No MBA, state school Master's... can I still dream?

boxed out's picture
Rank: Chimp | 5

Have been following this forum for a while but was never compelled to participate until now... because I just got a call for an interview for a full consultant position at BCG.

Let's put this in context: I do not have an MBA. My Master's Degree from 2006 is from a "regular" US state university and is in fact in social science. Since I moved back to Asia (home country, where the BCG office is also located) after graduation, I have been working in communications at a financial services firm (unhappily). I am interested in and have performed well in strategic matters and have a knack for problem-solving and building and using "soft power" to improve processes and push my agenda. All these convinced me that I could reach for consulting despite my less-than-glamorous background... Yet, I consider my cover letter/CV pretty conventional and I don't know anyone at BCG or remotely anyone at MBB that could have pulled any strings... my question is, why me?

I still pinch myself at this unbelievable good fortune. The interview is in 1 week. Have been trying to shore up my business case knowledge and consulting lingo (behavioral and linguistic) by researching and reading as much as I can (it's the only thing I can think about day and night now!)... but making some sense of the question above might just help me better position myself at this one (perhaps only ever) chance I have to launch my career in a big way.

I hear many voices of experience among you. Any tips you can share would be appreciated.

Comments (14)

Feb 23, 2011

Who cares? Take it and run.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Feb 23, 2011

You can absolutely, unequivocally, still dream. A hugely important thing for you to remember is to not have an inferiority complex, even if it is subtle, going into the interview. It will show up. Don't be apologetic for your lack of MBA or lack of any big brand name university. Focus on what is awesome about you - those problem solving skills, your FS experience, etc during the interview.

Also - I presume the interview will be a case interview - I would prep really effing hard so you ace the case. Ultimately, kicking ass during the case is THE best way to guarantee you a ticket into the final round. You already got 1st round, so your resume definitely fits BCG's needs/profile. It's now time to show your brain does too.

Feb 23, 2011

I'm not a person who believes in "fate", but everything thats happened in your life up to this point was what has allowed you to have this opportunity.

Best advice is to take this opportunity and turn it into something that could change your life for the better; Its a random world, shit happens.

Kill the interview. Good luck!

Feb 23, 2011

Know the case method cold. I think this is where MBAs have an advantage. At your level there would be no excuse for not being able to walk through a case. And this is not bullshitting either -- there are actually correct, quantitative answers in the cases and you have to get to it quickly and accurately.

Feb 23, 2011

All great advice. Thanks.
I do best when I'm the underdog. It's come around again.

Feb 23, 2011

Good luck OP! I'll be rooting for ya.

Feb 23, 2011

^^^^Yea same here! Best of luck!

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - DT

Feb 23, 2011

If you live in the past you will fail in the present.... do what you gotta do.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Feb 23, 2011

how did you apply?

Feb 23, 2011

hustle hard!!

Feb 23, 2011

coolstorybro: The old-fashioned way - filled out the online application, included a one-page resume, a one-page cover, scanned university transcripts (possibly, can't remember)... hit send. This was in late Jan, then got a call a month later. Nothing else before or in between.

Does anyone know what the acceptance rate is at each round? How many people does BCG call up to interview anyway? I imagine the number might not be that large since this isn't campus recruiting, but I may be wrong.

Feb 23, 2011

I don't think you're an underdog. All the BS we hear emphasized over and over on this site as being so important, such as name-brand universities, high GPAs and et. al., are mostly important for getting invited to an interview. Once you've got the interview, it's pretty much just the case from here on out. Rock the case. It's the CASE. The case. Your case interview.

Find someone to practice with you. Do them out loud. Time yourself. Mimic the real-world interview experience as well.

Be able to answer the "Why don't you walk me through your resume" answer in your sleep, it's pretty much the only thing you can fully prep for and know it will be in the interview.

Engage them by asking them questions. Interviewers love talking about themselves and what made them so great and why they got into BCG.

Drop the inferiority complex. If you want to convince an interviewer that you can handle the job, the first person you have to convince is yourself. Good luck! You can do it.

Feb 25, 2011

my impression is that if they call you in for an interview, it's not a dream at all

Mar 1, 2011