hello all, i am an experienced engineer looking to get into consulting at MBB firms, is there any advice on how I should to start networking? I've checked out the company websites and most, if not all events are exclusive for students only.
Networking for Experienced Hire/Professional
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 on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or 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. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.
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.
you actually don't need to attend events necessarily to do networking; it is possible indeed to do that effectively from your home. Below you can find the three steps I would suggest to follow:
1. Identify the ideal connections to contact. As mentioned by Earth, LinkedIn could be a good starting point for that (another option is to use your university alumni database, if available). The strongest connections are normally represented by former university alumni.
2. Write a customized cold email. I would recommend using emails rather than LinkedIn messages, as writing via LinkedIn you would immediately be perceived as a stranger (there are ways to easily find the email of everyone nowadays in few minutes). The email should follow some specific rules for the subject and the content, in order to maximize conversion.
3. Have a call with the consultant, and indirectly ask for a referral. As for the email, the call should be structured: you should have an idea in advance of (i) how to introduce yourself (ii) which questions to ask and (iii) how to ask for the referral indirectly. In case you manage to get an in-person meeting instead of a call, that’s great but not strictly necessary.
I have used this method when I applied for consulting, and I believe this is the main reason why I got six invitations out of six applications in consulting firms (MBB, Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger and former Booz&Co - now Strategy&): I never applied through the website only, as I always had a person referring me.
Happy to provide more details via private messages if needed.
Hope this helps,
I'd recommend you start researching on linkedin to find current MBB consultants who have something in common with you, e.g. attended the same schools, worked at the same companies, etc.
Drop them a note asking for short informational interviews. Prepare thoughtful questions for the chat and some of them might be able to help you out.
Hope this helps. Good luck!