Current life science PhD candidate with business experience looking to move to management consulting

I'm currently in a neuroscience PhD program, about 2 years away from finishing. Before I started my program, during undergrad, I founded a preclinical bio pharmaceutical startup that raised about $500k, but ultimately failed once it got to a critical animal trial after two years. Sucks that it failed, but it was a tremendous experience. During undergrad I also interned at my university's technology transfer office, was a mentor for a student life science accelerator, interned at a local cancer therapeutic company where I did market evaluation, and was a team lead for a student biotech consulting group.

Since starting my PhD I've been interning at my university's accelerator and acting as a sometimes mentor when a company is well within my wheelhouse. I also did a summer internship at the local office of a big pharma in a business development role, right after my first year.

I've looked into McKinsey Insight, Bridge to BCG, and the standard summer internships that someone in an MBA program might do, and I'm stumped at where I fit. These types of programs seem tailored to either those with little to no business experience, or those doing an MBA with pre-MBA full time experience. I have no intention of doing an MBA, and I think I definitely have more experience than the typical ADC, but I'm not sure if I'm what MBB is looking for in a summer associate.

Any recommendations for how to move forward? Thanks in advance!

Comments (21)

Nov 14, 2017

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Jun 10, 2017

Deloitte would be more open to your background relative to MBB.

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Jun 10, 2017

Thanks for the feedback. Any reason why Deloitte would be better for my background over MBB?

Jun 10, 2017
Esuric:

Deloitte would be more open to your background relative to MBB.

That makes absolutely no sense. Each of the MBB firms has a dedicated recruiting program and pipeline for advanced degrees; Deloitte does not.

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Jun 10, 2017

Hi there, biomedical PhD here in consulting now. You have a great background for consulting at MBB. Insight and Bridge to BCG are recruiting tools for APD candidates (people with PhDs, MDs, etc) to both firms and many of the interview offers they make for full time recruiting come out of the pools that apply/attend those programs. You would be wise to apply to both and attend if you get an invitation.

Unfortunately PwC and Deloitte typically don't hire PhDs without knowing someone on the inside, so reach out to whoever you can, but don't rest your hopes on them.

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Jun 10, 2017

I appreciate the advice. Are you aware of any non-MBB's that are keen on hiring PhDs? Other than LEK for their life science specialist role? I've read in some other places on this forum and elsewhere that often times life science boutiques are prime ground for PhDs, but I've never really seen any examples given.

Jun 12, 2017

If you're looking for botiques, there are plenty. Insight Strategy Advisors, Clearview, Putnam, etc.

I'm confused by the thread though. Why would you be looking for an alternative to MBB? ADCs come in with all kinds of previous experience, you'll be a better candidate because you have real work experience.

Jun 10, 2017

Thanks for the advice and your frank assessment.

Jun 13, 2017

What's the general consensus on undergraduate vs. graduate GPA, would the graduate be more important during recruiting?

Are there certain cutoffs on the GRE at the big firms?

TIA and good luck to the OP!

Jun 12, 2017

Undergrad GPA is WAY more important, graduate GPA is a joke at most places.

No hard cutoffs on GRE. As long as it's not unusually low, it's fine.

Jun 13, 2017

Thank you! Very helpful!

Jun 12, 2017

Perhaps "joke" was too strong of a word, but it can only hurt you (i.e. a <3.75 would raise an eyebrow, anything above that would be the norm/expectation). UG GPA says a lot more considering how important coursework is, it's an issue if it's terrible (<3.3 is far, I might go as high as <3.5 unless you were at a school that was known for being particularly punitive) and it does look good if it's stellar (>3.9).

None of these are dealbreakers on their own, but they are 2 quick numbers to color the perception of someone who is looking at hundreds of resumes.

Jun 10, 2017
Roy-Ray:

Grad school GPA is NOT a joke. If it's <3.5, you may not even get an interview.

I have 6 years at MBB, and had interviews at all 3. My grad GPA was 3.0003, and I flunked out of undergrad twice. GPA matters but it's only one factor. I had other stuff on my resume (Marine Corps, sales experience) that was interesting to the firms.

Best Response
Jun 10, 2017

For what it's worth, I reached out to an ADC recruiter (as per @Carmbar"'s suggestion) at an MBB and they said my undergrad GPA was not of concern. So, at least for GPAs of 3.3-3.4, people may still be good to go.

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Jun 10, 2017

If you're coming in with PhD program, they won't care about what you did in undergrad.

Jun 14, 2017
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