West Coast Consulting Advice

Hi everybody,

I am an incoming freshman who is going to UC Berkeley. I want to work at a top consulting firm in SF (Bain, BCG, Mck) after I graduate. I plan to get into Haas and maintain a high gpa. I might decide to double major in business and economics or business and legal studies.

Secondly, during my first semester I am going to try to join some business clubs or maybe a frat if I am allowed(Delta Sigma Pi, Berkeley Consulting, Berkeley Investment Club, etc). In order to get into the clubs I need to interview and practice cases. What do people recommend using for an absolute beginner?

Also, how does the general timeline go for getting a summer internship? Can you get one after freshman year for something maybe not as competitive? Lastly, what should I aim to accomplish every year in college. I have been roaming around these forums and find them really useful, but what I am looking for is some specific advice on how a freshmen should approach consulting on the West Coast.


Comments (12)

Jul 28, 2011

Do BC/TBG, bus frats are more for finance/big4

Jul 28, 2011

UC Berkeley is a hard school to get into MBB, you should be prepared to go to others as well

Jul 28, 2011

A lot of the questions you asked (particularly the last paragraph) can be answered with minimal effort and the search function. Do that first.

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

Jul 28, 2011


Jul 28, 2011

also you are a not even freshman.... why make up your mind so fast.... is consulting something you like? how would you know if you never tried? did you know consulting is pretty low paying (compared to PE, VC, banking?), much lower paying, harder lifestyle (about same hours, but you are traveling 4/5 days a week away from family, relationships)

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Jul 28, 2011

thats a bit unrealistic. consulting is i would say averaging 50-70 (so likely 60 or so a week banking I would say would average 75-85 (so 80) - consulting some have M-W some have M-T very few are truly 5 days a week...

Jul 28, 2011

Monkeymonekybusiness- I realize it will be difficult, and I will definitely consider more than just MBB, but at this point I don't know of many other big consulting places besides Deloitte, Accenture, etc. Also, consulting some seems more attractive because of the exit opportunities it provides. I would like to be an executive at a fortune 500, or maybe go into a more entrepreneurial route. I figured consulting at MBB after I graduate would give me maximum career flexibility.

But I see your point of it being a bit too early, yet I don't want to fail. I have a lot of pressure to succeed as an international student.

HappypantsMcGee- I took your advice and I found some pretty useful stuff. I honestly didn't see the search bar before.

Jul 28, 2011

HappypantsMcGee- I took your advice and I found some pretty useful stuff. I honestly didn't see the search bar before.

Its cool bro, no worries. Just glad I got monkey shit for pointing it out.

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

Jul 29, 2011

Hey PlanetOfTheApes,

Cal Alum here ('10) @ McKinsey. Berkeley is as fine a school as any to get a job at McKinsey, as well as BCG & Bain. Several of my classmates all placed at Bain, McK, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley - etc. They weren't all 4.0's either. Around 3.6-3.8 for the most.

If you want to get a shot at McKinsey (or BCG / Bain), there's a few things you need to know:
[list=1][*]Getting hired is not like a college app. No one cares about what clubs you were in. Put it on your resume if you did something special. Only case someone cares about your frat experience is if you were the Fraternity President or Inter-Fraternity Council President. Otherwise not. Business Frats also won't score you any points. The only Greek letters that consistently score points are Phi Beta Kappa.

[*]Get good grades. A 4.0 does not have better chances of getting hired at McKinsey than a 3.7, but a 4.0 does have better chances of being invited for an interview. Make sure that you graduate Cum Laude (3.5+ and some other conditions), and try to aim for Magna Cum Laude (3.83+ or something, if I recall).

[*]Freshman year internships are irrelevant. Sophomore to Junior year is the first time you get considered for real internships, so it's a stepping stone to a good junior year internship. Junior to Senior year intership is your chance to get something good on your resume. This can be at a consulting firm, a bank, a fund, wherever. Just make sure it highlights your business skills.

[*]Extra curriculars we respect are things that are either competitive: think sports, debate, etc. where you also excelled (won trophies) OR things were you showcase that you made an impact on your community. Not like "I volunteered at a food shelter for a year" but "I went to Ethiopia for 3 months to help teach safe sex education and AIDS awareness."

1) demonstrate leadership, because, as a consultant, you have to lead your clients through tough times, and lead teammates and colleagues whose help you need, 2) get good grades, show that you are intellectually capable and can learn quickly, 3) have social skills, people have to like working with you, people at McKinsey are NOT robots. We work long hours, (12-14 hours a day often), so people have to be able to be themselves around eachother and enjoy eachother's company 4) excel: be the best at what you do. Have something that shows you are the best. Not that you went to Berkeley and did okay, but that you distinguished yourself among your peers. Much of what you do at McKinsey can't be taught because its different each time. You have to show that you have the drive to figure it out for yourself and get it done.

[8]Bonus Points For:
- Microsoft Excel Certification or extensive Excel experience / skills[/list]

You've got a long time until you graduate. So don't stress too much in the meantime, just set a couple clear goals for yourself and take the time to enjoy the city you're in. Its a helluva ride. :)

Go Bears!

Jul 28, 2011

Which office are you BearMarket? I'm 2011 : P

Jul 28, 2011

happypantsmcgee-haha I'm sorry about the -1 thing. I just saw it randomly on the side and clicked it. I didn't mean that.

BearMarket- I really appreciated your response. Thanks. And also congrats on working at McKinsey. Did you internship with them before working there? How do you like it?

I get what you mean about a resume being different from a college app, but this first semester besides academics I'm going to focus on a few different organizations to join. For a lot of them, there is an interview and they seem very selective, so I think it would be good practice. In time, I might get a leadership role and so on. Since you did mention that firms like competitive events, I will try to compete in some case competition and try out for Mock Trial. And if at possible I might consider doing some research. Once again, thanks for the insight.

Jul 28, 2011