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2/25/13 update: Ampharos has now been working in consulting for 5+ months and said he can continue answering questions regarding MBB, recruiting, breaking in, day to day life, etc, ask away!

Hi Guys,

5+ months ago I started working at my top-choice MBB firm full time after receiving my offer through the company's accelerated interviewing process. I've gotten a lot of help (and entertainment) from this forum so I'd love to give back and answer any questions or give some advice/insight on interviewing, networking, etc.

I was a career counselor at my school focusing on consulting primarily helping MBAs and undergrads with case prep, so I'm familiar with a lot of the issues people have and will try to give professional, no-BS answers.

I'd prefer not to disclose the firm, my school, or my internship firm for obvious reasons so let's try to avoid those.

For my stats:
School: Target, public undergrad b-school
GPA: 3.5-3.8
Internship: Summer analyst at tier 2 consulting firm
Practice: Several dozen live cases, Victor Cheng, LOMS, etc. etc.

tldr: ask me questions about recruiting things if you want. I'll do my best to respond. Post or PM.

4

Comments (57)

  • ConanDBull's picture

    first of all congrats...

    second.... I'm working full time at provincial government health agency, operations anaylst role, I have a diploma from a college and i just started at university geting my degree (they are putting me into 3rd year) so considering I am a few years away from actually applying which of the many "consulting training programs" would you recommend I use to practise and gear up to be a strong applicant?

    third... what is your take on Pro-Bono Volunteer Consulting firms?

    fourth... what is an accelerated FT offer?

    "Know what to do, know how to do it, and do it hard." - Juan Castillo

    If you are in the Toronto Area join my group "Toronto Prospective Monkeys"
    http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/group/toronto-prosp...

  • Ampharos's picture

    1. Thank you, haha.

    2. The free resources (videos and articles) from Victor Cheng were very helpful to me. I personally got his Look Over My Shoulder system which I thought was really useful as well, but it's optional.

    3. Do you mean pro-bono volunteer as in student organizations or as in a large nonprofit strategy firm? For both the former and latter I think they're great, but for the latter, I'll admit I'm unfamiliar with the exit opportunities for them.

    4. I had my interview process accelerated due to an exploding offer from my internship firm. I had my final round interviews and received my offer before regular students had their first round interviews.

  • seedy underbelly's picture

    Ampharos:

    GPA: Mediocre, 3.5-3.8~ish

    This is slightly confusing.

  • In reply to ....
    Ampharos's picture

    redacted...

    The way it works is this: There are MBA and BBA peer counselors, with about 3x as many MBA peer counselors. BBAs and MBAs can both go to either age group counselor to get help. For me, I just happen to have a lot more MBAs coming to ask me questions/run cases than undergrads. This is probably just because MBAs tend to seek out help more than the BBAs, and just a lot of people want consulting help so the MBA counselors run out of slots.

  • In reply to za3212
    Ampharos's picture

    za3212:
    seedy underbelly:
    Ampharos:

    GPA: Mediocre, 3.5-3.8~ish

    This is slightly confusing.

    confusingish

    Well, the only reason I say that is getting a consulting offer with below a 3.8 at our school is considered a little unusual.

    *EDIT* also no more -ish.

  • smith12346's picture

    Hey Thanks for posting. I would love to connect and pick your brain about a few things. I have my final round at an MBB in a week and a half. This is my dream situation and I networked pretty hard to get the initial interview.

    I would love to get your thoughts on really standing out especially at the final round point. I am from a non-target with a mediocore GPA (similar to the above) and am currently doing Teach For America.

    Ampharos:
    Hi Guys,

    Long time reader, relatively new poster, plus I lost credentials to my older account.

    Anyways, I just accepted an offer from my top-choice MBB firm a week ago after receiving it through the company's accelerated interviewing process. I've gotten a lot of help (and entertainment) from this forum so I'd love to give back and answer any questions or give some advice and insight on interviewing, networking, etc.

    I'm a designated career counselor at my school focusing on consulting primarily helping MBAs with case prep for some reason, so I'm familiar with a lot of the issues people have and will try to give professional, no-BS answers.

