Hiring freeze and backup plans for consulting

Coronavirus covid19 recruitment
New answer on Jun 06, 2020
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 31, 2020

Hi everyone, recently I have heard my case partners from all over the world mentioning about account freeze. I am also struggling now to even get an interview opportunity. Is it true that MBB, Big Fours, and boutiques have stopped hiring for at least 1-2 quarters?

To be realistic, I am now planning my backup plans for consulting. Originally I was thinking of corporate strategy, but after talking to several alumni, I realized that they require people who have industry or consulting experience. Given my background in the financial industry, I have thought of these roles as a stepping stone to consulting (given that I don't have industry experience). Would appreciate your thoughts.

1.FP&A roles (to gain more industry knowledge)

2.Equity research roles (to gain more industry analysis experience)

3.Investor relationship roles (to gain more industry knowledge)

4.Product manager (to gain more industry knowledge)

5.Project manager (to gain more industry knowledge)

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Emily
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

Sharing my 2 cents on the a few options you lists, based on my experiences from corporate, consulting and startup.

1.FP&A roles (to gain more industry knowledge >> I don't recommend this if your end goal is consulting. This job would likely to be very financial/accounting driven, and has a very defined scope.

2.Equity research roles (to gain more industry analysis experience) >> You can consider but make sure you gain more experience than just research work. Otherwise it could make you a better fit to the research team in consulting firm, but not the consulting team.

3.Investor relationship roles (to gain more industry knowledge) >> Make sure you get enough exposure into the strategic thinking process behind the decisions to be communicated as well.

4.Product manager (to gain more industry knowledge) >> Works if you are in startup, and could be a benefit if you specially want to join consulting with a focus on digital.

5.Project manager (to gain more industry knowledge) >> Could work but make sure you are not just PMOing, but have the exposure to strategic thinking/decision.

Best

Emily

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Clara
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replied on Mar 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

COVID-19 is truly harming economy, and in the next weeks we will see whether we are heading to a global economic recession.

If this is the case, and we indeed face a global recession -even if not as hard as the previous one-, this will have an impact in consulting. Why? Simply because there would be less clients, less engagements with the usual clients, and an overall freeze in spending.

This, for sure, will impact recruiting, reducing the classes of BAs and Associates for a couple of years, so the voices you are heaing are right.

In the meantime, as plan B, I would go with F500 companies or roles in big brands/corporation as product or project manager.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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

Hi!

The MBB are slowing down recruiting now, yes.

In terms of your alternatives, the question you need to ask is this: in which job will you get more responsibilities, more opportunities to prove yourself and more exposure to the senior management?

I would go for a position in a small team where as a team member you can make a real difference. This kind of experience you can then really sell to MBB as your value proposition. On the contrary, if you work in a big team with hierarchical structures and little exposure beyond your immediate boss – this will be a hardly unique growth experience. So, in a nut shell: think of which one of those will be more exciting for you and which one will boost your professional development more and go for it. As regards the function it doesn't really matter that much.

Hope this helps!

Best,

Daniel

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Antonello
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replied on Mar 31, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

If MBB remains your top goal I would look at strong brands (F500) with a preference in your field (i.e. the firm is more important than the role to build a stronger profile for consulting).

Best,
Antonello

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Luca
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replied on Mar 31, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

It depends on the country and on the company. Just to give you an example, BCG is still hiring in Italy, even if COVID impact on the economy will be huge.
I would suggest to try to get some insights from the specific company/offices that you have as target (both looking at social media channels and contacting people working there).

Regarding the second part, there are companies that have In-house consulting department open also to people that have not experience in cosnulting companies.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 01, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

in some geographies MBB indeed temporarily suspended hiring, although not everywhere. Also in the majority of the cases they postponed interviews rather than suspend them completely.

Anyway, I doubt major consulting companies won’t hire anyone for two quarters, this seems too much time given the high turnover in the industry and the recovery speed shown in China and Korea – they will probably hire fewer people though.

As a backup plan, the best option for a future application to MBB would be a strategy position in a major brand. If that doesn’t work and it makes sense given your current work experience, you may consider an MBA, which potentially could allow to join at a higher level, unless you have already the seniority for a post-MBA position.

Best,

Francesco

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Robert
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updated an answer on Apr 02, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

What I see currently going on (specifically talking about McKinsey) is that many projects are slowing down and travel is reduced to the absolute bare minimum possible and in many countries not possible and not allowed anyways (even within countries..).

At the same time, some (few) projects even increase working remotely, but the total trend in this phase of high uncertainty is definitely pointing downwards.

Since recruiting activities are driven by project, for sure there will be an impact but for now we are all driving with very limited visibility.

Will they stop recruiting at all? For now I don't think so, but it depends on some facts that nobody can yet foresee!

Will the bar raise (because of potentially lower client demand and high supply on HR market)? Yes, I think so. For now that's the most likely effect for your hiring!

I don't see a point of not applying right now in consulting industry nevertheless - even if you get declined, you have some attractive alternatives which can sharpen your profile, assuming you would stay there anyway for minimum of 18-24 months (which is roughly the time needed to re-appyl at MBB in case you got declined before).

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

(edited)

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Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 06, 2020

Dear A,

COVID definitely impacts the hiring intensity.

As for your options. Since a lot of recommendations have been already said, now I would like you to concentrate your atention on your internal response, and feel on which of this option you can take responsibility and fully accept it as your life desicion.

Good luck,

André

(edited)

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Thomas
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replied on Apr 11, 2020
150+ interviews | 5+ years experience | Kearney & Accenture | Sold consulting startup| London Business School

Hi,

There are absolutely some hiring freezes happening in consulting, but it is important to keep in mind that this will also be the case for alternative industries, if not more aggressive. Consulting firms still tend to perform well compared to other industries in times of a recession.

Second, the region where you are applying has a big impact on whether there is a freeze or not (and the extent of that freeze). You are likely to see less of a freeze in the Middle East as there is generally a shortage of people and it is the fastest-growing consulting market at the moment. Do keep in mind that HR will have more of a backlog as their time is also required on any COVID related topics.

As a back up plan I would advise you to go with some of the household names (F500 companies) and try to find a role as an analyst or project manager on any strategy related topics.

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Hugo
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replied on Apr 09, 2020
Digital entrepreneur turned BCG consultant // Coach with focus on PEI

Hi Anonymous,

I think it really depends on

  1. What do you want to do ?
  2. What is your thesis for post-Covid?
  3. What will be the implication on MBB recruiting

Personnally speaking, I can't answer 1. but I can give my two cents with regards to 2. and 3. Indeed:

2. The current crisis will have winners/losers in terms of companies (quite a rough thing to say). Companies that could still run their business model during the epidemic will be in better shape. My assumption is winners will also be more "digitalized".

3. This will would likely have a big impact on the projects that MBB companies are winning and staffing onto. As a result, they'll potentially hire more people for their digital practice.

Consequently, I would potentially add a few roles to your list:

  • Data analyst / analytics manager
  • Business development/sales at a software or scale up company (digital)
  • Account management

Hope this helps

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Emily gave the best answer

Emily

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BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University
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