PhD in Geology

Advice application process
New answer on Jul 14, 2022
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 12, 2022

Dear community,

Is it possible to work as a consultant with a phd in geology, specialized focus oil & gas industry, with no background in economics/business studies? I feel like technically diversity is wanted, but in reality it is very difficult to get through the interviews without learning each and every case by heart. My cv got me an interview with McKinsey, but they told me I didn’t 100 percent follow the structure they wanted which I didn’t anticipate. 


Thank you! 

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Jul 13, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Is it possible to work as a consultant with a phd in geology?

Sure. The fact they invited you at McKinsey already confirms your profile fits, otherwise you would have not passed the screening.

There are two different steps to get the offer. The first is to get the interview. The second is to pass the interview.

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GET THE INTERVIEW

You already managed to pass the screening for McKinsey, so you are probably fine with this. In any case, for your next applications (I guess you are planning to apply to BCG and Bain) I would recommend to consider the following.

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1) CV

The key elements they will look for and that you can optimize are:

  • University brand
  • Major
  • GPA
  • Work experience
  • Experience abroad
  • Extracurriculars and volunteer experience

The fact you don't have consulting experience is not a problem if you structure your CV correclty.

Red flags include:

  • Low GPA
  • Lack of any kind of work experience
  • Bad formatting / typos
  • 3-4 pages length
  • Lack of clear action --> results structure for the bullets of the experiences
  • Long paragraphs (3-4 lines) for the bullets of the experiences with irrelevant details
  • Long time gaps without any explanation

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2) COVER LETTER

You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.

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3) REFERRALS

To find a referral, you should follow three main steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chances. There are specific ways to phrase it

You should prepare three main things before the call:

  • Your own pitch. 3-4 lines should be enough
  • 3-4 questions on the personal experiences of the person. Avoid to ask questions about the company
  • A closing question for the referral. It should be an indirect request to avoid being too pushy

You can find more information on networking and referrals here:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation 

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PASS THE INTERVIEW

After you managed to get an invitation you need to find out how to pass the interview. You can find more on that at the link below.

▶ How to Prepare for an MBB Interview

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Best,

Francesco

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Lucie
Expert
replied on Jul 12, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

yes, absolutely you can! I estimate that at least 50% of MBB consultants has no economic studies, we have a lot of different background (including doctors, engineers, PhDs in political science …just to mention a few). the best confirmation that your profile would be valuable is your CV passing the McKinsey filter (and CV pass is the lowest chance step, <5%). 

I am not sure that I understood correctly what you didnt pass: the interview or what, but this is not uncommon if you haven't practiced or prepared (enough). Considering the 1% chance to get the offer from MBB, it is worth having a strategy on how to prepare and invest good time in that. You can also consider a coach to support you on the journey, the ROI is high on this investment.  

If you want to orient how to move, feel free to reach out, happy to connect. 

All the best,

Lucie

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 14, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

100% it's possible!

In fact, the “best” consultant in our Sydney office was an ex professional violinist (played at the Sydney Opera house). My first Partner was a former flautist. I worked with consultants who were doctors, lawyers, English majors etc. in a prior life.

Do you want to know your problem? This statement:

“without learning each and every case by heart”

You are approaching casing wrong.

Do NOT memorize!

Rather, learn how to break down any problem in an objective-driven, structured way.

Here's some intro reading to casing: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-to-shift-your-mindset-to-ace-the-case

 

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Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 13, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

Fellow O&G geologist and former McKinsey consultant here.

Your question is a bit misleading since you obviously were invited to the interviews and McKinsey genuinely wanted you to succeed in those to give you an offer. Experienced hires from all areas are highly sought after, including O&G geos.

The real problem is that unfortunately you weren’t prepared for the interviews. Nobody is naturally good at casing (and PEI for that matter) and successful candidates often spend weeks or even months preparing.

Good news is that your CV generates interest among MBB so keep it up and start preparing properly!

Give me a shout if I can support you in any way. Best of luck!

 

(edited)

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 13, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Yes - your degree has very little influence on whether you get in or not. What matters most is your interview performance. In fact given your background you would be in very high demand for projects in the oil & gas industry.

In terms of how to prepare - it is not about learning each case by heart but learning the process of how to approach any case. Those are two fundamentally different points and once you get that you will be able to approach any case you tackle.

Best,

Udayan

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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