Which Non-IB Pre-MBA career?

Which fields of business do you recommend if I plan to get into consulting from a non target?

So far I am deciding between marketing, finance and project management.

Consulting Case Interview Course

  • 2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. Crowdsourced from over 600,000 members.
  • 11 Detailed Exclusive Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate and 10+ hours of video.
  • Trusted by over 1,000 aspiring consultants just like you.

Comments (18)

May 12, 2021 - 11:49am

The areas you mentioned are functional areas you can find in many industries and companies. They are also vastly different and require a different skill set.

PM skills are useful to have in many different industries and jobs, structuring work flow and being able to forecast time, costs and project goals against corporate goals. I have met capable PMs who were able to apply their career in many different fields. Risk: if you do this too long you can get stuck in that space quickly.

Marketing jobs look fancy from the outside. You output is very visible and has a lot of impact how a product is perceived in the market. But I have also met many marketing people who had no clue about the product or how to effectively manage a more complex global GTM structure.

May 12, 2021 - 11:57am

I think it depends heavily on what you want to do in what kind of consultancy. Industry is also relevant.
If we are talking Big4, then I'd argue finance skills and PM skills are most relevant. Marketing rarely goes out to consultancy unless it is a contractor position. I have seen a larger piece of senior marketing work outsourced to Accenture though, so it is possible.

May 13, 2021 - 12:39am

I think you're asking about major, field is usually a term that refers to your work experience / job.

Out of those I'd pick finance. Finance is the most flexible business major and there are lots of well-paying backup jobs available if consulting doesn't work out or you change your mind.

Marketing jobs tend to pay less and project management is a bad choice because of how wishy-washy that is as a major.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
May 13, 2021 - 3:07pm

I am mostly referring to the field I should go into after graduating.

I understand strategy consulting is still a large field. I am a business management major but I still have some time to choose other specialization. I am already in finance.

I am mostly asking if I should go into things like business development or FP & A. I am from a non target and IB is tough for me to get into.

May 13, 2021 - 3:29pm

Oh okay, now I understand. You're trying to get into strategy consulting, but not right after undergrad

Non-target recruitment during college is a thing albeit very tough. I'd try that first though

After college it is very, very challenging to transfer into MBB/T2 consulting firms without going to a top ~10-15 MBA at least

In turn, I would NOT select whether to do marketing or finance based on lateraling into strategy consulting later -- pick whichever you'd otherwise like to do based on other factors

Most Helpful
May 13, 2021 - 5:50pm

There aren't a ton of great project management jobs out there... seems to be mostly IT dept stuff or Construction. Both are ultra niche.

Marketing is great though the most realistic entry point out of school is a client service role on the agency side. Can be low-ish comp but sets the scene for the transition to a client-side corporate marketing role. There are also some Marketing LDPs or entry-level marketing assistant roles which might get you straight into corp marketing. Corp Marketing will teach you how companies craft their GTM stories (note - not the actual Strategy itself that is more product marketing which is separate) and how the marketing ecosystem works to facilitate this 

Finance is also a good shout if you're aiming for something like FP&A - either directly or through an FLDP. Would teach you how companies operate from a financial POV. Might also want to consider a Credit Analyst training program within commercial banking for another accessible "Finance" path out of a non-target. Great financial training + sets you up to pivot to Corp Banking, DCM, Private Credit etc. There's also: FDD / Valuations Advisory and Credit Rating Agency Rating Analyst, Risk division and Corporate Treasury roles that are equally as solid.

Operations / SCM is another suggestion. Super interesting problems to solve there. Will teach you about forecasting demand / supply, inventory management, logistics planning, operational improvements etc. 

On the retail side of things I would also consider Buying / Merchandising. You own the P&L for a retail category and learn a ton about consumer tastes, creating promotions, negotiations, P&L management etc.

Maybe even consider HR? Could be HR consulting or an HR LDP / entry-level role of some kind. Great space if you enjoy solving people problems from a business perspective.

All of those would set you up very well for a strong MBA app despite not being "ultra prestigious" options.

Array
  • 3
May 13, 2021 - 10:33pm

Ah thanks. This is exactly what I am looking for.

I been looking for some non target paths into finance. It seems impossible to even secure a fp and a role lol.

Thanks a lot.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 13, 2021 - 6:00pm

If you are at all considering strategy or management consulting, it will be very very hard as they recruit from pipelines. Usually the easiest way to break in is through a top ug or biz school. If you can build up an expertise in a sector, you could potentially break in as a sector expert

May 16, 2021 - 5:15pm

Ideally, a leadership development program (LDP). It's most relevant to strategy consulting (generalist experience, consultative access to senior management, strategic exposure, etc.) and would position you well for business school apps.

FP&A is good too if you can avoid just being a spreadsheet monkey. Good FP&A roles are those where you get access to senior management and inform decisions. This depends a lot on direct manager and culture.

Not sure about marketing agencies but my impression is that entry-level industry marketing is very operational. I've also worked with many clueless marketing people at all levels, so I'd imagine it would depend on the specific opportunity.

Don't do PM. Those skills are valuable but you'll pick them up in almost any role.

May 18, 2021 - 11:43am

Networking helps (I'd start with LinkedIn) to understand the company/business, culture, and quality of the LDP. Doesn't even have to be a current/former member of the LDP, since most leaders in any company will be familiar with their LDP and would be able to connect you with someone. This'll be a lot more effective than spamming cold apps.

Idk what your non-target is, but if it's a big/decent state school, it's probably a pipeline for some LDPs. There must be a list online somewhere; if not, you could spend a few hours going through F500 careers sites/LinkedIn searching, or look through leading companies in the industries you'd be interested in.

May 18, 2021 - 1:33pm

Consectetur iure quia sed et dicta minus. Voluptatem culpa ut eos fugiat.

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Oncycle is a fucking joke
+188PEby Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Dating smart girls
+141OFFby Analyst 2 in Consulting
How often do you get "matches" on apps?
+134OFFby Associate 1 in AM - Other
I want to quit already…
+108IBby Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Have you ever sued your employer?
+95PEby Principal in PE - Other
The Qualifications of an EB
+84IBby Summer Associate in IB-M&A

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Consulting

  • Principal (22) $269
  • Director/MD (43) $260
  • Vice President (35) $246
  • Engagement Manager (77) $217
  • Manager (132) $165
  • 2nd Year Associate (126) $136
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (94) $128
  • Senior Consultant (281) $128
  • NA (10) $116
  • Consultant (497) $114
  • 1st Year Associate (443) $113
  • Engineer (4) $110
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (114) $107
  • 2nd Year Analyst (256) $97
  • Associate Consultant (139) $94
  • 1st Year Analyst (865) $84
  • Intern/Summer Associate (138) $82
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (392) $67