Retail Management vs. Booz Allen Hamilton


Hey everyone, I'm a sophomore at a non-target, state flagship university looking for some advice. In the fall, I accepted an offer for an internship in retail management, because at the time I didn't really have any strong leads in Consulting. However, now I have an offer from Booz Allen Hamilton as a General Management Consultant Intern for this summer. Obviously, if I was straight up choosing between the two, it would be an easy decision; but since I have already accepted the retail management position, I'm wondering if it's worth reneging to switch to BAH.


Comments (23)

Feb 29, 2016 - 12:58am

Why were you recruiting for a summer internship when you already had one? I'm surprised career services allowed that - at my college they would not have. Before making any decisions, evaluate whether this will affect you with future recruiting. You still have two more recruiting windows to take advantage of - being blacklisted could be very limiting in the future.

Feb 29, 2016 - 7:50am

I didn't go through Career Services to secure the BAH offer. I wasn't even looking for an offer; I had applied online in October and just recently heard back.

As far as being blacklisted, I know that's a major concern. One thing that does make it less menacing is the fact that absolutely zero consulting/banking firms recruit at my school. Even still though, it sounds like reneging is the wrong choice.

Mar 1, 2016 - 4:12pm

Gotcha, in that case BAH would probably be understanding unless you actively recruited with them very recently. Any reasonable person would be and should appreciate the integrity during future recruiting. Make sure you mention all the facts "I applied last fall. Since then I was offered an internship, accepted a few months ago and feel it would be bad to go back on my word. Obviously this would have been my first choice had I known at the time and would be very interested in recruiting for next summer". The reason I say include all the facts is because the messaging of "I accepted another offer" is totally different.

Your internship with Aldi should be very interesting. Aldi is one of those David vs. Goliath stories and the impressive thing about them is that even though the big boys trump them in size and scale, they seem to have a presence which cannot be ignored. This is translating into a very aggressive (but many say achievable) growth strategy in the short term. It should be fun, good luck!

Mar 1, 2016 - 5:07am

Stick with Aldi, and let BAH know that you have to turn it down because you've accepted another offer. Express excitement that they gave you one, and ask about interning with them next summer.

This way, you'll have a consulting internship already lined up if things don't work out with a better firm (which is a big risk since none of them recruit at your school).

Mar 1, 2016 - 7:12am

Retail Management is a process of promoting greater sales and customer satisfaction by gaining a better understanding of the consumers of goods and services produced by a company. It's strategy for a manufacturing business might research the retail process that distributes the finished products created by the business to consumers to determine and satisfy what buyers want and require.
Booz Allen Hamilton is an American management consulting firm headquartered in Tysons Corner, Virginia, in Greater Washington DC, with 80 other offices throughout the United States. Its core business is the provision of management, technology and security services, to civilian government agencies, as a security and defense contractor to defense and intelligence agencies, and to civil and commercial entities. Their scope of services includes strategic planning, human capital and learning, communications, operational improvement, information technology work, systems engineering, organizational change efforts, computer modeling and simulation, program management, assurance and resilience, and economic business analysis.

Mar 2, 2016 - 5:58pm

If, after talking with my school's career services department, I have been assured no negative repercussion (as far as being blacklisted from OCR, etc.) would occur, would the sentiment toward switching to BAH change at all?

Also, thank you all for your input. I appreciate it.

  • Associate 2 in CorpFin
Mar 3, 2016 - 3:20am

i dont know about USA, but in UK Aldi pays amazing salaries to graduates and is quite successful in comparison to other big stores (tesco/sainsburys) etc due to its market positioning. it doesnt have as sexy brand, but its winning. As a comparison, from what I remember (might have changed since i graduated) its probably something like this (in GBP) :
General Management LDPs in big companies/Big 4: 28000-30000 vs Aldi: 42000 (rising to 70000 after 4 years apparently!!!) . although apparently they do work you like crazy (same with Big 4 i guess though, just less pay haha)

In your shoes I'd definitely explain in as clear detail as possible to BAH what happened but dont make it seem as if you're already set on rejecting them if they can't move it. then you dont need to worry about recruiting next year. If you wont get blacklisted and youre not too concerned about working in retail in future, yeah accept them over Aldi if they do more relevant work to your career aspirations. Although im sure having Aldi would be good story for wanting to apply to MBB and do retail focused projects

Mar 3, 2016 - 3:11am

Honestly, I think the Aldi internship would play better at the MBB firms (at least in my office), can't say about the Tier 2s. It also gives you the benefit of having BAH for an internship next year if the other firms don't work out (and junior internships convert to jobs). I suppose going BAH now and doing well would make them take you back next summer as well, so maybe that doesn't matter too much.

Mar 3, 2016 - 8:51am

I'd personally take the Aldi internship, even with no repercussions. Aldi is a really interesting position right now as someone mentioned above, posing a serious threat to Walmart, Kroger, and other grocery chains.

I also am way more interested in retail than I am in BAH typical area of work.

At any rate, I don't think the idea of no repercussions makes BAH a no brainer, as someone mentioned above. You still have two more rounds of undergrad recruiting. Go with what you'll think you will enjoy the most.

Mar 3, 2016 - 9:01am

@John-Doe8" What makes you say that Aldi would play better at the MBB firms than BAH? I'm curious because you say you work at one of the firms, so your perspective would be invaluable to me.

My thinking is that BAH is a Consulting firm, so I'll be doing consulting work. These skills and experiences would then be seen as more transferable to MBB than doing retail management. Is this wrong?

Mar 3, 2016 - 10:40am

I'll let the other guy chime in as well - but at my MBB, I've seen a lot of undergrads (interns or full-time) come in with no prior consulting experience, and in some cases, no real prior internship experience. Probably the most common thread with undergrads is high GPA, high standardized test scores, and leadership positions on campus. Work experience is great - but it doesn't necessarily need to be consulting. Aldi could play better in the sense that it stands out more, less common from what I've seen on resumes. Plus you'd actually have some interesting hands-on industry experience.

Mar 6, 2016 - 2:30am

Aura0505 is right, but it's also the fact that we aren't going to value experience at BAH. They don't do consulting like we do; it's no better than just getting industry experience; some would say it's worse because you'll learn how THEY think and how THEY do consulting, which we aren't interested in.

Aldi is different and will stand out, and it won't give the impression that you applied to better consulting firms and failed.

Mar 9, 2016 - 1:27pm


Well if you aspire to being a grocery bagger, stay with Aldi.

If you want to go consulting... and have a consulting internship in your hand... hmmm.... this is a tough one.

Anecdotally, folks at my school with previous consulting experience didn't necessarily do better with MBB recruiting during FT. There were very few candidates who went from non-MBB internships (but respected ones nonetheless) to FT MBB.

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