How to enter corporate strategy role without related industry experience?

Corporate Strategy
New answer on May 22, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 14, 2020

Hi, I would appreciate some views on corporate strategy roles. I am currently applying to corporate strategy roles as a backup plan for consulting firms. However, based on my understanding, corporate strategy roles usually prefer people from consulting or has industry experience. I have applied to corporate strategy roles in tech firms but didn't get much interview opportunities. I think the main reason is that I have no tech and consulting experience. Would it be possible to break into a corporate strategy role without related experience? How could I convince the company I am really interested in the specific industry? (It wasn't a problem when I interviewed with consulting firms, because the industry coverage was much broader) Thanks for your thoughts.

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Clara
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replied on Apr 14, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I don´t see this very clear as a back-up plan.

Usually, they want people from:

  • Business school -MBA for instance-.
  • Ex-MBBs -normally they have been even clients before-.
  • People who had been doing corp. strategy in similar corporations in the past

Hence, you see that this is more a follow-up plan than a back-up plan.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,
Clara

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Anonymous replied on Apr 14, 2020

Hi there,

If you don't have prior consulting background or tech industry experience, another route is to see if you can get a corp strategy role in an industry that you have experience in. That could be an easier way to get you into the door first, then after a few years you can move across industry. For example I have colleague moving from corp strategy team in tranditional business into corp strategy in my current employer (a tech unicorn in SEA).

Best,

Emily

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 14, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I would recommend to check the background of the people working in the companies you are targeting. Most likely they have a consulting background, however some companies may hire from other companies as well – you may want to check if it is possible to target the latter if you cannot find a way to get an invitation directly.

Besides working on the previous point, you can look for a referral from alumni you may connect to in your target companies, you can find more on referrals at the following link:

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

Best,

Francesco

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Vlad
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replied on Apr 14, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

The three paths to the corporate strategy roles are:

  • Consulting
  • MBA
  • Previous roles in a similar industry
  • Relevant roles in the other industries (e.g. PMO)

It will be really hard to get a corp strategy role without one of these

Best

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Axel
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replied on Apr 14, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi!

In my experience from having worked in a corporate strategy team, these are usually very dominated by ex-consultants. Typically the corporate strategy function will be headed up by an ex-consultant who brings in other consultants (quite often from their previous firm) to round out the team.

You could also try to break into the strategy team through an internal transfer or by getting industry experience at another firm and then apply but in my experience, this is more unusual and will be a less certain route.

Without any industry or consulting skills, I am afraid this will be a hard sell. Do you have any other skills or educational background that you can break into the industry with and then try to transfer after a few years?

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Anonymous replied on May 22, 2020

Dear A,
You either need previous experience in consulting, industry or in the strategy role in the other industry. If you have none of these prerequisite, then just try to change your priorities and firstly get relevant experience in at least one of these three I mentioned. Afterwards you can apply to the desired corporate Strategy role in the tech industry.

Hope it helps,

Best,

André

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Antonello
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replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, you can totally do it. Of course, an MBA or strong experience in consulting will help, but with good relationships, industry passion and motivation you could do it if there are some open positions

Best,
Antonello

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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