How to Get a Consulting Internship - Tips and Tricks

Getting a consulting internship can be a great way to develop professional skills, gain exposure to different organizations and industries, network with new people, and potentially receive full-time job offers. Landing a consulting internship is competitive and requires a lot of preparation. Therefore, it is important to know what steps to take in order to increase your chances of getting an internship. In this article, Ian will discuss how to get a consulting internship, including networking, referrals, office selection, resume writing, cover letter writing, and case preparation.

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Networking

Networking is one of the most important ways to get a consulting internship. It is essential to build relationships with people in the industry who can provide insight into the company's culture and goals. It also helps you build relationships with professionals in the industry who may be able to offer advice, mentorship, or even a potential job opportunity. Importantly, the odds of getting an interview is directly correlated to the amount of networking you have done. To effectively network for a consulting internship, you should consider the following strategies:

1. Start by identifying the companies you are interested in and the people who work there. Conduct through research on the company and its employees, and use LinkedIn or other professional networks to connect with them.

2. Craft a concise, professional email or message that highlights your interest in the company and your desire to learn more about the industry. Be specific about the topics you would like to discuss and the questions you have.

3. Attend networking events and conferences related to consulting or the specific industry you are interested in. Make sure to prepare beforehand by researching the event and the attendees.

4. During conversations with professionals in the industry, be sure to ask insightful questions and actively listen to their responses. Show your enthusiasm for the industry and your desire to learn more.

5. Follow up with everyone you meet after networking events or informational interviews. Send a personalized thank-you email.

6. Finally, aim to "play tag" with the people you network with. This means asking if they know anyone else in the industry who they think you should talk to and requesting an introduction. This can help you expand your network even further and potentially lead to new opportunities.

Remember, networking is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process. Make sure to stay in touch with the people you meet and continue to nurture those relationships over time. By following these strategies, you can effectively network for a consulting internship and increase your chances of success.

Referrals

One of the most effective ways to secure a consulting internship is by leveraging employee referrals. Referrals put your application at the top of the evaluation process, giving you a higher chance of landing the internship. When networking with employees of the firm, it's important to navigate the conversation effectively and build a case for your candidacy. You can even "hint" at a referral if you feel comfortable doing so. For instance, you could say something like, "Thank you so much for your time. This has re-affirmed my interest in the firm, and I am absolutely going to be applying in the coming weeks. As I do so, do you have any tips or advice for how I can have the best candidacy in applying?"

Referrals can expedite the hiring process and increase efficiency by providing the employer with a readily available collection of qualified candidates, thus reducing the time necessary to find and evaluate candidates and the number of applications necessary for the role. Research has shown that a referred candidate is faster to hire than a traditional candidate. In addition, referrals can be rewarding for the employee who makes them, since many companies offer rewards for successful referrals. Therefore, if you have connections with employees at the firm you are interested in, don't hesitate to network with them and ask for a referral.

Office Selection

When researching different offices within a company, it is important to take various factors into consideration to determine which one would best suit your interests and goals. Firstly, location is a crucial factor, as it can impact your commute and quality of life outside of work. Secondly, office size can also be an important factor, as it can affect the company culture and the resources available to employees. Thirdly, it's important to consider the company culture and whether it aligns with your personal values and work style. Finally, the industry focus of the office can impact the types of projects and clients that you will be working with, which could affect your long-term career goals.

In addition to considering these factors, networking with individuals who have worked at various offices within the company can provide valuable insight into their experiences and help you make an informed decision. Talking to people who have worked in different offices can give you a better understanding of the company culture, management style, and the types of projects and clients they worked with. This information can help you make a more informed decision when selecting which office to apply to.

If your primary goal is simply getting an interview, then you need to select an office that makes sense with your candidacy. That means, your resume and background should match that office. Make sure that your citizenship and working rights, your language(s) spoken, your educational background, your work history and your living history align as much as possible to the office to which you are applying. If you have studied, lived, and worked your whole life in the United States, only speak English, and do not have working rights in Europe, it does not make sense to apply to the Madrid office. Ultimately, put yourself in the shoes of these companies who are looking at hundreds of resumes and think “If I were them, would I understand why this applicant applied to my office”?

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Resume

Your resume is your first impression on potential employers and is often the deciding factor in whether you get an interview. This is particularly true in consulting, where firms receive hundreds of resumes for each open position. Writing an effective consulting resume is therefore critical to getting your foot in the door. To create a winning resume, it is important to focus on clear formatting, relevant experience, and quantifiable impact. Additionally, using keywords and highlighting your skills and leadership experience can help your resume stand out in a crowded field. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of catching the attention of recruiters and landing your dream consulting job.

1. Use a clear and concise format: Make sure your resume is visually appealing, easy to read, and free of any grammatical errors or typos. Use bullet points to break up information and make your resume more scannable.

2. Emphasize your relevant experience: Focus on highlighting your most relevant experience that aligns with the consulting role you are applying for. This can include coursework, internships, research projects, extracurricular activities, and other projects that showcase your skills and accomplishments.

