So, what happens if you are not from one of these schools? Is this the end of your MBB dreams? No! Every year, hundreds of candidates join the MBB firms from non-target schools. In fact, this number is only increasing as competition for talent intensifies, forcing the MBB firms to widen their recruitment pool (check out our article on consulting industry trends in 2023 to learn more). The main advantage coming from a target school provides is that you would have a strong brand on your resume and your application will be given more attention. Once you make it past the application screening stage, the brand of your school becomes a lot less relevant.
With this in mind, there are two main ways one can overcome the target school advantage:
Sure, you might not have an elite school on your resume, but that does not mean your resume is immediately inferior to those with an elite school on them. The MBB firms are meritocratic organizations looking for the best talent possible. Therefore, as long as you take every available opportunity to improve your profile (e.g., achieve a great GPA, participate in case competitions, take up leadership roles) and refine each line in your resume to make sure it is concise, fact-based, and results-oriented, there is no reason you cannot beat out your target school competitors. Check out our consulting resume guide to learn how you can best frame your experiences and grab the attention of your resume screener.
The harsh reality is that coming from a non-target school, you will have fewer opportunities to network with MBB consultants. The MBB firms will not be coming to your campus to wine-and-dine you in the hopes that you will apply to join them; neither will you have a wide selection of school alumni at the MBB firms ready to help you.
That being said, networking is far more important for you than for your target school counterparts; therefore, you will need to put in more effort to make it work. While some options (e.g., exclusive networking and recruitment events) are limited for you, there are still many avenues that you can pursue in terms of networking, such as leveraging your personal network, attending public firm events, and cold contacting consultants online. Check out our article on networking to learn how you can network your way into the MBB firms using these methods.