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Ideas for short-term, remote ways to gain consulting experience prior to MBB application?

Bain & Company BCG CV McKinsey recruiting
New answer on Apr 25, 2024
3 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Apr 24, 2024

This is a follow-on Q from a question I asked here previously (thank you to you guys who responded! I’ll be reaching out to you directly for advice/mentoring soon if that’s alright!) In summary, I’m attempting a hard pivot into strategy consulting after working 6 months out of a master’s. Here’s what I have to work with:

  • Bachelor’s from Univeristy of Oxford, 1st Class, Biology
  • Master’s from University College London, 2:1, non-business subject
  • Product Designer for 6 months at a well-known corporate company
  • (For a BCG app) almost certainly 1 referral from a current BCG associate

I’ve got a decent selection of extracurriculars to pad out my app too. What I am worried about right now, though - is the clear lack of any direct consulting experience. This isn’t just consulting internships, but also a lack of involvement in consulting societies, consulting projects…. I do really regret ‘wasting’ my years at uni (though obviously that was not my intended career path back then) and making use of resources I had around me to do so.

Nonetheless, that’s what I’m grappling with right now. I know it’s still possible to break into consulting without any direct experience. But my main question is: are there any short-term, remote opportunities to gain some experience for my CV? I am currently in a full-time job, so an actual in-person internship would be off the cards. Whether this is some sort of certification, student consulting project, pro-bono work… I am aiming to applying for the upcoming consulting cycles which start around September, so have about three or four months to possibly gain any experience. Am so willing to put in time for this over weekends, end of weekdays etc… but don’t really know where to start.

Any ideas really appreciated! Or perhaps some thoughts about just applying to consulting without direct experience in general… is really feeling rather deflating currently… 

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Best answer
replied on Apr 24, 2024
Former BCG interviewer (75+ interviews for associates, consultants and MBA hires) | I will make your practice perfect

Hi there,

Have you already applied for MBB? I suggest you apply for firms outside MBB to understand whether your profile is a fit for a strategy consultant role.

In order to gain some experience, I suggest the following:

  • Leverage your network: Explore whether anyone in your network could benefit from some pro-bono work. This could include a friend who is starting a startup, or a local school or shop in need of strategic advice.
  • Gain experience at your current job: Investigate whether you can take on short-term assignments within your current role. Engage with colleagues to identify areas where your assistance could be valuable, or propose topics to your manager. For example, HR may require guidance on effectively recruiting students from university X.

That said, direct experience is not always a prerequisite for a consulting role. The breadth and depth of your overall experience often outweigh specific consulting experience.

Good luck!

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replied on Apr 24, 2024
Ex-BCG │200+ Interviews & Interview Coachings @ BCG │ 25+ candidates coached into MBB │WHU/LSE/Nova │ Teacher & Trainer

Hi there,

Great question- I am curious to see where this post will go and what others can add to help you out with some actionable ideas!

Specific ideas
I would:
- Try to get on “Consulting-like” projects at your full-time job
- Reach out to pro bono student consultancies and ask if they have a project where you could support with your experience as Product Designer
- Look for pro bono clubs that advise social businesses and charities
- Start a small club with some others where you advise charities based on your experience. Having started a pro bono consulting club at my university, I cannot stress enough how welcoming many smaller charties are for that kind of sparring and support

Broader perspective
Especially for non-business graduates, a lack of consulting experience is not necessarily as bad as you believe. I would try utilizing referals as much as you can and reach out to more potential contacts in other firms (same university program alumni etc.) to increase your chances of interviewing. Once sitting in front of the interviewer, your CV becomes much less relevant. As long as you get knowledgeable about Consulting (utilize your friends there), you could effectively answer any Consulting-related questions in an interview without own first-hand experience.

Good luck, I hope that helped!


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 25, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

I remember your question.

Yes - here's one thing you can do. 

Find a local organisation working on a cause that you believe in e.g., an NGO. 

Pledge your support for a number of weeks. 

Make them transparent that you want to improve your consulting skills while at the same time contributing to their cause.

This way you get to learn AND you improve your CV AND you get to help them. 


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Oliver gave the best answer


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