Post MBA (already graduated) - could a sales role lead to a career in consulting?

recruitment
New answer on May 01, 2020
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 20, 2020

Hi, I have seen several postings regarding backup options which could lead to a consulting career in future. Many people said a strategy role in a Fortune 500 company is the best choice. Also, I have heard that for post MBA / experienced hire, consulting firms would be quite flexible regarding the industry background. I have already graduated from MBA (semi-target school), so I'm thinking of my career plan in the next few years. Since I did not manage to get an offer in consulting, I am planning to take other roles now and will be re-applying for "experienced hires" instead of MBA graduate hires in a few years.

While I'm clear that an important criteria of winning a strategy consulting offer is to excel in case interviews, I'm wondering what would be the selection criteria of getting invited to interviews (experienced hires instead of MBA campus recruitment)? Currently, I have an offer from a well-known corporate bank as a relationship manager/corporate sales. Would this role close the door to consulting firms in future, since it is a sales role and not highly strategic in nature? Thanks for your thoughts!

(edited)

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Emily
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replied on Apr 20, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

While I've seen fewer consultants coming from a sales background, it is not impossible. You need to clearly demonstrate in your resume/stories the following

- Analytical skills

- Business acumen (though you are not doing a strategy job, try to see if you can get yourself involved into related projects)

- Drive / Motivation

- Leadership

- Teamwork

- Maturity in handling stakeholders (this one you might actually have an advantage)

Leverage the well-know bank name. Try to get involved in work beyond just sales. And also see if you can build some connection to get a referral sometime down the road.

Best,

Emily

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Samuel replied on Apr 28, 2020

Short answer: challenging but not impossible.

It is dependent on three things

1. How well you craft your overall profile (Your FIT stories and resume)

2. How well you network with recruiting decision-makers/influencers and how well you convert them to your evangelist

3. How great your case interview skills are.

What makes it harder is, aside networking, the other two doesn't come naturally to many salespeople. Before you start networking, please work hard on (1). There are a whole bunch of people here who can help you with that, although I still highly recommend Firmsconsulting.

Consider joining management consulting as a marathon, so you may what to start practising for case interviews. The key here is to start thinking like an MBB Associate even as you work in your current sales role. I recommend that you read the book "Succeeding as a Management Consultant - Kris Safarova". I have read that book twice and it is incredibly helpful. It shows you what a typical MBB Associate does on actual engagement and exposes you to the inner workings of a top management consulting firm, better than what a 1hr call with an MBB consultant will offer you.

Cheers!

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Anonymous replied on Apr 28, 2020

Hi A,

I think it all depends on how you would be able to sell yourself and sell also this role in your future career path. In my eyes it's not an obstacle for this, but before you apply, make sure over referrals that you are actually get invited to the interview.

In addition to this try to be very well-prepared as well and be ready, to use your chance fully, when your door opens.

Good luck,
André

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Thomas
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replied on Apr 22, 2020
150+ interviews | 5+ years experience | Kearney & Accenture | Sold consulting startup| London Business School

I think it is generally a tough sell as it is not a very natural moment to join consulting. It is not impossible but the funnel/pyramid is not made for it. I do agree with what is previously said and that having a target MBA might make the difference.

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Clara
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replied on Apr 20, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats on your offer.

It totally depends on a series of factors and no that much if it´s sales vs. project management. Some could be:

  • Job description
  • Level of responsability
  • Stakeholder management: whom and how many?
  • Accomplishments and impact achieved while you are there
  • Progression

Hence, think more about WHAT you will be doing in terms of core skills, and how well would this help you build a case in a couple of years for an MBB or MBA application.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 21, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

honestly I don’t see corporate sales post MBA as the best path to consulting. It would not be impossible if you manage to well position your achievements and have a strong referral, but it is not the standard path.

On the other hand, if you start from sales and gradually make a transition to more strategic roles, the profile could definitely be interesting.

Best,

Francesco

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Hugo
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replied on Apr 20, 2020
Digital entrepreneur turned BCG consultant // Coach with focus on PEI

Hi Anonymous,

If I rephrase it well: you have an MBA (semi target school) + were offered a sales position in a corporate bank.

Let's put it that way: consulting firms have a lot of banking clients. Having experience there could be a real asset. No that being said, you might want to be able to show:

  • Achievement: going through one promotion cycle at least
  • Management: manage a team

So I would say that going for this type of role for 3-4 year and succeeding in it would totally be fine. It would also give you the opportunity to network with ppl within consulting firms to get an interview.

Hope this helps

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Vasily
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updated an answer on Apr 20, 2020
Senior Consultant BCG New York, Sydney & Moscow | INSEAD & Wharton MBA |Official Interviewer | Time Flexible

Completely agree with Clara, just adding to that I'd also say that the school would also play quite a substansial role. If you're recruiting on campus from a top target MBA program, your chances to get an interview are very high by default (and they are close to 100% if you get a recommendation from someone within the firm).

That being said, there's also a fit part to the interview, and to ace that you'd need to spin your story to highlight your responsibilities, stakeholder management skills, proactiveness, etc. So, regardless of your role indeed, think what you should be doing to make a good case.

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Apr 20, 2020
Thanks a lot for your reply! Actually I have already graduated from MBA. So I am talking about post MBA experienced hire roles.
Vasily on Apr 20, 2020
I see, makes sense. Then, once you’re ready to switch, I would strongly recommend to ask your consultant friends to refer you. Tremendously increases your chances to make it through screening, up to 100% :)
Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 01, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, yes it is, but I recommend applying as soon as possible to consulting if it is your top goal in order to leverage the boost of your master. A referral would be an important support to accelerate the process

Best,

Antonello

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Emily gave the best answer

Emily

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BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University
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