MBB Public Sector

I'm heading into public sector consulting following an MPP from USC and was wondering about the various public sector practices the big firms have.

Is USC considered a target school for public sector consulting? Awkwardly expressed, but I think with the school's rep and being in LA, I would have thought the chances would be relatively high?

I'm largely looking at MBB and other larger firms (Roland Berger, OW etc).

Thoughts?

Comments (44)

Jun 25, 2011

Hmm - didn't know MBB hired public sector specialists straight out of grad school. Is that a common path, regardless of school?

Jun 26, 2011
pepsiholic:

Hmm - didn't know MBB hired public sector specialists straight out of grad school. Is that a common path, regardless of school?

I would have thought they would. I mean, solid public policy program should permit me opportunities.

Jun 25, 2011

Most public specialists thta I know of in MBB are hired as "generalists" and after a year or two have the possibility of transitioning into a more public sector focused role.

Jun 26, 2011
consultingwiz07:

Most public specialists thta I know of in MBB are hired as "generalists" and after a year or two have the possibility of transitioning into a more public sector focused role.

So would that mean I would stand little chance to obtain a place at MBB following graduation? Various schools mention that public sector consulting is common for graduates and that they often have OCR in terms of workshops and practicums.

Jun 26, 2011

You have a shot, but you're probably better off at a shop that specializes in government/public sector work. It sounds like you're chasing prestige over the kind of work you're best suited for. You're not officially going to be able to specialize right off. It's up to staffing, which is essentially a crapshoot based on timing and who likes you. I have friends with Wharton degrees who did public sector for their first 6 months, and friends with government/poli sci degrees who haven't seen a public sector case.

Jun 28, 2011
petergibbons:

You have a shot, but you're probably better off at a shop that specializes in government/public sector work.

Booz Allen is probably the largest, see http://managementconsulted.com/consulting-intervie... for more info and a list of competitors.

Jun 28, 2011
petergibbons:

You have a shot, but you're probably better off at a shop that specializes in government/public sector work. It sounds like you're chasing prestige over the kind of work you're best suited for. You're not officially going to be able to specialize right off. It's up to staffing, which is essentially a crapshoot based on timing and who likes you. I have friends with Wharton degrees who did public sector for their first 6 months, and friends with government/poli sci degrees who haven't seen a public sector case.

Isnt a case where the shops that specialize in government work require clearance? Clearance often not given to non-US citizens?

Jun 28, 2011
Jun 28, 2011
24837:

might be of interest - list of public sector consulting firms:
http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/resources_services/ca...
also:
http://firmsconsulting.com/2010/10/18/%E2%80%9Cis-...

Thanks. Saw the SIPA list when I applied for the program. The article clears some questions though.

Jun 28, 2011

You never said anything in your post about not being a US citizen.

Jun 28, 2011
petergibbons:

You never said anything in your post about not being a US citizen.

Yeah, sorry. I didn't consider it relevant until you mentioned government work. Am I right in thinking most of this type of work will require clearance?

Jun 29, 2011

Not sure about the PS groups at other firms, but McKinsey doesn't hire PS specialists right out of school, at least not for Associate roles - you can go in with an MPP as a generalist and, as somone already mentioned, focus more on PS as you develop a spike in year 2 / 3. If you do want to do PS work right away, you should think carefuly about which offices you select - you're much more likely to get PS assignments if you're in DC or NY than the West Coast.

Also, don't think USC is a target for Associates.

Jun 29, 2011
charlie 09:

Not sure about the PS groups at other firms, but McKinsey doesn't hire PS specialists right out of school, at least not for Associate roles - you can go in with an MPP as a generalist and, as somone already mentioned, focus more on PS as you develop a spike in year 2 / 3. If you do want to do PS work right away, you should think carefuly about which offices you select - you're much more likely to get PS assignments if you're in DC or NY than the West Coast.

Also, don't think USC is a target for Associates.

Right, thanks for the info. With MBB, I assumed their recruitment into their PS offices mirrors their general recruitment, i.e analyst, associate.

From my research I agree on the East Coast PS assignments but I was hoping the USC name would transition well or ultimately I would be happy to remain in the West Coast for a few years.

Jun 29, 2011

No offense, but if MBB is the goal I wouldn't bank on the USC name. I think almost every straight MPP I've worked with is from Kennedy, and then there are a lot of combo degrees. Also, keep in mind that the majority of partners in the PS practices are MBAs even though they focus on PS.