3. Quantify your impact: Use numbers and statistics to quantify the impact of your work. For example, if you worked on a project that increased sales, include the percentage increase or the specific dollar amount generated.

4. Use keywords from job postings: Use keywords and phrases from job postings in your resume to ensure that it passes through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and gets in front of recruiters. This will also demonstrate that you have done your research on the company and the specific role you are applying for.

5. Highlight your skills: Consulting firms look for candidates who possess strong analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. Make sure to highlight these skills in your resume by using powerful verbs that demonstrate your abilities.

6. Showcase your leadership experience: Consulting firms also value leadership skills, so make sure to include any leadership experience you have had, whether it be in a formal or informal setting.

By following these tips, you can create an effective consulting resume that stands out to recruiters and increases your chances of landing a consulting job.

Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter for a consulting internship can be a daunting task, especially if you are applying to multiple companies. However, there are ways to make the process more efficient and effective. By using a template and pre-written paragraphs, you can create a tailored cover letter specific to each company and role. This article provides tips on how to mass-produce your cover letter while still making it personalized and impactful.

Step one: figure out the key topics for your paragraphs, based on what consulting companies are looking for. Research each company and track what they look for, then consolidate them into "themes" and select the ones that best fit your skills and experiences. Some possible themes include analytical skills, communication, client management, leadership, teamwork, diversity, and passion for learning.

Step two: write your paragraphs, making them succinct (3-5 sentences) and focused on your achievements. Ensure that they lead with a statement that aligns with the company's values, such as "x company values y, and I do too."

Step three: select three of the pre-written paragraphs that fit best with each company and role. Find out what the company cares most about and slot in the paragraphs that showcase your relevant skills and experiences.

Step four: is to adjust and replace words to fit the company and application. Use the company's language, and replace the company name, office, etc. Even if Paragraph A is about the same topic, using the company's language will show that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in the company.

Mass-producing your cover letter using pre-written paragraphs can save time and help you create a tailored and impactful cover letter for each company and role. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can showcase your skills and experiences while aligning with the company's values and language and, you can do so in the least amount of time possible, allowing you to re-focus that time on more important application and case preparation activities.

Case Preparation

Preparing for case interviews is a critical aspect of securing and excelling in a consulting internship. Not only does it demonstrate your skills and ability to think critically, but it also helps you gain more responsibility during your internship and better understand the work being done. It is highly recommended that you be 80% case ready before you submit your application. If you delay your preparation, then by the time you hear back and have an interview scheduled, it may be too late to get ready.

 Here are some tips to help you get started on your case preparation journey:

1. Understand the format of a case interview: A typical case interview involves presenting a business problem to the interviewee and assessing their ability to analyze the situation, formulate hypotheses, and develop recommendations.

2. Familiarize yourself with case types: There are several types of cases, including market sizing, profitability, and business strategy. Understanding the different types of cases and their associated frameworks can help you approach them more effectively.

3. Practice with peers or mentors: Practicing case interviews with peers or mentors can help you develop your problem-solving skills and receive feedback on your performance.

4. Utilize case preparation resources: There are several online resources available for case preparation, including casebooks, practice cases, and frameworks. Utilizing these resources can help you become more familiar with the case interview process and increase your confidence.

5. Stay up-to-date with industry trends: Staying informed about current events and industry trends can help you approach cases more strategically and demonstrate your knowledge of the industry during interviews.

By following these tips and consistently practicing case interviews, you can significantly improve your chances of securing a consulting internship and excelling in your role.

Conclusion

In conclusion, securing a consulting internship requires a great deal of preparation and effort. Networking with professionals in the industry, leveraging employee referrals, carefully selecting the office, and writing a winning resume and cover letter are all critical steps that can increase your chances of success. Building relationships with professionals in the industry, actively listening to their advice and insights, and following up with them are important strategies for effective networking. Leveraging referrals and navigating the conversation effectively with employees of the firm can also expedite the hiring process and increase your chances of landing the internship. Finally, selecting the office that aligns with your interests, values, and work style can help you gain meaningful experience, build a strong network, and increase your chances of long-term success. By following these tips and tricks, you can position yourself as a competitive candidate and land the consulting internship you've been dreaming of.

8. About the Author

Ian

MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

  • Professional Experience: Boston Consulting Group, Appian Corporation
  • Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Location: USA

Ian started his career at Appian, an IT Consultancy, where he realized how great a company they were (great people, interesting work, and great company and personal growth prospects). He signed on the dotted line and, 4 years later, he had been promoted twice, moved to Australia, and learned a plethora of valuable skills (Client and project management, leadership, database design, IT architecture, coding, etc.). This experience built the foundation for who he is today, both professionally and personally. Ian joined PrepLounge as more of a "side hustle". He read a lot about personal finance, and it has also been drilled into him to have diversified income streams. 
However, what started as a 1 or 2 session a week gig turned into something far more - it turned out that he gets immense joy and satisfaction from teaching! Now, he focuses a lot more on what he loves to do - contracting/consulting has now ironically become the "side hustle"!

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