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Consulting after industry experience

Olga asked on Jan 10, 2017 - 4 answers
Currently work within banking, willing to switch to consulting (prepare for BCG)

Hi, everyone!

I graduated 3 years ago. While studying I was fond of case solving - both with friends just for fun and within case championships (BNP Paribas Ace Manager, KPMG ICC in particular). After graduation I chose to start my career within an industry as an indoor consultant and then switched to front line business division where I work till now.

I took a decision to move to MBB consulting due to several reasons and now in process of preparation. What I observe is that industry experience deepened my business judgement a lot, though I almost lost the skill of structuring which I realized only now when returned to case solving.

Did anyone have a similar experience of moving from an industry to consulting or is in process of moving now? Is it possible to keep working and preparing for case interview or is it better to qiut the job? Would be grateful for any recommendations.

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Hemant
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replied on Jan 11, 2017
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.
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It's not a very typical path to enter MBB from industry unless you enter as a subject-matter-expert (SMEs at McKinsey or equivalents elsewhere). There are a few ways this can be achieved:

1. MBA: get into a 1-yr program if you don't want to spend 2 yrs (e.g. UK has a few great ones). Apply via school, interview, etc.

2. Contacts: if you know someone willing to vouch for you at MBB, go for it! You'll need to match this with recruiting cycles though.

3. SME route: the above two are typical for Associate level roles, but outside of that you may try the SME route ( more popular with MBBs lately).

I would never ask anyone to leave their job to do case practice. It's like asking someone to move out of their home in hopes of moving into a mansion. People in MBA programs (14hrs/day work-weeks) find time to practice cases, so you can too :)

Hemant

Hi — Anonymous on Jan 11, 2017

Hi, Sorry in advance but I have a really naive question, what is the SME route? — Anonymous on Jan 11, 2017

I'm a pure science grad with a PhD and 4 years industry experience. I managed to get an interview with McKinsey through a contact. I have a senior position within a hospital as a scientist/project manager and I am preparing for case interviews. I agree with Hemant, its long hours, but I wouldn't quit my job. I also have a young family. Closer to my interview I have taken a couple of days annual leave to prepare but that's it. Most of my preparation is outside of 'crazy' work hours. Keep at it Olga! It is possible! — Anonymous on Jan 11, 2017

Hemant, thanks for the comment. Interesting comparison with homes :) — Olga on Jan 11, 2017

With SME I also have doubts. From banking practice I'm used to SME as small and mediun enterprises. But what does "SME route" mean in consulting? — Olga on Jan 11, 2017

Guennael
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replied on Jan 12, 2017
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
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Hemant is right, of course. I'd just add a 4th path though, the one I ended up taking: My employer was a long-time BCG client, so I got to know a lot of BCGers over the years and slowly decided I had to give consulting another shot. On one of these projects, I was the main liaison with the BCG team, working with them every day for 3-4 months. At the end of the project, I asked the Principal (AP in McK lingo) if he would help me get an interview. It is a 4th path in that I didn't just rely on networking or expertise, but a mixture of the two - and my recommendation was stronger since the team had seen my work.

As for your 2nd question, preparing or resigning... I did an MBA part-time along w/ a full time job and a family; I also prepared my BCG interviews as a full-time employee and with a family at home. You have time, the only question is what you want to use that time for. I had no social life while preparing, and leverage all the driving time to listen to Victor Cheng's LOMS program - in all, at least 2 hours a day and 120 to 150 hours over the course of my prep.

Hope this helps? Let me know if question.

Thx,

G.

ex-BCG Dallas

Frank
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replied on Jan 19, 2017
Former L.E.K. & Monitor Deloitte Project Leader
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The experts have nailed all of the high points quite well, and my experience is similar.

I made the jump to consulting from industry after working with several firms including Bain and McKinsey where I served as a direct interface and thought partner with them. After a number of informal conversations from analyst through partner, I gained a much stronger sense on the soft things related toteam dynamics, different firm cultures, etc. that informed what firms were best aligned with my aspirations and provided foundational training in the consultant mindset. Who better to gain insights from than from people who had been through the process before? In addition, they provided a strong support and coaching network in my own preparation and provided a non-traditional route into the interview process.

I completed a part-time MBA as well while leading a significant organizational transformation with a spouse at home. It was challenging, but to reiterate, there is always time available - leaving a job to prepare for a case interview is not economically justifiable in my opinion. I'm confident you can adequately prepare and network while maintaining employment with appropriate planning and focus.

Best of luck!

Peter
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replied on Jan 19, 2017
Ex-Bain & Company Case Team Leader * Placed 40+ MBB candidates as Partner in Europe's leading top-tier Consulting recruiting firm
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I would say the answers provided are somewhat out of date. Industry recruiting was not so big 10 years ago when I did the industry to consulting move, but now is an important and growing part of the MBB recruitment mix. I used to be a Partner with InnerSquare who in the early years of operation were already filling 20+ roles in the UK and France alone and now do several times that - it could be worthwhile checking them out to check whether you might be someone they could help. They have a near 50% success ratio in placing candidates.

Alternatively, I would first focus on securing an interview. Industry application to interview and then interview to offer stats are the worst of all routes to entry, but it absolutely can be done. Leverage friends in the industry if you have any, and do look out for "meet and greet" type sessions with your local firms.

Good luck!