College Freshman: Do you need to business/finance ECs to have a good shot at MBB?

Hi WSO, I'm a first-year student at a super target US college (per MBB recruiting), and the competition for spots in business-related/preprofessional clubs here is turning out to be really tough. I was just wondering how big of an advantage preprofessional clubs give to MBB hopefuls, and what some possible alternatives for these clubs may be (research, etc.). Also, how am I supposed to get internships with no prior consulting experience?

(PS, I know college is also there to have fun; I'm joining fun clubs as well:)


I’m currently a student at a target myself and my knowledge is def limited compared to those established in the industry, but in my experience a lot of that depends on what background you’re coming in from.

If you’re coming from a family or town where you already have a lot of professional connections, and people whom you can rely on for professional advice, then they may not be as beneficial. If you come from a background where you can’t expect any referrals and your father has no idea how to help you tailor your resume for consulting or how to prep for a superday, then they’ll likely help you more.

I have many friends not in clubs doing just fine, but generally they’re the ones who are able to rely on their parents for solid resume critiques and family friends for referrals. On the other hand, quite frankly the only referrals I am getting are from my club alumni.

EDIT: Also helped me find casing partners but you can do that on your own easily enough


Referrals are not useful for undergrads at targets. The only benefit to consulting clubs is guidance through the recruiting process - which honestly you can get by cold emailing alums. Most of them will be happy to chat to you.

Most Helpful

^ don't listen to this guy

I was at target (non-HYP Ivy) and got interviews at all three MBB for summer internships and offers from two. I had zero referrals (as did vast majority of my friends who recruited successfully for MBB). Pinecones had right advice that only benefit to consulting clubs is guidance and its much better to get that via networking with school alums at the firm (especially since if you network before applying and then you get interview some of them will offer to do mock cases with you prep which is incredibly useful)

Also fwiw I'd say at my school <33% of kids who got MBB offers (rough estimate) were in consulting club(s). It is far more important to have high GPA, prestigious/name-brand internships, good test scores, and leadership roles vs be in certain club.

MBB's whole philosophy around undergrad recruiting is they are looking for socially competent people with good intellectual horsepower. They will teach you all the business stuff and don't really care if you have any coming in or not as long as you learn the bare minimum necessary to do cases.

Career Advancement Opportunities

December 2023 Consulting

  • Bain & Company 99.4%
  • McKinsey and Co 98.9%
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 98.3%
  • Oliver Wyman 97.7%
  • LEK Consulting 97.2%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

December 2023 Consulting

  • Bain & Company 99.4%
  • Cornerstone Research 98.9%
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 98.3%
  • McKinsey and Co 97.7%
  • Oliver Wyman 97.2%

Professional Growth Opportunities

December 2023 Consulting

  • Bain & Company 99.4%
  • McKinsey and Co 98.9%
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) 98.3%
  • Oliver Wyman 97.7%
  • LEK Consulting 97.2%

Total Avg Compensation

December 2023 Consulting

  • Partner (4) $368
  • Principal (25) $277
  • Director/MD (55) $270
  • Vice President (47) $246
  • Engagement Manager (96) $224
  • Manager (149) $169
  • 2nd Year Associate (154) $139
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (108) $130
  • Senior Consultant (325) $130
  • Consultant (580) $119
  • NA (15) $119
  • 1st Year Associate (533) $118
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (140) $114
  • Engineer (6) $114
  • 2nd Year Analyst (327) $101
  • Associate Consultant (163) $98
  • 1st Year Analyst (1029) $87
  • Intern/Summer Associate (186) $84
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (535) $67
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”