starburst92
Badges: 2
#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#1
Hi guys,

I'm applying for consulting positions, mostly at firms like the big 4, IBM, PA consulting etc.

My weakest point, I would say is commercial awareness. I would like to go about learning more but I have no idea where to start! I have an assessment centre with IBM coming up and have no clue what they could ask me regarding commercial awareness.

For a complete newbie to all of this, where would you guys suggest I start?

Any help would be much appreciated. Also I did a sciences degree so have no background knowledge of business/economics!
0
reply
starburst92
Badges: 2
#2
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#2
Anyone?
0
reply
gr8wizard10
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#3
Report 5 years ago
#3
Sign up to FT and read through the biggest deals / whats happening in the econ. Or find companies those firms deal with and look into recent news/deals etc.. just build your overall knowledge of the market. I trade equities (with virtual funds) therefore I use analysis as a tool to keep me up to date with the ongoings of the markets/companies/economy whilst also having fun at the same time.
0
reply
DeeDub
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#4
Report 5 years ago
#4
Tax inversions might be an interesting thing to discuss in an interview.
0
reply
starburst92
Badges: 2
#5
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#5
(Original post by Anonynous)
Sign up to FT and read through the biggest deals / whats happening in the econ. Or find companies those firms deal with and look into recent news/deals etc.. just build your overall knowledge of the market. I trade equities (with virtual funds) therefore I use analysis as a tool to keep me up to date with the ongoings of the markets/companies/economy whilst also having fun at the same time.
Thanks. I'm applying for consulting so how in depth would I need to know about things like financial markets, shares/bonds etc?

(Original post by DeeDub)
Tax inversions might be an interesting thing to discuss in an interview.
What does this have to do with consulting though?
0
reply
starburst92
Badges: 2
#6
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#6
Also generally, are there any technical terms that I should definitely know for interviews?
0
reply
gr8wizard10
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#7
Report 5 years ago
#7
(Original post by starburst92)
Thanks. I'm applying for consulting so how in depth would I need to know about things like financial markets, shares/bonds etc?
the broader your knowledge the better. you need to understand business, how economy works, what firms are doing, what is succesful, what's going wrong etc.. and the financial markets is a great foundation of gaining a comprehensive overview of current trends. use all the sources at your disposable. you wouldn't need to know the technicalities, but if ur interviewer asked you what you thought about tesco's future prospects and how you would go about advising, without you knowing wth has happened to tesco in the past year or so.. it wouldn't look good.
0
reply
starburst92
Badges: 2
#8
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#8
(Original post by Anonynous)
the broader your knowledge the better. you need to understand business, how economy works, what firms are doing, what is succesful, what's going wrong etc.. and the financial markets is a great foundation of gaining a comprehensive overview of current trends. use all the sources at your disposable. you wouldn't need to know the technicalities, but if ur interviewer asked you what you thought about tesco's future prospects and how you would go about advising, without you knowing wth has happened to tesco in the past year or so.. it wouldn't look good.
Thanks! I'm currently reading "all you need to know about the city" to gain a broad understanding of all this. How would you answer the question about Tesco btw given no prior knowledge of what is happening to the company? Would consulting firms just pick a random company and expect you to know what is happening with that particular firm?
0
reply
gr8wizard10
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#9
Report 5 years ago
#9
(Original post by starburst92)
Thanks! I'm currently reading "all you need to know about the city" to gain a broad understanding of all this. How would you answer the question about Tesco btw given no prior knowledge of what is happening to the company? Would consulting firms just pick a random company and expect you to know what is happening with that particular firm?
They would expect you to formulate opinions on events you should know about, given the industry you're wanting to enter. Depends on who I'm consulting for, if for a financial institution looking to invest and asks when would be the best time i'd say for tesco: wth is the company actually playing at, they've recently been discoveered to have bought a new jet. Similarly last year, they were operating 4 fleets during a period of falling sales which sparked shareholder fury. There CEO just got sacked 2 months ago and they imported a new guy from unliever which tbh has a pretty sustainable track record which is a positive sign. Given the figures, Tesco shares stand at an 11 year low. There growing expansion still suggests there's hope for the company and given the circumstances now would be a good time as any to expose risk to shares in the company in speculation of a long-term share price return. Although, I'd still advise a hold out for buying shares until the price is a little more stable.

