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I cannot recall how many case-study examples I had to "practise" to prepare for the five-round interview process in one of the global management consulting firms I applied to a few years ago. The interviews — in person in one case, and in the one I ended up working for, all on the phone, were gruelling to say the least. Multiple issue trees, hypotheses and mind maps later, the impression I was left with was that the sieve through which all applicants were passed left only the most analytically astute and smartest. This impression has been reinforced by the length and breadth of work that some of the most recognisable management consultants have done, and the diversity of projects I would be staffed on when I worked for a development sector-focused firm. What the last few weeks have also shown, though, is that these places are not only sites of immense talent, but also hotbeds for an institutional culture that shows little reluctance to "bend the rules". Such bending isn’t rocket sci...

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