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How could I successfully transition from the industry to consulting? (please, see the details of three questions below)

Dear Community,

I hope you are doing well in these times and stay healthy!

Based on your profound experience, I would like to ask a few questions:
1. I have 5 years of experience (incl. 2 internships) in the chemical industry that cover various topics ranging from marketing & strategy, pricing and product mgmt to sustainability. Which level would I suit to once transitioning to consulting (McKinsey, Germany)?
2. I have a highly entrepreneurial profile/ approach. Is this trait encouraged by consulting?
3. With my experience, if I join consulting, would that be possible to get a chance to study MBA with the support of the company? If yes, what are the recommended steps to acquire this support (e.g. amount of projects engagement, strong mentorship etc.)?

I appreciate great deal any feedback and would like to note that my understanding is pretty limited.

Thanks and kind regards,
Aliaksandra

Dear Community,

I hope you are doing well in these times and stay healthy!

Based on your profound experience, I would like to ask a few questions:
1. I have 5 years of experience (incl. 2 internships) in the chemical industry that cover various topics ranging from marketing & strategy, pricing and product mgmt to sustainability. Which level would I suit to once transitioning to consulting (McKinsey, Germany)?
2. I have a highly entrepreneurial profile/ approach. Is this trait encouraged by consulting?
3. With my experience, if I join consulting, would that be possible to get a chance to study MBA with the support of the company? If yes, what are the recommended steps to acquire this support (e.g. amount of projects engagement, strong mentorship etc.)?

I appreciate great deal any feedback and would like to note that my understanding is pretty limited.

Thanks and kind regards,
Aliaksandra

6 answers

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Book a coaching with Clara

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Hello!

My toughts:

  1. For McK, you would be either a senior BA or junior associate
  2. Yes! Totally
  3. Yes, based on performance

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

My toughts:

  1. For McK, you would be either a senior BA or junior associate
  2. Yes! Totally
  3. Yes, based on performance

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Thank you so much, Clara! Crisp and inspiring! — Aliaksandra on May 21, 2020

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Hi Aliaksandra,

1) Sounds like your profile is somewhere between Junior Associate and Associate in McK terms. The deciding factor might be the managearial experience. I have an ex-colleague with a very similary profile. She had close to 5 years of banking experience (excl. internships) before joining as an Associate, but she was managing quite a lot of people in her banking role already.

2) Entrepreneurial skills/mindset are certainly appreciated, and you often hear personal fit questions referring to the topic.

3) Yes. The before-mentioned friend spent 1 year with the firm as an Associate and then went on to do a 1-year MBA with company sponsorship.

Good luck!

Réka

Hi Aliaksandra,

1) Sounds like your profile is somewhere between Junior Associate and Associate in McK terms. The deciding factor might be the managearial experience. I have an ex-colleague with a very similary profile. She had close to 5 years of banking experience (excl. internships) before joining as an Associate, but she was managing quite a lot of people in her banking role already.

2) Entrepreneurial skills/mindset are certainly appreciated, and you often hear personal fit questions referring to the topic.

3) Yes. The before-mentioned friend spent 1 year with the firm as an Associate and then went on to do a 1-year MBA with company sponsorship.

Good luck!

Réka

(edited)

Hi Réka, thank you for the feedback! Very much appreciated. My managerial experience is scoped by managing stakeholders in various projects (incl. winning Henkel Award for Team Collaboration) as well as by leading a team of young professionals working to set up an analytics tool prototype (Use Case for 6 months). I am curious to know more about the tasks of Associate Vs. Junior Associate to understand my options better. Thank you for the example about an MBA - very encouraging! Congrats on your MBA Program at Oxford and on the scholarship to accomplish that! — Aliaksandra on May 21, 2020

