MBB Networking

wanna b mbb's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 719

So, I want to get ahead of the game for full time recruiting next fall, and I have some free time on my hands now that finals are over. I have the credentials (target school, GPA, consulting internship this summer) that should get me interviews at MBB, but I only got an interview at 1/3 for internships. I am hoping that doing some serious networking will get me interviews at 3/3 for full time. Any general advice on how to get started on this would be most appreciated!

Also, a few specific questions:

How useful is it to simply send e-mails or linkedin messages to alums from my school the firms in question? Anything specific I should put in such e-mails?

What level of employees should I be targeting? Analysts? Consultants? Partners? Obviously partners have the most pull when it comes to these things, but is there any chance they will give a shit about an undergrad?

Also, how important is it for a connection to be in the office that I want to land in? For example, will opening contact with a consultant at Bain's SF office be any help if I want to land in Chicago or NYC?

Thanks!

Comments (39)

May 9, 2011

very interested, as I'm in the exact same situation...

May 9, 2011

Me too. Desperately need some consulting internships. Anyone know of any potential places for London?

May 10, 2011
wanna b mbb:

How useful is it to simply send e-mails or linkedin messages to alums from my school the firms in question? Anything specific I should put in such e-mails?

What level of employees should I be targeting? Analysts? Consultants? Partners? Obviously partners have the most pull when it comes to these things, but is there any chance they will give a shit about an undergrad?

Thanks!

These get the usual networking answers: it's useful to send emails/linkedins, but you shouldn't expect a response rate above around 20%. Just ask to chat over the phone or in person about their career/why they chose their firm/etc, you're not going to impress them with an email. Hopefully, they ask you to send them your resume, then you meet/talk, etc. etc.

Target everyone. Obviously, your odds of getting a favorable response go up if you have some sort of connection, or if you got their name from someone else, but everyone's worth a shot.

wanna b mbb:

Also, how important is it for a connection to be in the office that I want to land in? For example, will opening contact with a consultant at Bain's SF office be any help if I want to land in Chicago or NYC?

This is an interesting question. Of the partners who got me my MBB interviews, one was in the office I wanted to work in, and 2 were not. At McKinsey and Bain, at least, if you're not being interviewed physically on campus (i.e. if you go to a non-target or if your school's first round is at a nearby office), the first round isn't even necessarily at the office that you want, and they don't take your location preferences into account until after you pass that first interview round. That said, I got a vague feeling that your final-round odds go up ever so slightly if you have some sort of connection to the office (that office particularly likes your school, a bunch of them know you, whatever). So I would prioritize the connections in Chicago/NYC if that's where you want to be, but don't pass over people in other offices. Everyone can help you at least a little bit.

May 10, 2011

Also depends on the firm, in my experience Mckinsey is a little more straight GPA etc. while Bain is a little more open to networking in to an AC position. Overall though the undergrad programs (BA, AC) are VERY regimented so you definitely need to bring a strong resume to the table along with your networking.

May 10, 2011

Have you tried looking up on Linkedin for alumnis that are currently working in the firms you are trying to get in? Maybe just me but I would more likely to respond to someone I have a connection with than a total stranger.

May 10, 2011

Expounding on zerolife's LinkedIn advice, it may be worthwhile to test drive the 1-month free trial of LinkedIn Pro. I remember using that during recruiting season to uncover some private profiles of alumni at consulting firms.

Also, get creative when looking for connections to the firms. Raw cold-calling tends to have an extremely low success rate (akin to direct mail). Let all of your family, friends, and career counselor know about your interest in consulting, and let your close network help you in that way. A warm referral will go far further than a cold email.

Finally, I would not narrow your search too much in the beginning. I'm not sure if by "Big Consulting Firms" you mean MBB, but if so a broader search would be prudent. Look at some of the respected boutique firms such as LEK and Marakon, as well as the Big 4's advisory practices. Each conversation with these people will not only increase your probability of entering their recruiting processes but also provide valuable information about strategy consulting that you can carry over into later conversations.

