Mike Ross (MBA’11) did his undergrad at Concordia University where he studied Political Science, then proceeded to do a Law degree and a M.A. in International Relations at University of Toronto. After working as an attorney and in a variety of roles, he decided to start an MBA at McGill University, where he specialized in strategy. Post-graduation, he worked at McKinsey as a Consultant for 5 years before starting his own consulting business, called Juniper and co-founding Vocaprep, a website dedicated to the preparation of students for the interview process in the field of consulting. In a partnership led by the McGill Desautels’ Soutar Career Center, Mike delivers a selective consulting career preparation program for Desautels MBA students that prepares them for the top firms’ demanding and rigorous consulting recruitment process and includes a specific focus on mastering the case interviews. We have asked Mike to tell us more about his McGill experience and about his website and company.
Please introduce yourself briefly.
I’m Mike Ross (not the guy from Suits, but the parallels are striking!), McGill MBA Class of 2011. Prior to the MBA I was a lawyer (see what I mean!), and worked around the world. Following the MBA, I was a consultant at McKinsey for 4.5 years and in April of last year, I started my own consulting firm – Juniper, and a consulting interview preparation site called Vocaprep.com.
Why did you choose McGill for your MBA ?
First of all, I wanted to return to Montreal, which is where I am from, but where I had not lived in over 10 years. Second, knowing my own predilection for living and working abroad I wanted a global brand – one that would be recognized wherever I went. McGill satisfied those two conditions amazingly well!
What was the best part of the McGill MBA / highlight of your experience at McGill?
Truly, the best part of the MBA at McGill was (and still is) my classmates and our professors. I met life-long friends there from both my class and the teachers that we worked with. Folks who I see regularly and who I rely upon for advice on business and life.
Would you have any fun anecdote from your time at McGill to share with our readers?
For some reason, I have many fond memories that revolve around Bixi (the local bike share program in Montreal). Bixi was launched while I was in the MBA and we were all very enthusiastic early adopters. We’d ride the bikes to class, to play squash, and to parties across Montreal. Many late evenings were spent riding and singing our way through the streets.
How did you decide to found Juniper?
I started Juniper because I got really interested in the question of how to help clients build more creative/innovative cultures while I was a consultant and figured that I could do better work on this question from my own firm than from within McKinsey. Vocaprep came from my frustration around not finding good quality preparation materials when I was interviewing and also the pain that came from having to turn down many good candidates who had just not prepared properly. Impact is a big part of why I do what I do. Placing candidates in the jobs of their dreams is extremely rewarding, as is helping companies to build more dynamic and innovative cultures. At root, my goal is to help others realize their potential, and being able to accompany them through those journeys is an amazing gift.
Tell us more about Vocaprep and how does it help students prepare for the field of consulting?
Vocaprep is an online platform that provides all of the training and practice that someone would need to apply to and get into a top consulting firm. We’ve distilled all of my (and many others’) experience getting into consulting firms, but also recruiting new consultants and helping others prepare, into a series of structured easy-to-follow lessons, exercises and practice cases. With Vocaprep, you stand the best chance of getting one of these coveted jobs!
What would your advice to future MBA prospects be, especially those trying to make it into Consulting?
Start preparing early! The interview process used at consulting firms is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen and the earlier you start preparing for these, the better you will do. You also need to find people to practice with, whether in a consulting club (like the fantastic one at McGill) or through an online platform. Practice is key!
For more videos about Vocaprep, please check out: www.youtube.com/vocaprep