Thank you and congrats on your accomplishments in Henkel! :) The Junior Associate and Associate roles are fairly similar, actually: both manage their own project workstreams independently (doing analysis, interviewing clients and experts in McKinsey, aligning results with leadership internally etc). There is a higher likelihood that an Associate will manage 1-2 more junior colleagues, too. Generally, the level of independence expected from Associates is higher, but even Associates have an Engagement Manager above them. Entering as a Jr Associate might be a good way to learn the consulting toolkit "in peace" while expectations are still lower :) I hope it helps! Réka — Réka on May 22, 2020 (edited)

Thank you! :) Absolutely - it helps to sort out things when you are to be considered as an experienced hire that could result to various levels depending on circumstances. I see your point about "in peace" learning Vs. intense learning. :) Now I am really curious about the toolkit! — Aliaksandra on May 24, 2020

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Hi,

1) Likely you'd be considered for senior associate or 1st year consultant role (in BCG terms), depending on how much the firm value your experiences and your interview performance

2) Entrepreneurial experience is not a must have. I'd say it is more about what transferrable skills would you highlight from those experiences. Qualities like initiative, ability to tackle difficult problem, tenacity in overcoming challenge etc would surely be valued.

3) If you are a top performer, you would get it when you ask for it. So just focus on becoming a top performer.

Best,

Emily

Hi,

1) Likely you'd be considered for senior associate or 1st year consultant role (in BCG terms), depending on how much the firm value your experiences and your interview performance

2) Entrepreneurial experience is not a must have. I'd say it is more about what transferrable skills would you highlight from those experiences. Qualities like initiative, ability to tackle difficult problem, tenacity in overcoming challenge etc would surely be valued.

3) If you are a top performer, you would get it when you ask for it. So just focus on becoming a top performer.

Best,

Emily

(edited)

Hi Emily, thank you very much! I see that terminologies to define a role vary from company to company (and, perhaps, from region to region, even depending on Practice). I guess industry experience can help if a Practice works in the same location and, hence, both interact. It surely depends on an individual case. Thank you for highlighting the fact that the skills and their application to further projects should be in focus, no matter whether those skills are derived from an entrepreneurial or a corporate background. With respect to performance, thanks for your advice. It is definitely the right place to meet such brilliant people and learn from all of you! — Aliaksandra on May 21, 2020

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Hey, Sharing my two cents

  1. Based on your profile, you are most likely to be considered for a consultant role. With 1-2 years into consulting, you can aim to be promoted to a project lead role. As a comparison, On entering consulting right after undergraduate from the university, it usually takes 5 years of experience to reach the project lead position
  2. Certainly! Do highlight your entrepreneurial experience and anything else that helps your CV stand out. I am happy to do a CV review if needed
  3. Usually, MBA sponsorships are provided to top-performing entry-level associates who have joined consulting right after undergraduate studies. Considering your professional experience, you will likely receive some tenure credit and not be treated as a new joiner from college. As such, I would recommend to not count on company sponsorship for MBA

Best wishes,

Hey, Sharing my two cents

  1. Based on your profile, you are most likely to be considered for a consultant role. With 1-2 years into consulting, you can aim to be promoted to a project lead role. As a comparison, On entering consulting right after undergraduate from the university, it usually takes 5 years of experience to reach the project lead position
  2. Certainly! Do highlight your entrepreneurial experience and anything else that helps your CV stand out. I am happy to do a CV review if needed
  3. Usually, MBA sponsorships are provided to top-performing entry-level associates who have joined consulting right after undergraduate studies. Considering your professional experience, you will likely receive some tenure credit and not be treated as a new joiner from college. As such, I would recommend to not count on company sponsorship for MBA

Best wishes,

Dear Vai, thanks a lot for your helpful insights! 1. Got it. 2. I'd appreciate. 3. If being offered a role and despite the experience, could I ask to join as an associate to be able to qualify for MBA? (Do such cases exist?) — Aliaksandra on May 20, 2020

ANALYST is the lower role. You WANT Associate (it's like Consultant at BCG). And never settle lower...the point of an MBA is to be able to come in as an Associate...don't go down to Analyst just to be able to take 4 years to do what you could do now! (And, as I mentioned below, I'm still not sure you'd be able to come in as Associate) — Ian on May 20, 2020

Agree, Ian! It makes sense to join at the level my current experience and profile allow and then think about pursuing MBA from that level. — Aliaksandra on May 21, 2020

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Hi there!

