Over 300 people participated in our recent “Ask Me Anything” live Q&A session on management consulting recruiting. Here were some of the most popular questions:
Does MBB care about undergrad GPA? Or is it more or less irrelevant once you have good work experience under your belt and have been accepted into a top MBA program?
The top tier firms are looking for excellence. One way of signaling you are a top performer is by sharing a strong GPA. Scholarships, high GMAT or GRE scores, and honors and awards are other ways to show your ability if your GPA is not something to highlight. Getting into a top MBA program is not sufficient by itself – about 40% of the class of the top schools are interested in consulting, and competition is fierce.
Is there an official / unofficial GMAT or GRE score requirement? How much is the exam score looked at vs. all other aspects? I’m debating whether to retake to boost my score just for the sake of recruiting for next summer and full time beyond that.
Top tier firms are looking for signals that you are a strong performer. A strong test score (GMAT or GRE) is one way to demonstrate that. However, it is not the only way. If you have a strong undergraduate GPA, scholarships, or awards to highlight, you can focus on that on your resume. I would not retake the GMAT just for recruiting.
What did you evaluate in choosing your home office? I’m particularly interested in technology strategy so my first instinct is west coast USA, but are there other factors to consider? What was your corporate culture like?
Choosing your target office is an important decision – one that many people don’t invest enough time in. While firms do have an overall firm culture, individual offices (or groups of offices) can have their own unique personalities. The focus industries, the partners leading the office, the size and maturity of the office (e.g., established vs. newly formed) can all contribute to the office-specific culture. Understanding the industries the office focuses on as well as the functional expertise (e.g., organization, corporate development, etc.) of the partners should be one of your first steps as this will provide insight into the type of work you might be doing.
Looking back, was there anything you maybe did wrong or not well enough while still at MBB that you wish you had done better?
I don’t feel that there was anything I did wrong or not well enough, but I do wish I could have retaken the management training sessions that we were offered. They covered a lot of material and had many training exercises, and taking them again after getting more experience would have deepened my ability to internalize the key teachings.
While I’m a returned Peace Corps Volunteer with a 770 GMAT, I’ll be 35 by the time I graduate with little professional experience in this field. I’m wondering if they think it is worth it for me to spend time/effort trying to get a job at a top consulting firm or if I should instead focus on other private-sector opportunities.
If I were you, I would look at both consulting and other private sector opportunities. Depending on the specifics of what you are interested in doing longer-term, you may want to consider boutique/niche consulting opportunities. These can sometimes offer greater flexibility for career advancement and some might place greater value on your previous work experience.
As a new MBA consultant, you will be starting at the bottom of the ladder, which can be difficult for someone used to being a manager level or above. However, consulting will be the most efficient way for you to get to your goal, as it will expose you to a variety of industries and business problems to solve.
Read the whole Q&A session here:
The Consulting Career Academy (CCA) of The MBA Exchange can help you reach your goals. Send your resume to email@example.com, and ask for a free management consulting career evaluation.
By Stephanie Horn (Managing Consultant) and Matt Strickler (Senior Advisor), Consulting Career Academy at The MBA Exchange