Consulting after ACA

audit Audit & Assurance Big 4 consulting MBB mbb big4
New answer on Aug 31, 2022
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 24, 2022

Hi everyone,

I am currently completing a graduate scheme for a big 4 company, however, this is in audit (also study for the ACA).

When I started I didn't know much about consulting but I am becoming more set on consulting each day. I want to make the move to consulting and wanted to know if it is possible once I am ACA qualified and my audit graduate scheme is complete or has the graduate scheme been a waste of time?

If anyone has any recommended paths then please do tell.

Thank you!

 

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Best answer
Francesco
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replied on Aug 24, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

 

Q: I want to make the move to consulting and wanted to know if it is possible once I am ACA qualified and my audit graduate scheme is complete or has the graduate scheme been a waste of time?

 

If your CV is strong you can definitely move to strategy consulting. The ACA won’t probably matter much but no harm in having it.

 

The things that could help with the transitions are a strong CV, strong Cover and internal referrals.

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1) CV

The key elements they will look for and that you can optimize are:

  • University brand
  • Major
  • GPA
  • Work experience
  • Experience abroad
  • Extracurriculars and volunteer experience

The fact you don't have consulting experience is not a problem if you structure your CV correclty.

Red flags include:

  • Low GPA
  • Lack of any kind of work experience
  • Bad formatting / typos
  • 3-4 pages length
  • Lack of clear action --> results structure for the bullets of the experiences
  • Long paragraphs (3-4 lines) for the bullets of the experiences with irrelevant details
  • Long time gaps without any explanation

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2) COVER LETTER

You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.

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3) REFERRALS

To find a referral, you should follow three main steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chances. There are specific ways to phrase it

You should prepare three main things before the call:

  • Your own pitch. 3-4 lines should be enough
  • 3-4 questions on the personal experiences of the person. Avoid to ask questions about the company
  • A closing question for the referral. It should be an indirect request to avoid being too pushy

You can find more information on networking and referrals here:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation 

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BONUS: INTERVIEW PREPARATION

After you managed to get an invitation you need to find out how to pass the interview. You can find more on that at the link below.

▶ How to Prepare for an MBB Interview

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If you need more help with referrals, I also do a 30min session with scripts to use, support for connections and every other info to land one. Please feel free to PM for more info.

Best,

Francesco

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Cristian
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replied on Aug 31, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there,

I would definitely not see it as a waste of time. There are lots of skills that you learned in the meantime, plus it's easier to make the transition into consulting after having been in Big4. Just make sure all of these elements are well reflected in your CV.

Best,

Cristian

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Lucie
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 24, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

from my experience as a trainer of a newly joined BCGers, I would estimate half of the candidates are not coming even from a business background or business education and many of them are interested to try as much as different cases in all kinds of industries and topics to be able to decide what eventually they want to pursue in the future. So having additional business qualification is only a plus!


If you have graduated from a top-tier school and/or you can come up with an appealing CV and cover letter, then go for MBB. 

Lucie

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Ian
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replied on Aug 26, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Absolutely you can!

Heck, I worked with flautists, violinists, doctors, lawyers, etc. at BCG. It's super common.

Make sure you 1) Make your resume as strong as possible 2) Get some consulting-related experience if possible (part-time consulting academies/programs) and 3) network extensively

Good luck!

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Sofia
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replied on Aug 24, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach

Hello,

You can definitely move to consulting! I thought Emily's advice was spot on. An ACA qualification is always a good thing to have in consulting, so you just have to work on a convincing story about why you are making this move now. I am sure that many skills you learn in auditing will be useful and transferable too.

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Emily
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replied on Aug 24, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

You can absolutely move into consulting! Having an additional qualification is a bonus! What you need to do through is weave a story about why you did the qualification and how this has led you to wanting to be in consulting. You want to make the transition seem as obvious and non-abrupt as possible. 

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Aug 30, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

Having an ACA won't help much but won't hurt either. I suggest applying right away as having the ACA doesn't have any impact and as such you may be wasting your time.

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 28, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Absolutely! I come myself from a weird background, Architecture, and you can turn what seems like a weakness into a great strength!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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