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Ask Me Anything: Recruiter from a Consulting Firm

Mark_BR's picture
Mark_BR - Certified Professional
Rank: Senior Baboon | banana points 191

A stranger is being shown around a village that he has just become a part of. He is shown a well and his guide says: "On any day except Monday, you can shout any question down that well and you'll be told an answer". The man seems pretty impressed, and so he shouts down: Why not on Monday? and the voice from in the well shouts back: Because on Monday its your day in the well.

Hi all! I am a corporate recruiter for one of the top management consulting firms. Besides standard tasks I am usually conducting behavioral interviews for top positions and managing tough candidates (and clients, yesss). So the conversation here can be useful for all of us no matter of your proficiency.

Feel free to ask me any question about whatever you like.

If I decide to answer your question I am giving honest answers so I'll need to stay incognito.

Also you can subscribe to my Twitter @BstardRecruiter. I am tough there...

Note: The following questions and answers are highlights from thread. Get engaged in the conversation below.

How strictly are GPA cutoff's enforced for consulting firms?

MBB really have very high GPA requirements for all of their openings, in other companies there are softer GPA requirements at least in some cases.

But in general I must admit that almost always a recruiter will pay attention to your GPA (again, we are speaking about graduates) and if it is below 3.5 (4.2-4.3 for Europe) - your chances are pretty low to pass screening.

How important is an MBA for management consulting?

Nowadays in most cases Real Experience beats MBA - not counting positions where MBA is an official requirement. Even in consulting.

So get the experience. And get an MBA only when your company pays for it.

If the position is not officially 'post-MBA only' then MBA still is a plus, but not a huge one. Again, this heavily depends on country/city/company.

What does the resume screening/ hiring process look like for management consulting?

Screening stage:

- Target (or similar to it) university and program
- Internships in large and/or consulting company

- References DO mean a lot. So if someone is able to supply you with recommendations - do not forget to mention it. It will serve as a background check for you too

- Never lie in your CV. This is easy to detect and if you are caught - welcome to the black list

Then testings:

- Math&analytical skills, English language (when it is not native), logics&reasoning skills

Then several interviews:

- Pretty much the same + case interviews where we are checking (besides all that we have already mentioned) business sense and, well, smartness

... and communication skills+motivation, of course

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Comments (213)

Jun 10, 2013

If students from non-target school manage to get in the interview process through networking, are they at a disadvantage in the interview process?

Jun 10, 2013
AsianMonky:

If students from non-target school manage to get in the interview process through networking, are they at a disadvantage in the interview process?

The answer here is different for 1) graduates and for 2) experienced candidates.

So:

1) Yes, but not as much as on CV screening stage. Still the process of graduate hiring is usually much more standartized thus students from target universities get an advantage.

2) Rarely - actual experience and recommendations from trusted sources - these things matter in such cases

Jun 10, 2013

Is it true that you guys have ridiculously high GPA standards unless you're recommended by someone on the inside? (i.e. 3.8+)

Jun 10, 2013
kidflash:

Is it true that you guys have ridiculously high GPA standards unless you're recommended by someone on the inside? (i.e. 3.8+)

It depends on the firm and the position.

MBB really have very high GPA requirements for all of their openings, in other companies there are softer GPA requirements at least in some cases.

But in general I must admit that almost always a recruiter will pay attention to your GPA (again, we are speaking about graduates) and if it is below 3.5 (4.2-4.3 for Europe) - your chances are pretty low to pass screening.

    • 2
Jun 10, 2013

How do you view candidates (straight out of undergrad) post-consulting plans? Would planning to jump over to the buy side after the consulting associate program be viewed negatively?

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Jun 10, 2013
msteven1:

How do you view candidates (straight out of undergrad) post-consulting plans? Would planning to jump over to the buy side after the consulting associate program be viewed negatively?

Honestly, in our country, with so many good exit opportunities, mentioning of any post-consulting plans during the interview process would be a minus.

Everyone understands that the majority is going to leave but if you tell me about it prior to joining the firm - I am going to seriously question your loyalty and notify hiring managers of this fact

    • 1
Jun 10, 2013

How is summer experience in a tech startup viewed relative to summer experience in consulting? Is it the industry that you're in that matters or the experience (or both)?

Jun 10, 2013
lifestudent:

How is summer experience in a tech startup viewed relative to summer experience in consulting? Is it the industry that you're in that matters or the experience (or both)?

That's interesting. Deciding over internships take into account:

1) the position you would like to apply for later in consulting
2) tasks you are going to perform during the internship

By the way experience matters more than industry in almost all cases.

So if you think that in this tech startup you can gain valuable experience, I would say: why not?

Jun 10, 2013

I'm likely switching out of finance to a small consulting shop soon, how long should I stay there before looking at bigger consulting firms? Is this even feasible? Is there a more efficient route, say just skip the small consulting shop and just get an MBA?

Jun 10, 2013
UFOinsider:

I'm likely switching out of finance to a small consulting shop soon, how long should I stay there before looking at bigger consulting firms? Is this even feasible? Is there a more efficient route, say just skip the small consulting shop and just get an MBA?

Nowadays in most cases Real Experience beats MBA - not counting positions where MBA is an official requirement. Even in consulting.

So get the experience. And get an MBA only when your company pays for it.

Jun 10, 2013
Mark_BR:
UFOinsider:

I'm likely switching out of finance to a small consulting shop soon, how long should I stay there before looking at bigger consulting firms? Is this even feasible? Is there a more efficient route, say just skip the small consulting shop and just get an MBA?

Nowadays in most cases Real Experience beats MBA - not counting positions where MBA is an official requirement. Even in consulting.

So get the experience. And get an MBA only when your company pays for it.

Ok, thanks for the input.

Followup question: how active in the recruiting process is HR at consulting firms compared to finance? How much is networking vs talking directly to HR a factor? I'm heavily focused on networking because I didn't have an impressive college tenure, and I'm curious if the same issue with stats are going to force me to actively work around HR/recruiters in consulting the way I did in finance. It's part of the reason I want to go to business school, so I just don't have to face this hurdle anymore.

    • 1
Jun 12, 2013
UFOinsider:

Followup question: how active in the recruiting process is HR at consulting firms compared to finance? How much is networking vs talking directly to HR a factor? I'm heavily focused on networking because I didn't have an impressive college tenure, and I'm curious if the same issue with stats are going to force me to actively work around HR/recruiters in consulting the way I did in finance. It's part of the reason I want to go to business school, so I just don't have to face this hurdle anymore.

Role of HR Recruiter depends on many factors, among them: how large is the office and how actively the firm uses the help of recruitment agencies. For example, in cities where top firms have small offices the role of HR-recruiter will be not as big as in NY office. The industry (finance vs consulting vs hi-tech) does not matter if we speak about the role here.

Networking beats all other methods and approaches. Please keeps also in mind: speaking to a recruiter during the informal lunch = networking. Cold calling him = not a networking.

And networking is not only in getting acquainted with recruiters, but with your potential colleagues as well. Here is what I mean: if I run into a good guy who wants to work in the firm - I tell him 'send me your CV' and I will definitely look through it. But when my colleague approaches me and says 'hey, here is this guy, I know him, he is good for the position you have opened', then I instantly get a manager on the phone and tell him 'we have a good candidate, you should meet him as soon as possible'.

See the difference?

And my opinion: networking in business school is a little bit... well, too expensive. There are cheaper and not less effective ways.

Jun 10, 2013

For undergrad recruiting, do you look at which courses the candidate takes in addition to their GPA? Some candidates have a higher GPA & easier courses - is this factored into the screening decision?

Jun 10, 2013
lifestudent:

For undergrad recruiting, do you look at which courses the candidate takes in addition to their GPA? Some candidates have a higher GPA & easier courses - is this factored into the screening decision?

I personally do not look at the list of courses - takes too much time. But that's me. Still I doubt that many recruiters do this.

Thus much depends on how the candidate passes interviews with me and with hiring managers.

Jun 10, 2013

For MBA recruiting, for closed lists

GMAT - is there a cutoff for total score, is there a cutoff for quant? Ifso, what are they??
UG GPA - Does undergrad institute/GPA matter much?

What are the main mistakes candidates make while interacting with recruiters?

Jun 10, 2013
highwyre237:

For MBA recruiting, for closed lists

GMAT - is there a cutoff for total score, is there a cutoff for quant? Ifso, what are they??
UG GPA - Does undergrad institute/GPA matter much?

I am not usually involved in specific MBA recruiting activities, so let me skip this. I just can confirm the evident: GPA and GMAT are different things, but high GMAT is a definite plus for junior roles.

highwyre237:

What are the main mistakes candidates make while interacting with recruiters?

Wow, this is a HUGE question. No way I can make a list of all mistakes. Few things I have in mind right now:

- Reminding me about your application is good
- Reminding me about your application every day is mind blowing. I will never like you for this
- Showing on the interview without a tie is not professional
- Asking me about exit opportunities - yes, as we've mentioned it, is not the best idea
- Showing too much excitement can be a bit suspicious
- I can be really tough during the interview. But in case I see you are stressed with it - big minus

BR,
Mark

    • 3
Apr 6, 2014

Wow, this is a HUGE question. No way I can make a list of all mistakes. Few things I have in mind right now:

- Reminding me about your application is good

- Reminding me about your application every day is mind blowing. I will never like you for this

- Showing on the interview without a tie is not professional

- Asking me about exit opportunities - yes, as we've mentioned it, is not the best idea

- Showing too much excitement can be a bit suspicious

- I can be really tough during the interview. But in case I see you are stressed with it - big minus

BR,

Mark

[/quote]

Could you share what questions a candidate can ask during an informational interview that you would be happy with?
I mean questions you actually expect to hear.

Thanks

Apr 8, 2014
totful:

Could you share what questions a candidate can ask during an informational interview that you would be happy with?

I mean questions you actually expect to hear.

Thanks

Well, the list of questions can be rather standard and obvious, but almost everyone forgets to actually ask them:

* Tell me about recent successful projects of the company (btw no one can promise you will get an answer)
* Tell me about company's strategic vision
* Tell me about company's core values
* Tell me what you (yes, you) like about this company
* Describe a typical career path in the company

Common rule is to display interest in company's business and desire to understand how you can be valuable for the company. All in all it is company who is paying you and not vice versa.

BR,
Mark

Apr 8, 2014

Thanks Mark. Great reply, and thanks for doing this!

Jun 10, 2013

If the undergraduate has exceptional experience (creating and directing marketing strategy for a target university's faculty whilst still a student + strong EC) but a softer GPA (bordering/below 3.5) will that candidate be competitive?

