Breaking into Consulting Chances: Gov't to Business

Kenshinsan's picture
Rank: Chimp | 4

Hello WSO,

I'm a long time lurker here, so I know how informative (and honest) the community is, and as a result I was wondering if a few of you would be able to give me some advice on my chances of breaking into consulting and/or recommended another course of action to position me for a career in consulting.

School: Big 10 State School (non-target)
Major: International Relations
Year: Senior
GPA: 3.2 Major GPA: 3.4
Taking GMAT in February

Studied Economics at the University of London for a semester
Spent a year in Japan studying Japanese language and culture
Internship with a European Parliament - Working on economic issues/research
Currently in Singapore interning with the U.S. Gov't - business related work (counseling, consulting, market research, etc.)

I have to admit that I didn't consider consulting as a serious avenue of employment until quite recently. I went into school thinking that I was going to be a doctor, but eventually dropped that, with the idea of going into government. However, I got absolutely rocked my freshman year due to health issues that eventually resulted in major surgery and simply being wholly unprepared for college. I finished the year with a 1.9.

Obviously I have had a pretty persistent upward trend in my grades, however, I know that my gpa is a non-starter at many places. In addition, I never took the SAT, coming from the Midwest, and didn't rock the ACT due to aforementioned health issues.

I've been networking my ass off here in Singapore with alumni back stateside and random businesses that I meet through my internship, however, my efforts haven't been met with much luck. I had a talk with one alumni recently at one of the major consulting firms that said she would forward my resume, however, I haven't heard from her in a little over a week, and I'll probably want to wait another before bugging her about it.

Through my internships I've realized that government really isn't for me (slow pace, lack of advancement opps, political b.s....), which is why I became interested in consulting. It seems to incorporates the aspects of research that I love from my major (without getting into ridiculous 30pg papers), while still maintaining a high level of interpersonal communication.

So do you think I have a chance at any places? Should I concentrate my efforts into obtaining another career? Any general advice? Keep networking? If so, until when?

Comments (6)

Nov 29, 2011

Your EC's looks really good. It's a shame you made a 1.9 that first semester with it being 3.2-3.4 now. had the potential to get whatever job you wanted had that illness not ream you in the ass.

I'm pretty sure you can get into consulting with that grade, but maybe not at the MBB level?

shoot for like ATKearney, Monitor Group, Booz?

Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor. -Dr. Alexis Carrel

Nov 29, 2011

Yeah, I wish I wasn't in this situation, and had found some way to pull off a better freshman year. I remember thinking at the time "Oh, people will understand, don't worry about it." But I do realize now, everyone has an excuse for something, whether it be legitimate or not. I can't exactly put an asterisk on my resume stating my health issue as that would be auto ding, just as putting your age on your resume would be, so I just gotta deal.

I grew up really poor, and if that's taught me anything, you just gotta deal with the hand your dealt with. No use really complaining about it. I'd rather try to find ways around my predicament.

I have been in contact with some alumni from Booz, and I was supposed to have an informational interview with one, however he hasn't gotten back to me in a couple of weeks. I suspect he's swamped, so I don't want to bug him about it. Should I wait until I get back Stateside in January to bug him about it again?

Also, should I try to apply online for consulting positions here in Singapore? I love this place, and I've read that some consulting firms tend to be a little more forgiving in their hiring for some overseas posts, and networking and campus recruiting are not the dominant force in their hiring for these positions as it is back home, as online applications are actually a viable option.

Any truth to this?

Nov 29, 2011

I wish I could give you more insight to the consulting business in Singapore, but the truth is that I know as much as you do (most likely even less...wait, I'm 100% sure I know even less...)

I would ask my aunt about how things are going in Singapore (since she's well connected in asia, esp. Singapore+Thailand), but she has personal business she has to attend to. Now wouldn't be a good time to even ask her for favors, even for myself.

Once she gets it all sorted out, If you want...I could ask her if she knows anything about consulting prospects in Singapore. (I dunno if she knows anything about it doesn't hurt to ask though)

Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor. -Dr. Alexis Carrel

Nov 29, 2011

If you can't stomach writing long reports, I really don't think consulting is for you.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.

Nov 29, 2011

Haha, I definitely don't mind writing long reports. Both my previous internship, and current one, entailed report writing and I actually like it. I just don't like writing long 'academic' reports. Writing 30-50 pages that no one will ever read, on some arcane topic, is not much to my liking, for many reasons. Lack of practicality probably being the first.

I have talked to a few consultants and their writing seemed quite far removed from academia, but they still were able to learn about different topics in depth and report back on them. Of course the writing added up over time, would come to those page requirements and more, but that is the case for many careers. Correct me if I'm off base though, I don't claim to know everything there is to know about the consulting.

Nov 29, 2011