candidates should set out their academic results, highlighting outstanding achievements, as well as relevant work experience and extra curricula activities. Above all, aim for clarity and make it easy for us to distinguish you from other applicants.

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The Role For You

There are four main entry levels to a career at OC&C:

Graduates

The best Bachelor and Master’s graduates from leading universities and colleges generally join us as Associate Consultants.

PhD

PhDs and post-docs will join as Associate Consultants, alongside undergraduate applicants, as in our experience a robust grounding in the fundamentals of business, and of consulting, is key to your long-term success. Progress within the firm is entirely on merit, and the benefits of a PhD typically allow you to progress more quickly. Our fastest ever promote to Partner - after just 8 years - was a new joiner with a PhD.

MBA

Top MBAs from top schools as a rule join at Consultant level. You will take responsibility for a significant portion of the project as well as being given sufficient support to make a successful transition into consultancy.

Experienced hires

Recruits with appropriate high performing track records from the world of business join us at Associate Consultant, Consultant or Manager level, or, given consulting experience, as Associate Partners or even full Partners.

OC&C also offers internship placements to outstanding and action-driven candidates each summer. Undergraduates, graduates and MBA students are all welcome. You will join the team full-time, conducting analysis, serving clients on projects and gaining firsthand experience in consulting.

What we look for

At OC&C we look for academic brilliance and a proven track record, so strong grades from a top institution are essential. We are not fussy about what you have studied, our consultants join from a variety of disciplines. Rather, we want you to demonstrate an intellectual liveliness, a desire to talk about new ideas and the capability to bounce them back and forth. Furthermore, we look for a natural curiosity: our consultants are intrigued by new ideas and actively seek innovative solutions to complex problems.

Areas of Focus:

  1. Consulting is a team exercise. No single person can solve the multifaceted problems that we come across on a daily basis. So our consultants have to be team players, able to get the best out of the people around them as well as themselves.
  2. Problem solving and an analytical mind are essential. 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.
  3. Communicating ideas clearly and concisely is a core consulting skill. Whether you are a new Associate Consultant contributing during a team meeting or an experienced Manager discussing with clients, you need to be able to explain yourself with clarity.
  4. Creativity and innovation are highly valued at OC&C, particularly as your career progresses. Being able to remove yourself from the parameters of the question and tackle the problem from a unique perspective distinguishes you from other consultants and thereby OC&C solutions from our competitors’.
Case Studies
We use case studies to assess your problem-solving and structuring skills. We do not expect candidates to actually solve the cases in interviews. The interview is more about gauging how candidates approach problems, and the thought processes they use to devise steps to solve it. 

Many people have never encountered a case interview before, but they all follow a general pattern. The cases can be on any topic, from the size of the diaper market in the Netherlands to how many tennis balls would fit in Wembley Stadium to a business strategy topic, involving company financial data and graphs. But they will all have the same fundamental aims - to test your ability to think logically and analytically under pressure, your commercial awareness and your ability to focus on, and prioritise, the key issues.

FAQs

Work Experience / Internships

Do you offer work experience?
We offer a summer internship scheme for students who are in the penultimate year of their first degree. Our internship vacancy opens on our website around mid November and closes at the end of January. Unfortunately, we don’t offer work experience (including MBA internships) outside of this 8 week summer scheme.

I would like to apply for the internship but I am not in penultimate year of study, can I still apply?
Our undergraduate summer internship scheme is open only to those students in the penultimate year of their first degree. Our aim is to provide candidates with a firsthand insight into the consulting world. At the end of which we would typically make full time Associate Consultant offers to those who have performed well. These candidates would then become ambassadors for OC&C using their university knowledge in supporting our recruitment activities and events on campus. Unfortunately, this also excludes anyone that is in the final year of their first degree but going on to do a Masters.

Recruitment Policy

At what level do you recruit PhDs?
We actively recruit graduates who have undertaken further study, and in an average year 10-20% of our London intake have PhDs. The problem solving skills developed during a PhD can be very valuable, especially once you learn to deploy them in the intense, fast-paced, team-based environment of strategy consulting.

PhDs and post-docs will join as Associate Consultants, alongside undergraduate applicants, as in our experience a robust grounding in the fundamentals of business, and of consulting, is key to your long-term success. Progress within the firm is entirely on merit, and the benefits of a PhD typically allow you to progress more quickly. Our fastest ever promote to Partner - after just 8 years - was a new joiner with a PhD.

We operate several start dates through the year (typically January, March and September) meaning your start with us can be at a time that suits the end of your studies (and your appetite for a well-earned break!). Please apply the October before you plan to submit your thesis. In your application, bring out the ways in which your research has prepared you for a consulting career – e.g. the opportunities you have had for presenting your ideas – and remember to include extra-curricular activities too.

At what level do you recruit MBAs?
We recruit people at all stages of their careers; the starting level is determined on an individual basis by the experience and skills you have to offer.

MBAs enter at Consultant level as they typically already have the appropriate work experience and tool kit that recent university graduates need to develop.