Jun 11, 2013
setarcos:

If the undergraduate has exceptional experience (creating and directing marketing strategy for a target university's faculty whilst still a student + strong EC) but a softer GPA (bordering/below 3.5) will that candidate be competitive?

Yes, why not. Experience rules

Jiggy:

How often do you hire laterals (pre-MBA), and what do you look for? Is it based on a match to a specific practice need?

Also- are you guys hiring?

Yes, in most cases we are looking for a specific skills. If the position is not officially 'post-MBA only' then MBA still is a plus, but not a huge one. Again, this heavily depends on country/city/company.

And yes, we are hiring! ...

    • 1
Jun 10, 2013

How often do you hire laterals (pre-MBA), and what do you look for? Is it based on a match to a specific practice need?

Also- are you guys hiring?

Jun 10, 2013

If an undergraduate were to apply, what skills and experiences are preferred? What are you looking for in a candidate?

Jun 11, 2013
T-3000:

If an undergraduate were to apply, what skills and experiences are preferred? What are you looking for in a candidate?

Again, this is standard.

Screening stage:

- Target (or similar to it) university and program
- Internships in large and/or consulting company

Then testings:

- Math&analytical skills, English language (when it is not native), logics&reasoning skills

Then several interviews:

- Pretty much the same + case interviews where we are checking (besides all that we have already mentioned) business sense and, well, smartness

... and communication skills+motivation, of course

    • 1
Jun 11, 2013
Mark_BR:
T-3000:

If an undergraduate were to apply, what skills and experiences are preferred? What are you looking for in a candidate?

Again, this is standard.

Screening stage:

- Target (or similar to it) university and program
- Internships in large and/or consulting company

Then testings:

- Math&analytical skills, English language (when it is not native), logics&reasoning skills

Then several interviews:

- Pretty much the same + case interviews where we are checking (besides all that we have already mentioned) business sense and, well, smartness

... and communication skills+motivation, of course

How do you test "Math, logic & analytical skills" aside from case interviews?

Jun 11, 2013
Mark_BR:

Again, this is standard.

Screening stage:

- Target (or similar to it) university and program

How relevant is this after getting some experience?

Jun 10, 2013

1. What are the best networking strategies for an undergrad at a non-target school to get an interview with MBB? (send a ton of cold emails requesting informational interviews? Who should those emails be sent to i.e. analysts or more MDs/Partners?)

2. What type of internship experience is best for undergrads trying to do MBB full time (I-banking, tier 2 consulting, etc.) Would a tier 2 consulting internship put me at a disadvantage at getting MBB FT? If not, which tier 2 consulting firms should I consider applying for an internship, with the goal being MBB FT ?

3. What are the chances of getting an MBB internship realistically? I have a 3.9+ from a semi/non target, decent school and a middle office MM internship as a sophomore. Though, I don't have any connections in the industry yet.

    • 2
Jun 11, 2013
bballchamp:

1. What are the best networking strategies for an undergrad at a non-target school to get an interview with MBB? (send a ton of cold emails requesting informational interviews? Who should those emails be sent to i.e. analysts or more MDs/Partners?)

2. What type of internship experience is best for undergrads trying to do MBB full time (I-banking, tier 2 consulting, etc.) Would a tier 2 consulting internship put me at a disadvantage at getting MBB FT? If not, which tier 2 consulting firms should I consider applying for an internship, with the goal being MBB FT ?

3. What are the chances of getting an MBB internship realistically? I have a 3.9+ from a semi/non target, decent school and a middle office MM internship as a sophomore. Though, I don't have any connections in the industry yet.

bballchamp, interesting topics. I will not go into details speaking about 'chances', because to be true no one ever knows that, this is so individual. And still:

1) Cold emails and cold calls are not networking (and usually do not work as good as candidates wish them to). If the aim of your networking is to get the interview, you have 2 ways:

* ask someone to present/recommend you to the interviewer/recruiter
* get to know the actual interviewer and persuade him to invite you for the interview

Networking is a GRAND and interesting and useful topic (and part of my job) so thanks you asked about it. Here are several clues for you: a) Read the first few pages of Liar's Poker - there you can read about a classic example of getting the job via networking. The rest of the book is good too, btw b) I can recommend Keith Ferrazzi's 'Never Eat Alone' book. Good read

2) So much depends on projects you are going to work on vs projects MBB in your are is hiring fresh analysts for. Do your own research, and here is an example for you: in case you know MBB in your are is expanding its finance branch, then IB internship may be good. But in case they would like to see their analysts on their market research projects - you better go to FMCG or consulting for practice.

3) The chances are always low, you know this. GPA is not going to help anymore. What can really help -> see number one here.

    • 1
Jun 10, 2013

Thanks for doing this. I have two questions:

1. How much does your major in college matter? If it doesn't, do you guys apply GPA weightings to different majors (e.g. "Math is harder than Political Science, so 3.5/4.0 in Math = 3.7/4.0 in Poli Sci")

2. GPA Rounding - since most people present their GPAs to 2 decimal places, what goes into your head when you see a GPA to one decimal place (e.g. when you see somebody's resumes saying GPA: 3.7/4.0, do you automatically assume it's a 3.65?)

    • 1
Jun 12, 2013
npat92:

Thanks for doing this. I have two questions:

1. How much does your major in college matter? If it doesn't, do you guys apply GPA weightings to different majors (e.g. "Math is harder than Political Science, so 3.5/4.0 in Math = 3.7/4.0 in Poli Sci")

2. GPA Rounding - since most people present their GPAs to 2 decimal places, what goes into your head when you see a GPA to one decimal place (e.g. when you see somebody's resumes saying GPA: 3.7/4.0, do you automatically assume it's a 3.65?)

1) I am not that specific and I doubt there are such precise metrics for this. And, btw Math never equals Political Science..
2) honestly see no big difference. The guy has 3.65? 3.7? 3.75? Come on, I speak with him and everything becomes clear

Jun 10, 2013

How possible is it for someone with 2 years of banking and few years of buyside experience (HF / PE) to move to MBB without a MBA? I know it's not the standard route as people usually do the reverse (consulting -> buyside) but in case someone is interested how possible is that?

Thanks.

Jun 12, 2013
fast6060:

How possible is it for someone with 2 years of banking and few years of buyside experience (HF / PE) to move to MBB without a MBA? I know it's not the standard route as people usually do the reverse (consulting -> buyside) but in case someone is interested how possible is that?

Thanks.

It is possible and depends on the quality of your experience and on how it corresponds to the current demand of the company/department/project

Jun 10, 2013

What's the best way for a post-MBA consultant at non-MBB (ATK, Booz, Deloitte, OW, etc.) to lateral to MBB?

Jun 12, 2013
BigPicture:

What's the best way for a post-MBA consultant at non-MBB (ATK, Booz, Deloitte, OW, etc.) to lateral to MBB?

To be better than their 'average' consultant. Really, it's that simple

Yekrut:

My question revolves around "experienced" candidates. What would you recommend is the best path to break into consulting as a masters graduate (in science background) with 1 year of experience in consulting (boutique firm)? Specifically, if you are applying for the analyst positions, does this put you at an advantage or disadvatage compared to undergrdaduate candidates.

My initial thoughts are that it might be difficult since this background doesnt fall in the regular recruiting pool and is rather "off-cycle".

See no disadvantage for you here. Pass screening and testings, and during the interview you have much more chances to perform better than those who don't have your experience. The task here for you is 1) to have your CV written in the right way and 2) to be smart, of course

    • 1
Jun 10, 2013

Great thread and great insight. My question revolves around "experienced" candidates. What would you recommend is the best path to break into consulting as a masters graduate (in science background) with 1 year of experience in consulting (boutique firm)? Specifically, if you are applying for the analyst positions, does this put you at an advantage or disadvatage compared to undergrdaduate candidates.

My initial thoughts are that it might be difficult since this background doesnt fall in the regular recruiting pool and is rather "off-cycle".

Jun 11, 2013

great thread, thanks for doing this
few questions:

1) any insight on "thank you letter" content, length and title (of the email)?
should, for example, repeating/highlighting your qualities be OK or should one just thank for the interview modestly without using the letter for further marketing?

2) any insight on background check for summer interns?
i did few great internships back in the day and i think that nobody ever really checked the transcripts that i've sent or called people at firms that i worked at? (this was at german speaking country, europe; i am sure that nobody ever called my employers or uni. however, i did provide them with official references and transcripts but still...)
i've had some very desirable internships but i was thinking that someone with 0 experience could end up at the same place where i was if he lied on his resume big time. later he could replace the stuff he lied with real internship and become a competitive candidate.
i am sure that it is more rigid than this for FT positions, but do you sometimes find people that actually lied on their resumes (or do you even check that carefully)?

many thanks!

Jun 12, 2013
animalz:

great thread, thanks for doing this
few questions:

1) any insight on "thank you letter" content, length and title (of the email)?
should, for example, repeating/highlighting your qualities be OK or should one just thank for the interview modestly without using the letter for further marketing?

2) any insight on background check for summer interns?
i did few great internships back in the day and i think that nobody ever really checked the transcripts that i've sent or called people at firms that i worked at? (this was at german speaking country, europe; i am sure that nobody ever called my employers or uni. however, i did provide them with official references and transcripts but still...)
i've had some very desirable internships but i was thinking that someone with 0 experience could end up at the same place where i was if he lied on his resume big time. later he could replace the stuff he lied with real internship and become a competitive candidate.
i am sure that it is more rigid than this for FT positions, but do you sometimes find people that actually lied on their resumes (or do you even check that carefully)?

many thanks!

1) I am convinced that follow up letter should be very short. Just 'thank you for the interview' in the head, a couple of sentences in the body of email and that's it. The purpose of this is just to a) show you know business rules and b) remind about yourself. For highlighting your qualities in written form you have your CV and CL

2) Now this is simple. There are two rules:

- References DO mean a lot. So if someone is able to supply you with recommendations - do not forget to mention it. It will serve as a background check for you too

- Never lie in your CV. This is easy to detect and if you are caught - welcome to the black list

    • 2
Jun 10, 2013

If two candidates are roughly the same credential wise, but one is an average looking guy and one is a hot girl, are you more likely to hire the hot girl specifically because she's a hot girl? Be honest here, no one is judging.

Thanks in advance.

Jun 12, 2013
Going Concern:

If two candidates are roughly the same credential wise, but one is an average looking guy and one is a hot girl, are you more likely to hire the hot girl specifically because she's a hot girl? Be honest here, no one is judging.

