Here are some tips on consulting networking. You can do several things:
1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.
2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.
While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.
3) Talk to people at the events and send Thank You notes.
- At the events look how MBB consultants approach solving a case
- Be ready with cases if needed. Many events have the group cases and you can shine if you are prepared more than the average candidate. Here your main objective is to demonstrate how good you are at solving the cases. That's the only and the best way to impress. Also be careful, since it does not mean you should not listen to others and try being an absolute leader. Be the guy with the smart ideas. I know many candidates who got invited to McKinsey PST or Bain interviews without a test after these events.
- Talk to MBB people and get some information for you FIT interview (why The Company reasons, topics for your questions to the interviewer, etc)
- Meet with the other candidates with whom you can practice the cases further
- Have in mind interesting questions to ask. Skip the boring / negative ones are career growth or work hours. Ask the smart questions about different industries and the future of the consulting
- Do a lot of networking after the event. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. If you want to keep in touch - send a thank you note after the event:
- "I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University...
- It was especially interesting to hear about...
- Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.
Alternatively, you may use LinkedIn for that.
4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it
5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time
6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise
7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.