Can I get into consulting if I’m not at a “targeted” college?

Consulting firms go to a select list of colleges because they are hiring candidates with strong potential. Top firms take a relatively small class of business analysts and post-MBA associates. While BAs and new associates are usually the most junior member of a team of five or six, they are learning from their managers and their teammates how to do the job. They may start out on smaller tasks, like collecting data or building spreadsheets, but as they gain more experience, they are invited to participate in discussions and share their thoughts and ideas. It is a great learning ground for people early in their careers, where they can see a variety of industries and tackle dozens of different business problems. 

So how do you get into consulting if you aren’t attending a “targeted” college? It is true that to get into a top firm, you have to be a strong performer. You need to have excellent grades. You should have a challenging major. Going to a highly selective institution is helpful as you need a certain academic profile to be accepted to those schools. However, the truth of the matter is that recruiting at “targeted” colleges has as much to do with the logistics and cost of sending out recruiting teams as it does with the reputation of certain schools. Firms can’t send recruiting teams everywhere, but they are fully aware that this mean that they could be missing out on talent.

So firms also look at candidates who apply for positions who come from non-target schools. What should candidates attending non-target schools do to increase their chances of getting a business analyst position?

  1. Build your network — if consulting companies aren’t coming to campus, you will have to do some work to meet people at your target firms. Use your alumni associations and learn how to network effectively.
  2. Make your resume relevant — Tailor your resume for a career in consulting, highlighting the skills they are looking for. Take leadership positions in on-campus activities, especially relevant groups like consulting clubs.
  3. Practice for the fit and case interviews — consulting interviews are different from those for other careers. If you don’t have a consulting club on campus (start one!) you may need to look elsewhere to learn how to do a case interview properly.

Consulting Career Academy would love to have a conversation with you to answer any questions and propose the best approach for your management consulting career plans. For more information, Contact Us today