    I'd prefer not to disclose the firm, my school, or my internship firm for obvious reasons so let's try to avoid those.

    For my stats:
    School: Target, top public undergrad b-school (Senior)
    GPA: Mediocre, between 3.5-3.8
    Internship: Summer analyst at tier 2 consulting firm
    Practice: Several dozen live cases, Victor Cheng, LOMS.

    tldr: ask me questions if you want. I'll do my best to respond. Post or PM.

  • kwaconline's picture

    Congrats to that offer! I'm currently a junior seeking to work at MBB post-grad. So I have a few questions in regards to your situation.

    1. I thought MBBs don't do accelerated interview process? Or is this because you knew someone and had an offer on hand? And how is this process different than standard?

    2. For MBB, do you think it's best to go for tier 2 consulting firms, or to recruit for BB SA positions as well? If Management Consulting is what I want to do immediate after graduation?

    3. Who did you practice with? Friends, older students with experience, then professionals at MBB or consulting firms? And what do you think is the best way of approaching professionals to practice cases?

    Thanks again, and congrats! Have fun with rest of the year!

  • In reply to kwaconline
    Ampharos's picture

    kwaconline:
    Congrats to that offer! I'm currently a junior seeking to work at MBB post-grad. So I have a few questions in regards to your situation.

    1. I thought MBBs don't do accelerated interview process? Or is this because you knew someone and had an offer on hand? And how is this process different than standard?

    2. For MBB, do you think it's best to go for tier 2 consulting firms, or to recruit for BB SA positions as well? If Management Consulting is what I want to do immediate after graduation?

    3. Who did you practice with? Friends, older students with experience, then professionals at MBB or consulting firms? And what do you think is the best way of approaching professionals to practice cases?

    Thanks again, and congrats! Have fun with rest of the year!

    1. I've heard mixed things, but I've known people who've done accelerated with all three, and saw a healthy group of people at my accelerated final rounds (half a week before regular first rounds) at the office when I went. Part of it was definitely having good conversations with the people I reached out to, but I think the bigger player here was the exploding offer at a competitor. They also still looked at my resume of course. The process was the same, the interview rounds the same, etc. Only difference was my first rounds were over the phone, and with slightly higher level people than they normally use for first rounds.

    2. It really goes either way. Every year my school has a tradition of BB or elite boutique IBD interns => MBB FT because they realize they hate banking, and most of the rest are from Tier 2s with the occasional marketing/corp fin kid. That being said, I still recommend you recruit for Banking if you think you have the time to do the preparation because despite Tier 2 being a step below, they still don't necessarily take that many people. Do both if you can; regardless hustle hard for consulting and try to get yourself a backup.

    3. I cased a lot with other friends in consulting, as well as older students who had successfully gone through the process. I did have a few practice cases with professionals at MBB, but those were usually people I had networked with asking me, and less the other way around. I think the best way to get a no BS view is still to ask older students, seniors with accepted offers for example, to help because they tended to give me cold facts without the company line.

    Smith: Replied to your PM
    Solidarity: Wrong.

  • LOA's picture

    Congrats! I definitely echo your preparation, as I too used those exact methods and secured an MBB SA offer last week. Victor Cheng is so good.

    Principles are the only thing that matter in the end. Not competition, not emotions. Principles.

  • eszk2012's picture

    Having a great GPA is not a must in all offices...in MBB

  • stackerquad's picture

    Thanks for doing this! A few questions:

    1) At my school, all the consulting firms ask for my transcript when applying through OCR. My GPA's decent enough, but if somebody (especially an alum) looked at it, they'd notice that it's a bit screwed up (i.e. change of major multiple times, lots of pass/fails and withdraws, a few gut classes) - am I screwed for MBB? How about boutiques like Parthenon, LEK?

    2) How easy is it to get interviews with MBB for FT if you're coming off an SA internship with a top Asset Management firm? How about if you did your internship with a Tier 2 investment bank (i.e. not BB or Elite Boutique)? Which would you recommend - the former has more brand name, but the latter would be tougher work?

    3) The same as above, but how easy would it be to go from those internships to Tier 2 consulting firms?

    4) How important is networking in terms of getting interviews?

