Consultants with Non-Business Major

Engineering and Management Consulting IT consulting MBB
New answer on Apr 05, 2020
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 30, 2020

Hi guys

do we have any experts here who have studied engineering or anything with a tech background? I can imagine that when you started with your studies you probably didn't think of becoming a consultant right away don't you? How did you get to this and what do you appreciate about your job as a consultant coming from a non-business major?

Happy to gain insights!

cheers!

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Luca
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replied on Mar 30, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

I don't have a tech background but I studied Mechanical Engineering for 5 years. The idea of changing my plans and leaving engineering came up after an internship as NASA's researcher for the JPL laboratory. Even if the environment was super and from under many points of view that was a dream-job, I didn't feel motivated.
That's when I started doubting that engineering was the right choice and I started being attracted by consulting. The plus of being a consultant is for sure that you can learn a lot, trying completely different projects and industries in a short time, and that you can see the impact of your work in a short period.
I always say that strategic consultancy is a "no-choice", because you are simply deciding to learn and try a lot different things, having the chance to decide later what you want to do in your life.

Feel free to text me if you want to discuss it further,
Luca

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Anonymous A on Mar 30, 2020

Thank you for your answer! This is great!!

Raj
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updated an answer on Apr 03, 2020
Strategy&| ex-interviewer | 78+ coached |95% success @ MBB, S&, RB, LEK, OW, Big4 [SUCCESS STORIES BELOW]| engineer

Hi,

I studied for a Masters in Civil Engineering before moving into strategy consulting. You are right I certainly didn't plan on doing this (true of many of my friends who made similar choices - banking, consulting, law et al.)

What appealed to me about consulting over engineering?

  • Variety / Novelty - I'm someone that can't do one thing for very long. I enjoy fluid and dynamic work which changes frequently. Consulting was great for that
  • Finishing school aspect - it seemed a great first step career from a content and signalling perspective (opening other doors later if I wanted to leave)
  • Perks - of course the lifestyle had its appeal too! ;) (alas business travel quickly loses its appeal after you start recognising gate staff at a rural German airport)

Non-business quant majors were generally perceived positively when I was in the firm - I could definitely notice this in approach and work styles.

What do I appreciate now I moved on from consulting?

Overall, I'm incredibly glad I had the opportunity and I certainly couldn't have foreseen the experiences I would have had when I was in your shoes making this choice. There were some pretty tangible benefits such as

  • Learning how to think
  • Learning how to learn
  • Signalling benefit and exit opps
  • Building raw business acumen
  • Fun lifestyle at the time

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Mar 31, 2020

wow! thank you Raj, very insightful!

Antonello
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replied on Mar 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, aerospace engineer here :) Technical background are highly appreciated nowadays in consulting for the problem-solving & analytical skills and for the ability to quickly enter into new complex problems and structure them. To me, it's been a unique opportunity to gain in a small amount of time a good insight into the business environment in Italy and Europe and to build a broader profile.
Regarding how to manage the transition you are in the right place to do it :)

Best,
Antonello

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Anonymous A on Mar 30, 2020

Thanks! great insight!

Clara
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replied on Mar 30, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I am among the "weirdos", I am an Architect! And I was the second one to join the McKinsey Madrid office, and only one after grad (the other one, and some who came after, where coming from MBAs)

As you very well say, never would I have tought when I started my 6-years studies to end up in consulting, I didn´t even know what this was!

However, it was not a 180º round done within one day, but a gradual transition: I realized that I liked project management and construction planning and optimization instead of design, I started exploring some management engenieering subjects... and ended up in the McKinsey Atrévete, a workshop for students. There was where I really learned what being a consultant was.

The journey in McKinsey and later in Amazon has been marvelous, full of insights of so many different things. This was precisely what I loved about studying Architecture, since I loved the multi-multidisciplinary approach: from Math to History, from Construction to Aesthetics. However, I realized that, when it comes to working as an architect, the scope narrows down a lot. Hence, this was the key driver why I wanted to transition to consulting is to keep the multi-discipline and multi-industry focus.

Regarding the application, people always looked at me very weridly, in all interviews and processes. However, being a non-conventional profile can be a super good asset if you know how to play it.

Hope it helps you!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on Mar 30, 2020

Thank you Clara, this is really helpful!

Clara on Mar 30, 2020

Pleasure! Don´t be scared to apply if u are also a weirdo for COnsulting... this can be your asset!!!!

Anonymous replied on Mar 30, 2020

Hi,

More and more consultants are hired by consulting firms (e.g. MBB) without any business or consulting background. Consulting firms are now a mix between consultants hired after school and other briging other expertise (sectorial, tech, ...). Consulting firms have developped specific tools (welcome training, regular temperature checks, exchance of best practises between industry hired people, ...) to faciliate onboarding.

Best

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 31, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

I have a traditional business background (I studied Economics). However, as a coach I helped:

  • A former professional international pianist (joined McK)
  • A former military professional (joined BCG)
  • Several PhDs with zero experience in business (for all MBBs)

Consulting companies are quite open to non-business background in English speaking countries, less in Southern Europe, where they tend to stick to traditional Business and Engineering backgrounds.

Please feel free to PM me for more information.

Best,

Francesco

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Iman
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updated an answer on Apr 05, 2020
BCG | Strategy& |Roland Berger | Interviewed >100 candidates in formal hiring process

Hi, during my tenure in consulting, my team comes from a various different backgrounds (e.g. doctor, engineer, forestry, PhD, and even a NASA scientist)

As long as you demonstrated strong leadership potential and logical thinking process in solving the case interview questions, consulting firms will be happy to hire and train you to be a succesful consultant :)

(edited)

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Emily
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replied on Apr 05, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

Electronics major here! You are right consulting didn't come right away to me, until I realised I don't want to spend my time as Engineer my whole life.

What I think my background helped me is (1) the rigours training on logical thinking and problem solving which is very useful in consulting, and (2) the practicality (as an Engineer you need to make real things happen than just in theory!)

Cheers,

Emily

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Daniel
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updated an answer on Mar 31, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

Hi!

A former diplomat here :) I have studied international relations and worked first for the Russian Foreign Ministry and then for the UN before going to McKinsey. What I appreciated at McKinsey:

  • I've learnt a lot about different industries – I've done projects ranging from PE to high tech to banking, it was a great learning experience
  • I've learnt a lot about different funcitons – i've done everything from procurement to due diligence to digital transformations
  • i've met my best friends at the Firm – McKinsey is a place where you meet so many amazing people coming from all kinds of backgrounds, it's one of the best things about the Firm
  • I started to feel empowered – after you spent some time at the Firm, you feel like anything is possible, so I left the firm to start my own business :)

Best,
Daniel

(edited)

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Luca gave the best answer

Luca

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