PhD to consulting?

New answer on May 26, 2020
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 15, 2019

Dear all,

I have a friend who is a PhD student in cancer studies and he is interested in making a switch into consulting.

He's from a pretty reputable London University (if that means anything) and he has 2 more years to the end of his PhD. His concern is that he has spent almost all of his free time in his lab instead of working in a business/corporate environment and wants to know if he stands a chance or what can he do to stand a chance in life sciences consulting.

Does anyone with life sciences consulting experience have any input?

Thank you!

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 15, 2019
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews


scientific PhDs are very appreciated by top-tier firms. E.g. McKinsey often offers to PhD graduates the Junior associate position.

Here you can find some other details (clicking on "Advanced professional degree candidates"):



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Anonymous A on Oct 16, 2019

Hi! I understand that. I think he was mostly concerned about how to make his CV, which is full of lab experience but 0 business experience, appealing to the MBB. He doesn't have any summer vacations or things like that either so its difficult for him to source for internships. Thank you!

Antonello on Oct 16, 2019

A completed PhD and - eventually - the leadership of a research team will be strong points in his CV. Feel free to PM me before the application for a feedback. I have helped tenths of candidates in impactful preparation of CV and cover letters, based on the best applications I have seen these years.


Anonymous replied on May 26, 2020

Dear A,

I would definitely recommend you and your friend to get some practical experience, ideally in terms of internships. Ideally in healthcare, industry or consulting directly, prior to applying for full-time position.

Hope, it helps,

Good luck,

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 16, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

as mentioned by Antonello, a PhD in life science is definitely appealing to consulting companies – I personally helped several PhD candidates to land offers.

I would recommend your friend to invest some time in internships with corporates, as the initial screening is competitive also for PhDs and showing business experiences is definitely going to increase the chances to be selected.

It would also be quite useful to invest time in finding referrals for the application. You can find more on referrals at the following link:



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Anonymous A on Oct 16, 2019

Hi Francesco, thank you for your response. We're aware that life sci PhDs are in demand, but i reckon his primary concern is that he has done nothing business related and has no summer breaks for intrernships. I've advised him to join student consulting clubs and networking events to strengthen his profile. Would you recommend this approach? Thank you.

Francesco on Oct 17, 2019

Hi Anonymous, I would strongly recommend to also have internship experience in corporates before the end of the PhD, given there are still 2 years before completing it this should hopefully be feasible. Best, Francesco

Antonello gave the best answer


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McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews
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