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From Researcher to Consultant

Research Consulting
New answer on Oct 09, 2023
5 Answers
2.7 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 07, 2019

Since I have no luck getting a job as a consultant I was wondering if the chances might be higher or I would totally block my path to consultancy position if I work as a researcher for one of the top consulting companies. I know researchers primarily deal with raw data but they also get to specialise later in their career.

Additionally, I would like to know if the chances for becoming a consultant are higher if one has an MBA degree. Recently, I am seeing numerous people who did a big career jump once they got their MBA. Personally, I do not see that much value in it if one works and educates themselves either through work experience or professional course.

Please advise

Thank you

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Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 09, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

It is possible to switch from the research track to the consulting track. I have seen examples of this during my time at BCG. However the chances of this are not high based on various reasons.

The MBA is still arguably the most reliable way of getting an interview, given that top consulting firms still hire heavily from top MBA programs. Is it absolutely necessary to get an interview invite? No, but that's assuming your current resume/experience is strong enough.

 

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Vlad
Expert
replied on Jan 07, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

  1. There are not many cases, I've heard of a couple so far. But I would assume that mainly because if you go to research it means you have already made a choice not to work in consulting
  2. Think of it, as a junior researcher you'll have to work with lots of teams, all of which are quite demanding. I don't know your background but I assume it will be quite hard to be a top performer in a 1st year, get all brilliant feedbacks and make this transition. Realistically I would think that transition is possible in 2-3 years horizon.

In short - do your best to get to MBB as a consultant if that's what you are dreaming of. So MBA might help here:)

Best

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Denisa on Jan 09, 2019

Thank you. For me that horizon is not that bad. Well I am may consider the MBA then The thing is that at the beginning I made some poor academic and/or career choices like doing a second master instead of MBA or working for a corporate on a position, which I did not find intriguing enough. Therefore, I cannot really apply for a junior consulting position and for any other I am apparently not qualified. How is it looked on when the MBA was done online? Is it worse then going physically to a university? I know it may sound ungrateful of me not wanting to spend time on something, which may help me to get to the position I want but I was just wondering how consulting companies perceive it. Thank you

Hubert replied on Jan 08, 2019
Preparing for MBB

Hi

I second Vlad on the fact that an MBA will get you:

- additionnal knowledge so you will be performing better in the interviews (use the right words, structure your thoughts, understand a bigger variety of industries, ...)

- exposure to on campus recruitment

- the MBA stamp that tells to the recruiting firm 3 things : you are motivated, you are intelligent and you have the knowledge (ties back to my 1st point)

Be aware of the risk : MANY of your co-MBA friends will apply also and the competition will be fierce. The beauty of it is that the MBA promotion tend to be helping eachother even if we all know the competition is here.

Consulting firms like MBA because the business school already screened good candidates : the supply of candidate is excellent (in quality and quantity of candidates), so the firms like on campus recruitment.

Good luck!!

Hubert

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Anonymous replied on Sep 14, 2020

Going through a researching track in a consulting firm is not unheard of, but not the norm. I would not assume that this gives you much higher chances in eventually ending in a consulting role.

Chances of getting into MBB are certainly higher with an MBA from one of the target schools.

You are right, you can learn the academic stuff from studying at home. What you don't get from studying at home is

  • the pre-filter of amazing backgrounds that the application process to the top schools provides - as lame as that sounds: many employers (not only consultants) use the MBA admission as a means to simplify their recruiting by trusting the label
  • the network to the school alumns and your classmates
  • the streamlined on-campus-recruiting, which gives you much better access to the consulting firms
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Anonymous replied on Sep 13, 2020

Hi A,

An MBA degree will surely be an advantage and make your chances to become a consultant higher, mainly because:

  • you'll expand your knowledge and explore the latest business trends;
  • networking opportunities are great and your connections will give you a great overview of the business world (that will definitely be very important for consulting);
  • MBA is challenging, nevertheless not too difficult, so if you get a degree your targeted firm will see your motivation and that you received relevant knowledge for this field.

Hence, MBA is definitely a great plus for starting a career in consulting. So, if this is what you are really looking for, I wish you luck!

André

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Benjamin gave the best answer

Benjamin

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