Comments (50)

Sep 29, 2015

when should I start preparing for January interviews?

Sep 29, 2015

You should begin your networking efforts this Fall, focusing on learning more about your target firms on-campus. It's also helpful to start building relationships with the recruiters themselves, as they will likely be the ones interviewing you come Spring.

In regards to case prep, you can't start too early. I highly encourage you to start reading through cases from the standard sources, and then begin practicing live cases 1-2 months prior to your interviews. Ideally you will have completed over 20 live cases by interview season, being careful to ensure the difficulty level, style, and variety is sufficient to prepare you for your target firms. Be sure to check out mock interview services with ex-consultants (e.g. PrepLounge, ConsultingInterviewCoach). These resources will be able to provide you with the most accurate feedback in regards to how your performance would be viewed by a given firm.

Finally, be sure to rep out your weakest areas thoroughly, be it math flashcards or delivering your "why me, why your firm" pitch. It's a time consuming process, but with offer rates at MBB and Deloitte hovering around 5%, you want to give yourself the best possible shot.

Sep 29, 2015

Is a Traditional Management major looked down-upon? I plan to attend a Public State University (Top 50) and double major in either Accounting/Finance or Accounting/Management. I am drawn to Management because it teaches the fundamentals of consulting. Thanks.

Sep 29, 2015

"Looked down-upon" is strong, but you would need to be able to explain why you chose management and how it will make you valuable to a team. Remember, consulting teams are intentionally comprised of folks of diverse capabilities. As such, it's an easier sell for technical majors (e.g. engineering, accounting, stats, finance, econ) because they can speak to their quant analysis capabilities. Similarly, liberal arts majors can highlight their ability to craft stories or synthesize information in a cleanly written format.

The challenge with pure management / consulting majors is that they don't provide an explicit skill-set that is as compelling (i.e. telling consultants that you're good at consulting / management doesn't resonate too well...)

That being said, demonstrating your interest in consulting by doing the double major certainly would be seen positively. Otherwise, just be ready to identify exactly what your major has taught you that would be useful in the field.

Sep 30, 2015

should I try to practice cases with analysts / consultants at my target firms?

Sep 30, 2015

Practicing case interviews with the consultants recruiting you is a dangerous proposition for a couple reasons:
1) Management consultants work 60-hour weeks and criss-cross the country in cramped planes to service their clients. The last thing they want is to spend their free time conducting extra 1:1 practice cases.
2) Consulting recruiters DO take note of the mistakes you make in practice sessions, and these mistakes WILL come up during interview selection.

Better to avoid these pitfalls by practicing case interviews with FORMER consultant recruiters, either informally or through a customized coaching session with a company like consulting interview Coach, PrepLounge, or CaseInterview.

Sep 30, 2015

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Sep 30, 2015

Hello,

Thanks for doing this. I'm not sure if you have any experience with 'Experienced hire' recruting at S&O but I'll ask anyway.

I'm currently in the process of recruting as a lateral into S&O. I had the inital HR and Senior Manager screen a couple of weeks both of which went absolutely fine. The HR told me she'll get back to me in a day or too. Its been 2.5 weeks now. I sent her a quick folow up mail last week which went unanswered as well.

Do you think its wise to call/ mail the HR one more time this week or should I assume its a reject?

Thanks.

Sep 30, 2015

Hey there Skywalker, I recommend that you call your HR contact and get confirmation. If you can't reach them via phone, leave a voicemail and send a final email as well. Sometimes they get tied-up with managing the recruiting process - better that you verify where you stand. Good luck!

Oct 1, 2015

I'm a senior at a good (decent), non-target school and have competitive work experiences. I was lucky enough to network my way into an MBB through a close tie with a principal/partner there. I now have a 1st round case interview coming up. I have an incredibly low GPA (like so abysmal I can't even list it on WSO, it's a miracle I even had my resume passed by the partner at the MBB). I'm worried that although I made it to the 1st round of the interview process that I may be cut from consideration because of it. Assuming that my resume is top notch, I have good behavioral interviewing skills, my case interview goes well, and have legitimate reasons for my terrible GPA will it matter that it's too low?

