Consulting in Canada - Senior in high school

ParambirBajwa's picture
Rank: Chimp | 4

I'm a senior in high school thinking about where I should go for College. I'm originally from Toronto but moved to Detroit in middle school. Right now, I'm trying to decide whether or not I should go to school in Canada. I'm hoping on getting in to the University of Michigan and going to Ross but in case I don't get in, I would like to go to the University of Toronto. I wanted to know if American consulting firms actually recruit people from the University of Toronto. Also, how is the consulting scene in Canada? How does salary, competitiveness, and lifestyle differ? Thank you.

Comments (46)

Nov 28, 2012

Where do you eventually want to work? It'll be easier to get a job in the U.S. if you go to school in the U.S., and easier to get a job in Canada if you go to school in Canada.

Nov 28, 2012
asiamoney:

Where do you eventually want to work? It'll be easier to get a job in the U.S. if you go to school in the U.S., and easier to get a job in Canada if you go to school in Canada.

That's something I would have to decide. I'm not one hundred percent sure yet. I grew up in Canada but I also love it in the United States. The main deciding factor would be if a consultant lifestyle and salary was significantly worse than in the United States. Do you have any insight to this? Thanks.

Nov 28, 2012

I think that salaries at McKinsey in Toronto versus McKinsey in U.S. regional offices (non-NYC) should not be too different, for instance, though there may be some gap. However, the thing is that there are simply a lot more good consulting opportunities available in the U.S. than in Canada overall due to the market size. Not all good firms have a substantial presence in Canada/recruit heavily.

As well, while it may be possible for you to recruit at a U.S. school and get placed in a Canadian office for MBB if desired (easy for them to do since they're flexible and you already have Canadian citizenship), it will be very hard to land a U.S. role from a Canadian school, though many try to.

Basically: if you can get into a target or semi-target U.S. school and succeed well academically, you will have many more options overall than if you go to school in Canada. If you don't get in, then I think you would be best served by going to a top-tier Canadian school (Queens/Ivey). I've actually heard some negative things about recruiting opportunities from University of Toronto in comparison with Queens/Ivey but have no basis to confirm that myself.

Nov 29, 2012
asiamoney:

As well, while it may be possible for you to recruit at a U.S. school and get placed in a Canadian office for MBB if desired (easy for them to do since they're flexible and you already have Canadian citizenship), it will be very hard to land a U.S. role from a Canadian school, though many try to.

This is exactly true. HUGE uphill battle to get put through the process with a US office if you're recruiting in Canada.

Also regarding recruiting UofT, firms will go to campus, but won't extend too many offers. Toronto offices for MBB are generally ~80% Queen's + Ivey.

Regarding lifestyle...I think lifestyles are fairly consistent based on geography. East coast works harder than west coast. People in Chicago are happy.

Nov 28, 2012
asiamoney:

Basically: if you can get into a target or semi-target U.S. school and succeed well academically, you will have many more options overall than if you go to school in Canada. If you don't get in, then I think you would be best served by going to a top-tier Canadian school (Queens/Ivey).

Which American schools would you say are semi-targets? I don't know anyone in consulting and my counselor at school doesn't know much about consulting either. Thanks for the help.

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Nov 28, 2012

To be honest, you should make sure to apply to all the best schools in both the U.S. and Canada, as well as enough back-ups, wait for results, and then people will be able to give you more specific advice on which options will offer you the best recruiting opportunities. I know the whole college app thing is very stressful... good luck!

Nov 28, 2012

I've worked with several Canadians based out of US offices on casework (MBB), all of them either graduated from Ivey, or Queens. Again, small sample size. For what it is worth, been to the Toronto office, and most of them graduated from one of those 2 schools, or some US schools (the usual suspects).

Nov 29, 2012

just think if where school you really want to enroll and after that you can decide where you are going to apply for work. Surely you apply right on the area where you lived or study to get the best job ever for yourself.

Nov 29, 2012

Let's back up here.