    Thanks again for your time.

  • Jobs's picture

    How do you recommend non-target applicants to approach recruiting and networking if the alumni base at the target office location is pretty much nonexistent? Also, can you touch on what kind of attributes typically stick out to recruiters in peoples' past experiences? Thank you.

  • jnaz's picture

    Who did you reach out to when looking for the accelerated interview process, and how did you bring up the topic?
    I am in a similar boat as you were; I'm deciding between a second tier consulting firm and a BB non-IBD offer.

  • In reply to jnaz
    pnb2002's picture

    jnaz:
    Who did you reach out to when looking for the accelerated interview process, and how did you bring up the topic?
    I am in a similar boat as you were; I'm deciding between a second tier consulting firm and a BB non-IBD offer.

    There are two main ways to get an accelerated interview. One is to get a guaranteed accelerated interview from the firm during internship recruiting b/c you performed very well. The other is to have an exploding offer from a different company.

    In the first case, the firm will reach out to you at the end of the summer to arrange the interview. In the second case, you reach out to the recruiting lead for your school (or a FT consultant with whom you've built a good relationship) and let them know that you have an offer from firm X but would love to have a chance to interview with his/her firm as well.

  • Silicon Economist's picture

    I'm a junior Econ major at a public target. I finished up consulting recruiting for summer internships and it was a blood bath. MBB rejections, 2nd tier rejections, boutique rejections. I didn't even get a single interview. It's been a pretty demoralizing ordeal. I have 3 questions.

    1) I have a few options for summer internships, what would you suggest would put me in a prime position for FT in the fall? F500 Corp. finance? Non-profit/interest group? Tech start up biz dev? Policy work (House of Representatives/ Senate/ Lobbying firms)?

    2) I didn't reach out/ network. I know, you're probably thinking "Well there's your problem." but I genuinely thought I had a strong resume (~3.7 GPA, engineering minor, strong internships) and that my merit would get me interviews. I was wrong. How should I go about networking for FT? Cold emails? LinkedIn inMail? Alumni data base? I imagine consultants (MBB especially) are inundated by desperate undergrads looking to make connections, how'd you stick out and establish meaningful relations?

    3) How do you like your job?

    Respect for Pokemon avi, and thanks for doing this!

  • Ampharos's picture

    hey all, thanks for posting questions and definitely keep them coming along with the PMs.

    Unfortunately/obviously, I can't really get to them at the moment because, well, I'm at work.
    I'll definitely try to knock out as many as I can tonight when I get home.

  • In reply to Midatlantica
    Ampharos's picture

    Midatlantica:
    How hard is it to transfer from BB IBD summer internship to MBB for full time?
    Assume target school with good GPA.

    I'll take this one since it's quick. Provided you update your resume well, you should be able to get interviews for at least one of MBB without even really trying. Add in some networking and you shouldn't have any problem getting the interviews you want.

    That said, that's simply the interview, and from there it's all up to you. Firms won't give you the benefit of the doubt just because you worked in IBD over the summer. That said, a good number of people in the office were BB IBD in a past life.

  • In reply to Ampharos
    Coda's picture

    Ampharos:
    That said, that's simply the interview, and from there it's all up to you.

    I've heard this phrase numerous times; can't you be dinged after a few interviews solely due to low GPA? The WallStreetPlayboys post says otherwise:
    WallStreetPlayboys:
    When we entered the conference room, of the ~8 candidates, we killed 4 of them on Technicals (missing easy ones, depreciation on 3 statements, basic DCF, PE multiples on private companies) and then dropped one off for having a sub 3.5GPA (had a 3.2GPA).
  • In reply to Coda
    F. Ro Jo's picture

    Coda:
    Ampharos:
    That said, that's simply the interview, and from there it's all up to you.

    I've heard this phrase numerous times; can't you be dinged after a few interviews solely due to low GPA? The WallStreetPlayboys post says otherwise:
    WallStreetPlayboys:
    When we entered the conference room, of the ~8 candidates, we killed 4 of them on Technicals (missing easy ones, depreciation on 3 statements, basic DCF, PE multiples on private companies) and then dropped one off for having a sub 3.5GPA (had a 3.2GPA).

