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Non-traditional candidate pivoting to an entry level consultant role

advanced degree boutique firms Financial Services
New answer on Feb 29, 2020
7 Answers
1.5 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 26, 2020

Hi everyone,

I have a master’s degree in biology, experience working as a bioengineer, and leading a healthcare startup. I have an interview for a consultant role at a boutique consulting firm with a focus on financial services. I know I have the insights and abilities, both analytical and interpersonal, I need to succeed as a Consultant.

However, I think my 4 years of non-consultant experience isn’t ideal in the employer’s eyes. Plus, I do not have any prior experience in financial services.

How can I convince them I’m interested in financial services sector and my non-traditional background is an asset?

Your background is in healthcare so why do you want to work in financial services over healthcare consulting?

Thank you for your help.

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updated an answer on Feb 26, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

I had a background in medical instrumentation engineering myself though it was back in undergrad and am now focusing on financial services.

What I would advise is leveraging your functional expertise / skillset which is overlapping between bioengineering and financial servics:

  • Analytical mindset, including hard skills such as complex modelling with numerous parameters
  • Familiarity with numbers (quantitative)
  • Even on financial servics, in the case of M&A, the target CAN be healthcare companies, so your background is highly relevant in this case
  • The ability to see the issues ina structured way (problem solving approach is equivalent to Scientific Method in science / engineering)

In terms of motivation, you can say that having been working in medical sector for 4 years, you have seen how investments affects how medical servic being rendered as payor system takes precedence as well as the influence of venture investments for medical startups. As such, I would like to enhance my skillset on financial sector while leveraging my skills developed in medical sector.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
Would love to help out.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I would expect that question indeed. Well, to start with, which are the real reasons why you are targeting a financial service company instead of a healthcare one (there are several consulting companies with focus on healthcare such as IQVIA)? If you could list the reasons, someone could help with crafting a better answer. However, not knowing your real reasons, it is really difficult to provide suggestions.



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I felt quite identified since I was a non-traditional myself: architect leading an NGO related to building!

PM me so we can further chat.


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


First of all you have to convince yourself that your background is not a problem. They read your CV: if they invited you to the interview, it means that they believe you can bring value to their company.
Start justifying why you want to join consulting, you can craft a good story leveraging your previous start-up experience. Then you can just say that you are interested in financial sector and be fact-based in your argumentations.

Feel free to send me your CV if you want to discuss this in details.


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Ash replied on Feb 26, 2020
Non-PL cases preferred, thx.

I always think that this is a dillemma - when you accumulated enough experience in a different area but want to do consulting starting with entry-level. It's like waiving your biggest strength. But then I resonate with other people's answer - the core is always try to shed light on anything that is relevant to your target industry, while also trying to reconfigure or weaken your native industry achievements.

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

They will almost certainly ask this question. Even if they don't, you need to answer it in the "Why Consulting" and "Why Us" response.

The best thing you can do is reference experiences you've had that were a) consulting-related and b) finance related. You're trying to both show them you know what you're getting into as well as highlight your proficiencies.

I suggest you type your proposed answer here and we can critique it.

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Nathaniel gave the best answer


McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge
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