Thanks in advance.

Love this question!

Usually this doesn't matter and I am not giving a person any credits just because she is hot. This is a part of my job - to be cold-minded and objective.

There are, however, some cases when hot girl can have more chances. Just an example: one of my clients once approached to me and said 'I need you to find me a very good analyst. And you know, we have a little team and only guys in it. So please, find me a good-looking girl, we need some diversity'. I would call this an exception, but as you see, it happens. But again, nothing personal here.

By the way, a girl can be hot just because she is smart, why no one thinks about it!?

    • 2
Jun 12, 2013
Mark_BR:

By the way, a girl can be hot just because she is smart, why no one thinks about it!?

I would call this an exception, but as you see, it happens.

    • 1
Jun 10, 2013

a) Is it possible to get noticed by just showcasing your GMAT score for brain power reasons? A lot of people don't do MBA. So, are just GMAT scores any good?

b) How difficult is moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2 or Tier 2 to Tier 1? The reason is because in Tier 2/3 - let's say an Accenture or IBM or Big 4 for example, you can get through from a non prestigious school and still do the same things that Strategy firms do. Sometimes niche fields, think Financial Risk Management, IT Finance, etc., but still somewhat the same. Is it possible to jump across tiers just through experience and not MBA?

c) Completely off-topic: What are your thoughts on online courses such as Coursera? Do you think recruiters will give a cookie at anytime in the future to someone who has done courses on Coursera? (At the same time, I am unhappy about rumors that part time MBAs are not getting much value in the top firms)

Thanks for doing this!

    • 2
Jun 11, 2013

Two part question:

1) Whats the lowest GPA for an undergrad candidate you have seen pass your CV screening? For that individual what stuck out to you the most to give that person a shot?

2) Do you happen to know if a lot of Big 4 Consulting people successfully matriculate into actual consulting (moreover at your firm) or do all the recruiters look down upon Big 4 consulting as common belief on this board says? I am asking because I am currently in Big 4 Consulting currently and I would like to transition into an actual management consulting firm eventually?

Jun 11, 2013

As a Masters of Finance candidate from a top 5 program, what is the best way to express my interest to the MBB if my previous experience have been in Banking?

Thanks

Jun 11, 2013
leigh:

As a Masters of Finance candidate from a top 5 program, what is the best way to express my interest to the MBB if my previous experience have been in Banking?

Thanks

I assume you are either in an MS Financial Mathematics at Stanford, the Masters of Finance at MIT, or the MFE at Columbia? My firm has hired a few people from those programs. My advice would be to make friends with the wannabe-consultants in your school's MBA program and get referred by a former summer there to the MBA recruiter.

Jun 11, 2013

How do you source candidates? LinkedIn, referrals, other? Do people contact recruiters directly rather than the firm they are looking for? What is the split between you finding a candidate vs them finding you?

Jun 11, 2013

Wanted to echo the question surrounding undergraduate institution and GPA for MBB candidates from a top 10 MBA program. How heavily does the MBA outweigh the undergrad assuming a no-name undergrad with low-ish GPA?

    • 1
Jun 11, 2013

Thanks for the Q & A. I have a lot of the same questions as others have already posted regarding experienced hires - looking forward to your responses.

Jun 11, 2013

When evaluating a CV, do you consider the major in conjunction with the GPA? For instance, would one of the more challenging engineering majors make you look at a sub 3.5 GPA less harshly?

Jun 11, 2013

What specific advice would you give to someone about to start their undergrad summer internship in consulting this summer? Either regarding prior preparation or on-the-job performance? Thanks.

Jun 12, 2013

Mark_BR,

Thanks for doing this. I wanted to ask about lateral into MBB/Tier 2 consulting firms after two years of investment banking. I work in a niche sector and in a small group within a large bank, and while I've enjoyed my experiences very much, I'm concerned that my experiences are too narrow. I'd like to move to a reputable strategy consulting firm to 1) gain a broader perspective of different industries, 2) learn for more # of senior people and 3) "rebrand" myself away from this niche sector. I think an investment banking + strategy consulting background would be pretty differentiating for both MBA and future job placement. I actually wanted to do strategy consulting more than banking at one point. However an unique situation came up for me and I felt it'd be better for me to pursue a banking opportunity, but I very well could stay in consulting for the long term as well.

That being said, how accepting are MBB/Tier 2 firms to lateral hires coming from 2+ years of investment banking (assuming I don't want to focus on this niche sector)? If there is opportunity for a lateral, would I come in as essentially a new hire or could I try to negotiate for an experienced hire position? Went to a non-ivy league "target" school. My overall GPA is low (~3.3ish) with a higher Major GPA, but I have pretty good work experience and would have solid recommendations.

Thanks again for doing this.

Jun 12, 2013

In your opinion, what's the best way to get in touch with recruiters? Or, in other words, what have been the most effective ways prospective hires have gotten in touch with you?

Jun 12, 2013

How do you test "Math, logic & analytical skills" aside from case interviews?

Jun 12, 2013

Thank you Mark, appreciate the feedback :)

Jun 12, 2013

Thanks for this great thread!

What are your suggestions for some one doing Big4 audit but wants to do Consulting (MBB/Deloitte) later on.
Is MBA (from a target school) a must in these situation or is it realistic to get into consulting without a MBA?

Some routes that came across my mind are
Big4Audit(1/2 years)--->Boutique/Small consulting firms---->MBA---->MBB or likes?
Big4Audit(1/2 years)--->Boutique/Small consulting firms---->MBB?
or
Big4Audit(3/4years)--->MBA---->MBB?

Which route do you think has better chance into make it and also that would help in consulting career later.

I know its tough for auditor to move around cause they are pretty much labelled "Accountant/Auditor". But from your experience, how is Big4 Audit perceived in consulting and have you seen any one from audit move into consulting in your or similar firms?

    • 1
Jun 12, 2013

No questions here - just an opinion on lateral moves in consulting.

I saw a couple of lateral questions, not just from me but from others as well and most recruiters give the "You have to be better than the average consultant" response to laterals. This is easier said than done. A lot of the consultants/auditors (I saw a Big 4 auditor up in the threads) hardly have any input on the projects they get staffed on. Yes, most consulting firms try to place emphasis on an asset's skill sets and development but the percentage of this which translates into cold hard execution in terms of engagement alignment/go-to-market scenarios is very low. To be a Strategy Consultant, you need to demonstrate Strategy on your resume and this is very difficult. Essentially because, the number of Strat projects are decreasing in the market place and most clients execute this in house. A lot of the MBBs are now fighting for operational level projects as well.

This article, though from India, summarizes the battles between Big 4 and MBB - http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-...

A MBB recruiter once told me that they don't recruit from Tier 2/ Big 4 mainly because they need to maintain their gloss and shine to differentiate themselves in the continuously decreasing world of Strategy Consulting and that if an ex-Big 4 can jump into a MBB and execute MBB level projects, companies might begin to realize that they may as well go with a Big 4 with lower costs (Most consulting firms have their internal resumes - so when you try to get staffed, you send the client firm your resume. So, they see your history). I have no clue of how much this is true, but I guess this was as honest an opinion of the current trends in the marketplace as there ever can be.

    • 1
Jun 12, 2013

Quick Question: I am summering at an MBB (as an undergraduate junior intern) and hoping to switch to a different MBB in the fall, for personal and location-based reasons. I am fairly confident that my acceptance/rejection of my current MBB offer will be due before other MBB's can get back to me according to the traditional fall timeline; do you guys accommodate these kind of special situations with accelerated interviews? What would be the best way to go about getting one?

Jun 13, 2013

Is it true you analyze both quantitative and qualitative research?

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jun 13, 2013

I am currently a temp worker at an investment bank specialize in public finance, what shops should I be aiming for? MBB is out of the question, right? How about Accenture, Booz, or Big Four consulting gig? What is the best place to search for opening beside their websites? I see consulting jobs on Indeed.com and a lot of other places as well but its usually for people with 2+ experience. How can I position myself?

Jun 13, 2013

I won't ask what the chances are as it's impossible to quantify, but how common is it for corporate development guys to move into consulting, and would corp dev at a multinational firm be enough to interest you? How much would getting an MBA help in moving to consulting if you come from corp dev? What else could a person in this position do to make themselves more attractive?

For an experienced hire, would having board positions in charities carry much weight when you're recruiting?

What would be your preferred degree for a candidate to have? MBA, JD (LLB), finance/accounting/economics, liberal arts etc. Would having a degree such as politics and international relations be a disadvantage?

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Jun 13, 2013

Are you a campus recruiter? If so, how are transcripts used in screening/interviews? Each class scrutinzed?

Jun 13, 2013

.

Jun 13, 2013

Do you ever deal with quants at your consulting firm or consulting firms in general? If so, what are some of the requirements you look for in quant applicants.

Jun 13, 2013

Would you consider an applicant with an accounting backround?

Mps721

Jun 13, 2013
Edward_Moran:

Do you ever deal with quants at your consulting firm or consulting firms in general? If so, what are some of the requirements you look for in quant applicants.

if its a real quant - common sense

Jun 13, 2013

Mark, great post. Not sure if you are based in the US, but if you are can you speak to any military veteran hiring initiatives you are seeing in the management consulting world?

Jun 13, 2013

I have a full time offer from MC firm's Asia office after a junior year summer analyst stint. Is it possible for me to leverage that for other offices such as London or SF?

Jun 13, 2013

Mark, people asked about GPA cutoffs to make it past the resume screen. What about ACT/SAT for undergrads looking to go full-time to MBB? I'm from a non/semi-target and a non-math/business major. I've heard that you need a 30+ ACT to get past the screening. Any insights? Also, do firms ask for your score broken down into sub-sections?

    • 1
Jun 13, 2013
Mark_BR:

And my opinion: networking in business school is a little bit... well, too expensive. There are cheaper and not less effective ways.

Thank you for all the input. I'm curious: what ways would you recommend networking? I'm always looking for new ways to improve in this area...

Best Response
Jun 13, 2013

Why is anyone taking advice from this Jackass. He is RECRUITER/HR PERSON. He is useless to the companies function. Probably studied literary french classics and got lucky landing an HR job at a company. Good for you dude. You have no real skills. Your job is to just screen resumes.

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Jun 14, 2013

Many consultants and partners are also part of the hiring process. Regardless, deciding whether or not I'm getting into my target firm, I'm definitely considering his advice.

Jun 14, 2013

Hello, thanks for opening this thread. It is extremely useful.

