Impact of COVID-19 on the hiring practice of consulting firms

Coronavirus covid19
New answer on May 27, 2020
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 25, 2020

As I just tapped back into working on management consulting applications and getting in touch with recruiters, I would like to get a better sense of how this pandemic crisis affects the hiring practice among the global management companies. Have there been already firms that announced any reduction or hold on their hiring practice with the current pandemic situation? Should I wait and apply? How are management consulting firms doing with this crisis?

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Daniel
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replied on Mar 25, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

Hi!

The recruiting has been already slowing down across all consulting companies – so, definitely there will be even less recruiting activities going forward. If you want to apply, it's a good idea to apply ASAP while there is still some recruiting going on.

Best,
Daniel

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Clara
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replied on Mar 26, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

By know it´s clear that he COVID19 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.

What about lay-offs? Is too soon to assess this yet.

Regarding your timings, I would try to move things asap. At this point interviews are still happening, only via VC.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Luca
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updated an answer on Mar 26, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

So far consulting most of the companies are trying to move forward with the hiring process that were already started using the videocalls.
Anyway, even if a global crysis doesn't mean that you don't have projects (think about cost cutting or restructuring process and about all business plans that have to be reviewd) it's likely that they will slow down (but not freeze) the recruitments until they won't understand what is the real impact of the corona virus.
Before applying I would suggest to contact a person from the office (an HR or a consultant) to ask if they have stopped the recruiting process. If you don't have this possibility I would suggest to apply anyway, the only risk is to be added to the pipeline. Waiting will not increase your chances to get an interview, since the effects of the COVID will last for at least some months and the pipeline of candidates will be huge after these months qithout interviews.

Best,
Luca

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Mar 26, 2020

Hey A,

most of the companies have slowed down the recruiting due to current restrictions, but they are still hiring, by conducting interviews online per skype.

My recommendation for you is to start your application asap as the companies are still hiring and waiting for the time after the pandemy is not an option, because it's not clear how long it can take (3 months at least - 12 months at worst).

So use your existing network to get in touch with companies and apply!

Good luck and let me know if you need help with referrals.

Best,

André

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Anonymous B replied on Mar 25, 2020

I am someone with an offer for an MBB firm. Was due to start soon but have recently been told it will now be deferred by approx. half a year. I wouldn't expect much hiring to take place based on my experience.

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Anonymous C on Mar 29, 2020

Is this for the London Office?

Anton
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replied on May 27, 2020
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Hi,

It highly depends on your location, company preferences, position. I can explain it in the following way:

Firms:

  • MBB: less affected, interviews are still conducted, offers are issued for Q3 and Q4 2020 and Q1 2021; companies still have business and enough liquidity to survive; some offices expect to grow in terms of revenue for 2020
  • Tier 2: highly affected, the general trend is that interviews are postponed, the majority of firms do not issue offers, some firms experience liquidity gaps and cut FTE or ask employees to take an unpaid leave
  • BIG 4: less affected, advisory business experiences problems, but recurring revenue from Tax and Audit allows to manage through temporary uncertainty

Geographic coverage:

  • USA: the strongest market for consulting, interviews are conducted, offers are issued, consulting revenues might even grow
  • Europe: consulting is affected, but is expected to recover in Q3 and Q4
  • CIS: consulting is affected, MBB and BIG 4 will survive, as well as Accenture, but boutiques have liquidity problems
  • Asia: consulting revenues begin to recover, but Hong Kong political crisis still creates uncertainty around Financial sector and transportation (that affects consulting revenues from these industries)
  • Middle East: MBB firms still conduct interviews, consulting business starts to recover slowly, low oil prices still slow down the economy
  • Latin America: no info
  • Australia: no info

Positions:

  • Interns: affected, interns is a long term game for consulting firms (as well as a way to handle “monkey” tasks) and consulting firms at the moment are not super focuses on long term investments
  • Junior and middle management: less affected, hiring is in progress across MBB and Big 4
  • Principals & partners: less affected, consulting firms still look for experienced leaders

Programs:

  • Summer programs: the majority of programs are cancelled, bad news
  • Full time: highly depends on other factors

Career tracks:

  • Generalists: generally affected as consulting firms currently have more demand towards digital and data driven projects
  • Industry focused experts: depends on the industry, but oil and gas industry is affected
  • Digital experts: almost not affected, high demand for digital projects and the supply of experts is weak
  • Data scientists: not affected at all, consulting firms are heavily hiring data scientists

Hope this helps!

Anton

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Antonello
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replied on Mar 26, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
unfortunately, nobody now is able to predict the precise effects on each business. The 2 true facts today are that interviews are taking place regularly but online instead than face to face, and that many new consulting projects are being paused. Therefore if this lockdown continues for long it can cause a shrinking in new hires. I recommend applying as soon as possible.

Best,
​Antonello

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Robert
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replied on Mar 26, 2020
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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 (also clients don't necessarily want personal meetings with consultants at the moment..).

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.

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

Robert

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 26, 2020
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Hi there,

yes, based on what my coachees shared, in some geographies hiring is already on-hold for MBB for some roles.

I would recommend you proceed as follows:

  • Find connections for a referral for your application - they are even more important now!
  • Investigate if in your target office they are hiring
  • Apply for that office only if hiring is active, otherwise target a different office (if possible)

If you apply blindly at this stage without insider information, there is a chance you will be rejected or delayed to a further date, while you may have a chance to be interviewed for another office - don't make that mistake.

You can find more information on how to find referrals to verify that at the following link:

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

Hope this helps,
Francesco

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Daniel gave the best answer

Daniel

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McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews
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