End of the Road

Just venting - if you're not in the mood to get depressed, read something else. 

After a grueling 12 months of recruiting for a field that had been freshly decimated and gutted, I have submitted over a 100 applications across several dozen firms and arrived with no leads, no offer and ultimately, no goddamn clue what the fk I'm going to do. I've just been ghosted from my only remaining lead for a boutique consulting shop, and with that, I'm officially giving up trying to break into this godforsaken field. I've networked and held ~50-100 coffee chats, held large-scale events, and attended 7 information sessions from KPMG alone (along with a dozen others), practiced ~40-60 cases, held case workshops preparing friends for cases, spent hours breaking down and building my application package, on Rocketblocks, reading Victor Cheng's LOMS, pretty much everything humanely possible to break in. All that work, all that research, all that effort amounted to a demoralizing state and realization that if I want to break in, I'm going to have to pay a $150k USD entry fee (MBA) just to re-recruit because I made the dumb*** decision to graduate during a pandemic. Fk me, right? 

If I could begin university from scratch, I don't know if I would change my focus and take more data or tech courses, or just shoot myself to save me the effort of doing it 4 years later. It's honestly lost on me of whether it'd make a difference. I feel like I followed the blueprint to the letter, and did everything to best of my ability just to end up at the realization that I will never be able to work in this field. Even if I do, I'm from a country who's annual salary for most accounting and finance positions don't do much against the ever-increasing cost of living. All this to say, I've arrived at the end of the road. Recruiting has ended and I have nowhere to go.

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Reading this was probably the most relatable thing I've seen in a while. I spent summers and semesters grinding free/grueling internships when my peers at uni were abroad/vacationing. I networked with over 100 people (sent 1000+emails), got into first rounds, super days, rejections, etc. One place literally met 15 people from one team, led to nothing. One summer I spent 12 hours working, ~2.5 hours on subway, and ~2 hours studying technicals/prepping for the whole summer and still didn't get the IB job I wanted. (Didn't get any IB job actually). I was fortunate enough to clinch a paid position for full time but I know exactly what you're going through right now. What I've realized that has been helping me is that graduation is not the end whatsoever. Yeah it'll seem like others have their golden goose lined up but just based on your post your work ethic is indestructible. Keep grinding after graduation, maybe look for a job outside of consulting in the meantime and then work on lateraling in without business school. That's what my plan is, and no one's gonna tell me it can't happen. Rooting for you man. 

I am so sorry to hear about this man. Just know that there so many folks who are leading different consulting firms who didn't start their career in consulting out of undergrad (and probably not for a lack of trying). You are obviously a very hard-working person and will succeed in whatever you decide to do down the road, and just don't give up. There's always light at the end of a tunnel and you'll find something soon. If this was for SA, you can try to recruit for FT and if you are graduating this summer then try finding a related role that can help you lateral into consulting. I went through a similar phase where I recruited and recruited for months in the end and couldn't land anything. But keep your chin up and you will end up with something you like. 

I think what you're going through is relatable for the majority of students and recent graduates. You will secure something eventually and it only takes 1 firm to give you that offer to change your entire perspective. That offer might not be 100% what you thought you wanted but it's all about stepping stones. So few people (despite what it might look like on WSO) actually secure their 'dream' job/offer straight out of college or even in their first few years. Don't be so harsh on yourself and just remember that there's more important things in life than your career. Take care of yourself, keep your head up and we're all rooting for you! 

I wouldn't say this is the end of the road, for consulting. You can always take an industry job for the time being, and continue recruiting for consulting. You've developed valuable skills in networking which most people graduating don't have. If you've made good connections with some of the coffee chats, I would reach back out and say you're still interested. There was a hiring freeze in consulting last fall, but hiring has picked up since the New Year, and there might be some opportunities. I wouldn't recommend jumping into an MBA to re-recruit because you'll be going against people with more experience which could make things a lot more difficult. Keep your head up, it's going to be ok I promise!

Couple points-- keep in mind I'm writing this for your benefit, and not to be a dick:
1. Consulting isn't the be-all-end all, and most people I work with really aren't very happy right now. Sure, it's prestigious, and it pays well, but it isn't some magic ticket to a better life. If you get a job in a corporate roll, and you're at the MBB level, you will do just as well in the long run as if you started at one of those firms.

2. If you're having that little luck with recruiting, at a certain point you have to ask what's wrong with you as an applicant. If people weren't willing to make connections for you, did you come across as a entitled? Did you screw up the easy Behaviorals? Do you have an unexplainably bad GPA (below 3.8 is not good for the top firms)? Did you bomb standardized tests? Do you not have any work experience? Are you bad at casing (# completed only has rough correlation with quality I've found)? Think about all these dimensions for yourself, and do it honestly. Sure, there is a chance you're just getting unlucky, it's COVID, things are hard as hell, and good quality people can have a hard time. But there is also an ever growing chance there is a glaring weakness in your applications that you're overlooking. I would reach back out to people that seemed to help you the least and ask if they have any feedback. If you as a candidate haven't gotten better after 100 coffee chats you're not doing it right.

3. It sounds like you graduated last year, and have been grinding on recruiting for a few months now. Most of these firms recruit August before senior year. Most firms do not do off cycle for college students. Sure, you can wait for an MBA, but you still need to work for 2 years first for it to mean anything. At this point you just need to go find a job. I worked in finance for 2 years before switching to MBB. Colleagues here worked at startups in product management roles and elsewhere before lateralling. There is no off cycle for recent graduates, but there is for experienced hires. Go get some real world experience, and then figure out if you want to take another shot. 

I know you're just venting but good luck. It always feels like it's the 9th inning before things happen. 


Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the sincerity in the points raised as the devil's advocate.

1. I could do just as well, but the pay disparity for the same (if not more) effort is annoying. Any Fortune 500 company would have 50-60 hours or more for busy season throughout their Corporate Finance roles, and yet notoriously pay barely livable wages for their junior roles.

2. Well, my luck is more so in landing an interview rather than succeeding in them. I interview quite well, and have made it to final rounds before December rolled around and these firms realized the pandemic wouldn't disappear in time. The replies I've received from these firms were more along the lines of "reassessing hiring needs" rather than anything else. My resume is average, I get that. I don't have stellar internships, although I do have quite a few of them, nor a stellar GPA. So even with an internal referral, I'm still competing with other candidates, who also have internal referrals for fewer positions in consulting than any year before it. I've held mocks with colleagues in some of these big firms and have improved my quality over the several dozen cases I did do, as well as in my speed/accuracy of calculations via RocketBlocks. 

3. The school I attend has an inordinate school term cycle and although I've finished coursework, my convocation is not until 2021. This puts me in the Fall 2021 full-time recruitment cycle. I have actually begun recruiting since June/July throughout my final internship and school term. I would have needed to recruit in Spring 2020/Fall 2020 for a final internship, but I was unsuccessful in landing a big brand. 

It's felt like the 9th inning for 9 months and counting, at some point, you have to call it.

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