I have two questions:

1) How do you view strong industrial experience (e.g. aerospace engineer for 4-5 years with Boeing) with a good undergrad record (GPA 3.8 from Michigan/Georgia Tech) without an MBA?

2) If the applicant were to apply for:

a) Aerospace & Defense practice
b) Generalist

Will the be an inherent advantage to apply to (a) rather than (b) due to previous work experience?

Again, thank you for doing this!

Jun 14, 2013
hb36963:

a) Is it possible to get noticed by just showcasing your GMAT score for brain power reasons? A lot of people don't do MBA. So, are just GMAT scores any good?

b) How difficult is moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2 or Tier 2 to Tier 1? The reason is because in Tier 2/3 - let's say an Accenture or IBM or Big 4 for example, you can get through from a non prestigious school and still do the same things that Strategy firms do. Sometimes niche fields, think Financial Risk Management, IT Finance, etc., but still somewhat the same. Is it possible to jump across tiers just through experience and not MBA?

c) Completely off-topic: What are your thoughts on online courses such as Coursera? Do you think recruiters will give a cookie at anytime in the future to someone who has done courses on Coursera? (At the same time, I am unhappy about rumors that part time MBAs are not getting much value in the top firms)

Thanks for doing this!

a) High GMAT score is good, but it never shows your abilities to be a good consultant. And GMAT cannot be a substitute for any kind of education

b) Possible, difficult. I've covered this topic a bit in one of my previous answers

c) I like the idea of online education, but the fact is that for Management Consulting it is still not very useful. Coursera (or others) is good for self-development or for gaining some basic skills that could help you with your job or hobby (ex. programming skills, finance).

Thus for now certificates such as from Coursera just indicates for me that a person is really willing to learn and stay competitive, which is a plus. Unfortunately, he/she still need to have good college/university credentials in order to pass screening.

BR,
Mark

Oct 16, 2018

Hi Mark, thank you for the answer above! What do you think of the MicroMaster program offered by MITx (for eg. MITx micromaster in Business Analytics?) It's an online program provided by MIT. Will it be helpful at all for someone wants to break into analytics consulting? Given that I've already had a Master in Finance from a non-target and a few years of experience?

Jun 14, 2013

to alphabeta123:

Sorry, I won't spend time to answer that. Your behavior is unprofessional and your reasoning means nothing.

Jun 14, 2013
artfuldodger23:

Two part question:

1) Whats the lowest GPA for an undergrad candidate you have seen pass your CV screening? For that individual what stuck out to you the most to give that person a shot?

2) Do you happen to know if a lot of Big 4 Consulting people successfully matriculate into actual consulting (moreover at your firm) or do all the recruiters look down upon Big 4 consulting as common belief on this board says? I am asking because I am currently in Big 4 Consulting currently and I would like to transition into an actual management consulting firm eventually?

1) Something like 3.2 or 3.3, I cannot say exactly, because as you probably have guessed I am working much more with experienced candidates. If your GPA is comparatively low, you should have others things to stand for you: Internships, GMAT, volunteer services and also a good-written CV and CL

2) There are indeed people from Big 4 who is now working in MBB and other management consulting firms. For the most cases they are 1) post-target-MBA graduates or 2) guys with unique experience on really tough or well-known global projects.

And nothing personal, but people from Big 4 often overestimate themselves. The fact you are asking about these things points that you are possibly not among them which makes your chances without doubt more solid. So do not give up!

Jun 14, 2013

1.) How would you view a candidate w/ a 3.7+gpa online adv. degree from Target school, while working in a start-up (in terms of getting an interview)?

Asking this question because I was a business undergrad from non-target with a mediocre GPA of 3.2. I have been fairly involved in the Tech field, however, and have wanted to try the entrepreneurial route for a bit to test out a few ideas.

I understand that the the regular route for someone with my background would be to go MBA, but just wanted to see things from a recruiter's view of where I stand next recruiting cycle.

2.) How much benefit would a year in a mid-tier bank/ tech-firm on resume help candidate above in terms of securing an interview?

Thank you for your help!

AB

Jun 15, 2013

All consulting shops apparently have the same idea of requiring highschool GPAs in the application process. Now being a student who's highschool experience was slightly above par, I would rather not include this in my evaluation.

How much weight are you putting on the highscool GPA papers? Do you exclude applicants when they fail to attach the highschool papers?

Thank you for a great Q&A,

Best regards,

Max

-
Your Future Worldly Renowned Investor

Jun 19, 2013

Mark ... great post.. and a few questions..
I am a recent graduate from a top 10 MBA program in North East US. It would be great if you could answer the following questions:

1) How stringent are the background checks?
I know people who literally spent hours crafting detailed fictitious backstories about great professional experiences - most of which were not true. They kept the employment dates & employer names correct but everything under achievements (including performance awards) on the job was pure bullshit - and they got offers from some of the better known consulting firms.

2) An MBB recruiter said this at the campus presentation: "Please don't bother writing cover letters. I will not be reading them". My questions:
Of the recruiters you know, how many actually read cover letters? Also, how much do cover letters matter, really (assuming no glaring errors like wrong company name, etc)? If possible, please speak a bit about the best cover letter you ever read and why you think so.

3) I have about 6 years of experience in the IT services industry with good experience in team leadership, software development, data management/analytics and client relationship management (including generating additional business by relationship selling). From a recruiter's point of view, how would you rate the above 4 points in terms of importance (and by extension, in terms of % of resume real estate devoted to each point)

4) Do MBB use resume screening software for applications submitted online without employee referrals?

5) Is age a factor in shortlisting post-MBA candidates? (I will be 30 next year)

6) I have a GPA of 3.26 in MBA. My questions are:

Q1) Does this number raise any red flags upfront (meaning automatic ding) or is your reaction more neutral like "hmm... lets give this resume a few more seconds and see what else he has been up to"?

Q2) Do you look at GPA trends (increasing/decreasing in every semester)?

Q3) Would you consider the following points "cover letter worthy" and/or justifications for the low GPA or do they just sound like whining?
i) For 3 out of the 4 semesters, I have been interning part time at startups, consulting firms (pro bono engagements with international government agencies, working with the guy who reports directly to that country's president), writing CFA level 1 and completing coursework for 2 practice intensive subjects (financial modeling and valuation) on my own during breaks between the semesters
ii) Taking tougher courses: specializing with heavy emphasis in finance is tough for a software engineer who saw a balance sheet for the first time in the MBA core accounting class. This is especially true if you are at *the* finance school where you have a good chance of hitting a CFA charter holder with a randomly tossed stone :). This makes for great learning, no doubt, but makes getting an A harder.

That was fairly long but I do hope you can take the time to provide some insight. Thanks!!

Jun 15, 2013

Hey Mark, that last question about female candidates is a great transition into mine. I am a new hire at a large consulting firm, and feel things are harder for me BECAUSE of it. There are not too many young girls around my age in the workplace, and its seems like no one takes me seriously despite my industry experience and professionalism (iv encountered this before). I like to look nice and put together (so sue me), and people mistake that to mean that I am not serious about my career. And so- have you seen these types of scenarios play out in the past? Whats a girl to do? Oh, and are you hiring ;)

Jun 15, 2013

What would be the best course of action for getting an interview at MBB after having a junior IB internship?
not a target, but im pretty confident at getting the ib internship. Just wanted to know so that if I don't like IB, I do have a recourse to try out consulting.

gpa/extracurriculars/internships/cv are all set and above average, so no trouble there.

Jun 15, 2013
Mark_BR:

I am a corporate recruiter for one of the top management consulting firms. Besides standard tasks I am usually conducting behavioral interviews for top positions and managing tough candidates (and clients, yesss). So the conversation here can be useful for all of us no matter of your proficiency.

Do you work for an MBB? This sounds absolutely nothing like the bio that any of the recruiters I work with would give of themselves (for example, recruiters don't do interviews or interact with clients - they just manage the process and have the consultants review applications and actually interview people).

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Jun 16, 2013

Hi Mark, thanks a lot for taking our questions.

I'm in my last year undergrad and by now have interned for 6 months (4 months full-time) at a buy-side equity firm. I kind of like it here and plan on staying for one year longer before returning to university for a master's degree. I get the do the whole thing here (come up with ideas on my own and get them into the funds), learn a lot about different industries & companies and I'm placed on equal foot compared to full-time colleagues who have been working here much longer.
Because of my love for business strategy, I do however consider getting into mbb after finishing my masters. When I spoke to recruiters there, they didn't really seem to like (or fully appreciate) the idea, so my question is how you would look at such an experience? (By then I would have 18 months of experience in this firm + any other internships in my masters). Would you be inclined to think that if I show up with such internships, a CFA lvl 1&2 and extra-curriculars in finance, I would be thinking about exit opps instead of the consulting game itself? Would the by then maybe 2 years worth of internships give me a strong advantage compared to other graduates in the screening process?

Thanks in advance and goodluck finding the best candidates out there!

Jun 16, 2013

Thanks for replies, Mark.

Jun 16, 2013

Just a general recruiting/screening question that I don't think has been answered yet, but with all the mention of how important GPA is something that seems to have been overlooked is dual majors/minors. Understandably employers want recruiters to find candidates with >3.5GPA or somewhere in that range, but is there any leniency or consideration given to a candidate that has two majors and a minor with a GPA that is only marginally below that "threshold"?

Oh and by the way, thank you for this thread and insight.

Jun 17, 2013
leigh:

As a Masters of Finance candidate from a top 5 program, what is the best way to express my interest to the MBB if my previous experience have been in Banking?

Thanks

You should know what your actual objectives are in order to give a confident answer to 'why consulting?' question.

In general you can be attracted to consulting for its unique experience, type of work, projects... Formulate the answer that works better for you.

By the way, AriZGold gave valuable advice about networking, fully agree with him

Jun 17, 2013
seedy underbelly:

How do you test "Math, logic & analytical skills" aside from case interviews?

PST, GMAT-like tests, written cases...

Jun 17, 2013
Goinggolfing:

How do you source candidates? LinkedIn, referrals, other? Do people contact recruiters directly rather than the firm they are looking for? What is the split between you finding a candidate vs them finding you?

For experience candidates: at least 50% referrals, then 50/50 split between headhunting (linkedin is of enormous help) and candidates finding me themselves.

For starting positions: about 75-80% from Campus recruiting (= target universities), then again 50/50 - referrals and candidates sending their CVs directly.

All numbers are really rounded and approximate.

Jun 17, 2013
KDR:

When evaluating a CV, do you consider the major in conjunction with the GPA? For instance, would one of the more challenging engineering majors make you look at a sub 3.5 GPA less harshly?

