Good firms for people without a background in economics

Scientist Background
Recent activity on Mar 21, 2019
4 Answers
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Alexander asked on Mar 20, 2019

After studying chemistry, I took a position as a researcher at a National Lab. Now, however, I would really like a new challenge and am looking to switch to consulting. I talked to a contact at McKinsey who advised me that some companies were better at accomodating people with a non-economics background, and that I should focus on those. MBB, for example, seem to actively look for natural scientists, and seem to offer training specifically to bring everyone up to speed.

Dear Preplounge community - are there any other firms you can recommend for people with my background? Any I should stay away from? I appreciate any input - thank you!

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Riccardo
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replied on Mar 20, 2019
Ex-Bain | 8+ years MBB / Big4 Recruiter & Senior Interview Coach | Advanced Prep | MBA / Expert tracks |

Dear Alexander,

I confirm that MBB are open to people with all backgrounds and they actually encourage diversity in their talent pool. Also ATK, Oliver Wyman and Roland Berger to quote others.
I had few colleagues with background in research/ science subjects and they were able not only to succesfully land a consulting job, but to grow succefully within Consulting.
Another opportunity related to Top Consulting companies, in particular MBB is the possibility to do MBA / Externships as part of the career curriculum.

Best of luck with your job applications!

Riccardo

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 20, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Alexander,

the answer depends on the country you are applying to. While in US and UK consulting companies are more open to various types of backgrounds (one of the people I helped to land an offer at McKinsey was a former pianist), in other countries such as Italy consulting companies focus almost exclusively on candidates with a background in Business or Engineering.

Generally speaking, as Riccardo mentioned, MBB companies are more open to a variety of backgrounds, also due to the higher availability of training programs. In general, I would keep options open and apply to all first and second tier firms in your region – such as MBB, Roland Berger, Oliver Wyman, Strategy&, ATK – unless they focus on a niche which is not interesting for you (Oliver Wyman for example focuses only on financial services in some countries). Given your background, you may also consider companies focusing more on healthcare such as ZS Associates and IQVIA. If you don’t manage to receive invitations now, as a backup plan, you may pursue an MBA and reapply after that.

As a strategy to approach these firms, I would recommend to have a current or former consultant to help you to prepare a proper CV and Cover. Ideally you also want to find referrals for your application – at the link below you can find some suggestions on that:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Nirmit
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replied on Mar 20, 2019
I will get you an offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire

Hi Alexander,

As i mentioned in one of my other answers, MBB is very open to all kinds of backgrounds. One of my colleagues at McKinsey has a Religion major - he got offers from 2 of the Big3, and is crushing it at McKinsey right now.

Thanks,

Nirmit

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B on Mar 20, 2019

is mathematics more appealing for MBB?

Nirmit on Mar 20, 2019

Hi Hrag - your field of study is not going to set you apart from other candidates. Someone with a literature major could be more appealing than an advanced physics major. Other factors like your Experience and Leadership go a long way in determining your candidacy for MBB. Hope this helps!

(edited)

Jan
Expert
replied on Mar 21, 2019
95% practise, 5% theory. We can make 2-3 real cases in a session or split the time 50:50 between case study and general background

Absolutelly - MBB is great for non-business students.

When I joined McK I was surprised, that about 50% of new-joiners were from very various background (from Military to athletics)

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Riccardo gave the best answer

Riccardo

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Ex-Bain | 8+ years MBB / Big4 Recruiter & Senior Interview Coach | Advanced Prep | MBA / Expert tracks |
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