How to learn about Consulting options?


I am 6 years out of undergrad with a graduate degree from Columbia. I have worked at several jobs in startups, tech, and political policy. I am interested in possibly transitioning into consulting but have no idea how to find out what type of firm or position would be right for me. What type of general advice would you give to someone in my position?


United States - Northeast

Comments (6)

Apr 23, 2013

If you have access to Columbia alumni network try finding alumni at big consulting firms: BCG, McKinsey and tell them your story. Ask for informational interviews. I would also get the Management Consulting by : Sugata/ Twitchell Biswas Somenath Biswas. And after reading that get some books on case study interviews. Good luck!

Apr 23, 2013

What about advice for learning about firms outside MBB that might take someone looking to transition their career but who is not coming straight from UG/MBA. I feel like there are hundreds of consulting firms; just no clue how to find or weigh them.

Apr 24, 2013

The consulting lifestyle is very similar from firm to firm, but the type of people and the type of work differs greatly. You need to first decide what kind of consulting you're interested in, and then do research on what the top firms are in that practice area. I'm pretty sure almost every firm (incl. MBB) hires "experienced hires," and your ability to land a gig will come down to your perseverance in networking/reaching out and how you leverage your past experience.

Also, if you do get invited to interview, definitely be familiar with the case interview process. If you can't think clearly on your feet you'll have a hard time.

As far as "researching" different firms, check out Vault, ManagementConsulted, firm websites, and read the posts in this forum. There's a lot of information out there, and if you use Google wisely you can learn about a firm inside out. The other (and more preferable option) is to do what the previous poster said and reach out into Columbia's alumni consulting network and ask for informational interviews.

Apr 27, 2013

With 6 yrs of work experience, but not in consulting, your position would be the MBA-hire level (e.g. senior consultant/analyst). That's my guess.

In terms of what firm to work for, that greatly depends on what you're interested in. As you said, there are hundreds of firms, which spans a fairly wide array of functions--e.g. strategy/marketing, HR, IT, change, ops/process, supply chain, web, etc--and industries/verticals.

If you're unsure at this point, I recommend talking to friends who've worked in consulting for a number of yrs (not recent hires). What's described in infosessions, books, and corporate websites are typically inaccurate. :)

Apr 27, 2013

There are indeed many consulting firms ... but you are in the chicken and egg stage - decide first what you want to do, then search for firms that do these things - it will make everything clearer and your story more compelling ... With your background I'd try first for MBB/Accenture/Big 4/IBM. Network with alumni and learn how to crack consulting interviews.

Apr 29, 2013