By Stephanie Horn, Managing Consultant, Consulting Career Academy at The MBA Exchange
“That’s impossible!” I said to the engagement manager on my first management consulting project at McKinsey. He had just told me we were going to evaluate our client’s new $10-million product — look at the strengths and weaknesses of the company, identify the market potential, assess the competition, and deliver an actionable set of recommendations — in just four weeks. My manager promised I would quickly learn and apply the tools and the structured problem solving skills needed to complete this task.
The work was demanding, but the thrill of solving significant business issues at a senior level, the accelerated learning and personal growth, and the camaraderie and intellectual prowess of my peers were exhilarating. I was determined to prove I belonged there and could perform at this level. As my manager predicted, my team and I completed this assignment, on time and on budget, earning high praise from our client.
Thus began my career in management consulting, honing my problem-solving skills, building strong relationships with clients, developing presentation skills, quickly coming up to speed on new industries and business challenges, and meeting with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. The satisfaction I felt a year later, when I was mentoring the next group of new hires, was even greater.
Consulting has long been one of the most popular career choices for undergraduates, MBAs and experienced professionals. The competition for positions at the top firms is intense. Candidates need to build connections and start networking even before recruiting begins, then bolster their ambitions with strong resumes and compelling cover letters. Sophisticated case interviews, problem-solving tests, and group interviews require that candidates are up to speed on current standards and techniques and are well prepared to tackle a case by structuring a solution to a business problem, doing estimation and quantitative analysis, all while explaining their thought process out loud.
These challenges are what led my colleagues and me at The MBA Exchange to found the Consulting Career Academy. Our team features over 20 former consultants from the world’s top management consulting firms including McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, Accenture, PwC, Deloitte, Booz Allen, A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman, ZS Associates, Cambridge Group and others.
We’ve honed our advisory skills by helping nearly 5,000 MBA candidates get admitted to the world’s most selective MBA programs. The satisfaction of helping our clients take the first step on their career path naturally led to our wanting to help them succeed on the next step — joining a top-tier management consulting firm.
We offer a truly comprehensive curriculum to help our clients succeed. Our menu of options allows individuals to tailor their training to get the specific training they want and need. To learn more about the Consulting Career Academy, just email The MBA Exchange. We’d love to help you understand and overcome the first big challenge in management consulting — getting hired!