Career Change from R&D to Management Consulting - Follow up questions

career change management consulting R&D
New answer on Jan 15, 2020
4 Answers
1.5 k Views
Dennis asked on Jan 14, 2020

Hello everyone,

I previously posted a question regarding changing my career from R&D to Management consulting and received some great answers. Thank you to everyone who contributed and I would like to ask some follow up questions.

My background: Graduated in one of top 10 universities in US with BS degree in biomedical engineering (not so great GPA). Worked mainly in personal care & household CPG, as both R&D formulation scientist and product development/project manager, with most recent gig at a global cpg brand. Total YOE is a bit over 4 years. No PhD or MS and not working in engineering industry. I've been studying corporate finance for awhile and doing my own investments (rudimentary) but I am pretty familiar with P&Ls, balance sheets, etc. if that helps (?)

Per your advice, I will start applying to MBB and T2 programs in the upcoming months as industry hire and if all else fails, study for GMAT and apply for MBA programs. Meanwhile, some of the follow up questions are:

1. Realistically, is there any chance that a non-MS/PhD/MD but with engineering degree & science background have any chance at MBB or T2 without any prior consulting experience? I do know some firms do welcome PhDs and MDs but I do not apply to that category. Going lower level is no problem as long as I can enter the industry – even entry level like Business Analysts or Associates makes roughly the same as what I'm currently earning anyways

2. Without a background in life sciences or pharma, am I even eligible to apply to some of those life sciences/health care consulting firms? The only relevant experience I believe is merely my scientific background

3. What is your opinion on the difficulty of transitioning from T2 to MBB? Most forums I've seen says it's almost impossible but it seems many in PrepLounge think otherwise?

4. Is there anything I can do to increase my chances other than case/FIT prep for now? I am thinking about doing a side gig related to start up but not sure how much of that experience will actually increase my value in such a short time allotted.

5. What level is appropriate for industry hire? I think industry hires go in as Business Analysts for McK, Associate Consultant at Bain, and Associate Consultant/Senior Associate at BCG but please correct me if I have the wrong information.

6. I know prospective graduates have a general recruitment timeline, but is there any "unspoken" recruitment window regarding industry/experienced hires with a higher chance of recruitment?

I apologize for the long list again but thank you to everyone who has answered previously and I really appreciate any advice or thoughts!

(edited)

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Dennis,

please find my answers below:

  1. Yes, you may need to strengthen your application with a referral since your GPA is not great but it is doable, in particular since you are coming from a top university
  2. Yes, your background should be enough
  3. Definitely doable, I coached several people doing the transition successfully
  4. The most important thing is to work on referrals (more here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176); besides that, any experience showing strategy/leadership/achievement would help
  5. With your experience you will probably be considered for senior analyst (McK) /senior associate (BCG) positions or possibly associate (McK)/consultant (BCG) positions, according to how your experience and background will be valued and the office you apply
  6. For non-entry roles, you can apply at your convenience (ideally avoiding July and August for the summer break). Still, I would recommend to apply via referrals who could also advise whether the timing is favorable, according to the project pipeline

Best,
Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Dennis on Jan 15, 2020

Hey Francesco, thank you for your reply. Yes I will definitely focus on networking for referrals and case/fit prep. It seems everybody answered that I shouldn't focus on the start up but more on referrals. Do you have any tips on networking? Is cold-contacting (?) alumni or random people on linkedin effective? Are there any networking events to look out for? Thank you!

(edited)

Francesco on Jan 17, 2020

Hi Dennis, I would recommend to take a look to the following link for some tips on networking: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176. Best, Francesco

Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Welcome back Dennis,
1. yes, engineers are highly appreciated from consulting, especially in some specific practices
2. yes, I recommend to strongly motivate it in your application
3. some of my ex-colleagues came from tier2, have a look on LinkedIn for a quick check
4. no, just focus on interview prep. You already have enough experiences to apply
5. no, consultant for Bain and BCG and associate for McK (even junior associate can be good with 4y of exp, for references: https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/experienced-professionals )

Best,
Antonello

Was this answer helpful?
Dennis on Jan 15, 2020

Hi Antonello, thank you for the answer. You mentioned engineers are appreciated and although I did major in engineering, my work experience is not engineering-related. Does this hinder my chances? You've mentioned in 3 to do a quick check on linkedin - can you clarify what you meant by that? Also, do you have any tips on networking for referrals? Are there any networking events to look out for? Thank you!

(edited)

Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

To your questions:

1) Yes, I believe you have chance. You should take very good care of your CV and CL, since it´s what´s going to get you through the 1st screening.

2) Same as 1.

3) I know people who have done it. However, why not applying to MBB directly instead of going through T2 first?

4) Most of your focus should be on the prep, but you can also spend time on networking. This will also have a good ROI.

5) Associate in MCK and Consultant inBCG & Bain.

6) Depends totally in the office you are interested in.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Dennis on Jan 15, 2020

Hi Clara, thank you again for your response. Just as a clarification, I will be applying for both MBB and T2 at the same time; it just seems from my previous post that most of you said I would have a higher chance by going to T2 and transferring to MBB. Lastly, do you have any tips/strategy on networking for referrals? I've heard cold-contacting alumni's or people with similar background, but I've also heard of people meeting up for coffee chats and stuff which doesn't seem possible for me as a full time employee. Are there any networking events to look out for? Thank you!

(edited)

Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

1) MBBs absolutely love PHDsso you have all chances

2) You can try, why not? What are you losing? Again, they like PHDs

3) I personally know many people who transitioned. The key thing here is working for consulting / transaction services, not audit

4) Forget about the startup - it has low chances and will not contribute. Please concentrate on prep. Coach / good partners will help

5) Associate at MCK, Consultant at BCG / Bain

6) No windows, just apply. Would be a bit harder in Jan / May with MBA recruitments

Best

Was this answer helpful?
Dennis on Jan 15, 2020

Hi Vlad, thank you for your response. Just to clarify, I do not have PhD :( I only have a BS so I was wondering if MBB or T2 still recruit people without any special degrees. Does this hurt my chances a lot? For question 3, can you explain further when you say consulting/transaction services? Is generalist track part of it? Lastly, do you have any tips/strategy on networking for referrals? I've heard cold-contacting alumni's or people with similar background, but I've also heard of people meeting up for coffee chats and stuff which doesn't seem possible for me as a full time employee. Are there any networking events to look out for? Thank you!

Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching
4,027
Meetings
27,665
Q&A Upvotes
292
Awards
5.0
1480 Reviews