If you didn't get a consulting offer what would you have done instead?

I'm a senior at a top 5 target school looking for advice I've been trying to break into consulting, had interviews this recruiting season at McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, OW and Strategy &. Got flat out rejected from Bain and a few others. Didn't manage to land an offer from any of them. I'm trying to figure out what I should do next. I've looked at a applying to a few small boutiques but most of the main deadlines have passed for them.

My plan was to do consulting for a couple years, then do business school, then jump to VC or Corp Dev. My GPA is fine but not great (like a 3.4). My degree is in Econ with a minor in CS and I've worked at a big tech firm for my internships in data roles but didn't really enjoy them and didn't get a full-time return offer.

So getting to my main question now: *If you didn't get a consulting offer what would you have done instead? *

  • What other industries and roles can I get solid experience to set me up for a top business school?
  • I've looked at strategy type roles at start-ups and in tech but most of them seem to want 2-3 years of mgmt consulting experience and/or an MBA. I've also looked at operations type roles at startups as well but these all seem to pay around 50k a year while living in super expensive places like NYC or SF.
  • Should I be looking to get a masters in something and re-apply next year?
  • I've looking at trying to apply to VC firms directly but that seems impossible to pull off directly out of undergrad.
  • I've already missed the IB recruiting cycle so that isn't really an option.
  • I could probably land a data type role at another tech firm but that isn't what I want to do and doesn't seem that useful for getting into business school.
  • Should I look into IT consulting?

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance.

Comments (4)

Jan 3, 2019

Hello my friend! Sounds like you really had a tough break there. I wish there was something that worked out for you. It's never easy to get rejected, especially when you're been working on recruiting for so long, and when you're obviously qualified for the job. My condolences to you.

If I weren't to get an offer from MBB, then I would want to work in a startup in the biotechnology space. I'd want to look for a company that's raised their series A at least (So that I can at least get a decent salary and support my family), and see if I could work up into their Senior management and ride the wave, help them raise another round, and hopefully oversee some of the R&D. I'd love to be in an environment that has meaning, autonomy, growth, impact, and connection, and I feel like a startup would be the best place for me to go. somewhere that was doing consumer genetic testing maybe, or developing a sterile meat animal for consumption. That would be awesome.

Now, to answer your other questions:
What industries? Really anything F500 where you work in their business development, marketing, etc section. You work hard, be scrappy, and work up, and you'll be able to get into a top business school.

Should you look to get a masters and then re-apply? Only if you are really, really dead set on consulting. Life is way better working than in school. I considered doing this, but I didn't think it was worth it.
HOWEVER, there is one big caveat: You could just red-shirt for a year. The recruiting season was this fall, and you didn't get in. If you just stretch your last semester into both winter semester and next fall semester (Like take 8 credits now and 8 credits then), you can recruit for FT consulting next year. It gives you a chance to get a little better GPA, get a great summer internship, and then work on case interview practice and network with alumni during the summer. I know several people that did this and got fantastic offers.

Trying to get into VC? It's possible at undergrad, but you'll come in at the bottom level. It's hard to work up, but not impossible. You can't chase chase prestige with a 3.4, unfortunately, and still go to the top.

Data type job: If you don't want to do it, then don't do it. Life is too short to work in places you don't want to be.

Should you look into IT consulting? Yeah, I've heard it's a blast, it pays well, and lots of boutiques are looking for great talent. You might not be doing F500 cases and working on long-term strategy problems, but you'll be solving difficult problems for big clients and getting compensated well, it's a great place to look into.

Now, you probably networked with people at your target firms, right? You've got to have some friends there, and they have a ton of connections. It would be a great idea to reach out to them and ask if they know of anywhere that is hiring, somewhere high impact that would be a lot of fun. If you do that, I'm sure they'll have better advice.

But yeah, don't give up. You've been grinding, and you've got the chops to make it somewhere. You're not a loser if you didn't get an offer this time around. Hell, if you've got that many interviews and didn't come up with anything, then it's not where God needs you to be for right now. Keep up the good work, and keep looking. You'll find something you love, there's always a place.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions. Hope you have a great weekend!

Remember, always be kind-hearted.

Jan 3, 2019

First off, I am sorry that your original plan didn't go the way you wanted, but I would say that consulting isn't all it's cracked up to be in many cases (bout to get flamed on this forum). Don't get down on yourself whatsoever, since interviews are incredibly variable (Working in the Monitor side of S&O, but didn't get second rounds at Accenture and West Monroe).

I would look at this as an opportunity to do something that you're actually passionate about. Many of the people on this forum will tout consulting and try to rank firms to make themselves feel better about themselves but are not entirely fulfilled with their careers. I daily think about doing something else as I am sure many of this forum do, but wouldn't readily admit.

In your case, I would get a real estate license and start to F'ing hustle.

Don't do tech consulting just because it has the word consulting in it. The daily work wouldn't interest you since it is usually far from CS and mostly implementation.

Feel free to message me if you'd like to chat further!


Jan 4, 2019

Have you considered business roles (not data) at tech companies? Sth like product management or FP at Amazon? Your CS minor might be helpful

Jan 4, 2019