Hey guys, I have just completed my bachelors in mechanical engineering from Pune, India. I want to get into the consulting domain. I'm currently working in Dubai, U.A.E in Mechanical Services Company. So will I be able to get into any consulting company or should I need any prior business knowledge experience? Do consulting companies only hire those people from Business domain? What steps should I need to take to get into the consulting domain? Please guide me through it.
How to get into the consulting domain?
Your domain should not necessarily be in business. However, what's important - it should be outstanding (have achievements in the field).
Also think of the referral. There are certain criteria for the referral:
- The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
- You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
- The consultant gets a referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer
As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.
The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.
Here are some tips on how you can do that:
1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.
2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.
While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.
3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.
4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it
5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time
6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.
7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.
consulting companies regularly hire people from engineering background. They also hire straight out of college, thus you don’t necessarily need to have working experience besides internships to be considered.
In terms of the application, the most important thing to look for is a referral; you can find some suggestion on that at the link below:
In terms of the interview preparation I would recommend the following:
- Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before your expected interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the following points.
- Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
- Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with at least 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
- After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
- Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
- Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.
Networking will be key for you to be able to get an interview call for consulting and stellar acads will help.
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