Should I Bother Applying?

At the moment I'm in my final term of my BASc at the University of Waterloo. Recently I discovered that Management Consulting exists, and from what I have read it sounds like an interesting and challenging field to work in. My average going in to this term is 86%, which is one of the highest in my class and from what I have read about applying to management consulting companies it sounds like they will hire people with their bachelor degrees in engineering, but they are looking for people with a demonstrated interest in management consulting. What I anticipate my main problem would be is that there isn't much I can say here other than assuring them that this is in fact a major area of interest for me. I haven't taken any business related courses, done a work term in a non-engineering position, etc...

My question is then is should I bother applying to any Canadian management consulting companies/offices? If I did, what is the best way of showing a demonstrated interest in management consulting?

-K.

Comments (14)

Jan 17, 2011 - 10:34pm
econ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not very knowledgeable about this topic, so take this with a grain of salt. It seems to me, one can potentially overcome this sort of thing if they put in a good deal of self-study. Pick up some management consulting interview guides and learn that stuff. Then, tell interviewers the truth, you learned about the field recently and have been reading everything you can get your hands on. If you know a lot of the concepts and can handle the case studies they throw at you, they might even be more impressed and convinced of your dedication, given that you just found out about it recently and taught yourself all kinds of stuff on your own.

  • 2
Jan 17, 2011 - 11:48pm
Joseph K., what's your opinion? Comment below:
econ:
I'm not very knowledgeable about this topic, so take this with a grain of salt. It seems to me, one can potentially overcome this sort of thing if they put in a good deal of self-study. Pick up some management consulting interview guides and learn that stuff. Then, tell interviewers the truth, you learned about the field recently and have been reading everything you can get your hands on. If you know a lot of the concepts and can handle the case studies they throw at you, they might even be more impressed and convinced of your dedication, given that you just found out about it recently and taught yourself all kinds of stuff on your own.

This sounds like a good strategy. The main stumbling block I can see is getting to the interview stage if I'm up against people with resumes more focused towards this type of thing.

Jan 17, 2011 - 10:47pm
UFOinsider, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do apply, you never know. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.....

Get busy living
Feb 10, 2011 - 10:03pm
NYC, what's your opinion? Comment below:
UFOinsider:
Do apply, you never know. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.....

But when not taking a shot, here's a 0% chance of pulling a hamstring or coming down hard on your ankle and being out six weeks.

Jan 18, 2011 - 2:44am
Proboscis, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Make sure you look into the application timeframe for the firms you are interested in. You mentioned that you are in your final semester, and many consulting firms conducted full time recruitment in fall of 2010.

In terms of bolstering your application, I'm sure there have been indirect cost implications/business related implications to your engineering work experience. Think back to your positions and tailor your resume to the more business outcomes of your resume activities.

Proboscis
Jan 18, 2011 - 3:05am
DavidKappoKaplan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Write a killer cover letter and network a ton. Go grab coffee with some alum consultants etc... all you need to do is get your foot in the door somehow, I'm sure you're smart enough to do the job. You will need to prove that this is more than just some passing fling, and that you really are dedicated to this career choice.

Jan 18, 2011 - 12:53pm
2x2Matrix, what's your opinion? Comment below:

.

One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.
Feb 3, 2011 - 4:11pm
Joseph K., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well, so far I managed to get one first round interview with an "Industrial Consulting" company which is in a few days. According to the presentation I attended, and my conversation with one of the consultants they seem to focus on things like process/supply chain improvements, and while they made an active effort to say "we aren't management consultants", that seems like the closest approximation of their line of work (The line they took was that they were a new type of business with no competitors). At the session I attended there were slightly over a hundred people and they had us all do a math test, physics test, and write a bit about our interests. The interview is only 10 minutes long (they are interviewing 6 other people from the same session). Does anyone have an Idea of what to expect/prepare for?

Feb 3, 2011 - 5:46pm
strategy101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In my understanding, you really need to have a good grasp of Management Consulting (what is it, why is it interesting, and what have you done related to consulting). I know they are keen on your extracurricular activities. So, my suggestion to you is to spend a good amount of time on your resume and cover letter. Network with the people and start practicing case interviews. good luck.

Best Response
Feb 3, 2011 - 6:08pm
judowned, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It won't hurt to apply, the worst that could happen is you do not get any interviews. You need to realize that you are applying late into the recruiting cycle for most consulting firms. Most firms recruit early in the Fall semester and do limited recruiting later on in the year. If you are serious about this you need to start networking your butt of now and preparing for case interviews. Consulting cases are very different animal than interviews at other companies so you will need to be prepared. You need to demonstrate that you have the brain power and problem solving ability that they are looking for both on your resume and in your interviews. Not having an engineering or business background may work against you but you can overcome that with networking. I don't know what kind of presence your school has in Canada but reach out to alumni and get them to pass your resume on. Network hard and see what happens, if you don't have an offer by now you need to hustle, hustle, hustle.

  • 3
Feb 11, 2011 - 8:44am
econ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't solely apply to jobs that seem "out of reach" because then you'll have a hard time landing interviews. I agree with people here though, in that it doesn't hurt to apply. My advice is just to diversify, apply to some places that seem out of reach, a few places where you seem like a shoe-in, and several places that seem "just right."

  • 1
Feb 11, 2011 - 8:52am
happypantsmcgee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
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