You're in high school. Relax and apply to all the best schools you'd want to go to, and worry about landing a job in 3 years.

Nov 29, 2012

If you are unsure, UoM is the way to go. Apply to other US schools in addition to UoT and see what happens. If you get multiple offers, then worry about it.

Nov 29, 2012

The MBB in Canada recruit largely from Queen's Commerce and Ivey's HBA (for Toronto jobs), and to a lesser extent from McGill and HEC Montreal (primarily for BCG and McKinsey's Montreal offices). Both UBC and UofT also get a few spots, though both are far less consistent.

While you can certainly get an MBB job in Canada with Michigan, offices is Canada have a significant number of alumni from the schools listed above, thus limiting networking opportunities. Also, Queen's or Ivey, at the undergraduate level, are arguably better business schools.

Dec 5, 2012

If you want to land MBB in Canada then you must got to the the true US MBB targets such as HYPSMW or other top schools such as Dartmouth, Duke or Brown to have the best shot at MBB in Canada. Otherwise, queens or ivey is probably the way to go.

Best Response
Dec 5, 2012

There's some great info in this thread. I can confirm a few things after working as a Consulting Career Advisor at Ivey for 3 years:

- In Canada, Consulting firms primarily recruit from Ivey, Queen's and Rotman. UBC has, in the last 2 years, been running a successful Consulting class / program, and the firms have hired a number of UBC MBA's. The firms are less so recruiting from schools like McGill, Schulich, etc.

- At the MBA level, Ivey consistently had a very strong market share of Consulting offers from 2009 - 2012. They would typically outperform Rotman MBA's with regard to offers. This is based both on my work at Ivey, and speaking with Consulting recruiters/consultants at the Toronto offices.

- I haven't had one Canadian student in 3 years join a US office. This doesn't mean it's not possible, but rather that the US offices are recruiting from target schools in their region, so why would they look elsewhere. On the other hand, the Canadian offices have recruited US students (usually, they are Canadian going to a US school.) So it works one way, but not the other (in my experience.)

My advice would be, at this point, you should focus on getting accepted into a Target school. That will give you the best overall chance of recruiting with MBB. In Canada, yes there are less total offers, but there is also a smaller candidate pool the firms are recruiting from. In the US, there are more total offers, but from a much larger candidate pool. I don't think recruiting in one country vs. the other has any real benefit over the other. But going to a target school has a huge benefit.

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Dec 8, 2012

It really depend on what type of consulting you are into. If you are looking at management then I would say Ivey or Rotman are good places to be.
I am personally from UofT and I know that AT Kearney, McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture, Deloitte, Z's, E&Y, IBM, PwC all had info sessions and actively recruited from our campus.

However, I am not sure about other firms such as LEK, Monitor, KPMG...

Also, it is true that I don't see that many Canadians joining USA offices. However, I believe it is probable to change offices once you get in. I heard from my friend that, depending on your firm, you can choose to live anywhere in North America, given that you find accommodation on your own. The firms can fly you pretty much anywhere during weekends.

Hope this helps

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Dec 8, 2012

depends on what firm(s) you are talking about

Bain Chicago's "sister" office is in Toronto

Dec 8, 2012

McKinsey has an office in Toronto.

Dec 8, 2012

McKinsey, Bain, Boston, Mercer Oliver, Monitor all have offices in Toronto. Consulting in Canada is goood.

Dec 8, 2012

Mercer Management Consulting, AT Kearney, ZS Associates, RPO Management Consultants, Secor Consulting, Deloitte, and Capgemini also all have offices in Toronto.

