Summer Internship Spots?

cmcer09's picture
Rank: Chimp | 4

Hi all, I was wondering how many summer interns do M/B/B and other top consulting firms hire for the US offices? I know the numbers are quite small, I was just wondering if anyone has the figures.

Also, how hard would it be for me to get an interview for a summer internship at a good consulting firm? I'm a junior at Claremont McKenna, Econ/Psych major, 3.80 GPA, 1520 SAT. Any advice on the application process (e.g. how many hours to spend studying for case interviews) would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot!

Comments (13)

Oct 16, 2007

I would say spend about 15-20 hours on case prep, depending on how familiar you already are with basic frameworks, concepts. If you are a COMPLETE beginner, spend like an hour going over basic accounting concepts, another hour on like 4Ps, 4Cs, Porter, etc., and then get started on cases. There are defined types of cases, and definitely diminishing returns so I would say take a sample of maybe 6-7 cases, go through them, then start doing real cases with a friend.

In all honesty, most undergrads at top consulting firms weren't consulting interns. Usually a combination of BB interns, the very top big 4, maybe a major F500 (AmEx, GenMills etc.), so don't get discouraged if you don't get an internship, it's not the same game as banking.

Consulting firms seek out ex-finance interns (BBs, PE, HF, VC) not for their finance knowledge but b/c its preselection and they know the kids can handle consulting hours. So if you really want to do consulting, don't focus on interning in consulting, just do something meaningful.

Oct 16, 2007

What if you have done multiple internships in a consulting firm? Is that not seen to be just as good as interning at a BB?

Oct 16, 2007

Go through what you just wrote, and see if you can figure out the answer for yourself.

I will sum it up for you:
which is better to get a full-time job in management consulting?
multiple internships in consulting or one internship in investment banking.

Oct 16, 2007

It may have came off as a stupid question, but these firms I worked at aren't very well known. They are small boutiques that specialize on certain markets.

I'd rather work for these firms if I don't get an internship from MBB and the other elite firms for my junior year than take an SA gig at a BB.

I wanted to know if not having that big BB name on my resume would hurt me because most successful applicants I have spoken to went the latter route and I have yet to see any successful applicants going my route. My experience may be biased so I was wondering if someone like yourself could weigh in on that issue.

Oct 16, 2007

Having a BB on your resume will certainly help, but it's not crucial to get interviews. I did not work in a bank this summer- I was with a valuation firm but I have had plenty of interviews for FT consulting positions during the recruiting season. Keep the grades strong, get some good experience this summer, and start learning how to attack cases early on.

Learn More

2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. 11 Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate, 10+ hours of video. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you’ll ever need to ace your consulting case interviews. Learn more.

Oct 17, 2007

Boutiques are fine, keep in mind they will ask you very specific questions about your experience. As far as boutiques vs. BB, depends on your specific situation I would say.

Oct 17, 2007

Thanks for the insight and advice! Personally, I've already decided that I don't want to do banking after graduation, and so I don't want to fake interest in an internship just to prove I can do the work. So if I don't get a consulting internship, I'm interested in alternatives (besides banking) that would be valuable when I apply to consulting firms senior year.

Many people have told me, "just do something meaningful" or "do something interesting that will give you good stories to tell" - is this all there is to it? Or are there more specific qualities/responsibilities I should be looking for in an internship? Boozer, you mentioned F500's like AmEx & GenMills, would you say these are good alternatives? What about working for small start-ups? Thanks!

Oct 17, 2007

Think about it this way. Consulting firms look at work experience to see how good of a fit you are for consulting. Banking stands out, as mentioned earlier, because of the pre-selection, the ability to handle long hours, and the necessity of working with ambiguity, etc.

Other internship experiences should offer the same demonstration of fit for consulting. For example, a boutique is not a bad idea (or even more process consulting at a place like Deloitte), since it shows you have an interest in consulting and some aptitude for consulting.

Working in strategic planning departments of F500 is also a good place to start, since the work is similar, and you have an idea of the types of clients and engagements.

Basically, you are trying to show them that your prior experience is applicable to a future consulting role in some way.

Oct 17, 2007

Where you work this summer holds less importance than what you did and what you took away from it. The important thing to keep in mind is to express how you came out of the experience as a better and more valuable candidate. If you can gain a healthy balance of skills (both technical and "softer") through whichever summer gig you're at, then you should be fine as long as you can demonstrate so in the interview.

Oct 17, 2007

Startups in general are not a good idea if you have options, because they are so unstructured. Forget getting a strategy internship gig at a F500, I don't even know if those exist, never seen one at least.

In general, the "do what interests you" thing is good but some guidelines would be:
- try and get a strong brand name. For example if you do a study-abroad or something, do it at LSE. If you work corporate do it at Pfizer rather than some no-name F1000.
-don't let the experience give the impression that you couldn't get anything else or that it was bullshit work.
-all else being equal, international beats domestic.

Oct 18, 2007

Thanks for the input. I'm studying abroad at Oxford this semester and hopefully that helps in the "brand name" compartment.

I'm interested in learning more about "international vs domestic" - I spent the last two summers in Asia - one doing banking in Beijing, another volunteering in Hong Kong. I figured I would find an internship in the US for next summer, because the program/training is usually more developed, it shows I'm interested in working in the US, and it could lead to a full-time offer. Is this reasonable, or should I still be looking for options outside the US? Would firms hesitate to hire someone full-time who has never done a domestic internship?

Oct 19, 2007

Something I notice in your story:

You are working on resume (as one should), filling it with line items etc. Just remember, a resume very rarely gets you a job, yet it often can lose you one. The same goes for the fit based interview and the case. If you have one area of your application that really stands out but still can't get another up to standard, you won't get the spot.

The reason I bring this up is that I have seen many resumes (in banking though) that are extremely impressive; international internships, EC's etc. It becomes obvious though that the applicant hasn't allocated their attention over the entire process and is not prepared for the interview/has a low GPA/is socially unaware.

It seems to me you are ticking all the right boxes, just manage the downside risk rather than shooting for the skies.

Oct 19, 2007