After 1 year of searching, 700 practice cases, and 2002 job offers at two 2nd tier consulting firms.
I started searching in June of last year and spent my first three months networking. I managed to speak to about 150 people during that time (mainly through LinkedIn). I was able to secure three interviews during the fall of that year:
1. At a 2nd tier consulting firm, through a partner there.
2. At one of the firms, through a recruiter I spoke to who liked my story.
3. At a boutique consulting firm, through an alumni of my school.
Unfortunately, none of these ended up working out. I made a lot of mistakes early on that could have been avoided if I had more experience. I've never had an internship or worked for a large company before and hadn't done very many interviews prior to this. All my experience has been in nonprofits + entrepreneurship. I had a lot of unique, interesting stories but it took awhile to learn the polish these companies are looking for.
Also, during the fall I crashed info sessions / job fairs at a few different colleges. For the most part I don't think this was all that effective but I did end up going to an info session for one of the firms I got an offer from. (Just to give some context I went to their info session, applied online and heard back about 6-7 months later).
I also did a *lot* of practice cases and behavioral interviews. Especially during November/December I pretty much spent all my time practicing. I'd sometimes do up to 12 hours of cases a day with different people through Skype. Pretty brutal, but I did get a chance to meet a lot of cool people..
Anyway, I started networking again around February of this year but I decided to take a slightly different strategy. I spent another 2-3 months networking and managed to get multiple people to submit my resume at 4-5 different firms as before, but also applied broadly to jobs in other industries through my college's career site.
This ended up being really helpful because I was able to practice interviewing in many different contexts.
Consulting recruitment is very time sensitive, and so a few weeks ago I finally started to hear back from recruiters. Once I got one job offer I was able to use my deadline to motivate the other firms I was interviewing with to either speed things up or drop me.
Anyway, WSO has been incredibly helpful throughout this process. I met many of my case partners through here and got a lot of great advice about how to network / interview. I wrote this post because when I was feeling down I would come here and read other people's success stories and get inspired again. Hopefully this story helps do the same for others. Thanks for everything!