For IT-related projects/departments - yes.
When recruiting to finance/management consulting departments/projects - more like 'no'

Jun 17, 2013

How is recruiting different for young candidates versus older ones?

Jun 17, 2013

Is there a bias towards SAT or ACT? If my ACT score is slightly higher (by 50 points if converted), should I list both or would just ACT suffice?

Also how strict is the 750 math cutoff? My ACT meets this but my SAT Math does not....

Jun 18, 2013
erklam:

What specific advice would you give to someone about to start their undergrad summer internship in consulting this summer? Either regarding prior preparation or on-the-job performance? Thanks.

Get some rest&sleep now, when you start your work in consulting this becomes a luxury...
During the actual internship just be professional and do a lot of networking

Jun 18, 2013

Mark,

Have you every been mandated for positions which require travel between the U.S. and Asia (or another country)?

Best,

Muddy

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid
"I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad

Jun 18, 2013
soulrider44:

Thanks for this great thread!

What are your suggestions for some one doing Big4 audit but wants to do Consulting (MBB/Deloitte) later on.

Is MBA (from a target school) a must in these situation or is it realistic to get into consulting without a MBA?

Some routes that came across my mind are

Big4Audit(1/2 years)--->Boutique/Small consulting firms---->MBA---->MBB or likes?

Big4Audit(1/2 years)--->Boutique/Small consulting firms---->MBB?

or

Big4Audit(3/4years)--->MBA---->MBB?

Which route do you think has better chance into make it and also that would help in consulting career later.

I know its tough for auditor to move around cause they are pretty much labelled "Accountant/Auditor". But from your experience, how is Big4 Audit perceived in consulting and have you seen any one from audit move into consulting in your or similar firms?

First: the longer you are working in audit, the less chances you have to switch to consulting

Second: yes, that's true, we really do not like candidates-'auditors'

Third: this said, your task is to enter consulting-related job as soon as possible. It can been tier 2, it can be risks department in Big4, whatever

Fourth: if you go straight to MBA from audit, you will have no relevant experience and 'manager' label behind your back which costed you good amount of money and time. I doubt you would be happy with it...

Jun 19, 2013
FPM31:

Quick Question: I am summering at an MBB (as an undergraduate junior intern) and hoping to switch to a different MBB in the fall, for personal and location-based reasons. I am fairly confident that my acceptance/rejection of my current MBB offer will be due before other MBB's can get back to me according to the traditional fall timeline; do you guys accommodate these kind of special situations with accelerated interviews? What would be the best way to go about getting one?

This can be done in case 1) your CV will be interesting for the employer and 2) they have time for making exceptions. Just inform them about your situation and you'll have a chance

Jun 19, 2013
heister:

Is it true you analyze both quantitative and qualitative research?

True. But if my answer seems very short, please specify your question

Jun 19, 2013
TheKid1:

I am currently a temp worker at an investment bank specialize in public finance, what shops should I be aiming for? MBB is out of the question, right? How about Accenture, Booz, or Big Four consulting gig? What is the best place to search for opening beside their websites? I see consulting jobs on Indeed.com and a lot of other places as well but its usually for people with 2+ experience. How can I position myself?

You are absolutely right, besides MBB tier 2 consulting, Big4 and its spin-offs may be your target. I would add also boutique companies - in some cases you can get nice experience there too.

Booz, btw, is not bad, but very 'country-specific' - which means that if McKinsey has interesting and big projects in any of its offices, Booz in some cities/countries has really weak potential.

As for ways for approaching - MBB, tier 2 and Accenture - maybe entry-level position, if you are ok with it. Or gain some more experience in bank and go for an experienced analyst

Jun 19, 2013
Ironuts:

I won't ask what the chances are as it's impossible to quantify, but how common is it for corporate development guys to move into consulting, and would corp dev at a multinational firm be enough to interest you? How much would getting an MBA help in moving to consulting if you come from corp dev? What else could a person in this position do to make themselves more attractive?

For an experienced hire, would having board positions in charities carry much weight when you're recruiting?

What would be your preferred degree for a candidate to have? MBA, JD (LLB), finance/accounting/economics, liberal arts etc. Would having a degree such as politics and international relations be a disadvantage?

It depends on the skills you have gained but in common yes, at least MBB and Accenture has practices to which corp dev guys could be hired.
Charities and other activities - I am in doubt that this can be a plus, it is like are you going for tennis or football - I personally like tennis, but my boss never cares, really.
Good Master's in Finance or Economics should be sufficient in most cases for an experienced analyst position.

Jun 19, 2013
Mark_BR:
TheKid1:

I am currently a temp worker at an investment bank specialize in public finance, what shops should I be aiming for? MBB is out of the question, right? How about Accenture, Booz, or Big Four consulting gig? What is the best place to search for opening beside their websites? I see consulting jobs on Indeed.com and a lot of other places as well but its usually for people with 2+ experience. How can I position myself?

You are absolutely right, besides MBB tier 2 consulting, Big4 and its spin-offs may be your target. I would add also boutique companies - in some cases you can get nice experience there too.

Booz, btw, is not bad, but very 'country-specific' - which means that if McKinsey has interesting and big projects in any of its offices, Booz in some cities/countries has really weak potential.

As for ways for approaching - MBB, tier 2 and Accenture - maybe entry-level position, if you are ok with it. Or gain some more experience in bank and go for an experienced analyst

I am okay with entry level positions, but they don't come by during "off season", since recruiting is done for entry level right? I would have to wait until fall, and my Temp comes to an end next week. I have an alumni and Tier 2

Accenture, ATK, Mercer and thinking about reaching out to him. How should I approach this since my Temp ends next week.

Thank you.

Jun 19, 2013
Mark_BR:
Ironuts:

I won't ask what the chances are as it's impossible to quantify, but how common is it for corporate development guys to move into consulting, and would corp dev at a multinational firm be enough to interest you? How much would getting an MBA help in moving to consulting if you come from corp dev? What else could a person in this position do to make themselves more attractive?

For an experienced hire, would having board positions in charities carry much weight when you're recruiting?

What would be your preferred degree for a candidate to have? MBA, JD (LLB), finance/accounting/economics, liberal arts etc. Would having a degree such as politics and international relations be a disadvantage?

It depends on the skills you have gained but in common yes, at least MBB and Accenture has practices to which corp dev guys could be hired.

Charities and other activities - I am in doubt that this can be a plus, it is like are you going for tennis or football - I personally like tennis, but my boss never cares, really.

Good Master's in Finance or Economics should be sufficient in most cases for an experienced analyst position.

Thanks for your answer.

I see what you mean about the charity thing... I just asked because obviously being on the board would mean that one has a certain degree of influence over the strategy of the organisation, and as such it may have been considered relevant experience.

Thanks again.

Jun 19, 2013
Mark_BR:



heister:

Is it true you analyze both quantitative and qualitative research?


True. But if my answer seems very short, please specify your question

heister amazing question - i laughed pretty hard lol classic LSO

"so i herd u liek mudkipz" - sum kid
"I'd watergun the **** outta that." - Kassad

    • 1
Jun 19, 2013

Ironuts, got the idea - you can put it in the CV though I still doubt this would mean really much. Still why not to give it a try

Jun 21, 2013
Melk:

Are you a campus recruiter? If so, how are transcripts used in screening/interviews? Each class scrutinzed?

As I've already said, I am recruiting mainly experienced candidates, being only sometimes involved in campus recruiting activities. And well, no, not every class...

Jun 21, 2013
Mark_BR:

Booz, btw, is not bad, but very 'country-specific' - which means that if McKinsey has interesting and big projects in any of its offices, Booz in some cities/countries has really weak potential.

Thoughts on Booz US?

Jun 24, 2013
mongo83:

Mark, great post. Not sure if you are based in the US, but if you are can you speak to any military veteran hiring initiatives you are seeing in the management consulting world?

Usually I treat these candidates as others, so no problem here, just be ready to the fact that you actually lost a year or two and will need some time to recover professionally. As for hiring initiatives made specifically for veterans - can't say anything about it, unfortunately

Jun 24, 2013
BigPicture:
Mark_BR:

Booz, btw, is not bad, but very 'country-specific' - which means that if McKinsey has interesting and big projects in any of its offices, Booz in some cities/countries has really weak potential.

Thoughts on Booz US?

Depends on the office/city (check it additionaly), but overall in US they have the strongest position compared to other offices

Jun 25, 2013

Thank you for starting this thread. I'm a very non-traditional candidate: 36 with a BS in Pharmacy and a business MS (both non-target schools). I've been working in sales/marketing for fortune 500 Pharma and Med Device companies, and I currently make $300k/year in device sales. Recent Gallup strengths assessment indicted that all of my top talents are actually strategic thinking and it helped to explain why sales is so unfulfilling despite the income. After much research and introspection, I think a career in consulting will meet my needs for intellectual challenge and it will allow me to use my best strengths every day. Is MBB or other S&O realistic for a person like me? If the answer is no, what would it take to make the answer a yes. Are there other sales/marketing or life science oriented firms that I might be able to help right away? Thanks in advance for your candor.

Jun 29, 2013

Mark I appreciate you doing this I am an undergrad going into my final year at a non-target business school (BBA degree - management - we are pretty high-up the rankings but just bellow the MBBs target). I have three questions:
1) You have touched on what people can do to get that first interview which is my main focus now - networking, internships, leadership positions etc.. . I have included a brief background on me - it would be great if you identified some ares I should work on. (I will have time during summer and then going forward)
2) I have been offered a year internship with Panasonic at their Silicon Valley Laboratory doing business development - it will push my graduation (kinda like a year off to work) - do you think it will add value if I want to go straight into consulting after UG?
3) How do MBB's look at retaking classes? I messed up on my Chinese class and got C+ -> if I retake it, it could push my GPA from 3.65 to about 3.8 -> is it worth it? Or do they not like people rataking classes?

Here is a brief background:
ACADEMIC: 3.6 - 3.7 GPA - loads of international background (3 countries); scholarships, deans lists etc..
EXP: two years (18-20) as an assistant trade manager in boutique wholsale firm (unfortunately not known); sales internship over summer; recently consulted Panasonic through school project and won the competition (pretty much regular external consulting) + I have that offer for a full year internship in panasonic beccause of that; last we are working on a new company over summer with bunch of MBA people I met
EXTRA: lead the consulting club, position of responsibility in 3 other, volunteering

Thanks!

Jul 3, 2013
YGH:

Hello, thanks for opening this thread. It is extremely useful.

