Q&A: Recent graduate starting at MBB soon

First time poster -- I graduated Spring 2018 from a target school and this forum helped me a lot in my preparation, so I wanted to offer a Q&A to give back and hopefully help out some rising seniors or others in college looking to get into consulting.

Comments (16)

Jul 8, 2018 - 9:41am

Thanks for doing this! I'm a rising undergrad senior at a semi-target who's interning at a T2 (OW, S&, LEK, Deloitte) this summer.

I'm looking to go to MBB full-time, but don't have any contacts at the firm, and recruiting pipelines at my school aren't the greatest - where/when should I start? Case prep? Cold call/emails? Something else? Should I start now, or after I've secured a FT offer from my current firm?


Most Helpful
Jul 8, 2018 - 1:15pm

Long response to follow but I'm sure this general guide will be helpful to more than just you.

Have to admit I might not be the best person to give advice about networking at a semi-target, but the best thing to do would be to email/LinkedIn message alumni at the office(s) of your choice and ask for a 15-20min chat. That's a good place to start and you can absolutely start now. Ask around other kids at your school who are looking at MBB and see if they have contacts. I found that most kids at my school were very helpful to one another despite the competitiveness of it all. For me, networking started spring of my junior year through organized recruiting/networking and I leveraged this to develop further networks at the firms.

For case prep, I was in a consulting club and so had some minor experience with it but did not really get into it until late summer. Be honest with yourself and think about how quickly you think you can get to the point where you are confident doing any case. My process was as follows:

  1. Read thru Victor Cheng's book and skimmed Case in Point. Biggest pickups were good framework branches to have and structuring of communication. Also was fortunate enough to have LOMS program, and found it somewhat helpful (About 2 weeks of work here)
  2. Practiced reading through cases and developing frameworks. Pretty much would read the prompt, think of what clarifying questions I'd ask, and then take 30s-1min to lay out a framework and practice going through the framework as if I were talking to an interviewer. (1 week work here). This got me ready to productively do actual cases.
  3. Found case partners either from my friends, consulting club, or organized channels (i.e. Bain case chains). Did about 20-25 cases this way (giving and receiving) over the time from mid August to end September.
  4. Did a few cases with MBB consultants in the week or two before interviews, with contacts I made or through formal 'case buddy' programs.
  5. Before interviews, I would review major notes/tips from prior case practice and major framework ideas.

Through all this, I continued reading through and laying out frameworks for probably another 20-30 cases because having a good framework just makes the case go a whole lot better. I sort of developed my own framework that I used comfortably and would always try to inject personal experience into interviews to make things less robotic (ex. a recent piece of news related to the industry in the case). If you are not from a math background I'd also definitely recommend brushing up on quick mental math, math shortcuts like Rule of 72, approximations, and graph reading.

I also never did any cold calling because my school had formal recruitment channels that were more than sufficient.

Finally, do your best to get the FT offer because it'll take tons of pressure off your MBB recruiting and is a signaling tool to other firms that you are a capable consultant.

Since you are already at a T2, I'm going to assume you are pretty solid at casing to begin with, so work on fine-tuning things with custom frameworks, clear structuring and numbering in your communication (a la Victor Cheng), and injecting personal experience as I found these things to be the most helpful to me. In other words, talk about the case in the context of recent news or your experience with certain companies, industries, technologies, etc. with the interviewer before starting to dive into details. These tips could get you over the hump.

Jul 8, 2018 - 1:19pm

One other note: I watched a bunch of live cases on Youtube ( I think Yale SOM had some good videos) and picked up communication habits and other good points to add to my personal 'casing style.' Started this late summer.

I think the idea of having a personal casing style is one that is often overlooked, but the interviewer shouldn't think of you as just another kid going through the motions of a case, you should have unique things about your style of casing that make you different (and hopefully better). Compare yourself to your case buddies to figure out if you have a distinct style.

Jul 8, 2018 - 3:30pm

I have a quant degree and never worked in finance (my profile still says IB because when I made this account a long while back I was considering it).

All of my internships were typical technical/non-business internships and consulting was not even on my radar until a little later in my college career. When I started seeing job postings through the school and got emails about information sessions for consulting companies around the beginning of junior year was when I became interested. Somewhere along the way I also lost the passion for technical work and it was probably too late to change majors (an quant degree is valuable regardless), plus I was really good at the classwork.

Once those two balls fell (discovering consulting and losing interest in technical work), I started to research it more and got involved with it on campus and felt like it was the right fit because it checked the boxes of what I was looking for out of school: impactful work, great colleagues & plenty of young people, optionality, and of course, pay and living in a big city.

I never seriously pursued finance, but I had friends who did and worked in IB or other. Finance jobs and IB in particular certainly check many of the same boxes as consulting, but frankly the lifestyle associated with finance at the junior level never seemed worth the tradeoff of a larger income and the work seemed less interesting & varied to me.

Aug 23, 2018 - 12:42am

Hey sorry I only just saw this (either never got a notification or I missed it somehow)

Regardless, yes I know a few former BB/EB types who did very well in recruiting. I've never been on the other side of the interview table, but its safe to say that the kids who can get those types of jobs are smart & driven and can work well under pressure, etc. all qualities that MBB will be looking for in ideal applicants. Moreover, in interviews they often have good work experience to discuss and have a recognizable brand on their resume to get their name in the interview pile. With all that said, it is hard (impossible?) to separate out the effect of the job title (SA @ [insert BB/EB]) from the effect of the inherent qualities that those kids already have (smart, ambitious, etc.) in landing the MBB job. The IB types will often have a good sense for business issues in case interviews from their prior experience, though.

The only disadvantages I can see are that you could exhaust yourself, not have time for case prep & networking, or (purely speculation) some interviewers might look at you and think, why does this kid want to leave banking and is he truly interested in consulting?

Hope this helps

Aug 23, 2018 - 4:59pm

Yes, I was asked for my T2 firm - all MBB firms will ask too.


Aug 24, 2018 - 3:10pm

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