Oct 1, 2015

Belle, first-off, congrats on getting an interview. Networking is hugely important in consulting so you've already shown an ability to leverage your relationships. In regards to the GPA, there is a decent chance you will be cut from consideration because of it. However, there is also a very real chance the firm(s) will ignore your GPA in favor of other aspects of your candidacy. For example...
1) Top-notch resume (e.g. brand-name work experiences, started your own successful company, developed some new product or important research, volunteered for an extended period abroad)
2) Very strong ACT / SAT scores (this demonstrates that you do in fact have the required intellectual horsepower to do the job)
3) Very strong case performance (only aspect in your control at this point, and the most important as it allows the firm(s) to directly compare you to candidates with 3.8+ GPAs )

However, you must be able to explain why the GPA is so low. Based on your comments, it sounds like you have a legit reason. So hit those cases hard in the time you have left, and walk into your interview confident that you belong at that firm!

Oct 5, 2015

Is there a salary difference between non-MBA consultant to MBA consultants? Is it pretty significant? E.g. $90k vs $140k

Oct 7, 2015

For most firms, yes there is a difference. It varies on years of experience / background / your performance at the firm. If in Year 0 you and a colleague are earning $90k, after which you spend 2 years earning an MBA and they spend 2 years working at the same firm, it's safe to assume that after Year 2 you'll make $10k more than your colleague before bonus.

Oct 6, 2015

are you still able to take questions? i just found this post and added it to the frontpage

thanks!

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 6, 2015

Currently in an analyst program at BB for couple months now but I'm unhappy with the role. I'm trying to get into big 4 consulting for Summer/Fall '16. When should I apply? Will trying to leave the program early look bad during interview process? I come from a non-target May 2015 undergrad with 3.56 GPA but with 2 1/2 years experience at prior bank to this BB. Do I have a chance? Thank you if you're still answering questions!

Best Response
Oct 7, 2015

Start networking now with the goal of being hired in summer / early fall. Most firms prefer to get ahead of their fall campus recruiting schedule, and would appreciate the opportunity to interview you early. In regards to timing, your one year full-time in banking is definitely sufficient (i.e. the consulting firms won't hold your not completing the full program against you). The experience will also outweigh your GPA, so don't worry about that metric. Top priority should be meeting peers and leaders at the firms you're interested in. Leverage your personal network and don't be afraid to make some cold calls. As long as you've got a strong story for why the switch from banking to consulting, I think you'll be happy with the level of interest you receive.

Oct 8, 2015

Hi and thanks for this,

For us non-MBA (few years out of UG) types, do we follow the same recruiting cycle as UG? I was planning to apply in December with a hopeful start date in March, but based on the recruiting schedule, should I apply now with the goal of starting in the summer/fall?

Also for us experienced non-MBAs, what type of roles will most firms place us (i.e., same level as 1st yr business analyst)?

Thanks!!

Oct 8, 2015

CFA Monkey, for the reasons mentioned above, I would recommend applying anytime off-cycle. It's just that you're more likely to actually start working in summer/fall due to onboarding timelines. That being said, every now and then you'll see new hires receive a Spring start date...

In regards to roles, it's mostly a factor of what your experience has been to-date. If you have 2-3 years of strong experience, its my understanding that most firms will hire you at their 2nd level. If you have 1-2 years of experience, it's more likely that you'd start as at the bottom level. Add in a graduate degree (e.g. masters in finance) and you can make a case for why you deserve to join at a higher position.

Oct 8, 2015

What kind of post-undergrad education might be a good way to steer into strategy consulting?

I currently hold a liberal arts undergrad degree and am slogging through a masters of finance. I have the option to either complete the 1 year "Post-Graduate Certificate of Applied Finance" (almost complete) and move forward with the full master's program or transition into a different post-grad degree.

Associate at Family Office
"Investing is not a game of Possibilities but of Probabilities."

Oct 11, 2015

One year of post-grad studies in finance should be plenty to show that you have a technical skillset suitable for consulting. Unless you're interesting in eventually working in finance, I wouldn't go for the multi-year program.

Oct 13, 2017
Oct 11, 2015

You should be fine with GRE, especially with that high of a score!

Oct 13, 2017
Oct 10, 2015

For the Deloitte MBA sponsorship (GSAP program): can you tell me how that works? Specifically, if I were to apply and be accepted to GSAP, could I then proceed to interview with other consulting companies on campus? Would Deloitte know or care about someone doing this?

