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Non Target School- Advises?

Anonymous A asked on Sep 16, 2019 - 1 answer

Hello - I am a PhD candidate graduating in 2020, I have 5 years experience in the industry as an engineer from one of the top 3 automotive companies in the US. my GPA is (3.9). I attended a big school but the campus I go to is not a target Campus. I applied to MBB online and targeted small offices in the US (~60-70 consultants offices). and my PhD is in Engineering and my Masters GPA is 3.8 (Engineering too).

I have networked hard, was successful getting calls with 3-4 recruiters, 2 managers and One partner. I got a confirmation from multiple people that my resume is great and my cover letter is too (tho no one reads cover letter, I have heard it from MBB consultants ). and I was applying as ADC for the associate/consultant position.

And yet NO interview invites. After getting rejected I got with the BCG recruiter on the phone and the recruiter literally said: "We got 50% more application from X school (Target campus of the same Univ I go to) this year" which means that the problem is just not beig from a target school !

Any Advises on how to break in? Or Am I supposed to get an MBA on top of my PhD from an Elite school for me to have the chance to be interviewed?

I am actually writing this and laughing like what else could someone do? Thanks !

(edited)

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Vlad
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replied on Sep 16, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Hi,

Getting a referral could help you:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.

The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

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. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.

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.

Good luck!