Part 2: Tips for Future Management Consultants — How to Network for an Interview Invite

By Stephanie Horn, Managing Consultant at the Consulting Career Academy; Kellogg MBA and former McKinsey consultant

Competition for internships and full-time jobs at McKinsey, BCG, Bain and other top consulting firms is more intense than ever. Building relationships within a firm can be a key strategy for getting a coveted interview invitation. But how do you find the individuals who are best positioned to help you succeed? Through building a robust consulting network! Here’s a great way to get started as suggested by the Consulting Career Academy.

Your undergraduate and/or grad school student and alumni network is a natural source of contacts at management consulting firms. When considering who to approach, focus on those who either hold the job title you’re seeking (e.g., Associate) or are one level higher; they will have the most current/relevant information and will be most willing to help you.

Your initial email should introduce yourself as a potential candidate for XYZ firm, summarize your background, and ask if you can meet for coffee [or – if not local – “have a phone chat”] to learn more about the firm and office. Convey something LIKE: “I’ll be applying for an interview this winter. As you’re a fellow [student/alum], I’m seeking your help in learning more about the firm and your experiences there. Would it be convenient for us to talk sometime this week? What’s the best way for me to reach you?”

When you finally speak with this contact, focus the conversation on these topics:
– What’s your typical day like at the firm?
– What skills do you find most valuable in your work?
– What are the most rewarding aspects of working there?

Then, if you’re bonding well:
– Do you have any specific suggestions on how I could maximize my chances for an interview?

In addition to whatever input your contact provides, this interaction will give you a name to “drop” and a conversation to summarize in your cover letter and/or interview.

Would you like to have a 15-minute chat with a former McKinsey, BCG or Bain consultant to discuss your career interests, needs and priorities? There’s no cost or obligation! The Consulting Career Academy welcomes the chance to get to know you and demonstrate our expertise.

P.S. Check out Part 1 of this blog series for future management consultants: “How to Benefit from Info Sessions”