Little On-Campus Recruiting and a Weak School Network

petergibbons's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,407

I understand that networking is obviously quite important in breaking into any prestigious industry, but what if your school, despite being respectable and well-known, doesn't have the greatest network or on-campus recruiting?

I'm a rising senior at a liberal arts college which is ranked higher in terms of US News scoring than a lot of targets and semi-targets (Cornell, UCLA, Berkeley, Georgetown, etc). I'm an economics major, Urban Studies minor, with a 3.84 GPA that's been steadily climbing since freshman year. I took the GMAT (partially for shits and giggles, partially because I applied to 2+2 even though I don't think I'm exactly what they're looking for) and got a 770. In other words, I'm confident I'd at least get some interviews if my school was on the recruiting radar at all. I didn't apply to bigger universities because I wanted to play college sports, but I'm nowhere near good enough to play Division I.

Now, I'm kind of kicking myself. Our alumni network is pretty limited in terms of consulting, although I know there are a few alums at M/B/B, but most of them didn't get there until after grad school. Is this the reality I'm going to be facing, or can I still go to these alums and try my luck for next year? I know our school is a member of some liberal arts recruiting thing where you go to Boston, DC, and New York for "serious" jobs, but I don't know anyone who has been successful there...if anyone has any advice I'd be very appreciative. Thanks.

Comments (6)

Jul 11, 2009

Sorry to bust your balls but LAC's are weak shit. To say that its rated higher than cornell,UCLA,Cal, and Gtown is a joke. Those aforementioned schools beat VASSAR x 1000. Your gmat is solid and shows your intelligent which should open up some doors. Alumni networking is your best bet and cold call firms.

Jul 11, 2009

Agree with dipset, your GPA's great & you smashed the GMAT so just network a little bit outside of your alum network & get your resume in the hands of a recruiter, should be o.k. Unless you didn't do any internships then you might not be to good.

Jul 11, 2009

I don't really think Vassar (or the other LAC's) are significantly better than the schools I mentioned, but I don't think they're worse. I'm just bitter about not getting recruiters on campus, but I think it's at least partially a numbers game. As for internships, I've done PWM and a corporate development program with a well-known consumer products company, and I currently do research at a small mutual fund. So, not the best, but again, not quite "weak shit"...

Jul 11, 2009

I think your first mission should be to contact as many alumni from your school (who are working in your field of choice) as possible, as alumni are usually the best bet for students coming from schools that are closer to the non-target end of the spectrum. I would absolutely reach out to any read that you know of who are working in M/B/B, as well as any other firms that are top notch. Will it work, time will tell, but I can say that if you don't try, it definitely won't (obviously).

Next, I would not focus on solely the top firms, and focus on just breaking into your career of choice. Considering you are at least thinking of going to B school, your top priority right now should be getting into a company that will offer you interesting and enjoyable work that will allow you to develop professionally over the next 2-3 years. At that time, especially if the market is better, you can either go to B school, or make the move to another firm.

I think your plan of attack should involve extensive networking (career fairs, company presentations/events, alumni contacts), staying patients and optimistic, and keeping your eyes open for opportunities in the industry.

Lastly, regarding rankings, it really doesn't matter whether your school is ranked 1 above or 1 below, or slightly higher than another school that is a semi-Target or Target, what matters is simply whether it is in the Target range (semi or full) or not. So there's no reason to argue over whether your school is ranked higher than school X or Y and get annoyed that school X or Y is a Target and yours isn't - it is what it is, so make the best of your opportunities, and don't worry about the opportunities of others (not trying to lecture, I just don't want this to turn into "my school's better than yours" nonsense).

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Jul 13, 2009

As you already recognize, not being from a target school makes things considerably harder. In addition to doing aggressive outreach to alums, here are some other ideas to broaden your net:

  1. Consider whether there are any other schools near you that are target schools. If so, crash any consulting company visits and meet-and-greet opportunities. This might involve cultivating a well-placed friend on that campus who will let you know about any events.
  2. Find a school "near" you that has a consulting club. Petition to join.
  3. Start a consulting club at your school. You might be able to attract some smaller consulting firms to come and it shows good initiative.
  4. Is there a business school near you? Crash the visits from consulting firms on their campus. Petition to be an observer at their club meetings.
  5. Scour LinkedIn to see who you are connected to who is in consulting.
    9 Tips to Use LinkedIn to Help You Get Your Ideal Job
  6. Cast a wider net in your job search. Consider looking at corporate consulting opportunities. Some larger companies have internal consulting practices. This is a longer term play to get into a major strategy consulting job which might not happen until after b-school.

Good luck

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Jul 13, 2009

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