I have two questions:

1) How do you view strong industrial experience (e.g. aerospace engineer for 4-5 years with Boeing) with a good undergrad record (GPA 3.8 from Michigan/Georgia Tech) without an MBA?

2) If the applicant were to apply for:

a) Aerospace & Defense practice

b) Generalist

Will the be an inherent advantage to apply to (a) rather than (b) due to previous work experience?

Again, thank you for doing this!

Your guess is right - in common I like this experience, but I would expect you to be interested more in IT/engineering related consulting. You do not usually need an MBA here to apply for a let us say senior analyst role. By the way Masters in finance would be looking good here

Jul 3, 2013

Hi Mark. Thank you so much for answering our questions. I am a recent graduate that's also looking for a position in consulting. I have a few questions for you:

1/ What exactly do you look for in a particular resume other than school and GPA (since I come from a non-target school with a 3.8+ GPA)? Any specific skills? I am in the process of polishing my resume and am not sure if it's consulting-tailored enough. I make sure to include: team work, analytical skill, critical thinking, problem shooting and solving, communicating with people/ presenting ideas. I have internship experiences in trading operations and internal audit, extra curricular activities and volunteer services. I am just worried that my resume wouldn't stand out enough or seem as suitable for a consulting position. So what other things I can focus on to make it look appealing to recruiters/ other consultants? I would love for professionals in the field to review my resume and give me feedbacks but am not sure who exactly to reach out to or where to meet them? ( not a lot of people from my school are in management consulting and the firms don't hold events here so it's hard to make connections).

2/ I know you've mentioned again and again the importance of networking. However, I was wondering if it'd be better to approach a recruiter or an MD/partner and then hopefully get a referral. My impression is that as a recruiter, you talk to hundreds of students a day so it's extremely difficult to first remember the person and second actually help push them forward to the interview. I could very well be wrong so please shed some lights here.

3/ Also, in a conversation with a student, what would make you think that this is a great candidate and to bring him/ her in for an interview?

Again, thanks so much!

Jul 12, 2013
TheGantz:

1.) How would you view a candidate w/ a 3.7+gpa online adv. degree from Target school, while working in a start-up (in terms of getting an interview)?

Asking this question because I was a business undergrad from non-target with a mediocre GPA of 3.2. I have been fairly involved in the Tech field, however, and have wanted to try the entrepreneurial route for a bit to test out a few ideas.

I understand that the the regular route for someone with my background would be to go MBA, but just wanted to see things from a recruiter's view of where I stand next recruiting cycle.

2.) How much benefit would a year in a mid-tier bank/ tech-firm on resume help candidate above in terms of securing an interview?

Thank you for your help!

- GPA 3.7 and Target school - ok. GPA 3.2 non target school and less than 1.5 years of experience - most probably no
- It is a plus for entry-level analyst position, and for Management Consulting (most branches) bank would be better that tech

Jul 12, 2013

Other than the basics (like keeping a high GPA), what words of advice would you give to a rising freshman at a target? Things to keep in mind? Lesser known skills to try and grasp? Also, what do you think of non-business/finance freshman summer internships, such as those involving politics or journalism?

Thanks!

And the horse you rode in on

Jul 12, 2013

do you know the policy on Accenture? Will they hire me with a misdemeanor dui which was 2 years ago? I have a job offer but it is contingent on a background check.

Jul 15, 2013
Joe-Thomas:

do you know the policy on Accenture? Will they hire me with a misdemeanor dui which was 2 years ago? I have a job offer but it is contingent on a background check.

Dangerous question. I would say that in case they know about this fact then most probably they will not hire you - and this is not only about Accenture..

Jul 15, 2013

So you are saying I should disclose this information to HR before the background check? even if they didn't ask for it? And If I have an offer will they take it back? none of the forms I filled out online asked for this information.

Also This happened when I was in college. It was a stupid mistake and I don't put myself in situations like that anymore.

Jul 15, 2013
Maxellence:

All consulting shops apparently have the same idea of requiring highschool GPAs in the application process. Now being a student who's highschool experience was slightly above par, I would rather not include this in my evaluation.

How much weight are you putting on the highscool GPA papers? Do you exclude applicants when they fail to attach the highschool papers?

Thank you for a great Q&A,

Best regards,

Max

I should be honest and say that as I am working in most cases with experienced candidates, I am even rarely asking for GPA... Though from my experience with graduates, the answer is yes, because there is a standard process and we are not interested in accepting those who are not in line with it.

Thus there is one way for a good person who somehow has not impressive GPA - networking!

    • 1
Jul 15, 2013

Do you know anything about regional biases towards particular types of profiles? I've got a background in Bay Area tech (doing environmental data analysis and some web/entrepreneurial stuff, no name brands though) and am going to be starting a top 15 MBA this fall on the east coast. I'd like to do Management/Strategy Consulting when I finish and I'm wondering if my tech background will be a plus or minus if I try to return to the Bay Area. I'd think there would be more tech-oriented gigs out there, but also that the firms would be more inundated with people of my profile so I might be better off trying to be more "unique" elsewhere.

Jul 16, 2013

Sorry if this has been asked before but I'm wondering what your thoughts are on 'standing out'. I go to a target, know loads of people with a solid GPA, brand name internships, speak multiple languages, who network to get to know people at the firm, have solid EC's etc etc etc but don't 'stand out' as 'everyone else' is doing exactly the same things. How do you differentiate in the end (pre-interview)?

Jul 19, 2013

Hi Mark, thank you so much for your time.

I have two questions:

1) I just graduated from a target school, and became interested in management consulting late in my senior year, right before on-campus recruiting. Once I realized how rigorous the recruitment process is, I decided not to rush out applications and instead take the time to thoroughly prepare.

I've read that recent graduates can liaise with their career office and take part in the resume drop for on-campus recruiting along with seniors. However, in order to submit my resume via the school website, I need permission from the specific firms to which I'm applying - an email response from HR giving permission would suffice.

I plan to get in touch with the recruiters for my school soon to ask permission to take part in the resume drop in the Fall. Is it possible or likely that the firms would not allow me to do this?

I've done some networking and plan to do more at the specific offices to which I'm planning to apply - would networking make a difference in a situation like this?

To be clear, all I want is to be allowed to submit my resume for on-campus recruiting.

2) I'm an international student, and so would require visa sponsorship. To what extent does that factor into hiring decisions? When is a good time to make it clear that I'm an international student? (I've been told that during the first interview is a good time).

Once again, thank you for doing this!

Jul 20, 2013

Hi Mark
Thank you for opening this thread. It is very informative.

I have always wanted to work in consulting. However, coming from a non-target college gave me almost non consulting recruitment on campus. Right now I am working as a market risk management role in a BB. To be honest, I don't think my current job is management consulting/strategic consulting related(mostly copy paste with limited analysis work). My work requires multi-taksing and working under time pressure. I think that is something to sale in interview. What is your advice on gaining more related experience? I know there are books I can read, but that definitely cannot compare with hands-on experience right?

loyalty:I am planning on leaving the firm 1 year after. Does that gives you the impression that I am not loyal enough?

experience hire or entry level: since I don't have much related experience, should I apply for entry level positions or experienced required positions?

Thank you

Jul 25, 2013
MBA_Junkie:

1) How stringent are the background checks?

I know people who literally spent hours crafting detailed fictitious backstories about great professional experiences - most of which were not true. They kept the employment dates & employer names correct but everything under achievements (including performance awards) on the job was pure bullshit - and they got offers from some of the better known consulting firms.

2) An MBB recruiter said this at the campus presentation: "Please don't bother writing cover letters. I will not be reading them". My questions:

Of the recruiters you know, how many actually read cover letters? Also, how much do cover letters matter, really (assuming no glaring errors like wrong company name, etc)? If possible, please speak a bit about the best cover letter you ever read and why you think so.

3) I have about 6 years of experience in the IT services industry with good experience in team leadership, software development, data management/analytics and client relationship management (including generating additional business by relationship selling). From a recruiter's point of view, how would you rate the above 4 points in terms of importance (and by extension, in terms of % of resume real estate devoted to each point)

4) Do MBB use resume screening software for applications submitted online without employee referrals?

5) Is age a factor in shortlisting post-MBA candidates? (I will be 30 next year)

6) I have a GPA of 3.26 in MBA.

1) That's because HR/Recruitment doesn't do its job - several calls usually solve this problem pretty easily
2) I usually at least look through the CL. The fact is that if I see bad CL - I even do not try to read it to the end. Bad CL is the shortened version of CV written in prose. Impossible to read. Good CL is not filled with info I know without it and answers the main question: why you are a fit. Be Attentive: not why do you THINK you are a fit, but why you ARE a fit. I need facts
3) Depends on the position you would like to occupy For consultant team leadership and data management/analytics, then team leadership and cr management, for manager - vice versa
4) I suppose the answer is 'no'
5) Again depends on position. For consultant+/associate+ 30 or even up to 35 y.o. is ok especially if you are post-MBA
6) As I am not actively involved in specifically MBA-campus recruiting, so to remain fully honest I will not speak about MBA-points and results. One thing I can mention is that the approach to MBA students is different from the approach to graduates: here in your case recruiter will not just screen your marks, everyone understand that they are the least important thing here. Thus the type of your experience and classes you attended could have a significant value.

Thanks for interesting questions, sorry if I was not very imformative on some of them and good luck!

BR,
Mark

Jul 25, 2013
ivanabanana:

Hey Mark, that last question about female candidates is a great transition into mine. I am a new hire at a large consulting firm, and feel things are harder for me BECAUSE of it. There are not too many young girls around my age in the workplace, and its seems like no one takes me seriously despite my industry experience and professionalism (iv encountered this before). I like to look nice and put together (so sue me), and people mistake that to mean that I am not serious about my career. And so- have you seen these types of scenarios play out in the past? Whats a girl to do? Oh, and are you hiring ;)

Hi! That's interesting topic, again :)

Yep, this problem is really widespread (recently I even commented on this in my twitter - that was for real). The fact is that usually it depends on the behavior of a young female professional herself:

- Be serious about your job

- Do not allow yourself to be involved (or on the contrary - to overreact) into sexist jokes

- Avoid flirting

I know this sounds very obvious but following these simple rules really help.

Also be prepared that this entire 'little problem' can't be solved in a moment - you cannot instantly change the way people think. So that's just a part of creating a proffessional image.

And let me add: it is absolutely proper to look nice :) Just try to avoid 'business-casual' look - your clothes speak much about you

And yes, we are always hiring ;)

BR,
Mark

Jul 25, 2013
2x2Matrix:

Do you work for an MBB? This sounds absolutely nothing like the bio that any of the recruiters I work with would give of themselves (for example, recruiters don't do interviews or interact with clients - they just manage the process and have the consultants review applications and actually interview people).