Jun 29, 2011
charlie 09:

No offense, but if MBB is the goal I wouldn't bank on the USC name. I think almost every straight MPP I've worked with is from Kennedy, and then there are a lot of combo degrees. Also, keep in mind that the majority of partners in the PS practices are MBAs even though they focus on PS.

MBA is the eventual next step.

Jun 30, 2011
FinancialNoviceII:
charlie 09:

No offense, but if MBB is the goal I wouldn't bank on the USC name. I think almost every straight MPP I've worked with is from Kennedy, and then there are a lot of combo degrees. Also, keep in mind that the majority of partners in the PS practices are MBAs even though they focus on PS.

MBA is the eventual next step.

When? After working MBB / other consulting? It's highly unlikely you'll be able to complete an MBA part-time, so are you thinking of doing MBB and then spending 2 more years in school full time? You should keep in mind you won't be sponsored for an MBA coming in as an Associate, which would mean huge cost / opportunity cost to you.

Jun 29, 2011

I say the USC name because along with my undergrad and the fact that USC has a very well respected public policy school, I would be competitive.

MBB would be the goal however, being realistic, it is an uphill battle. Various smaller firms also offer PS practices so I will definitely consider them. I didnt want to consign myself by forgoing making an app to MBB.

Jun 30, 2011

i work in federal consulting. let me tell you right off the bat, getting into MBB federal/public practices is no more difficult then any of their other service industries. in fact, i could argue its more difficult merely because they could smaller groups and hiring is more limited (i dont think their public sector groups are very large). that said, your chances are small. if i were you, i would aim for not as prestigious firms and then try to lateral your way in further down your career. Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson and Harris are the top MPP programs, and most people will be coming from there if anywhere. MBA as charlie09 said is the main route for MBB employees.

Jun 30, 2011

@OP

The many comments pointing out that USC MPP to MBB public sector consulting is an uphill battle are correct.

In addition to this, I think you should confirm that going from an MPP would land you in a post-MBA role. Most non-MBA masters degrees candidates come in at the undergrad level (I have seen examples ranging from Masters in Humanities/English Lit to Econ to Operations Research).

I don't know whether this applies to you, as professional candidates (JD/MD) come in at the post-MBA level, as do PhDs. I have not yet encountered an MPP-only consultant at my MBB firm (2 years here now), so I am not really sure where you would fall. It might also depend on your work experience prior to school.

Jun 30, 2011
signposts:

@OP

The many comments pointing out that USC MPP to MBB public sector consulting is an uphill battle are correct.

In addition to this, I think you should confirm that going from an MPP would land you in a post-MBA role. Most non-MBA masters degrees candidates come in at the undergrad level (I have seen examples ranging from Masters in Humanities/English Lit to Econ to Operations Research).

I don't know whether this applies to you, as professional candidates (JD/MD) come in at the post-MBA level, as do PhDs. I have not yet encountered an MPP-only consultant at my MBB firm (2 years here now), so I am not really sure where you would fall. It might also depend on your work experience prior to school.

At McKinsey, MPPs come in as Associates. Ms in engineering and random other fields do come in as Analysts, though.

Jun 30, 2011

There were defintiely MPP's interviewing at the same time as me for the post-MBA positions at MBB firms. I assume they had work experience prior to getting their MPP's. My understanding is that MPP's tend to do relatively poorly on McK's PST compared to the general interview pool.

Jul 3, 2011

What would be the scenario for other firms? I mentioned MBB as it is the most respected PS practices. I'm thinking firms like Deloitte, AT Kearney (both who have solid links with USC & recurit often), Capgemini, Booz etc? Anyone with experience of them?

Jul 3, 2011

I would want do my MBA after working for a few years in the hopes of transitioning to HF's that hbe business within economic development

Jul 8, 2011

Bump

Jul 8, 2011

To OP,

I know someone with similar background, MPP at 1.5-2nd tier program. Truth be told outside of Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson, and SIAS. I don't know much what the tiers and rankings for MPP are. But something similar to USC at Deloitte in their Federal practice. But he had some experience prior to MPP and a MAJOR factor, he is a U.S. citizen, with a clearance I believe.

As a non-U.S. citizen, looking to break into Public Sector consulting, sorry to be blunt, but kind of "dumb"/unrealistic. There are better uses of your time. MBB is pretty small in public sector, looks for previous experience and top tier credentials, give or take. Others like Deloitte, Booz, etc. looks at your non-citizenship status along with lack of top tier credentials will probably not take you either. They also look for a specific type of consultant they can bill out at a high rate of return. Unfortunately you do not fit that bill either.

