5/1/09

Hi,

My goal after college is to get a job at an MBB. I understand that my resume will only get me an interview, and once I have a first round it's completely up to me to secure the job. So I'd very much like to hear any suggestions you guys have on how to maximize my chances of getting first round interviews given my situation.

A little bit about myself: I'm finishing up my junior year at a strong, but not top target, university (between Tufts and Boston College in US News 2009 rankings). Last year McKinsey did OCR but not Bain or BCG. I'm doing a BA/MA in Economics and Finance, which takes 5 years total, and starting next semester I'll be taking only graduate level Economics and Finance classes.

Stats:
MA in Economics and Finance expected in 2011
BA in Economics and Psychology expected in 2010
Overall GPA: 3.65 (rounded to 3.7 on resume)
Economics GPA: 4.0
SAT: 2200 total. 760 math.
Economic consulting internship lined up for this summer at a respectable firm
Pharmaceutical consulting internship during this past academic year (lots of relevant experience to talk about; working with data in excel, researching, modeling, programming, creating PPTs etc). I plan on interning at this firm again in the fall.
Research Assistant for a Finance professor
Research Assistant at a Psychology lab
Consistent involvement in two clubs since Freshman year (currently President of one and Business Director of the other)

After this summer I have two more years of school and one summer to prepare myself for full time recruiting for MBB. Apart from networking and getting good grades (hopefully pulling myself up to a rounded 3.8), is there anything else I can do to increase my chances at an interview? Do I have a realistic chance given my profile and the state of the economy? Should I lower my expectations? Also, is it a mistake to go back to the same internship I had this past year in the fall? It's excellent experience, and I love working there but I've thought that it might be better to work somewhere else to add diversity to my resume.

Thanks!

Comments (14)

5/1/09

I would say the only realistic thing that would make you a stronger candidate right now would be to start networking with people in MBB. You have a fantastic academic profile and outstanding work experience for somebody at your level, with your economic consulting internship an additional plus. At this point, just continue to perform as well as you have and start reaching out to any school alum that are or have been at MBB. Simply introduce yourself with a short description of your background, express your desire to be in MBB, and then start building those relationships. People are a lot more willing to help than you might think.

As for post-graduation prospects... unless we fall off a second cliff, we should be seeing an upward swing by the time you're set to graduate so I'd say your prospects will be quite good. You sound like a great candidate and you'll go far. Good luck.

Management Consulting Interview Course

5/1/09

you do sound like a very qualified candidate. i would expect just about every consulting firm that does OCR to give you at least an interview. that said, you are at a real disadvantage with any firm that doesn't do OCR at your school. if bcg and bain don't do OCR at your school then in order to have a decent shot at an interview with them you will likely have to network because it's unlikely you'll get an interview by submitting your CV to their website.

in addition - even if you get interviews there is no guarantee that you wind up with an MBB offer. it's like applying to top tier colleges - it's a crapshoot. imagine MBB are Harvard/Yale/Princeton ... would you apply to only those three? i applaud your lofty goals but you should keep other options in mind as well as back-ups. if you're set on consulting i would recommend you check out monitor, oliver wyman, booz, LEK, parthenon, and katzenbach. all of these firms do very high level work and pay well and have tons of prestige (albeit less than MBB). avoid IT/HR/Accounting consulting like the plague! happy to provide you with additional thoughts if you wish ...

5/1/09

Look at Mars & Co., Marakon and Lake Partners as well.

5/2/09

I don't know much about consulting, but you're resume looks very strong. You just need to meet as many contacts as possible. Do you have a lot of alumni in consulting? Do your econ professsors have connections? Just keep up what you're doing academically/professionally, and network with Bud Fox-like persistence.

5/2/09

you look like you're in good shape

  1. Try to contact alum at MBB from your school and try to contact analysts in charge of recruiting (HR usually direct you to 1 or 2 people for questions about life as an analyst)
  2. If you cannot get an MBB internship next summer, go for something with a name (Deloitte, AT Kearney, LEK, etc)

its all about networking (to get first rounds, and even to get an offer since you need people to say good things for you)

5/2/09

Thanks a lot for the helpful responses! Honestly, I was expecting to be told that I didn't have a chance unless I transfer to HYPS, pull up my GPA to a 3.9+, or start a business that gets bought out by Google, so this has been very encouraging.

Like a number of you suggested, I definitely will apply to the second-tier firms you all listed and more. Spinner, I can very much relate to the comparison you made between MBB and H/Y/P since I regularly have to say the exact same thing to my gf who's still upset that she didn't get into Yale three years ago.