1. Honestly, I think you'd be more of a Junior Associate (between Analyst and Associate). You might be able to swing Associate, but this would generally require an MBA or more years of working experience (including management). Ask HR/Recruiting when you speak to them!

2. It definitely doesn't hurt! It won't be what gets you in, but it rounds out a resume nicely and should be hightlighted. Specifically they would like to see that you have drive, ambition, and can figure things out without much guidance/prior know-how (i.e. own your own module)

3. Short answer: yes.

Longer answer: Don't worry about this right now. You need to be with the company at least 1-2 years before this becomes an option. Focus on getting into the company, then ideally you'll have coworkers you trust that can guide you through the specific politics of the office better than we ever could. Save your brainpower right now on just getting in!

Hi there!

1. Honestly, I think you'd be more of a Junior Associate (between Analyst and Associate). You might be able to swing Associate, but this would generally require an MBA or more years of working experience (including management). Ask HR/Recruiting when you speak to them!

2. It definitely doesn't hurt! It won't be what gets you in, but it rounds out a resume nicely and should be hightlighted. Specifically they would like to see that you have drive, ambition, and can figure things out without much guidance/prior know-how (i.e. own your own module)

3. Short answer: yes.

Longer answer: Don't worry about this right now. You need to be with the company at least 1-2 years before this becomes an option. Focus on getting into the company, then ideally you'll have coworkers you trust that can guide you through the specific politics of the office better than we ever could. Save your brainpower right now on just getting in!

Hi Ian, thank you very much for the detailed explanations! 1. I guess it will vary from company to company which role it might be. I would definitely like to go for Associate / Consultant and would trade my prior experience as much as I can. 2. Good point about entrepreneurship: should be added to the CV as a substantial asset, but not brought up as focus. I will rather highlight drive to "succeed against all odds" this trait is linked to. 3. Thank you for the longer answer. It surely makes sense to first get into the company and then move towards the next goal. Thank you! — Aliaksandra on May 21, 2020

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Dear Aliaksandra,

Yes. It's possible to transition from the industry to consulting, especially given the fact that you already have strong experience. Entrepreneurship is definitely a good trade and could be seen as a benefit in your profile. And last, but not least, you are also a female that gives you some priority.

Regarding an MBA placement, it will also depend on the position which you will get in the consulting, if you start as a fellow or associate, then after 2-3 years, it will be possible to get placement in MBA. But this also depends on lots of factors - for example having a good mentor in the firm.

I have already helped multiple experience hires to transfer from industry to consulting, specifically also in Germany, where I used to work in consulting for 6 years and I'm also happy to share my insights and advice with you.

You can also share your CV that I can give you proper advice.

Best of luck,

André

Dear Aliaksandra,

Yes. It's possible to transition from the industry to consulting, especially given the fact that you already have strong experience. Entrepreneurship is definitely a good trade and could be seen as a benefit in your profile. And last, but not least, you are also a female that gives you some priority.

Regarding an MBA placement, it will also depend on the position which you will get in the consulting, if you start as a fellow or associate, then after 2-3 years, it will be possible to get placement in MBA. But this also depends on lots of factors - for example having a good mentor in the firm.

I have already helped multiple experience hires to transfer from industry to consulting, specifically also in Germany, where I used to work in consulting for 6 years and I'm also happy to share my insights and advice with you.

You can also share your CV that I can give you proper advice.

Best of luck,

André

Dear André, thank you very much for your detailed reply and the offer. It is good to know my profile as an experienced hire would be a fit from your first impression. I can imagine that an MBA is a step for those who join at the BA level to then transition towards Consultant, but still hope there is a chance. I will be glad to follow up! — Aliaksandra on May 24, 2020