The only work you can do is State or Local gov't, Last time I looked most states are so broke they either shutting down or laying off massive amounts of employees. State and local gov't cannot print money and run deficits like the Federal gov't. No one I know is doing much business with state or local gov't sans pro bono.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but MPP without U.S. citizenship excludes you from most job openings. Maybe you can do economics consulting like NERA, health care like Epic, or something similar. Not sure your background or area of study. You have a higher chance or getting in MBB strat practice (not very high) than a public sector practice (which I assume you thought would be a easier). Take away: apply to economic, public health, etc. type of consulting to match with your MPP.

    • 1
Jul 8, 2011
Ari_Gold:

To OP,

I know someone with similar background, MPP at 1.5-2nd tier program. Truth be told outside of Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson, and SIAS. I don't know much what the tiers and rankings for MPP are. But something similar to USC at Deloitte in their Federal practice. But he had some experience prior to MPP and a MAJOR factor, he is a U.S. citizen, with a clearance I believe.

As a non-U.S. citizen, looking to break into Public Sector consulting, sorry to be blunt, but kind of "dumb"/unrealistic. There are better uses of your time. MBB is pretty small in public sector, looks for previous experience and top tier credentials, give or take. Others like Deloitte, Booz, etc. looks at your non-citizenship status along with lack of top tier credentials will probably not take you either. They also look for a specific type of consultant they can bill out at a high rate of return. Unfortunately you do not fit that bill either.

The only work you can do is State or Local gov't, Last time I looked most states are so broke they either shutting down or laying off massive amounts of employees. State and local gov't cannot print money and run deficits like the Federal gov't. No one I know is doing much business with state or local gov't sans pro bono.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but MPP without U.S. citizenship excludes you from most job openings. Maybe you can do economics consulting like NERA, health care like Epic, or something similar. Not sure your background or area of study. You have a higher chance or getting in MBB strat practice (not very high) than a public sector practice (which I assume you thought would be a easier). Take away: apply to economic, public health, etc. type of consulting to match with your MPP.

Thanks for the info.

Not sure how you can comment I dont fit the bill for what a company may look for in a consultant. Previously interned at a boutique firm and OC&C so have the requisite experience.

I appreciate the fact that PS practices are generally small but the major firms all have them. Point I am making is that largely the work may vary and although, some may require security clearance or experience, USC often sends graduates into LA offices of Deloitte (great connection, run a practicum on campus), Roland Berger and OW. This, according to their employment stats are both international and US students.

MBB was the ultimate goal but I realise their practices are more niche and have stricter criteria in regards to their hires but what would you suggest I target, i.e. firms wise? Definitely will consider NERA and LEK (both on my list already).

Jul 8, 2011
Ari_Gold:

MBB is pretty small in public sector, looks for previous experience and top tier credentials, give or take.

I'm an Oxford law grad. I've interned, like I said, at strat consulting firms and currently interning with the Department for Economic Development (government arm in UK). You reckon thats enough to get a 1st round potentially?

Jul 10, 2011
FinancialNoviceII:
Ari_Gold:

MBB is pretty small in public sector, looks for previous experience and top tier credentials, give or take.

I'm an Oxford law grad. I've interned, like I said, at strat consulting firms and currently interning with the Department for Economic Development (government arm in UK). You reckon thats enough to get a 1st round potentially?

First off, that does change things a little. Why are you not looking at MBB Public Sector in UK then? I would bank on the Oxford name over USC, in my limited knowledge of MPP programs and "prestige" perception.

Public Sector consulting is shrinking in the U.S., even at the Federal level, which you will be mostly excluded from being non-U.S anyways. So that leaves State and Local, which are both suffering major funding problems and laying-off their own workers. So, it will be very difficult. Why public sector MBB especially since if you have prior exp. and Oxford name? I know there are public sector work in the Middle East, especially Emirates countries. But the outlook for U.S. does not look so bright in the next few years. You are already at a disadvantage being non-US citizen.

Try Booz Allen, Deloitte Federal practice, MBB. Just apply everywhere. But, as a friendly warning. You will be disadvantaged competing against Harvard Kennedy, Yale SOM, SIAS, Woodrow Wilson U.S. citizen graduates potentially competing for the same jobs. I don't understand why you would want to compete in a race where you are severely disadvantaged? Why not U.K., EU, or Emirates public sector consulting. I don't know if USC MPP is going to open the doors you want, if you want to stay in U.S.

Jul 9, 2011

Don't listen to these turds hating on your school and your citizenship. Apply everywhere, cast your net wide, get interviews, then rock them. If you're hungry for it, you can get anything.

