Of all the business school careers, management consulting has probably the hardest interview. Preparation is the key to this interview. And there is a certain level of pride when the number of cases you have done to prepare tops that of everyone around you. Yet, there is a fine line between not preparing enough and preparing too much. Those who prepare too much will be burned out, tired and mechanical when doing cases when it really counts.

Below is a timeline to consider when starting your preparation. Feel free to follow it as you wish. Note that it assumes your interviews are in early February; adjust as appropriate.

Date Activity Preparation
Summer prior to first year
Enjoy yourself, with a little bit of preparation
Try to read a business magazine that writes articles like cases.  I recommend Forbes Magazine.
First semester/quarter of business school
Survive!  Attend presentations, work on resume, learn in classes.
Do your due diligence.  Make sure you really want to focus on consulting.  Read MBA Career Overview guides.  Talk to second-years, fellow first-years and employees of consulting firms.
Late November
Learn how to do cases and stumble through a few. Finishing reading the Vault Guide to the Case Interview and Case in Point, find a group of first-years to practice with and begin practicing cases.
Winter Break Take a break and then get to work.
Relax for a week or two, work on online applications for consulting firms, as well as cover letters. Work on your "Why do you want to do management consulting" and "Walk me through your resume" stories. Do cases if you are with a group, but no more than a few a week.
January (first 27 days) Practice, practice, practice Do cases nearly every day with first years and willing second years. Give cases as often as you can. Dedicate certain practice times entirely to fit questions. Your goal: reach a point where you are comfortable interacting with your interviewers, solving any case, answering any question about yourself, and are just starting to get tired of practicing.
January (last 4 days) No practice Do not think about interviews. Relax. Clean your mind. Eat a sandwich. Meditate.
February 1 Interview You are ready. Get the job.

Copyright 2005-2014 MBA Consulting Track. All text is presented 'as-is', with no warranty as to its accuracy. Advice given by users, under 'Expert Advice', express the opinions of the individual user and not of MBA Consulting Track.