I don't know why I can't get consulting interviews

I think I have a good background and pre-MBA working experiences. But out of 40 consulting jobs I applied so far (internship + full-time), I only got 2 interviews (EY-P and Alvarez & Marsal). However, my other MBA classmates are getting tons of interviews, some of them don't even recruit management consulting.

I am seriously confused. What went wrong. If you have time, could you give me some advice? I am happy to share my background details. Please see the attached resume.

Also, many people asked me about fit and networking. I think I will put it here too. In general, I don't consider myself a weak networker or an absolute bad fit for those firms. I am from one of the big 4s and when I networked with that big 4 consulting arm, things went exceptionally well. I even got one of the managers to support my candidacy. She also mentioned that once I got an interview, she would connect me to that practice partner. But since I got no interview, I got no partner support eventually. I connected with one of the MBBs well. I talked about weight lifting with a manager and we exchanged dietary plans. A partner and I talked about how to be a father for around 15 mins. I also had a great coffee chat with a consultant from that firm. He mentioned me to the recruiter. The recruiter later saw me and told me that "xxxx said a lot of good things about you". I also had a great chat with a consultant from a great consulting firm. The chat went so well we even talked about very personal things (original part is removed to avoid controversy). Of course, I don't connect perfectly with all consulting firms, but I don't think I did all bad.

I want to say that some of the comments below confirm my thoughts that I do have weak spots in my background, and the 2019 and 2020 recruiting seasons are just tough. I totally understand. 

Any insights are welcomed! Thank you all!

Great Guy - Resume_0.pdf 123.34 KB123.34 KB

Comments (42)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Sep 28, 2020 - 3:34pm

Would need to know more about mba experience, gpa, precious internships and education to give you advice.

From what I know, consulting firms recruit largely on merit and resume screens rather than networking. Not saying other industries like IB/PE don't recruit on merit: just saying that consulting firms do not care for employee referrals. I know this from application experience and speaking with associates at consulting firms like LEK.

I'd recommend talking to your MBA buds who have been getting interviews and ask for advice, ask current employees at firms for advice based on your resume.

Good luck and dw too much - if you're landing interviews at EY you're bound to get something: good luck !

Most Helpful
Sep 28, 2020 - 8:08pm

Yep I totally agree. At one point I had several school career office folks check my resume and all of them said my resume looked good. I was wondering it's probably something related to my undergraduate or just my overall pre-MBA industry experiences.

I am currently an MBA student at an S16 school. My undergraduate is a regular city college. I also got a master of accounting degree from this city college.

I have 4.5 yrs of experience at PwC. I provided tax reporting services to a bunch of investment funds. My clients included Blackstone, Brookfield, Morgan Stanley, TPG, etc. Other than tax reporting services, I provided tax due diligence services for those funds' property transactions (basically I made sure those transactions were compliant with tax regulations and my clients would be entitled to certain tax benefits). Other than tax, I provided technology implementation services to PwC project teams (I helped those teams onboard technologies such as Alteryx, Tableau, and Thomson Reuters's advanced tax software). I had one promotion within PwC, and I had tons of project management and leadership experiences.

My MBA summer experience was at a very small equity research firm. I focused on building financial statement models for publicly traded marijuana companies and conducting cannabis industry research (market sizing, COVID impact, etc).

One achievement - I helped a startup tech firm win a school entrepreneurship challenge.

I never got an interview with MBB. Fine. I applied for internships last year and I got rejected by Kearney, LEK, Oliver Wyman, Alix Partners, Deloitte, even PwC.........This year, B4 firms don't have FT openings so I only applied to MBB and few firms. No luck yet.

Thank you for your time. Sorry for the long writing.

Sep 29, 2020 - 2:03am

Sorry but this is bad information. If anything, consulting values fit much more than IB. As a MBB campus lead, I would much rather give an opportunity to someone who I liked but had slightly weaker stats than some cocky asshole who I don't trust to put in front of a client and will be a pain to manage. For us, the airport test is what gets you on the closed list but killing the case is what gets you the offer. LEK may be different with the large amount DD and non-client facing work that they do.

Sep 29, 2020 - 1:20pm

Thank you for the info. I believe that I connected well with those firms recruiters and consultants. I am from PwC, and I even got a PwC manager supporting me. I got no luck. I really connected with a few folks at an MBB. One consultant I chatted with mentioned me to the recruiter. When the recruiter saw me, he mentioned that "xxx said a lot of good things about you". However, I got no luck.

So at one point, I doubt my overall pre-MBA background. But who knows.

Thank you again for the tips. I believe networking is important no matter what I want to recruit.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Sep 28, 2020 - 6:18pm

If you post resume can take a look over weekend - am mbb

Sep 29, 2020 - 12:44am

Are you getting invited to targeted events or just completely being ignored? Similar to applying to b-school, your resume is only part of the equation when it comes to getting on the closed list. Your experience seems fine - my best guess is that you are either not memorable enough or not clicking with company representatives during recruiting events. I am the campus lead for MBB at a top 5 b-school and see this all the time.

Sep 29, 2020 - 1:27pm

To be honest with you, I only had one invite-only event with EY-P. I didn't submit my resumes to the "resume book" until later in the game (after MBB sent out the invite to invite-only). But I am not sure if the "resume book" is what you use for selecting candidates for invite-only. I think I replied to your comment above. Just in summary here, I think connected ok (just my opinion). But honestly, as I mentioned - some people didn't even recruit management consulting, and of course, never met the recruiter. They got interviews. I understand that there is a matrix for deciding interviews, I am just not sure which part exactly I miss.