Dec 8, 2012

yes... most larger firms all have offices in Toronto

Dec 8, 2012

To answer your questions:

1. Very little chance. Big 4 Audit does not translate well into strategy consulting.
2. No. MBA would be better.
3. Cream of the crop. Leadership. High academics. Go-getter. Min GPA - 3.7 is a good threshold, but of course isn't indicative of everyone. Calgary is getting slaughtered with oil prices down and all the clients cutting billions from their capital budgets. Networking is key to getting an interview, as even having a stacked resume and transcript will only get you so far (maybe 1st round). After that, it's up to your personality and case-solving.
4. There are more exact figures floating on the internet, but 70k is a good ballpark.
5. Ivey, Queens, Rotman are dominant. UBC somewhat out west.

Dec 8, 2012

I hear that there not so much difference in the standards of Canadian schools. If that is true, a list of considered B schools will do justice for MBA with finance focus.

Dec 8, 2012

I hear that there's not so much difference in the standards of Canadian schools. If that is true, a list of considered B schools will do justice for MBA with finance focus.

Dec 8, 2012

Hey guys - I will be attending Western University in September with the hopes of graduating with a HBA from Ivey. Been doing some soul searching lately and consulting seems very intriguing to me, so I just had a few questions I'm hoping people can provide insight on!

  1. If I don't make Ivey, is it still possible to break into consulting with a good-GPA BMOS degree? I'm aware this would most likely require some aggressive networking.
    -Top-tier consulting, no. Big4 (Deloitte S&O, not MD) + Accenture should be possible from non-target Canadian programs
  2. What is consulting like in places like Toronto or Vancouver (Travel/Stress/Projects/Compensation/Exit Ops/General Comments)? Majority of posts I can find talk about what the experience is like in the States however a few things I've read hinted that it's not necessarily identical in Canada
    -Similar to states on most levels. Only difference will be at firms which have a local/regional staffing model...likely will see more FIG projects at these firms
  3. Straight from Ivey or from a Canadian office, is it difficult to work in the States or permanently move to an office in the States?
    -No issue if you're a Canadian citizen
  4. I got my accounting diploma from a college and then worked an accounts payable job for a little under a year meaning when I graduate I will be 25 rather than 22, will this hold me back at all? Possibly benefit me?
    -Won't hurt you. Could help if the additional experience can be shown as a strength (i.e. highlight relevant skills)
  5. I noticed that a lot of Ivey grads seemed to go to Monitor/Big 4 Consulting firms, how does this compare to MBB firms?
    -MBB hiring is just more lean...all of them still recruit, so you have a shot
  6. Is consulting a good start for someone thinking of possibly breaking into senior management/C suite later in their career?
    -Pretty good start lol

Honestly any comments about the topic in general would be great even if they aren't relevant to anything asked, just trying to educate myself as early as possible.

Bain seems to be my target due to the ties to PE mixed with the "chill but professional" vibe I'm getting, but I'm just going off what I've read so posts from really any firm would be appreciated!

Thanks for guiding my young ambition!
KMJ

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Dec 8, 2012

Thanks for your answers! Good to hear that my age won't have a negative impact on anything. Sorry about question #5, I was pretty unclear (edited now) - Meant to ask how these firms are similar or differ from MBB.

Dec 8, 2012

Very interested in hearing an answer for this.

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Dec 8, 2012

Hey guys,

Here is some insight into the Canadian consulting scene.

I'm not sure how competitive the consulting scene is relative to i-banking in Toronto. My gut would say that there may actually be more opportunities with top international consulting firms than with top international banks (e.g., GS, ML, MS) given that their presence is typically a bit smaller. In i-banking though, you have the Canadian banks which add a lot of opportunity to the mix. Not the same in consulting.

Overall, I would say that consulting scene for top-tier firms / MBB is pretty competitive because you basically only have one option - that is to work in Toronto (minus Mck and Accenture which had offices elsewhere, but not major). In the US, students have a much broader number of offices / cities to choose from.

At the undergrad level, the intake for consultants at MBB, Monitor, OW, Deloitte is probably anywhere from 5-6 to 15 or so per firm. These firms mostly pull from Queen's Commerce and Ivey with the rest sprinkled in from Waterloo, McGill, UT and UBC or other programs at Queen's and Western (e.g., engineering, life sciences). For example, from my class at Queen's Commerce about 10 students went to MBB + Monitor.

