breaking into consulting a year or 2 after my MBA

MBA_Junkie's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,552

Hi WSO,

I got my MBA from a top 10 school in 2013. 'am currently working in corporate finance at a not-so-well-known company and would like to break into management consulting within the next year.
From what I hear getting into a consulting firm is tough for experienced hires. My questions are:

1. What types of experiences/activities make experienced candidates stand out from the rest for top or middle tier consulting firms?

2. Is there a recruiting "season" for experienced hires?

3. Any advice on the best way to network with consultants at your target firms. My understanding is that they travel most of the time and generally try to avoid "networking" unless their firm makes them do it. Thoughts?

Comments (23)

May 30, 2014

Getting into a consulting firm is very difficult for an experienced hire. However, it is possible (I did it, but it took about a year). My experiences aren't completely analogous because I didn't have a MBA and had much less work experience, but I can attempt to answer your questions.

1. I think they're looking for either a ton of experience in one particular industry OR high potential (high GPA, GMAT, leadership experiences, track record of promotions, brand name companies) with some industry experience.

2. They do experienced hire recruiting year round but for you it might be different. They may just put you in the full time MBA interview cycle since you recently graduated with your MBA. Or, if they need people badly they will probably interview you immediately.

3. Not my experience at all. Many people spoke to me and helped me out extensively. Just try to get them on the phone and expect them to reschedule a few times based on their changing calendar.

My #1 takeaway from having done this is aim for firms that are growing fast (i.e. need people immediately) and are within your domain of expertise. Growing fast means they'd hire and staff you tomorrow if they could. There are a few companies out there that need people that badly, you just need to network and find them. Good luck!

    • 1
May 30, 2014

Thanks Nikola.. 'appreciate the thorough response!

May 30, 2014
MBA_Junkie:

I got my MBA from a top 10 school in 2013...

If you went to a top business school, I'm sure you have friends in consulting. Have them submit your resume and put in a good word. This should be good for at least an interview. From there it is up to you...

May 30, 2014

More than "Very few" people get into consulting from top schools. 38% of people from kellogg get into consulting, and only ~50% interview for consulting (plenty of people do CPG, finance, tech, etc). 70-80% chance of getting a consulting job from a top school isnt "very few". Hell, even in schools that are "finance" schools, over 30% get into consulting (e.g. chicago and wharton).

It's still a bit hard to get MBB from these schools, but even then, over 20% of the class gets in.

Jun 2, 2014

I have not really tracked the schools you mention but in my class around 20 (30 max) people (which is way less than 20%) made it to MBB. Hence the 'very few' classification.
If you throw in pretty much every other "consulting" firm (PwC/booz, Accenture, IBM biz consulting, LEK, boutiques, etc.) the 20-30% number becomes realistic.
In retrospect I should have mentioned that I was referring to MBB only.
nevertheless, 'appreciate your input. Thanks!

Jun 2, 2014

I don't know why you're being ambiguous about your school, its important. Consulting cares the most about prestige/brand of any industry. When you say top-10, is it a school ranked 11-15, that occasionally has a good year and switches with Stern for number 10 (e.g. UVA/Ross)...It's a tougher battle to get into MBB from there than from lets say a perennial non-m7 top-10 like Tuck. Likewise, if you go to a school like Duke, their MBB recruiting is more regional (e.g. Atlanta), and that is also pertinent to the advice given.

Jun 2, 2014

If you are going to ask classmates for referral, ask the ones you are in best terms with. Even as second years we had reservations about referring classmates to the firm, especially if we knew their shortcomings.

Jun 3, 2014

My thoughts exactly! Just sitting in the same room as someone else does not "entitle" anyone a referral. And the last thing I want to do is alienate those folks. Thanks!

Jun 2, 2014

OP surely went to Stern. Easy guess.

Jun 3, 2014

Was my thought as well. Probably the worst consulting numbers in the quasi top-10 so it makes at least a little more sense if that's the case.

Jun 3, 2014
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