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What is the best way for experienced hired to break into consulting? And which companies more willing to hire them?

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Hi Fiona,

to answer your first question, whatever is your current experience (Vlad provided a good list of the possible options) the best way to break into consulting for an experience hire is to network and apply via referral. You don't need to attend events necessarily to do networking; in particular, if you are unable to attend you can follow the steps below:

1. Identify the ideal connections to contact. LinkedIn could be a good starting point for that (another option is to use your university alumni database, if available). Former alumni of your university normally represent the strongest connections.

2. Write a customized cold email. I would recommend using emails rather than LinkedIn messages, as writing via LinkedIn you would immediately be perceived as a stranger (there are ways to easily find the email of everyone nowadays in few minutes). The email should follow some specific rules for the subject and the content, in order to maximize conversion.

3. Have a call with the consultant, and indirectly ask for a referral. The call should be structured in order to maximize conversion, as the email. You should have an idea in advance of (i) how to introduce yourself (ii) which questions to ask and (iii) how to ask for the referral indirectly. In case you manage to get an in-person meeting instead of a call, that’s great but not strictly necessary.

I have used this method when I applied for consulting, and I believe it’s the main reason why I got six invitations out of six applications by consulting firms (MBB, Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger and former Booz&Co - now Strategy&). I never applied through the website only, as I always had a person referring me.

As for your second question, the likelihood of being hired as experienced hire will depend on

  • your background (how much do you fit with the company core practice) and
  • the size of the company in your country (in general the bigger, the easier, as there are more slots available).

MBB are the biggest strategy consulting companies in many countries, however, since they are also more competitive, they may not be necessarily the easiest to land an offer for an experienced hire.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi Fiona,

to answer your first question, whatever is your current experience (Vlad provided a good list of the possible options) the best way to break into consulting for an experience hire is to network and apply via referral. You don't need to attend events necessarily to do networking; in particular, if you are unable to attend you can follow the steps below:

1. Identify the ideal connections to contact. LinkedIn could be a good starting point for that (another option is to use your university alumni database, if available). Former alumni of your university normally represent the strongest connections.

2. Write a customized cold email. I would recommend using emails rather than LinkedIn messages, as writing via LinkedIn you would immediately be perceived as a stranger (there are ways to easily find the email of everyone nowadays in few minutes). The email should follow some specific rules for the subject and the content, in order to maximize conversion.

3. Have a call with the consultant, and indirectly ask for a referral. The call should be structured in order to maximize conversion, as the email. You should have an idea in advance of (i) how to introduce yourself (ii) which questions to ask and (iii) how to ask for the referral indirectly. In case you manage to get an in-person meeting instead of a call, that’s great but not strictly necessary.

I have used this method when I applied for consulting, and I believe it’s the main reason why I got six invitations out of six applications by consulting firms (MBB, Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger and former Booz&Co - now Strategy&). I never applied through the website only, as I always had a person referring me.

As for your second question, the likelihood of being hired as experienced hire will depend on

  • your background (how much do you fit with the company core practice) and
  • the size of the company in your country (in general the bigger, the easier, as there are more slots available).

MBB are the biggest strategy consulting companies in many countries, however, since they are also more competitive, they may not be necessarily the easiest to land an offer for an experienced hire.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Hi,

I would start with understanding where your experience fits best in consulting. If we take the BIG3 companies as an example, there may be multiple options:

  1. You have some general experience that is relevant for consulting but do not have a deep functional expertise (e.g. 4-5 years as a brand manager). In this case, you should apply for a general consulting trek.
  2. You have a very deep industry expertise (e.g. risk in banking). In this case, you may be a good fit for an Expert career trek within the research department.
  3. You have a functional knowledge (very often supplied with the relevant PHD) that suits one of the dedicated operational groups within the company (e.g. operations, implementation, private equity)
  4. You have functional knowledge in digital that is in line with the newly created subsidiaries (E.g. Digital Ventures or Quantum Black at McKinsey)

Tier 2 and Tier 3 consulting may have even more (or less) options, especially if your industry experience is in tech.

There may be multiple options to approach this:

  • Actively monitoring opened roles that might suit your experience on the web-sites
  • Sending the resume to HR asking for an advice. If your profile is interesting they might schedule a meeting with a manager or partner from a relevant industry / function or someone who is responsible for experienced hires
  • Calling the local offices asking for Information about any upcoming events for experienced hires
  • Leveraging your network / linkedin connections looking for an advice on where your profile suits best

Good luck!

Hi,

I would start with understanding where your experience fits best in consulting. If we take the BIG3 companies as an example, there may be multiple options:

  1. You have some general experience that is relevant for consulting but do not have a deep functional expertise (e.g. 4-5 years as a brand manager). In this case, you should apply for a general consulting trek.
  2. You have a very deep industry expertise (e.g. risk in banking). In this case, you may be a good fit for an Expert career trek within the research department.
  3. You have a functional knowledge (very often supplied with the relevant PHD) that suits one of the dedicated operational groups within the company (e.g. operations, implementation, private equity)
  4. You have functional knowledge in digital that is in line with the newly created subsidiaries (E.g. Digital Ventures or Quantum Black at McKinsey)

Tier 2 and Tier 3 consulting may have even more (or less) options, especially if your industry experience is in tech.

There may be multiple options to approach this:

  • Actively monitoring opened roles that might suit your experience on the web-sites
  • Sending the resume to HR asking for an advice. If your profile is interesting they might schedule a meeting with a manager or partner from a relevant industry / function or someone who is responsible for experienced hires
  • Calling the local offices asking for Information about any upcoming events for experienced hires
  • Leveraging your network / linkedin connections looking for an advice on where your profile suits best

Good luck!

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