Can I take a year out before I start?
Our key objective is to recruit the best people, and we are certainly flexible here. Many people in the firm have taken a year out before joining, for example, to travel, work in a ski resort, help out at a charity, or learn a foreign language.

We typically offer September and March intakes; therefore the possibility exists to take off a few months as well as a whole year.

Applications - All

How can I find out if you are recruiting at my level?
All our vacancies are listed on our website. If you are unable to find a suitable vacancy, this unfortunately means we are currently not recruiting at your level. We can only accept applications submitted through our online form and are unable to accept application direct via email.

When does your Associate Consultant entry level vacancy open?
Our Associate Consultant entry level vacancy opens on our website mid September. The deadline for applications is around mid November. We can only accept applications submitted through our online form. If you would like to apply to OC&C outside of this period, please visit our website and check the list of current vacancies to find out if we have requirements at this level. All vacancies will be listed on our website.

How do I know if my application was submitted successfully? When should I expect to hear a response?
All applications must be submitted via our website. You can expect to receive a confirmation email within 48 hours of submitting your application.

When do you start to review applications?
Applications made to our Associate Consultant (Entry Level) and Undergraduate Internship vacancy will be reviewed after the closing date of the vacancy. You can expect to receive feedback within 3 weeks of the closing date.

Applications made to experienced hire vacancies will be reviewed on a rolling basis. You can expect to receive feedback within 1 week of submitting your application.

Can I submit my application to more than one office?
If you have more than one office of interest please make the application to your preferred office only. You are only able to apply to one office at a time. If your application has not been successful with your preferred office, please feel free to make an application to any of the other offices that are of interest (one at a time).

What criteria do you use to judge CVs and in considering applications?

There are three criteria against which we judge CVs

  1. Intellectual Horsepower: We need the brightest people to tackle the most difficult questions, so applicants need to demonstrate consistent academic excellence.
  2. A life outside of your studies: Strategy consulting is demanding, so we need people who are up for a challenge, and have a track record of taking on responsibility outside of their academic life.
  3. A Brain for Business: We look for people who can demonstrate they can understand business, whether through work placements, their own ventures, or otherwise.

Successful candidates must also have a perfect command of English. Fluency in a second European language is an advantage but not essential. We also look favourably on previous relevant work experience and the quality of your CV / covering letter.

For experienced hires or MBAs we give weight to the skills you have developed throughout your career and your achievements at work.

Go to Application Tips > What we look for for more information

How do you assess the interview?
In the interview we assess your problem solving, communication and professional skills. We look for qualities including intellectual curiosity, commercial awareness, logical reasoning, creativity, analytical and numerical ability, personality, drive, and leadership. We also assess (as indeed will you) whether you and OC&C are suited to working together.

What can I expect from the interview process?

Milkround applicants who have been successful in the CV screening stage will be invited to complete an online numerical and verbal reasoning test. Successful applicants will then be invited to first round interviews, which will include two case study based interviews. Applicants invited to second round interviews can expect two more case study based interviews.

Go to Application Tips > Case Studies for more information and example case studies.

We understand that just as much as we want to find out more about you and how you would fit in at OC&C, you will want to find out more about us. Throughout our interview process you will have the opportunity to get to know us better and ask questions. We’re also more than happy to answer any question you might have after the formal process has been completed.

The “experienced hire” interview process is structured according to the level of experience of the applicant. Candidates can expect the process to focus on case studies interviews.

I wasn’t successful in my application, when can I reapply?
Unfortunately we are unable to consider applications made within a year of previous applications.

International Applications

I have been invited to interview with OC&C London, but I live outside the UK, can I interview with your local office rather than travelling to London?
All our vacancies are open to international candidates. If you are applying from outside the UK, please do bear in mind that whilst we do make use of our global network of offices to assist us in the recruitment process, you must also be prepared to attend interviews in the London office. This is an essential part of the recruitment process so that you can meet with your potential colleagues.

With regard to Work Permits and Visas for international candidates, please see below.

I am an international student, do OC&C assist with Work Permits / Visas?
We welcome applications from international students who are eligible to work in the UK.

Due to the lengthy work permit application process, we are unable to provide work permits or visas for international students applying for our internship schemes.

Work at OC&C

What is the typical career path at OC&C?
Associate Consultants typically spend three years at that level (less if they have some previous experience or progress exceptionally rapidly) before promotion to Consultant. Some people then elect to go to business school under sponsorship, or are seconded to a client firm or an OC&C office elsewhere in the world for 6 months to a year. There is also the option to take a sabbatical. It is possible to be promoted directly and to choose not to take any time out, which distinguishes us from many of our competitors. The pathway to Partner is typically 9 or 10 years.

What is the typical project duration / composition?
All our work is at Board level. We usually work for FTSE250 companies or their international equivalents, major private equity houses and occasionally for smaller organisations if the situations are particularly interesting. We work on three general types of project: Strategy Development, Transaction Support (M&A and Private Equity) and Strategy Realisation (“Make it Happen”) programmes. Consequently there is a lot of variation in team size and duration. The majority of our projects are 4-12 weeks with team size anything from 2 to 15 people although typically c.5 people.