Oct 11, 2015

Deloitte's GSAP program encourages members to intern with companies in industries other than consulting. Interning with other consulting firms is not approved, but that doesn't mean you couldn't interview with other firms to see what comes of it. Just know that interviewing with other firms may put your sponsorship at risk.

Oct 10, 2015

Thanks for doing this. I'm a college senior and recently signed an offer. I got e-mails afterward from some of the people I had spoken to through the interview process congratulating me on signing. They also told me what days they will be on campus in the future for more interviews. Am I expected to see them when they are on campus for interviews? It would be nice to see them, but I feel like it would be inappropriate to just stop by their interview sessions. I know networking is important and I want to make a good impression from the beginning, but I'm still trying to figure it out...

Oct 11, 2015

I would suggest that you go to dinners / happy hours / recruiting sessions as it works for your schedule. Like you said, consulting is all about networking. When you start full-time next year, if you've kept in touch and built relationships with firm leaders, you'll be much more likely to quickly find interesting projects as compared to your peers who don't network. Congrats on signing the offer!

Oct 10, 2015

Thanks for doing this! I was hoping I could get some personal advice from you. I am very interested in the M&A space, in particular the Life Sciences and Healthcare industries. I am in my final year of undergrad and applied to Deloitte S&O full time but didn't get a first round interview. I was very disappointed by this and am trying to figure out how I couldve made myself a more attractive candidate. I come from a target school, I have been president of a club, an executive council member for my fraternity, have a 3.4 gpa (magna cum laude expected), and am a biomedical engineering major with a minor in finance. Ive done a consulting internship for a small niche firm, did a finance internship with a BB, and have created my own start up with a friend. Is there any reason why you would think I did not pass even the initial screenings? I went to most of the information sessions and talked to a few consultants. I think consulting, specifically strategy consulting, is the path I want to take but I have found it near impossible for me to land first round interviews for any place I am interested in. Any guidance would be very helpful from you.

Oct 11, 2015

Sonnypatel, sorry to hear that this recruiting round didn't go as you hoped. It's possible that your GPA was a factor, that your finance major and BB experience made you seem more like a banking applicant, or that you simply slipped through the cracks during recruiting sessions...

My advice is to make sure you craft a solid, unique story that succinctly tells your target firms who you are, what you're interested in, why consulting, and why their firm. Practice your pitch and refine it based on feedback from friends, and then make sure at recruiting sessions that you don't simply talk to a few consultants, but build relationships. Arrive early, stay late, ask them to coffee or a quick phone call. You have to sell your personal brand hard, especially at a target school where there are 200+ other applicants.

If you've missed this recruiting round and are set on consulting, consider joining a smaller firm or adding one more semester of studies so that you get another chance. I wish you the best of luck, and just remember that there are many routes into the consulting world, so don't give-up until you've exhausted your options!

Oct 10, 2015

What sort of work did you do at Deloitte? Do you ever work with FAS?

Oct 11, 2015

Strategy Consulting, Mergers & Acquisitions, mostly Healthcare / Life Sciences though did some work in Energy and C&IP. Worked with a few FAS folks on bigger projects, but not often.

Oct 10, 2015

Hi,

thanks for doing this. Apart from consulting itself, what other kinds of internships can I take on junior year that would look favorable for full-time recruiting for top firms? Is finance the way to go?

Oct 11, 2015

The best thing to do is get an internship with a "brand name" company (e.g. McDonald's, Nike, Chevron, Pfizer, Apple, Disney, JP Morgan). The more familiar the name, the easier it is for firms to understand the type / quality of work you were doing that summer. I would argue that finance is no better than any other well-known firm, it can even hurt you if your experiences make you seem like a banking applicant using consulting as a back-up.

If you can't get a well-recognized firm on your resume, the next best thing is international experience, followed by small firms where you get advanced responsibilities.

That being said, at the end of the day, it comes down to the story you pitch. Even an internship at companies like Google / Goldman / Facebook / Tesla won't help you if you can't explain how it ties into your interest in consulting / your target firm.

Oct 11, 2015

What advice, if any, would you give to a newly minted MC analyst?

To err is human. To forgive is divine.