May 10, 2011

People might have completely different views on this because tackling informational sessions is more of an art. Here's my take:
- Very critical: Be confident (but not arrogant). If you're not sure you belong at MBB (in your case, because you believe your GPA is low), that's a red flag for any recruiter.
- The scope of the session is much bigger than your GPA. Get to know the firm, the fit, ask the firm representatives about what they do, what industries does the firm serve, regional differences in industries that the office caters to, and anything else you are (genuinely) curious about. Show interest in what they are doing.
- I think these sessions are a lot more than "hand me your resume and let me filter by GPA" exercises. Make sure you present yourself as someone who is great to work with (personable, friendly, interested to solve problems that the office you are applying is trying to solve)
- If they don't like your GPA, too bad - you cannot change it. But what you can do, is make a great impression as a person.

Hope this helps in some way!

May 10, 2011
helpinghand:

Networking (honestly I hate what the word has become on WSO-- really just being cool and building relationships) is necessary for anyone aspiring career success, but it seems like it is mainly in IB where you see the gritty and grinding nature of it, aka sending out hundreds of emails to people you don't know.

In consulting, what is the proper way of networking to help yourself get an interview while not appearing desperate? Take a situation for instance: Attends target and has decent experience, but lacking the GPA for MBB. Even hours studying in advance on case prep and truly learning about the firm and industry will all go to nothing if there is no interview extension.

Besides reaching out to alumni, how can one reach out to people at the specific offices of the firms one is interested in and begin dialogue that could hopefully lead to them at least getting your resume by HR come recruiting season? Pay $10 for a LinkedIn Inmail? Aren't those stalkerish too? Using the company email format and guessing addresses from names found on Linkedin--isn't that extremely strange from the recipient's point of view?

Just trying to see how networking in consulting can lead to overcoming hurdles (such as not attending a target, not having the GPA, etc.)

Thanks in advance everybody.

You've answered your own question - reach out to alumni, people on Linkedin (its what its for), cold emailing/calling, etc.

Networking for consulting is no different than IB/any other job in any other industry. Also, these relationships need to be nurtured - most folks can tell if you just want them to give you a job/submit your resume from a mile away.

Out of curiosity, how lacking is the GPA? You also need to be realistic here with regards to MBB.

May 10, 2011
moose46:

Out of curiosity, how lacking is the GPA? You also need to be realistic here with regards to MBB.

Above a 3.5, below a 3.6.

Thanks tangyorangutan for the great tip.

Another question for everbody: if I have a couple friends who are starting at an MBB (or any consulting firm) this year, will they have the influence to to grant a couple extra points to my resume in my favor? Of course this wouldn't be getting a bum an interview, but rather sliding a borderline resume past the gatekeeprs.

Also, would this apply for friends my age? Lets say a good friend of mine in my grade gets an SA position with MBB (or even at a bank), would HR listen to them in suggesting I get an interview for FT?

Thanks again people.

May 10, 2011

Get involved in student clubs. Consulting firms need you to promote their firm among students. You will have a good reason to contact and work with them in addition to build your network with future consultants (students attending those events).

Just be yourself and don't obsess over it.

May 10, 2011

Each firm has specific webpages for target schools. For instance if you google "Bain Harvard" you can find the school-specific recruiting team. They should have contact information for the recruiter and names of everyone involved in that school's recruiting process.

You can read up on each person (they usually have short bios) and then e-mail the recruiting lead. Express interest in consulting and the firm and then ask them to put you in touch with someone who you find interesting who you want to talk to. Then once you talk to that person, don't hesitate to ask them to put you in touch with another person from the firm. That's all there is to it.

This method is really beneficial because the school-specific recruiting team is typically VERY involved in the resume round. So if enough of them know you and have a positive impression of you, they can swing you an interview even if your resume alone isn't enough to get you that.

And just one last tip - don't discount the recruiters themselves. They are gatekeepers so make sure you pick their brains and try to talk to them a bit as well!

May 10, 2011

Tangyorangutan hit the nail on the head.

You mentioned you are attending a target school. In that case, many of the people who will review your resume and determine interview slots will be alumni from your school. However, if your friends are only starting this year, they might not be involved in this year's recruiting process (depends when your friends are starting and the number of your school's alumni working at the firm).

Of course, most recruiting teams will take into some consideration their employee's recommendations, no matter how junior. It then becomes a question of how far are your friends willing to advocate for you.