Sep 30, 2020 - 6:32am


 some people didn't even recruit management consulting, and of course, never met the recruiter. They got interviews.

Are they the same ethnicity/gender/orientation/veteran exp as you? 

The ugly truth of it is that these are factors, and they have targets for the number of women and URM they want to hire.

They'll go to lower ranked schools to meet their target numbers. If you're a guy and not a URM, you'll have it tougher. 

  • VP in IB-M&A
Sep 29, 2020 - 3:16pm

Not to be racist or anything, but where are you from? S16 isn't a common term used here in the states and I'm wondering maybe the consulting firms are concerned about fit / visa issues. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 29, 2020 - 3:28pm

He means he's at one of the better non-T15 MBAs (UNC, Georgetown, Emory), which is also probably one of the reasons why he's struggling to get interviews from top consulting firms

  • Intern in Other
Sep 29, 2020 - 11:03pm

maybe this is not a normal practice but if I were you I'd put US citizen under your name on top of your resume, in BOLD. Better to avoid getting dinged because of a Chinese sounding name which leads people to think you need H1B sponsorship. btw I am Chinese too and implicit bias is a pain in the ass

Sep 29, 2020 - 6:10pm

Did you make sure to get an officer position at the campus consulting club? Did you tailor your cv to consulting itself so that it telegraphs you're intention? Did you network with the alumni so that they would hook you up appropriately? You need to have a lot of signaling in your CV so that it jumps out how dead-set you are to be in consulting.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 29, 2020 - 11:29pm

Solid points made by other folks here. But I think you should also pay attention to the overall job market. It is a very tough job market right now esp. for MBA students. Frankly, you're resume isn't competitive enough for MBB *this year*. A lot of the big tech firms which have traditionally hired a large number of MBAs have gone into a hiring freeze this year. On top of that some of the consulting firms like Deloitte have paused on their FT recruiting. KPMG just laid off 1400 people. 


I know a few of guys from my analyst class who are now in business schools, who had their FT offers rescinded from big tech firms due to the hiring freeze. All those qualified students from H/W/S + M7 programs who originally had plans to recruit for other sectors such as tech, healthcare, social/impact Investing, etc. had to turn back/swarm into traditional fields such as management consulting (and investment banking) because no one else is hiring. So don't feel bad about not getting invites. Maybe as soon as next year tech firms will ramp-up their hiring numbers again and you'll have chances to lateral into MBB

Sep 29, 2020 - 11:59pm

I agree with you. I kinda saw this coming last year before the pandemic because US economy was already having a red flag. Banks and several consulting firms (EY-P for example) were considering conservative hiring and return offering. 

I am fine with MBB preferring other M7 schools over my S16. But what confuses me is that my MBA classmates are getting so much more than I have had. I guess the limited hiring comes probably on an individual basis. I do have weak spots on my resume that I can't redo.

Thanks for your answer!

Sep 30, 2020 - 1:16am

I do not have MBB experience but have reviewed a ton of resumes for IB and have good insight from senior leadership regarding resume/work experience red flags. Going to point out the obvious here... hopefully someone with MBB experience can prob provide more insight.

I have heard a lot of managers pass on candidates because they felt like either retraining an individual's professional thought process would be too much work or not possible. Humans tend to get set in their ways after several years of doing something a certain way. I think your background in accounting and tax may be hurting you more than it is helping you. At quick glance, it seems like a lot of PWC work had you buried in the weeds which could be a tough mentality to change or rewire to be more a high-level thinker. I actually used to get this feedback a lot when I tried switching from valuations to equity research early on in my career. 

Also, there are some very easy and apparent grammatical changes you can make to your resume to improve wording. You are using pretty broken english in some of your bullet points. Hire a professional resume reviewer to improve on this.

Also, for the "airport test"... change the wording in your interests. Replace "singing (casual PwC events)" and "party games (board game and pool)" with karaoke and billiards. Makes you sound more fun already. I respect anyone that has the huevos to do karaoke. I am terrified of that shit.

Good luck!


Sep 30, 2020 - 8:49am

I will make changes to the interest and have a professional check on my resume. It's interesting that my resume went through multiple eyes (school, students, someone at MBB, native Eng speaker, non-native, etc). I just always felt that something was off and I couldn't tell. I guess it's time to find a real professional. Thanks for the tips!!

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Sep 30, 2020 - 8:22am

I'm not recruiting consulting but can provide some market intel. I'm currently at an M7 (non-HSW). It's a very competitive year at MBB, and I'm assuming that trickles down. A lot of people who aren't getting interviews for FT had consulting internships at Deloitte, EY-P, LEK, Strategy&, Kearney. The people who are getting interviews are the ones who didn't even recruit consulting last year but still have impressive backgrounds. I would guess that this means there is a lot of talent for relatively few spots at the remaining firms and (if anything) they are drawing more from the M7 schools than normal. 

Also, +1 on networking being huge, and every competitive candidate does it. There are a few who can get away with less networking (big name PE background / good entrepreneurship / strong candidate + URM), but almost everyone else has to go through the gauntlet.  

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Sep 30, 2020 - 8:07pm

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  • Prospect in Consulting
Sep 30, 2020 - 9:00pm

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