Career plan - what to do after failing consulting applications?

Career Advising
New answer on Apr 29, 2020
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 10, 2020

I have failed in my consulting role applications. While corporate strategy sounds like an interesting option, it seems that there are not many positions, and companies would prefer a candidate who already have consulting experience. Except corporate strategy roles, are there any specific types of roles that would be prefered by consulting firms if I apply to experienced hire in future? Do they really care about the candidate's professional background, or it would be more about cracking the case? Thanks for the advice.

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Anonymous replied on Apr 29, 2020

Hi A,

If I were you, I would look for the roles that I might be interested in. For example, with start-ups or with big corporations. I would look for roles which awake my personal interest and my motivation. And don't think that you need to pass into certain clichés in order to get invited as an experienced hire later on. I think, if you can perform on your future job very well, you would be eligible to re-apply and try your chance again after couple of years.


Good luck!

André

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Anonymous replied on Mar 10, 2020

Dear Anonymous,

If you applied to consulting because you like the fact to work in different industries and functions and with different people, here some options that may be appealing to you:

1. Venture Capital funds - they invest in different startups, in different sectors and with different objectives, they interact with many founders and other key stakeholeders

2. Venture builders - they help startups growing with new business development, new market penetration, ...

3. Corporate rotation programs - some corporates hire for rotation programs, where the employee change every let's say 6months role, function, geography withing the Company.

Each of the three above mentioned options could be valuable if you decide to apply for consulting in the future, since they would give you the flexibility to work in different context, the team working experience and the visibility of different industries/sectors.

Consulting firms care about your background experience, but the case shoud also be cracked to show your analytical thinking that is crucial whrn working in consulting.

Hope it helps! :)

Giulia

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Antonello
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replied on Apr 01, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, if consulting remains your top goal I would look for a prestigious brand (F500) more than the role.

Best,
Antonello

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Vai
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 10, 2020
Consultant at BCG Nordics| PE and Due Diligence | BCG London, Boston & Dubai office experience

Hi,

If you are not able to make it to your dream consulting firm, you can try wide and deep.

Go wide by applying to your 'not so preferred' firms as well and a 12 months experience should count better than doing something with little relevance to consulting.

Go deep by applying to niche consulting firms or in-house strategy teams where again a 12 months experience should give you a background in consulting.

Post 12 months, try to apply again and you can try alternatives to application on the website, such as referral, job fair, case competitions, industry hire programs, etc.

Best Wishes,

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Emily
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replied on Apr 10, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

It also depends on what level you are applying to. For consultants (in BCG, which is Associate in McK) and below, the profesional background doesn't matter that much, as long as you can make a good story why consulting. For project leader / manager and above, the profiessional backgrounds becomes quite important.

Best,

Emily

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Hugo
Expert
replied on Apr 09, 2020
Digital entrepreneur turned BCG consultant // Coach with focus on PEI

Hi there,

just seconding Luca and trying to add a little more flavor to his answer to you. MBBs are now hiring a lot of digital + startup/scaleups talent - GAFA as well. It might be a good play especially if you manage to overachieve your goals.

Here are the types of roles that can be viewed as interesting:

  • Product manager (software companies...)
  • Analytics (eCommerce, Apps...)
  • Account Management / Business development (SaaS companies)
  • Operations (mobility companies)

hope this helps

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Federico
Expert
replied on Mar 12, 2020
Former Bain (4+ years, UK & Italy) | Ardian (France) | Specialized in Case Structuring, Case Cracking and Non-verbal Comm.

Hi Anonymous,

sorry to hear that, but no worries at all! MBB are increasingly interested about candidates showing strong analytical skills (e.g. previous experience in data science / machine learning roles) and/or entrepreneurial mindset in a reputable tech company (preferably VC or PE-backed). I would try to consider also these options and maybe - who knows - you may fall in love with these roles, and don't consider to re-apply to MBB.

If you like building stuff, owning what you build and would like to work in tech with a non-technical degree, I would suggest you to consider also Product Management Associate programs offered by tech companies to undergraduates / graduates (and less frequently to consultants!).

Good luck!
Federico

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Luca
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replied on Mar 11, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

They care a lot about your professional background, especially if you have several years of experience and you will join the company as "experienced hired".
Regarding the first question: start-up experience and digital roles are really well appreciated in the consulting world. The first one because it's an experience that gives you a 360° view on the business and shows your entrepreneurial drive. The second one because digitalization is one of the biggest trend nowadays.

Best,
Luca

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Robert
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replied on Mar 10, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous!

Generally speaking, the minimum period until you re-apply is 12-18 months (exceptions apply, but that's the standard time-frame with which most consulting firms are comfortable with).

Obviously in some areas of your interviews you were not as strong as expected, hence the decline of your application. So the main idea for now would be focussing on those areas in which you did not perform that well (if you are lucky, you can get some useful feedback from the respective firm(s) that help you figuring out in more detail). Whenever you re-apply, you need to give the consulting firms a good reason why they would want to reconsider your application, and that will happen if you can demonstrate that you improved your skills in those areas. So the professional background as such is not that much of importance, but eliminating any weak spots from your previous application!

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Clara
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replied on Mar 10, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Sorry to hear that! Now you have to wait 12-18 months and add some more relevant experience to your CV before re-applying again.

Many jobs indeed can boost your CV in the meatime. As you mentioned, corporate strategy is one that is very straight-foward, but it´s not the only one. Inside strategy, you can also apply for 2nd tier firms or niche-boutique consulting companies.

Outside strategy, options are countless, but gaining industry knowledge is always good. The core capabilities a "good job for jumping to strategy" should have are analytics, project management, complex stakeholder scenarios, etc.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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