I'm only just starting to network extensively. It's difficult because my school doesn't have a ton of alums at MBB (we tend to cater more toward pre-meds, pre-laws, and people who want to save the world), but there are still a significant number that I have yet to contact so I'll keep working on that. Joemontana, I've only networked through the career center, so I'll definitely try and see if any econ professors can help out. Thanks for the suggestion!

Another couple of questions for you guys, since you've been very helpful so far: I have the option of graduating next year with a BA and not completing my master's degree if I can find a job I REALLY want (basically just MBB). Would it make sense to apply to MBB for FT this year and then if it doesn't work out try again next year when I'm finishing my MA? Or should I just apply for MBB internships for next summer and follow through with the MA? I assume it wouldn't be possible to apply for both internships and FT positions during the same year, right?

Also, how do NERA and Mercer stack up as options for next summer? I will definitely have the chance to interview with both firms for next summer, but do I need to set my sights higher to have a good shot at MBB the following year?

Thanks again for all the help so far. I really appreciate it!

5/2/09

actually it may be possible to apply for both because FT recruiting typically happens in the fall and internship recruiting during the winter. look into it. NERA is the world's top name for economic consulting but it's a bit different than what mbb does. it should still help you get interviews later.

as far as Mercer goes you should know that Mercer is HR consulting (avoid at all costs if you want to do something like MBB). management consulting companies are super snobby against HR/IT/Accounting consulting. MBB are especially snobby. Mercer does have a sister company called Oliver Wyman which is basically one of the best 2nd tier shops behind MBB. i used to work at Oliver Wyman back when it was called Mercer Management Consulting and found that i had excellent exit opportunities to Bschools, PE, HFs etc. One more thing - avoid Deloitte because it carries the stain of ops/IT consulting and avoid Marakon primarily because it no longer exists ;-)

good luck!

5/22/09

"we tend to cater more toward pre-meds, pre-laws, and people who want to save the world"

lol... Brandeis?

5/28/09

Getting an interview will be the biggest hurdle for you. It seems like you will have good consulting experience and a strong econ/finance background before the MBB recruiting cycle.

Keep working on improving your GPA. A 3.7 by all means isn't going to keep you out but having a 3.8 will help you a LOT when recruiters are sifting through a bunch of resumes. You need to aim higher than the baseline requirements.

You will also need to make your resume stand out and tailor made for each consulting firm (they have different strengths and if you know what each emphasizes it will help you tremendousely). I received interviews and offers at all of the firms - and my knowledge of "why McKinsey?" in my opinion got me the job. A pedestrian response like "McKinsey has a lot of entrepreneurs etc." won't differentiate you from other candidates in the interview process.

On your resume, also be sure to convey how you've shown leadership on campus or passion for an extracurricular. MBB want to know that you had an impact on your campus.

I'll be detailing my own consulting recruiting experience on my blog - from the resume to networking to snabbing the offer. There are also other perspectives from undergrads and recent grads who worked at MBB. (as well as in Investment Banking)

Good luck.

ChasingConsultants
http://chasingconsultantsbreakingbankers.blogspot....

6/13/09

To obtain most scarce things (such as a great job, a top MBA or a great girl), you will have to demonstrate that you (1) fit in and (2) fit out.

You are doubting yourself because you are above average, but not great for the 'fit in' part.

Rather than pursuing second rate internships to obtain a subpar fit in record, why not try to do outstanding things such as exporting medicines to subsaharan africa (and visit the place for story telling), optimizing a plant layout for a SME in SE Asia, running a semi-marathon or trying to win a poker championship.

You'll have more fun and be more employable. I don't need to hire the guy from Local U if the Wharton grad is available at the same price, but I might hire you if I you have great life experience.

Last remark: You will need a high GPA ('fit in'), so do keep working on that.

I wish you all the best.

6/13/09

Are you a foreign student at a top 3 American university for your Post Doc? Or are you trying to get an MBB job here and are at a top 3 university in your home country? I'd say it's near impossible breaking into MBB in the U.S. without an American MBA/American PHD, and that you might want to consider getting a graduate degree in business as consulting recruiting is very structured around this. However, MBB offices not in the U.S./Europe (Mexico, Brazil, India, etc) are much less competitive and could be easier to get into given your background.

6/13/09

Thank you very much for you reply, I got my PhD in the states, from a research university ranked around around 50 national wide and 30 for graduate school and 20 for my major ranking. Now I am a postdoc in a top 3 university and top1 major in the states. I am permanent residence now. I am just fill tired in the research or to be a faculty later.

6/13/09
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