You are right, in many cases so-called recruiters are just executing these support functions. In fact I would call them hr-admins, because they do not do recruitement - they are providing support to external recruiters/headhunters and to consultants heavily engaged in selection processess. This is common in many offices of MBB, I agree.

In my office, however, the situation is different - we are almost never using the help of recruitment agencies, being executive search specialists and business advisors - in fact this makes our job similar to the job of every other management consultant (as you know, executive search, for example, historically is a branch of management consulting business).

As for 'clients' - this is a little misunderstanding, I think. My clients are hiring managers (=my colleagues), and I am rarely communicating with our 'external' clients.

BR,
Mark

Jul 25, 2013

How is a top Executive MBA Program like Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Fuqua viewed by MBB? I'm 36 with 10+ years in pharma and med device. Thanks.

Jul 29, 2013
bhtx:

How is a top Executive MBA Program like Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Fuqua viewed by MBB? I'm 36 with 10+ years in pharma and med device. Thanks.

It is definitely good, but my first question will be: how strong is your business sense and industry knowledge? As you see everything is about experience - again..

Jul 29, 2013
bhtx:

Thank you for starting this thread. I'm a very non-traditional candidate: 36 with a BS in Pharmacy and a business MS (both non-target schools). I've been working in sales/marketing for fortune 500 Pharma and Med Device companies, and I currently make $300k/year in device sales. Recent Gallup strengths assessment indicted that all of my top talents are actually strategic thinking and it helped to explain why sales is so unfulfilling despite the income. After much research and introspection, I think a career in consulting will meet my needs for intellectual challenge and it will allow me to use my best strengths every day. Is MBB or other S&O realistic for a person like me? If the answer is no, what would it take to make the answer a yes. Are there other sales/marketing or life science oriented firms that I might be able to help right away? Thanks in advance for your candor.

And, by the way: based on this short description I would say that your experience is quite good in the terms of functional skills, however industry knowledge is not wide.
I will take my chances and propose that in case some firm has a need in a person to manage projects for pharma clients (or something related to it) you can be a real deal for it. If not - it will be more tough for you to enter consulting than for guys who have quite a big experience in, let us say, finance or FMCG company.

Jul 29, 2013
ludek_ug:

Mark I appreciate you doing this I am an undergrad going into my final year at a non-target business school (BBA degree - management - we are pretty high-up the rankings but just bellow the MBBs target). I have three questions:

1) You have touched on what people can do to get that first interview which is my main focus now - networking, internships, leadership positions etc.. . I have included a brief background on me - it would be great if you identified some ares I should work on. (I will have time during summer and then going forward)

2) I have been offered a year internship with Panasonic at their Silicon Valley Laboratory doing business development - it will push my graduation (kinda like a year off to work) - do you think it will add value if I want to go straight into consulting after UG?

3) How do MBB's look at retaking classes? I messed up on my Chinese class and got C+ -> if I retake it, it could push my GPA from 3.65 to about 3.8 -> is it worth it? Or do they not like people rataking classes?

Here is a brief background:

ACADEMIC: 3.6 - 3.7 GPA - loads of international background (3 countries); scholarships, deans lists etc..

EXP: two years (18-20) as an assistant trade manager in boutique wholsale firm (unfortunately not known); sales internship over summer; recently consulted Panasonic through school project and won the competition (pretty much regular external consulting) + I have that offer for a full year internship in panasonic beccause of that; last we are working on a new company over summer with bunch of MBA people I met

EXTRA: lead the consulting club, position of responsibility in 3 other, volunteering

Thanks!

Hi, ludek_ug!
You know, based on your background I do not see any decent reason to go straight for Panasonis for a year if you actually would like to go to a consulting. Let it be your 'plan b' while trying to enter a good management consulting practice. really, give it a try, I do not see why you should wait for a year. As for you questions one by one:

1) as I have said backgrounv looks pretty good for me with all these internships - one of the main tasks for you is to make a good-looking CV - and it is an art, beleive me!
2) Already mentioned, see above
3) I would give it a try if you feel you can do it. What is important is the final mark, not how much time you spend in order to reach it.

Hope it helps!

BR,
Mark

Mar 18, 2014

Mark, thank you for the advice - it did help! Eventually, I ended up taking the offer - one of the main advantages that I forgot to mention was that, since it pushed my graduation, it allowed me to apply for summer internship at MBBs and prepare rigorously - which I did. I interviewed with both MBBs I applied to, and I will be joining one of them this summer.

Working now in F100 has been great, I have learned a lot and I am beyond excited for the summer!

Thank you!

    • 1
Mar 20, 2014
caseformbb:

Mark, thank you for the advice - it did help! Eventually, I ended up taking the offer - one of the main advantages that I forgot to mention was that, since it pushed my graduation, it allowed me to apply for summer internship at MBBs and prepare rigorously - which I did. I interviewed with both MBBs I applied to, and I will be joining one of them this summer.

Working now in F100 has been great, I have learned a lot and I am beyond excited for the summer!

Thank you!

Now this is how it is done! Great, accept my congratulation!

BR,
Mark

Jul 29, 2013

Hi, I'm about to graduate as a STEM major from a non target school, and I want to change over to consulting for a career instead of doing lab work. Would it be possible to break in with my major, or would it be best to go back for some more schooling?

Aug 12, 2013
staceyu:

Hi, I'm about to graduate as a STEM major from a non target school, and I want to change over to consulting for a career instead of doing lab work. Would it be possible to break in with my major, or would it be best to go back for some more schooling?

Hi, Staceyu!

STEM is a really wide definition. If you have a degree in, for example, 'heavy' math analysis, that's one thing, and you can be pretty good with it, if in Geoscience or Astronomy - you guess... Master's in finance from targer university could be a good idea (well, it cannot harm you in any way).

BR,
Mark

Aug 14, 2013
Mark_BR:
staceyu:

Hi, I'm about to graduate as a STEM major from a non target school, and I want to change over to consulting for a career instead of doing lab work. Would it be possible to break in with my major, or would it be best to go back for some more schooling?

Hi, Staceyu!

STEM is a really wide definition. If you have a degree in, for example, 'heavy' math analysis, that's one thing, and you can be pretty good with it, if in Geoscience or Astronomy - you guess... Master's in finance from targer university could be a good idea (well, it cannot harm you in any way).

BR,

Mark

BS in Biochemistry to be exact, and currently working as an intern at NASA. To be honest my GPA is low, but wouldn't work experience and further education negate that fact?

Aug 14, 2013

Staceyu, I see - for me this is not the worst and not the best case. Of course further experience will be a plus but to get a good one - I would really go for a Master's in business or Management. Just make a research on this - you know how to do it :)

BR,
Mark

Aug 12, 2013
bhtx:

How is a top Executive MBA Program like Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Fuqua viewed by MBB? I'm 36 with 10+ years in pharma and med device. Thanks.

Hello, bthx, I must apologize but I am afraid I should miss your question - I am not sure that I could provide you with most accurate and updated information on these precise programms - I just wasn't involved in similar case situations with these guys recently.

Sorry again,
good luck to you!

BR,
Mark

Aug 12, 2013

Hi Mark,
I am just wondering if you can give your opinion on my background.
My question is if consulting is impossible with the 3.3GPA from undergrad and failure to graduate from med school or
will firms consider that my 3.8GPA in the written exams for med school finals as evidence of academic ability and that the inability to perform clinical skills is irrelevant for consulting. And also my ECs which include a successful business that paid for my college.

Background
I went to a target school in UK (Oxbridge), graduated with GPA of 3.3 (Converted using online tools. Or more accurately, 30th percentile in my class) for my Bachelors majoring in biological sciences.
Enter Med school (still Oxbridge) after bachelors degree. Complete 4 years with 3.5 GPA but not awarded my med degree (or MD in America) because I just find it impossible to do certain clinical skills (eg taking blood from a patient. I have a 3.8GPA in the Finals written exams, and 3.0 in the clinical skills exams (3.0 is a pass, but I failed too many individual components). So I am everything a doctor is except I cannot do any physical clinical skills.
Gmat-780

I set up a business with my brother during undergrad in 2008 and paid my way through college (~400k USD) which pretty much was the reason for the 3.3GPA in undergrad. Left in 2012 (Revenue in 2012 was 1.2m USD) to concentrate on my medical Finals exam.
Done several research and clinical audit projects and presented results to University and Hospital department staff (Professors, Senior doctors, Head of department etc).
Vice President of an Uni Society (300 members).
Fluent in Chinese speaking + Writing.

Thanks a lot.

Aug 12, 2013

Do GPA cutoffs exist because consulting firms actually believe that candidates beneath the cutoffs lack the capability to perform the work, or are they simply an easy/lazy way to pare down an applicant pool with far too many qualified candidates for the available interview slots?

Aug 13, 2013

Hi Mark, Posted this question in a separate thread, but wanted to get your insight as a recruiter. I am trying to transition in consulting at the pre-MBA level. I have been working for the past 2 years at a brand name luxury products company in manufacturing and supply chain areas.

While working I started to pursue a MS degree in manufacturing and supply chain from a top 50 university and have a 3.77 GPA. I am a part time student while working full time.

I still have 1 year left till I complete my MS degree, but want to work in consulting as soon as possible. My question to the board is will it hurt me to apply to FT positions this fall despite having 1 year left on my degree. I would plan on finishing the remaining courses while working in consulting.

Or should I wait one year and apply next recruiting as I will be finishing up my degree at that time?

Sep 5, 2013
PSUeng:

Hi Mark, Posted this question in a separate thread, but wanted to get your insight as a recruiter. I am trying to transition in consulting at the pre-MBA level. I have been working for the past 2 years at a brand name luxury products company in manufacturing and supply chain areas.

While working I started to pursue a MS degree in manufacturing and supply chain from a top 50 university and have a 3.77 GPA. I am a part time student while working full time.

I still have 1 year left till I complete my MS degree, but want to work in consulting as soon as possible. My question to the board is will it hurt me to apply to FT positions this fall despite having 1 year left on my degree. I would plan on finishing the remaining courses while working in consulting.

Or should I wait one year and apply next recruiting as I will be finishing up my degree at that time?

I would suggest you to try to get a summer internship while you are still in the University and apply for a full-time job in consulting only after you get your diploma

BR,
Mark

Aug 15, 2013

This is a great post, thanks for all the useful info.