Getting more people to vouch for you would help as well. That's where you talk to alumni and convince them that you're brilliant and a good fit, and that your GPA is just a minor blemish in an otherwise excellent candidate.

May 10, 2011

Yes people you know that are older than you and people who are in your class but did summers can and most likely will be asked for their input about who to target for interviews.

May 10, 2011

Great tips!

May 11, 2011

BUMP

You crave what you are not.
Dude, your perspective on life sucks.

May 11, 2011

This is coming from someone who graduated in 2012. If you build up a good rapport during the conversation, it's fine to ask to have your resume forwarded.

You should ask about their own experience, why they went into consulting, any tips they would give someone still in school.

I would not be impressed at all at someone who tried to repeat what they read in the WSJ or the Economist.

May 11, 2011

I think your approach should be general attainment of knowledge. The likelihood of you impressing someone by asking an insightful question or knowing a lot about the firm is almost 0%.

Just ask about things you are truly curious about, and once you get all those questions answered just ask people about themselves and their own experience. Also at the end of a conversation it is totally normal to ask to send your resume to the person you talked to - many times they will ask before you can !

I would stay away from company strategy/macroeconomic questions... keep it simple and targeted. Don't try to impress anyone. At the same time don't ask really tired questions like "what distinguishes your firm from X firm"

May 11, 2011

Is the Consulting networking bible by management consulted useful for my purposes?

Array

May 11, 2011

See, the higher the position of the person who endorses you, the better. So (extreme-crazy-not-going-to-happen scenario) if you can get Dominic Barton or Rich Lesser to recommend you, it'll help - a LOT.

But realistically, it's much harder to arrange coffee chats with principals, partners etc. and even if you do - it takes something special for them to type out an e-mail to HR saying they like you. I would say go on LinkedIn - and find people who you know at those firms and/or those who you're "connected" to (went to same school, have mutual connections etc.) and try reaching out to manager-level people first, then post-MBAs and then pre-MBAs.

I know some firms have a bonus for successful internal recommendations, which sometimes might be a motivating factor for junior staff. Also, they tend to be more helpful because they know how hard recruiting can be (since they went through the process themselves fairly recently).

    • 1
May 11, 2011

Is the Consulting networking bible by management consulted useful for my purposes? On the product page it says that it helps IT analysts break into MC..I want to know if the networking info it give out is useful and worth $100

Array

May 11, 2011
ar169:

Is the Consulting networking bible by management consulted useful for my purposes? On the product page it says that it helps IT analysts break into MC..I want to know if the networking info it give out is useful and worth $100

I would get our networking guide which is a fraction of the price and extremely detailed with how to approach professionals. It's not geared toward MC, but that doesn't matter -- 99% of the lessons in the guide can be applied acorss industries.

Best of luck,
Patrick

May 11, 2011

But the thing is I want emails of people within the MC industry-your guide might provide me with the approach but I wont get the emails I need to approach people

Array

May 11, 2011
ar169:

But the thing is I want emails of people within the MC industry-your guide might provide me with the approach but I wont get the emails I need to approach people

LinkedIn is your friend. Use it.

May 11, 2011

I suggest establishing a relationship with alumni connections at the specific firm. Also, use LinkedIn to your advantage!

May 11, 2011

Trouble is that there are literally no connections from my university. Because they all go into finance/IB.

I tried using linked in. Trouble is that I can't add them because they don't 'fit' under one of the categories and saying 'friend' is just weird. lol Thats why I was thinking of emailing them on their work email (like in IB networking). But Im not sure how because I don't know their email.

May 11, 2011

I've found consultants are a lot less responsive to cold emails for me.

May 11, 2011

What do you recommend?

May 11, 2011

Dunno. Haha I've realized consulting is not for me, and I'm gunning 100% for banking. Sorry man.

May 11, 2011

BCG's e-mail structure: [email protected]

Deloitte: firstinitial~[email protected]

For example, is name is Joe Johnson, then [email protected]
Bain: [email protected]

Monitor: [email protected]

I started cold-emailing last week and have been getting very good results. Go at it.

May 11, 2011

I've had a similar experience as kidflash. Consultants have not been responding to my emails as much as those in other fields. Why would this be?

May 11, 2011
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May 11, 2011