    This is the consulting forum champ.

  • In reply to stackerquad
    Ampharos's picture

    @stackerquad:

    1) Whenever I've had to look over applications, I don't think I've ever needed to look at someone's transcript honestly. I think they're scrutinized perhaps a bit more if some of your details are suspicious. It might be brought up in interviews, but if it fits with your stories I wouldn't really be too concerned.

    2) I think both would be fine, the former probably having the edge due to improved name recognition.

    3) Arguably easier, though depending on the Tier 2 firm - anecdotal experience leads me to believe that some Tier 2s are harder to get interviews for than MBBs...

    4) Depends on the extent to which you need it. The weaker your resume/stats are, the more critical networking well be. If you're a rockstar on paper, it's very possible that you can get all the interviews you need without any networking. Given the importance of recruiting, obviously err on the side of caution. If anything, more networking will help you have better answers for "why company X" if and when you get the interviews.

    For what it's worth, in my experience consulting has noticeably less nepotism in its recruiting process than banking. You very rarely hear stories of "he only got the offer because of his dad/uncle/friend" that are rather plentiful in finance recruiting. When you're in the interview room, either you get the case that day or you don't, regardless of who you're connected to.

  • SlikRick's picture

    Thanks a ton for doing this. These are extremely helpful and are few and far between on the Consulting Forum. I SB'd you for your efforts.

    1. I went to a decent non-target (think UC Santa Barbara, Boston University, Fordham, etc) and have worked at a niche consulting firm for the past six months (think Triage, Towers Watson, etc). My end goal is MBB, with the following long term strategy: Current firm for another six months / year --> Lateral to PwC / Deloitte Consulting --> Kill the GMAT --> Top 10 MBA --> MBB. How do 2nd/3rd tier consulting firms feel about laterals from other consulting firms? If I do extensive networking, is it feasible to lateral into something like OW or Parthenon? Do these type of firms interview post undergrad consultants?

    2. What did you use for case material? Did you use Case in Point? How many hours would you say you practiced prior to being "great" at case interviews?

    Thanks.

  • above_and_beyond's picture

    Thanks for opening this topic.

    What are you guys doing during a M&A process? I have seen MBB guys workjing on the DD on a deal but is this all that MBB does? And what exactly are you guys doing since the majority of stuff regarding DD is covered by the Big4. I mean, there a corporate finance or M&A groups at MBB but what exactly are they doing?

    Cheers!

  • xmasboy's picture

    How about going from start-up/entrepreneur to MBB? Is that possible?

  • In reply to kwaconline
    whartonbetch's picture

    kwaconline:

    1. I thought MBBs don't do accelerated interview process? Or is this because you knew someone and had an offer on hand? And how is this process different than standard?

    i was able to do this as well for internship at MBB. you just have to ask!
  • In reply to xmasboy
    Ampharos's picture

    xmasboy:
    How about going from start-up/entrepreneur to MBB? Is that possible?

    Anything's possible. Someone at my office started their own company in high school, ran it successfully before selling it to a larger firm integrating horizontally, went to college, then joined up to gain wider business knowledge.

    The recruiting path you'd take obviously would depend on level, education, etc. but I think having an entrepreneurial streak is definitely not a bad thing.

  • In reply to Silicon Economist
    Ampharos's picture

    @Silicon Economist

    1) What's honestly most interesting to you. I think the safest bet would probably be F500 - anything with brand cachet probably helps resume screeners affix some kind of value to what you did.

    2) Alumni database, friends of friends, whatever it takes to get a lead. Email HR and ask for helpful contacts if you must - you'll find consulting firms are by and large less hostile than banks can be. Emailing off-cycle, i.e. over the summer when recruiters aren't getting torrents of emails like after an event, can be a good way to stand out.

    3) I generally like it, it has its ups and downs. I'm still getting the hang of things since I'm not naturally a very detail-oriented person. The level of influence I can have on things still kind of amazes me and without even really trying I feel like I've learned a lot about various fields as well as standard powerpoint/excel know-how. Co-workers are great and it's been a pretty positive experience overall; they say it gets better as you get more acclimated.