We offer a unique perspective to our clients. We don't deliver the same solution to everyone in a given industry, but develop new insights. We draw on our experiences within certain sectors and focus ourselves so that we can be certain that we are the best available advisors within our chosen fields. In London we work across all sectors, with particular expertise in consumer and retail industries, media, telecoms, technology and business services.

What are the average working hours per week?
The nature of consulting means that the hours are not regularly 9-5, particularly towards the end of projects where deadlines have to be met. Having said that, OC&C makes best efforts to ensure that our consultants do not work excessive hours. We monitor the actual hours that are worked, and have a system to ensure that people do not often work more than 60 hours per week. We also give time off at the end of projects where they have involved excessive hours. OC&C is completely opposed to the idea of ‘face time’. The managerial attitude and policies pay-off – our average hours are currently 57 per week and we are working hard to reduce this to our target of 55 hours per week.

What benefits & holiday allowance do OC&C offer?
In addition to a top pay package we also offer a range of benefits, such as a cycle to work scheme, childcare vouchers, gym subsidy and various medical cover benefits. Other perks include fresh fruit, lots of cookies, a sandwich man and our annual away weekend. Not to forget, great views from our Central London office.

Our standard annual holiday allowance is 22 days, which increases by tenure. We also offer the option of up to an extra month of unpaid leave per year.

How many projects will I be working on at the same time?
As an Associate Consultant or new Consultant, you will only be allocated to one client at any given time. More experienced Managers and Partners are typically involved with more than one assignment at a time.

What training can I expect to receive?
We consider both classroom and on the job training as key elements in your development. When you first join you will receive a formal induction programme which is tailored to your experience and needs. Joining from university you can expect to receive training in Consulting, Strategy, Research, Financial Analysis, Economics and Graphics within your first couple of months and there are further schedules courses throughout the year.

Our commitment to training continues throughout your career and at each grade there is an established portfolio of courses designed to meet your professional development needs at that time. So as you move towards becoming a consultant, the training focus is on project management, delegation and people management. At manager level the focus shifts towards client facilitation and creativity workshops.

Many of these courses are run internationally and are held as part of our International Training Week. The event has been held in places such as Barcelona, Boston and Budapest. ITW provides a great opportunity to meet colleagues, at all levels, from all of our offices. It's not just all training though as there are plenty of opportunities to socialise as well.

Another crucial element in an ACs development is on-the-job training. The best way to learn is by doing. You are encouraged to push yourself just beyond the point where you feel comfortable with what you are doing, as that is where you develop fastest - safe in the knowledge that you are fully supported by your job manager should you need to turn to him / her for direction or support.

Do you travel a lot?
Travel varies entirely from project to project and so everyone's experience is different. Nonetheless, it is usual to spend time away from home in the UK or abroad on some, but not every project.

Sometimes we base our work at the client, which can mean 3-4 days per week at the client site, but we do make sure that everyone where possible is back on Fridays.

On average, the majority of your time is spent in the office with c.25% of your time on client site in the UK or abroad

Do you do pro bono work?
Although we also collect money for charity in the traditional way, we believe that the benefit that our skills can bring to the management of charities creates more value than if we simply write a cheque.

We conduct regular pro-bono work. Historically, we have worked for WWF, Multiple Sclerosis and CancerUK. Our current pro-bono commitment is to Impetus who are investors in a variety of smaller charitable concerns. See www.impetus.org.uk. We conduct three projects a year for Impetus. One of our consultants now sits on the Board of the charity that he assisted.

Life at OC&C

What is your policy on MBA sponsorship?
All consulting staff are eligible for consideration, and decisions on sponsorship for an MBA are made through the appraisal process. Sponsorship is not guaranteed, but would be offered to Consultants attending top tier business schools and who have showed commitment to OC&C and a good level of performance.

What is your policy on transfer to other OC&C offices?
If you wish to work in another OC&C office there are three broad options:

Taking part in our international ambassadorship programme. Ambassadorships allow people to experience living and working abroad, based in an international OC&C office and usually for a period of six months. These are awarded to our top performers.

Working on OC&C projects based in a different office. These allow people to experience working abroad and build their network but without committing to a longer period away from home.

To seek a permanent transfer to another office.

What else will I do beyond project commitments?
At OC&C our employees become involved in actively managing and growing our firm. All consultants have the opportunity to get involved in teams that deal with company-wide issues from recruitment and training through to the “Ministry of Fun”, which organises parties and other social activities. We also have a number of office sports teams and events which are sponsored by the firm. These include netball, softball, football and touch-rugby teams.

I work for a recruitment agency and would like to work with OC&C?
If you feel your services would add value to OC&C, please feel free to email us with an overview of your organisation and services, a list of relevant completed assignments and your T&C’s to recruitment@occstrategy.com

Still have more questions?
For questions regarding graduate recruitment email: graduate.recruitment@occstrategy.com
For questions regarding experienced hire and MBA recruitment email: consultant.recruitment@occstrategy.com

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