Oct 11, 2015

Network with purpose within your firm, target 2-3 areas you'd like to get experience in and built a reputation in those areas, know Excel and PP better than your peers, NEVER submit work without someone reviewing it and taking the time to make it client-ready, manage-up to your superiors so that your opinions are heard, actively seek out relationships with your clients, work to make your manager's life easier by taking things off their plate, find the right work-life balance for your personal situation, learn the hotel / airline points game, and have a good time! Plenty more, but that's my 30 second blurb :)

Jan 17, 2017

.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

Oct 11, 2015

Sorry FSAnon, I honestly don't know on the foreign MBB policies. I would guess that you've got a decent shot based on the information you've listed, as long as you can explain away the GPA (760 GMAT will help with that).

I'd definitely mention the PE experience, assuming you spent at least 3-4 weeks there. Accidents happen, recruiters get that.

Oct 11, 2015

A couple of years ago I went through APD recruiting at a top target. Got a couple of final rounds, no offers. I ended up graduating last winter and taking a technical science/engineering role. I like my job, but I'm getting the itch to apply again now that my 2-year window is up -- perhaps after I reach a year to a year and a half in my current role. Putting aside the question of if this is a good idea, do you advise applying through my university recruiter or through other channels?

Oct 12, 2015

PHD - similar to some of the other folks who've posted here, I would argue that your best shot is through other channels (see above for more detail). University recruiters have little incentive (and sometimes no jurisdiction) to work with post-grad applicants. Most firms do have a experienced hire process that you will eventually be routed to if you make a good connection through networking. Applying online without a connection is a low-probability game. Good luck!

Oct 12, 2015

I work in technology consulting and through the grapevine I've heard that every player is moving towards or heavily increasing their capabilities in tech (including the McKinsey's of the world). They are saying that "digital" strategy is the future. What's your take on this in the current environment and where do you think the $ will be going 5-10 years down the line?

Oct 12, 2015

Volo - Good question. What you've heard is certainly in line with the trends we've been observing in the industry through various acquisitions of small digital / marketing strategy companies (e.g. McKinsey & Lunar, Accenture & Javelin, PwC & BGT, Deloitte & Ubermind, BCG & Booz Digital). Given this, it makes sense that digital strategies are being incorporated more and more into standard client engagements. However, I'm no expert in this area - hard to say what the landscape will look like in the long-term. My guess would be that it will become more commonplace to see consulting firms, rather than PR firms, advising CMOs. But time will tell!

Oct 12, 2015

Closing this down for now. Until next time, good luck to all!

Nov 1, 2015

Hey ConsultingGuy, thanks for doing this:

For summer internship recruiting, what types of experiences are most valued and likely to help an applicant? I have a finance-heavy internship in industry and financial services but have really been interested in strategy and operations and can speak to some extent via consulting club/leadership involvement in my school campus. How can I make my finance/business analyst roles in work experience relevant to strategy? I can demonstrate a true understanding of quant. abilities, but not sure how to relate to strategy or whatever consultants look for the most in summer interns.

Thanks!

Nov 2, 2015

I'm graduating soon and have to choose between an operations role at a bulge bracket or a finance/economics role with a major healthcare provider. I'm hoping to go into strategic consulting in the future and am not sure what will add the most value (focus in the monstrous healthcare industry, or back office experience). Any thoughts on which could be more attractive?

Nov 4, 2015

Hi ConsultingGuy89, thanks for doing this. I recently completed my MBA from a regional school and started with Booz Allen, I would like to eventually move to Deloitte in the S&O practice. How would I go about networking with senior leadership at outside of LinkedIn? What are some networking opportunities & insights you can share? Thank you.

Feb 1, 2016

Thank you for taking questions! I am an international student majoring in Humanities in a top 10 school. I don't have a really quantitative background, though I have taken some business/stats courses. I wonder which kind of post-graduate programs I should apply to to make myself more competitive. Thanks a lot!

Feb 1, 2016

Thank you for the thread. Two questions if you would not mind me asking.

Would you have any advice in regards to recruiting for a regional office (Hong Kong/APAC)? I'm currently within investment banking in the states and have long considered the switch into strategy consulting into the area. As of last week I have started cold-emailing a few recruiters but any other tips would be appreciated!

Secondarily, could you provide insight into what a VP level within a bank would be translatable to in consulting? Or would this matter more on a graduation date/age basis. I was promoted quite early and just thought I'd float the question.

Mar 27, 2016
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Jan 13, 2018