I'm in talks now with a smaller consulting firm, and I'm considering leaving my position in finance. If I decide later on that I want to go back to finance, how hard should that be? What is the process like?

Also: will consulting firms be able to help me keep my licenses or with they expire?

Aug 15, 2013

Hi Mark, thank you for providing such a wonderful resource for everyone. I was wondering whether it would be possible for me to find a position as an "experienced hire" given this background, and if not what your thoughts would be on another strategy:

I just graduated this past summer from a top 3 medical school and am interested in breaking into healthcare consulting. I decided last year not to pursue residency training and only recently discovered that consulting would be my ideal job (right now I'm working for a small start-up creating medical decision-making algorithms). For a bit more history, I do not have a business background but do have experience in the healthcare system in a variety of roles and with data analysis for medical research. I graduated from a non-prestigious undergraduate institution with a near 4.0 GPA in majors unrelated to business.

Thanks so much for your time!

Feb 19, 2014
JM8700:

Hi Mark, thank you for providing such a wonderful resource for everyone. I was wondering whether it would be possible for me to find a position as an "experienced hire" given this background, and if not what your thoughts would be on another strategy:

I just graduated this past summer from a top 3 medical school and am interested in breaking into healthcare consulting. I decided last year not to pursue residency training and only recently discovered that consulting would be my ideal job (right now I'm working for a small start-up creating medical decision-making algorithms). For a bit more history, I do not have a business background but do have experience in the healthcare system in a variety of roles and with data analysis for medical research. I graduated from a non-prestigious undergraduate institution with a near 4.0 GPA in majors unrelated to business.

Thanks so much for your time!

Ok, let me be honest with you - healthcare consulting is very different from management/business/strategic consulting. This is just another industry. In some countries this is not very noticeable, in some they are extremely different. So I am not an expert of any kind in this area and can just speak from the point of my approximate estimations.

Well, I can say that I like your experience (data analysis + healthcare = really smart and useful things) and know very little about your education. But I should say that in most cases when speaking about breaking into healthcare consulting your experience is going to be more important than your education in case you have a degree in natural sciences but do not have one in management ot finance.

So how is it going?

BR,
Mark

Aug 20, 2013

Hi Mark,

I am a dutch finance student (finished my first 2 years with distinction) and want to major in finance as well. Is het consulting industry looking for finance majors?
Where are you recruiters looking for on the resumes of recent graduates? Can you give me any hints of things that can improve my position for getting interviews (e.g. study abroad, study associations, internships)?

Thanks in advance!

Aug 20, 2013

Hi Mark,

Just want to echo all the sentiments on this thread: thank you for this ama!

Background: 3.3-3.5 GPA in biological sciences + chemistry/biochem focus and minor in econ at public ivy; didn't apply to med school because of interest in emerging markets; turned down the peace corps for current work in Latin America.

Two questions:

1. Currently working at a social/international development focused for-profit startup in the import/export industry in Latin America. Since it's a small startup, my role is basically a bit of everything (finances, strategies, marketing, HR, research). How is this experience looked upon in the consulting industry?

2. While MBB in the US would be fantastic, I'm interested in offices in Asia, particularly Seoul. How should I go about applying--do I find the individual office and network/contact HR or do I apply generally (e.g. online, recruiters)?

Thanks again.

Aug 27, 2013

When recruiting undergrads, how would you view someone with the following unusual circumstances but who has a very well-rounded and impressive resume?
-Served 4 years in military before undergrad
-At a target school that rather unusually does not require SAT/ACT scores for transfer students, has not taken either exam

Sep 6, 2013

Hey Mark, thank you so much for doing this and I really appreciate your straightforwardness.

I am currently a senior applying for jobs in MBB and other firms, and I am wondering how much do consulting firms value experience in running a successful startup and internship in a VC? Advantage? Disadvantage?

I'm a college senior (not target, a good b-school from west coast), but I already have three years (1.5 yrs part-time, 1.5 yrs full-time during a gap year) of experience of doing my own startup in China. Company is not bad, with $7M+ revenue now and also received VC investments. And last summer I interned for a top-three VC in China, TMT focus.

So my experience is kind of unusually for consulting applicants.. No previous experience in financial services. But I do have good academic record in finance and accounting courses, besides my experiences. Do you think my experience as entrepreneur and VC intern will be my competitive edge or a disadvantage?

Thanks!

Feb 19, 2014
albus.yu:

Hey Mark, thank you so much for doing this and I really appreciate your straightforwardness.

I am currently a senior applying for jobs in MBB and other firms, and I am wondering how much do consulting firms value experience in running a successful startup and internship in a VC? Advantage? Disadvantage?

I'm a college senior (not target, a good b-school from west coast), but I already have three years (1.5 yrs part-time, 1.5 yrs full-time during a gap year) of experience of doing my own startup in China. Company is not bad, with $7M+ revenue now and also received VC investments. And last summer I interned for a top-three VC in China, TMT focus.

So my experience is kind of unusually for consulting applicants.. No previous experience in financial services. But I do have good academic record in finance and accounting courses, besides my experiences. Do you think my experience as entrepreneur and VC intern will be my competitive edge or a disadvantage?

Thanks!

Well, there are both advantages and disadvantages.

+

* You are well-educated and have achieved good results
* Thus you know what you are doing
* You are good in business communications
... to be honest, there are more

BUT

The first question almost every recruiter is going to have: WHY?

It is not just about your plans or decision, You know, everyone of us could come up with good reasoning for leaving his/her business and going for an employment. The actual thing is that usually entrepreneurs and professionals have different mindsets. It is not a secret, just make a research (in case you haven't done it yet). I am sure you understand what I mean here. And you can be sure others (recruiters incl) also know about it. They will be very curious to know if you have this 'mindset of an entrepreneur' and when they find it - in many cases you get a reject even if you are very bright person (and I am sure you are).

So just give yourself this honest answer - why would you like to go into consulting and not proceeding with your startup (or with the next one). Then if you are confident with your answer try to make it sound confident during the interview.

Good luck, hope this helps!

BR,
Mark

Sep 6, 2013

Hi Mark, thanks for taking the time to do this

I just started consulting for the Federal practice of a Tier 2 firm. I'm starting to really realize that government work isn't for me. What is the possibility of switching out to do commercial either at the same firm or a different one?

Feb 19, 2014
ausenna:

Hi Mark, thanks for taking the time to do this

I just started consulting for the Federal practice of a Tier 2 firm. I'm starting to really realize that government work isn't for me. What is the possibility of switching out to do commercial either at the same firm or a different one?

It depends (again...) on the company you are working for. Typically it is not a bad thing that you tried working in one area and then decided to switch. In many companies you can do it just talking to the right people (PMs or executives) about transferring you to another industry/project. Be sure your reasoning is clear and logical. And of course you are interested in finishing the project you are engaged for even if you already do not like it.

BR,
Mark

Dec 9, 2013

Would it help me get an interview if I included an Economics Honors Thesis, for which I received an A, as a writing sample?

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Feb 19, 2014
JonDoe297:

Would it help me get an interview if I included an Economics Honors Thesis, for which I received an A, as a writing sample?

Yes, why not.
Please think smart about incorporating this info into your CV or profile in order to avoid making it overwhelmed with details and difficult to read through.

Good luck with it!

BR,
Mark

    • 1
Feb 21, 2014

Guys, I have finally overcame the most amusing busy season in my life so really sorry for not responding here.

Back to business, hope my answers could still be useful for you.

Sep 1, 2016

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Feb 20, 2014

Hi Mark,

I'm a 2nd year MBA student at a top 10 B-School and looking for FT opportunities in consulting. What are my options at this point regarding consulting firms--I understand campus recruiting is likely over for most firms, but is the experienced hire channel worthwhile? Will recruiters entertain my resume or will it get passed over?

Thanks

Feb 21, 2014
INeedanMBAjob:

Hi Mark,

I'm a 2nd year MBA student at a top 10 B-School and looking for FT opportunities in consulting. What are my options at this point regarding consulting firms--I understand campus recruiting is likely over for most firms, but is the experienced hire channel worthwhile? Will recruiters entertain my resume or will it get passed over?

Thanks

Hi,
actually I do not see any problems with applying to post-MBA positions or if you are not from top MBA school - just consultant position (associate/senior analyst). By the way, it all depends on the quality of your experience...

BR,
Mark

Feb 21, 2014
saconsult3:

Hi Mark,

Thank you for answering some questions.

I have one along the lines of lateral recruiting, but slightly different.

I am from the US, but went to college abroad for four years. Naturally, there were no campus recruiting opportunities for US positions, but I knew I wanted to come back to the US.

I was able to network my way into a tier 2 management consultancy analyst position, and it's nice to be back in the US. I'm really not loving the nature of the work, and I am finding myself on operations/implementation type projects. I really want to transition into a strategy role at an MBB firm.

With less name recognition from my school, and virtually zero alumni working for MBB in the US offices, is the only realistic chance To switch to MBB a post MBA (US school), or some serious networking?

Thanks

I may not be very competent to answer these type of questions, but anyway:

it seems you have what you need at least to make a good try to get to MBB if we speak about their entry-level positions. At least screening you have chances to pass (netwotking can be very helpful here) and then it is your skill and presentation that is going to help you.

I am not sure though how your local MBB is going to react on the reason you decided to go abroad for your degree... It is definitely the topic to think about. Be ready to prove you did the right thing!

BR,
Mark

Feb 21, 2014

Hi Mark - Are PT MBA students from top 15 schools really at a major disadvantage compared to their FT peers? If they are offered, are their packages similar/the same as FT offers? I'm currently at a 2nd tier firm focusing in technology, but would like to move to strategy and am considering a PT MBA to transition over. Good idea?

Feb 25, 2014
thedroo:

Hi Mark - Are PT MBA students from top 15 schools really at a major disadvantage compared to their FT peers? If they are offered, are their packages similar/the same as FT offers? I'm currently at a 2nd tier firm focusing in technology, but would like to move to strategy and am considering a PT MBA to transition over. Good idea?

My answer could be too subjective, so I have to skip this, sorry. I just do not possess (for now) with a lot of up to date info about different MBA programms. This is true that PT MBA was counting significantly lower than FT programms, but I am not sure that nothing changed during last 1-2 years. Maybe (!) some universities now have good PT propositions worth looking at.

BUT please mention that even if this is true I am not the only one with stereotype that PT is worse than FT. Same is about 1-year vs 2 years but it is not the secret that at least 2-3 schools now propose really good 1-1.5 year programms. Can't say the same about PT. Anyway you should check it

BR,
Mark