  • In reply to SlikRick
    Ampharos's picture

    SlikRick:
    Thanks a ton for doing this. These are extremely helpful and are few and far between on the Consulting Forum. I SB'd you for your efforts.

    1. I went to a decent non-target (think UC Santa Barbara, Boston University, Fordham, etc) and have worked at a niche consulting firm for the past six months (think Triage, Towers Watson, etc). My end goal is MBB, with the following long term strategy: Current firm for another six months / year --> Lateral to PwC / Deloitte Consulting --> Kill the GMAT --> Top 10 MBA --> MBB. How do 2nd/3rd tier consulting firms feel about laterals from other consulting firms? If I do extensive networking, is it feasible to lateral into something like OW or Parthenon? Do these type of firms interview post undergrad consultants?

    2. What did you use for case material? Did you use Case in Point? How many hours would you say you practiced prior to being "great" at case interviews?

    Thanks.

    1. To put up a disclaimer, I will be the first to admit that recruiting outside of university cycles is not my area of expertise and the following is just my opinion based on anecdotes. That being said, while I would say it's possible, but generally difficult. Larger consulting firms tend to have rather structured pre-grad analyst programs so while I wouldn't say it's impossible to lateral in, it would require a good amount of networking and perhaps luck.

    One of the criticisms of the current tier structure I guess is that while it might reflect prestige, it's by no means reflective of ease of entry. To my knowledge, the pool of schools OW and Parthenon recruit from is substantially smaller than that of MBB. PwC and Deloitte Consulting on the other hand are substantially larger firms that should be much more accessible. Not substantially easier to pass interviews with, mind you, but probably easier to get in front of in the first place.

    2. I used tons of practice cases. Google "filetype:pdf _________ casebook" with the blank being the business school of your choice. You can rack up dozens. I skimmed through Case in Point but found it unnecessarily complex so I quickly discarded it. I'm personally also of the Victor Cheng camp, and used his free (and paid) materials to good effect. My number for "great" is probably irrelevant to you, but I'd say roughly 40 or so of live practice (both giving interviews and receiving). That said, I have friends who did 10 practice cases and then nailed 2 out of 3 offers for MBB, so your mileage may vary.

  • In reply to Ampharos
    stackerquad's picture

    Ampharos:
    @stackerquad:

    1) Whenever I've had to look over applications, I don't think I've ever needed to look at someone's transcript honestly. I think they're scrutinized perhaps a bit more if some of your details are suspicious. It might be brought up in interviews, but if it fits with your stories I wouldn't really be too concerned.

    2) I think both would be fine, the former probably having the edge due to improved name recognition.

    3) Arguably easier, though depending on the Tier 2 firm - anecdotal experience leads me to believe that some Tier 2s are harder to get interviews for than MBBs...

    4) Depends on the extent to which you need it. The weaker your resume/stats are, the more critical networking well be. If you're a rockstar on paper, it's very possible that you can get all the interviews you need without any networking. Given the importance of recruiting, obviously err on the side of caution. If anything, more networking will help you have better answers for "why company X" if and when you get the interviews.

    For what it's worth, in my experience consulting has noticeably less nepotism in its recruiting process than banking. You very rarely hear stories of "he only got the offer because of his dad/uncle/friend" that are rather plentiful in finance recruiting. When you're in the interview room, either you get the case that day or you don't, regardless of who you're connected to.

    Thanks dude!

  • AuditStL's picture
  • In reply to AuditStL
    Ampharos's picture

    AuditStL:
    Should I wear a hermes tie?

    Not sure if serious, but why not. I like wearing ties but find myself the only one doing so in the office.

  • leigh's picture

    Do you see people breaking in at the MiM/MSF level?

  • WSOH's picture

    hey ampharos, thanks for hosting this thread. I was wondering 1. how much MBB value sophomore internships in recruiting for their third year internships. 2.What's the typical conversion ratio from summer to full-time now? 3. Would you ever recommend someone do ibd for a technical skillset and then do a mbb job to develop those critical thinking skills? Thanks a lot!

  • In reply to above_and_beyond
    above_and_beyond's picture

    above_and_beyond:
    Thanks for opening this topic.

