Is it true that consulting firms don't prefer candidates with Big 4 accounting BG?

Gleeman2873's picture
Rank: Monkey | 42

Big 4 are 4 accounting firms traditionally, although they all have consulting arms. However, having B4 on the resume shouldn't indicate a consulting background - just in case some people think Big 4 to MBB is always a consulting to consulting transition.

I am an MBA 1st year. I have a typical B4 accounting background and I have earned great achievements - saving client relationships, onboarding technologies to saving thousands, promoted solutions across US member firms, grew many interns and associates, worked with 3rd party agents to bring an AI tech to my firm, and typical accounting side of due diligence work.

I gave my resume to a few MBA 2 who went to MBBs. I leveraged a paid service and asked an MBB project leader to check on my resume. I asked a consulting partner from my B4 firm to comment on my resume. So eventually, they signed off on my resume.

My networking was at least "ok". I got a few partners/directors at different firms who mentioned about helping me through the process or connecting me to someone who would help.

HOWEVER, I applied to 11+ consulting firms (with NY as the top location), and got only one interview. I seriously have no idea of what's going on.

My MBA school is S16. I have friends in one M7 and they told me, it was pretty much the same situation this year. Basically, candidates with B4 accounting background didn't recruit management consulting well this year.

Then I can't stop wondering - Is it true that consulting firms don't value B4 accounting background much?

Comments (7)

Feb 22, 2020

There is little truth in that. I work at MBB and know plenty of people with Big 4 accounting experience pre b-school. Strategy firms really value people with client service/facing experience even if the functional skills are different. Chances are, for whatever reason, you aren't impressing people or standing out in networking sessions.

Typically, interview lists are set per the following process: 1) Resume books are scanned to develop initial list of candidates, 2) Networking events and office hours are held to validate or add candidates to the list, 3) Second years and sponsored students provide feedback to further refine the list, 4) Recruiting leads make adjustments and finalize list.

If you find yourself on their radar but not able to land on the list, it's likely you and not your background. If they are just ghosting you completely, then it is your background because you are not even worth their time to explore as a candidate. Just my guess but I'd take a constructive look at how you are networking and making connections.

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Feb 25, 2020

Hi CM04. I really really appreciate your insights. I don't believe that it was my resume. I didn't go full when I was networking with those folks, though I did get a few strong connections. However, I think I missed the resume-book part so not one firm had my resume in the first place. Based upon what you said, I think I also didn't really get an A during networking. I will definitely improve it when I start my full-time applications.

Feb 25, 2020

What are you doing for the summer?

Feb 25, 2020

Hi Trippy. I highly likely will do corporate strategy. Currently, I have corporate strategy offers from an insurance company and a digital tech company. I may have a corporate finance offer from a major bank (on waiting list now). I think I am leaning towards the tech company offer. Does the summer experience weight a lot for full time hire?

Feb 26, 2020

I'm not the right person to ask. But based on what I've seen on here - if you want to do consulting then doing your summer in corp strategy makes most sense. And from there I'd go with the more marketable industry unless you're interested in insurance.

Feb 26, 2020

I appreciate your thoughts. I will go with the tech company offer then.

Feb 29, 2020