When it comes down to it though, the bar for getting a job at one of these companies (particularly MBB, Monitor, OW) is no different that what you've heard for the these companies in the U.S. You (basically) need to go to a target school, have a GPA of ~3.7, strong ECs and (hopefully) some relevant work experience. You need the whole package for consulting - it's about balance as opposed to just killer marks (though killer marks will definitely get you close).

If you have more specific questions - send them across.

Dec 8, 2012

I can't say much about recruiting out of undergrad, but for experienced hires, the opportunities are definitely there. Networking plays a pretty big role. I'm at a 2nd tier firm right now, but I've had no problem setting up interviews at some of the top shops. I would say this - don't get too hung up on the prestige aspect if your goal is to stay in Toronto long term. People here don't give as many shits about prestige as they might in the US. I'm not sure I even want to move to MBB anymore. I've now decided that I would rather be one of the best consultants at my level at a second tier firm, than be a run of the mill consultant at MBB. I make good money, and my lifestyle is significantly better than people I know at MBB. I only travel 15-20% of the time because most of my clients are here in Toronto. I think if you are willing to consider the 2nd tier, there are plenty of opportunities if you're smart and resourceful.

Dec 8, 2012

How about for international students ie non-US, non-canadian citizens?
^
Is the bar higher for us? How hard is it to get sponsored by good firms?

Dec 8, 2012

What would count as relevant work experience?

It's nearly impossible to get something in consulting in your first two years, so what else should count as relevant?

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Dec 8, 2012

Your best bet is a business degree from a tier 1 school (Western, Queens, UofT, McGill, UBC), a few tier 2's have great programs in one thing or the other. That said if you go to a 2nd tier school you'd better have outstanding marks and resume to get noticed over someone with a better brand name school on their CV. Ottawa, is strong 2nd tier, Carlton is 2-3 tier, everyone I've talked to who went to York said they didn't like it so I'd not recommend that unless you're looking at Shulich school of business.

I'd say Ottawa's Finance or Queens and switch into economics or business ASAP and get top grades. To my knowledge Carlton doesn't have a great rep outside Journalism - not a bad rep just not good. Name of your school matters but it's not the be all and end all. You'll need great grades, strong extracurriculars (executive of a student club), and great summer work term experience with strong references if you don't go to Ivey, Queens's U of T or Shulich. You'll still need those if you go to these 4. Just my $0.02, hope that helps

Alternatively kill your first 2 years w avg. over 80 with great extracurriculars and apply to Ivey which is 3rd and 4th year.

Dec 8, 2012

I agree with everything in this post except I would point out that it will be very difficult to switch into commerce/business at Queen's while starting in Arts. I had a friend who was in Arts/Econ for first and second year at Queen's with top marks (3.7 - 4.0 GPA) who attempted to switch in to business at Queen's. The multiple advisers he talked to stated it was next to impossible to transfer, and if somehow he did transfer he would have to essentially start back in first year. Since OP got accepted to Arts at Queen's I believe he is able to major in Econ after his first year, which is decent but not ideal for consulting. Firms will look at you if you have top 10% grades, but it is always going to be an uphill battle against those with commerce and engineering degrees. HOWEVER, I knew a different guy who transferred into first year Commerce at Queen's after doing two years in business in a school in Manitoba, so OP could definitely look into that.

Similarly, as Tyler-Mark said applying to Ivey in your second year is a good idea. However it is super competitive.
http://www.ivey.uwo.ca/hba/admission/university-st...
Also I'd agree that extra curriculars and summer jobs are very important, but I'd also add that networking with people at all target firms early on would really help OP's chances.

Dec 8, 2012

write Aug 2011 or something, get rid of irrelevant stuff like sports councilor (or shorten it to one/no bullets), GL

Nov 29, 2012

LOL US "eccentric"

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Dec 8, 2012
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