Jul 10, 2011

Ari, I beg to differ.

Currently at an MBB and I am not a US citizen nor do I ever want to become one. That said, without my asking or trying I am currently staffed on a public sector project - and I am working with a federal agency. Additionally, this is not the only public sector project they have tried to put me on. MOST public sector work does not require citizenship. There are definitely some projects which are out of bounds but a lack of US citizenship DOES NOT automatically prevent you from working or specializing in public sector. I have seen multiple partners who are not US citizens focusing on public sector exclusively - at least at my firm. I don't think this will hurt the OP as there is plenty of work which does not require citizenship and they don't recruit based on that criteria. Just thought I'd throw that out.

OP, that said I have not heard of anyone coming directly into the public sector practice at least at my firm, but then again there could be cases that I am not aware of. Most people join as generalists and build up that specialization over time. That said, I have to say USC has a relatively small representation at my firm. Most people who have public sector backgrounds come from Harvard.

Good luck!

Jul 11, 2011
pptbeeyaach:

Ari, I beg to differ.

Currently at an MBB and I am not a US citizen nor do I ever want to become one. That said, without my asking or trying I am currently staffed on a public sector project - and I am working with a federal agency. Additionally, this is not the only public sector project they have tried to put me on. MOST public sector work does not require citizenship. There are definitely some projects which are out of bounds but a lack of US citizenship DOES NOT automatically prevent you from working or specializing in public sector. I have seen multiple partners who are not US citizens focusing on public sector exclusively - at least at my firm. I don't think this will hurt the OP as there is plenty of work which does not require citizenship and they don't recruit based on that criteria. Just thought I'd throw that out.

OP, that said I have not heard of anyone coming directly into the public sector practice at least at my firm, but then again there could be cases that I am not aware of. Most people join as generalists and build up that specialization over time. That said, I have to say USC has a relatively small representation at my firm. Most people who have public sector backgrounds come from Harvard.

Good luck!

Hi ppt, just wondering what do you mean by generalists? does that mean that at MBB you can join an office whose "medium/large sector" is not in public sector and still be transferred to work on public sector cases later on?

Jul 11, 2011

Citizenship requirement depends on matters of national security.
Department of Defense: Yes
State of New York: No
Some may also define even Universities as Public Sector, which obviously has no citizenship requirement.

Jul 11, 2011

abacab: DoD definitely requires citizenship. I cant disclose clients that dont but needless to say there are quite a few.

slickthinker: Generalist = no specialization. That means you are not tied to a practice or a functional area and you can be staffed on anything from Post merger integration in Healthcare to Marketing and sales in Consumer goods, to market entry strategy for high tech.

Note: you dont have much choice for your first few projects. That said, since you dont have a track record at the firm, they want to try and staff you onto things where you can bring some domain knowledge. So if you have a significant public sector background, chances are you will get staffed on a project in that space - definitely not a guarantee but ive seen it happen. This is also not to say that your subsequent study will be in that space too - in short you have to be ready for anything at least until you build the necessary contacts and standing to be affiliated with a practice.

Oct 24, 2011

Shameless bump.

Nov 20, 2011

Sent you a message. Check it out. A good friend of mine went in this direction, but he graduated from HKS.

What are your plans? Have you managed to make some inroads with the local firms in LA?

"Teachers open the door, you enter by yourself".

Nov 20, 2011

I didnt actually go to USC in the end because of a family bereavement. I'm reapplying this year and just adding internship experience. Would love to hear your thoughts I didnt get a PM from you though.

I'm only applying to a few of the top schools, but I'm not actually applying to HKS. SAIS is probably my top choice, with it being in DC and having top prospects, but applying to Harris and Woodrow Wilson.

Nov 20, 2011

I'm sorry to hear that. I've sent you another message. I have a friend who is at JHU now, if you would like me to get you in touch with him.

"Teachers open the door, you enter by yourself".

Nov 20, 2011

...aaaaand then I ventured onto the third page: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/MBB-public-sector. I guess the public sector consulting firms in the US are a no-go, but the citizenship issue doesn't seem to be a problem for MBB.

Nov 20, 2011
joshlyman:

...aaaaand then I ventured onto the third page: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/MBB-public-sector. I guess the public sector consulting firms in the US are a no-go, but the citizenship issue doesn't seem to be a problem for MBB.

Thanks for saving me the trouble, was just searching for that thread.

Nov 20, 2011

.

Nov 20, 2011
Comment
Nov 20, 2011