    What are you guys doing during a M&A process? I have seen MBB guys workjing on the DD on a deal but is this all that MBB does? And what exactly are you guys doing since the majority of stuff regarding DD is covered by the Big4. I mean, there a corporate finance or M&A groups at MBB but what exactly are they doing?

    Cheers!

  • In reply to leigh
    Ampharos's picture

    leigh:
    Do you see people breaking in at the MiM/MSF level?

    I've heard of this in passing, but can't really speak to it. I don't believe I've met anyone with that background in our office myself.

  • In reply to WSOH
    Ampharos's picture

    WSOH:
    hey ampharos, thanks for hosting this thread. I was wondering 1. how much MBB value sophomore internships in recruiting for their third year internships. 2.What's the typical conversion ratio from summer to full-time now? 3. Would you ever recommend someone do ibd for a technical skillset and then do a mbb job to develop those critical thinking skills? Thanks a lot!

    1. A good amount. In general just showing you did something to demonstrate an interest in business or work is generally good, the more "legitimate" the better; e.g. Deutsche IBD, Deloitte BTA, Accenture MCDP, P&G, Google BOLD, Goldman Ops all have sophomore programs, but really any internship is fine if you spin it well. F500 would be great but I interned with a small tech firm doing marketing stuff near home.

    2. Pretty high. Across the board I don't know anyone at any Tier 1,2, or 3 consulting firm who didn't get a return offer besides people who made outrageously poor choices.

    3. That's honestly up to you, but I can tell you it's not an uncommon route. 3/5 of my interviewers were bankers in either internships or another life. Sure, the Finance kids had better Excel skills, but they weren't honestly that much ahead than people who did anything else. Straight up, the kids who have fared the best so far consulted over their internships, either at our company or another.

  • In reply to above_and_beyond
    Ampharos's picture

    above_and_beyond:
    above_and_beyond:
    Thanks for opening this topic.

    What are you guys doing during a M&A process? I have seen MBB guys workjing on the DD on a deal but is this all that MBB does? And what exactly are you guys doing since the majority of stuff regarding DD is covered by the Big4. I mean, there a corporate finance or M&A groups at MBB but what exactly are they doing?

    Cheers!

    So MBB does a lot of DD, particularly McKinsey and Bain to my knowledge. I haven't worked on a PE related project and don't come from a finance background, so take everything said here with a grain of salt (it's just conjecture from what I hear). I think the DD work MBB does is not quite the same as the Big 4's. I figure Big 4's would be more from a numerical side whereas MBB DD's are more based around finding growth multiples through industry analysis. As for CF and M&A groups, I honestly don't know - company websites could probably help more than I could haha.

  • In reply to jnaz
    Ampharos's picture

    jnaz:
    Thanks for the information Ampharos.

    sorry for not getting back to you on your question, but someone else answered it just as I would have so I figured there was no point reinventing the wheel.

  • AuditStL's picture

    the conversion rate for summer to FT is really that high at MBB? specifically bain, as i know a few people who didn't get return offers.

  • AsianMonky's picture

    Ampharos,

    A question came up while my friend was considering HBS 2+2 -> Can you get into post mba MBB role from top MBA with just having two years of MM/BB IBD experience, or maybe even two years of GE FMP? Or do they look for minimum of three years of pre MBA work ex?

  • In reply to AuditStL
    Ampharos's picture

    AuditStL:
    the conversion rate for summer to FT is really that high at MBB? specifically bain, as i know a few people who didn't get return offers.

    this is probably going to depend a good deal on office as well as firm. from what I hear, southern and midwestern offices are generally pretty easygoing in that regard, whereas say a Bain SF or McKinsey NYC may be more competitive.

    but again, yes, I only know of literally one person who did not get a return offer out of maybe the dozen and a half people I've seen summer at MBBs over a few recruiting seasons. getting in is the hard part, doing a sufficiently satisfactory job to prevent yourself from getting fired or not receiving an offer shouldn't really be too difficult (though being a superstar is obviously another story).

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  • In reply to Ampharos
    2x2Matrix's picture

    One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

  • In reply to Ampharos
    Cowfoot's picture

    The business of business is business.

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