I'm a 1st year, so your expereience and exposure to news should give u something to discuss. also be analytical in ur thinking and justify ur views.
0
reply
Indus
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#10
Report 5 years ago
#10
I would say the best advice would be to start with BBC Business on their website. You're applying for consulting and therefore you just need a basic and broad understanding of business and what is currently happening in the business world. I would make the BBC Business page your homepage on your laptop and be sure to read somewhere between 3 and 5 articles a day off the website. You'll soon gain some insight into what is happening in the business world and you'll be able to talk about a few themes with specific companies or industries.

In regards to interview questions for commercial awareness, the most frequent will be something along the lines of 'tell me about a recent business story you found interesting', followed by follow on questions depending on what you answer with. For this, you just need to show that you've read something interesting and formed an opinion on it, how the companies/industries in question are affected by the story and how they could react to it, to best position themselves etc. You may be asked something more specific, but if so then it is likely to be something that you should really know about, and so it would definitely be covered on a major news service like the BBC.

Once you've built up a good grounding, then perhaps something like Bloomberg or Reuters would offer more insight into various stories. For now, BBC should be fine, and to be honest, the former two are more on the financial side.
1
reply
starburst92
Badges: 2
#11
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#11
(Original post by Indus)
I would say the best advice would be to start with BBC Business on their website. You're applying for consulting and therefore you just need a basic and broad understanding of business and what is currently happening in the business world. I would make the BBC Business page your homepage on your laptop and be sure to read somewhere between 3 and 5 articles a day off the website. You'll soon gain some insight into what is happening in the business world and you'll be able to talk about a few themes with specific companies or industries.

In regards to interview questions for commercial awareness, the most frequent will be something along the lines of 'tell me about a recent business story you found interesting', followed by follow on questions depending on what you answer with. For this, you just need to show that you've read something interesting and formed an opinion on it, how the companies/industries in question are affected by the story and how they could react to it, to best position themselves etc. You may be asked something more specific, but if so then it is likely to be something that you should really know about, and so it would definitely be covered on a major news service like the BBC.

Once you've built up a good grounding, then perhaps something like Bloomberg or Reuters would offer more insight into various stories. For now, BBC should be fine, and to be honest, the former two are more on the financial side.
Thanks! This helps a lot. Just one more question. I've read that they may ask something like tell me a business story that you have been following. For a question like this, what sort of stories would be appropriate? Should I pick one company and follow how they are doing over the year?
0
reply
Indus
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#12
Report 5 years ago
#12
(Original post by starburst92)
Thanks! This helps a lot. Just one more question. I've read that they may ask something like tell me a business story that you have been following. For a question like this, what sort of stories would be appropriate? Should I pick one company and follow how they are doing over the year?
Any story about business that you find interesting is likely to be appropriate. Maybe you're really interested in retail and fashion, and hence you keep up with what is happening in those industries and hence you follow the knock-on effects on H&M or Next. Maybe you have an interest in technology and hence you follow the industry and everything that affects Samsung, Apple or Google. Maybe you find the general economy more interesting and hence you talk more about stories on UK GDP projections and how these will affect businesses in general in the UK, perhaps vs the situation in Europe/the USA. This really is an open question for you to show that you do keep up with business news and can form your own opinions on it, so you can really take advantage of the question and drive the interview. Read business articles that interest you and then form opinions based on them and maybe some outside reading too.
0
reply
333allicsirp
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#13
Report 5 years ago
#13
Hi, I recently started a Commercial Awareness blog - www.commerciallyaware.co.uk. I've just finished my first year as a Law student, so I'm not giving expert advice or opinions, but I'm hoping to make the process of finding and engaging with relevant commercial issues easier for Law students like myself. So far I've written about stuff like fracking, Scottish independence, and the Libor fixing scandal. There's also a list of helpful websites where you can find business news and information on law firms. Please let me know if you find it useful. Feedback is very much welcomed
1
reply
EmmanuelVitto
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#14
Report 5 years ago
#14
My suggestion would be to start with reading about some basics of finance/economics on:

http://moneyweek.com/
investopedia.com
Investorwords.com
marketwatch.com

...and then keep up to date with the news:
BBC Business
FT
Economist
Themarketmogul.com
seekingalpha.com
1
reply
starburst92
Badges: 2
#15
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#15
Thank you all for your suggestions!
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you made up your mind on your five uni choices? (November update)

Yes I know where I'm applying (49)
75.38%
No I haven't decided yet (10)
15.38%
Yes but I might change my mind (6)
9.23%

Watched Threads

View All