International student doing master's degree in the U.S. trying to break into consulting - any advice?

columbia graduate graduate program recent graduate UK
New answer on Mar 21, 2022
5 Answers
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Michael asked on Mar 18, 2022

Hi guys,

 

I had an undergrad degree from Columbia University and am considering doing a master's (management science and engineering). I've heard people saying that master's are much less targeted by firms than undergrads - is that true? If yes, any advice to increase the chance of landing a job? Should I apply for jobs in the U.K., for example, where master's are more popular?

 

Thanks for any inputs!

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Matteo
Expert
replied on Mar 18, 2022
McKinsey & Company | Currently offering 1 free coaching session| Happy to PARTNER with you to get an offer from MBB

Dear Michael, 

congratulation for your degree from Columbia University!

Whether or not you decide to do a Master in Management Science and Engineering, if you focus on the following 3 main pillars you would not have problems: 

  • Top university/ master background with brilliant grades: Consulting firms are interested in very different profiles both in terms of specialisation [from conventional ones (e.g. economics, engineering) to unconventional ones (e.g., artistic background)] and in term of seniority [from undergraduate/MBA to experienced hire]
  • Good and efficient preparation: Consulting firms are interested in candidates with some key skills such as problem solving, clear communication, good presence
  • Networking: You should speak with as many people as possible in order to become familiar both with all the tips and tricks and the job itself 

I did a Master in Management and Engineering and I obtained an offer from McKinsey

The most important question to think about is: why are you interested in doing a Master in Management Science and Engineering? Perhaps you think it is the right immediate next step in your career? Do it! 

Finally, try to build your own story and focus on whether it is the right moment for you to search for a consulting job. Then focusing on the 3 pillars and on your own story offers will come!

Do not hesitate to reach out me in case of further questions! 

Good luck!

Matteo

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Michael on Mar 20, 2022

Thank you so much Matteo!

Charlotte
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replied on Mar 19, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Dear Michael,

do not think too much about the percentage of masters being hired, you are at a great school and this will count. UK would only make sense if you have a work permit already otherwise it would be more difficult to enter. In such a situation, work a lot on your storyline and on expressing your interest for consulting clearly. You have very good chances of getting in.

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Michael on Mar 20, 2022

Thank you Charlotte! That's very helpful.

Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Michael,

If by “jobs” you mean consulting jobs then that's somewhat right.

Generally, the pathway to consulting would be 1) Straight out of undergrad 2) Straight out of an MBA or 3) After gaining relevant work experience.

That said, you can absolutely get a consulting job post Master's, just the odds will be lower. You'll want to make up for this by 1) Going to a prestigious university 2) Getting Consulting relevant experience 3) Making your resume as strong as possible 4) Networking

It sounds like you have some big decisions ahead of you - I'd recommend not basing it off of a Q&A (though useful) and actually speak with an expert. To start, get a meeting with your undergrad counselor! From there, network with people and ask them hard/personal questions on those calls to figure out what might work best for you.

Good luck!

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Michael on Mar 20, 2022

Thank you for the advice Ian!

Maikol
Expert
replied on Mar 18, 2022
Ex Bain & Company Manager & AlixPartners SVP| Partner at PE fund | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780 | Structuring & math

As for the other similar question you asked, my suggestion is to check with the school career service because this is a question to which most "experts" here cannot answer if not with opinions (while you need facts for such an important decision). 

Besides, do not focus only on chances of landing an offer, think also about what you'll learn.

Good luck.

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Andi
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Mar 21, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi Michael, 

adding to the views of the other coaches, a Masters degree from Columbia can be a significant asset in Europe but also other regions, provided the grades are strong.

To better assess the odds, it would be good to know target offices - feel free to PM if you'd like to get a specific initial view, based on my experience working for BCG in Europe, the US and other regions.

Regards,

Andi

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Matteo gave the best answer

Matteo

McKinsey & Company | Currently offering 1 free coaching session| Happy to PARTNER with you to get an offer from MBB
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