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Requirements and/or advice for an internship in consulting

Someone asked on Aug 13, 2018 - 2 answers

Hi everyone, I am momentarily seeking for advice concerning my first-moving step into consultancy. This can be through either a starting position, but also a short-term internship

As of this moment, I graduated with distinction for my BBA in the Netherlands (8.7 out of 10). For this study I did a study-related internship and minor abroad outside of Europe. Additionally I have performed my thesis at corporate level, and have one start-up on my name that I have established paralel to my study which is momentarily awaiting a good future.

After having completed everything, I applied and got accepted for a business school studying for my master in strategy (business administration).

Beginning this year, I got fascinated for the consulting branch and its dynamic environment. Several books were bought, cases were made, and also news was followed until now.

Therefore I need your advice: How can I make my first-moving entry in consulting? At this moment I am 24 years old, and have no work experience in consulting except to all my self-study. Which consultancy firms would be recommendable to start with for me (as an intern or starter)? I have applied at the first vacancy I have seen at MBB for an internship, but without succes. Any ways to improve chances, or perhaps topics to put emphasis on?

Thanks a lot in advance!


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replied on Aug 13, 2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching

Hi Anonymous,

typically, there are two types of door openers, when it comes to getting into strategy consulting:

  1. Relevant experience in multiple well-known companies in strategy-related positions + excellent grades
  2. "Top of class" grades, e.g. among top 5 students throughout your entire academic career

Most applicants who are invited for consulting interviews belong to group 1 - they have excellent grades (as you do) and have gathered practical experience in different firms. When applying for full-time positions, some experience in consulting (or another strategy-related field) is required as long as you have a business background. You should have gathered this experience (or at least the greates part of it) at well-known firms.

Usually, there is a chain of door openers - this means e.g.

  • First internship(s) during your Bachelors (does not need to be consulting-related) - part of this should be done at well-known firms (try to use that first internship at some smaller firm to get into, for instance, a well-known bank or corporate)
  • First consulting internship - try to get into tier-two consultancies or big four. The big four usually offer a large number of internship positions each year.
  • (Ideally) An additional consulting internship at tier-one consultany - you may use this chance to already receive a full-time offer by showing an excellent performance during your internship
  • Apply for full-time positions at tier-one consultancies

Each of these steps will make it easier to take the second step, not only because your CV becomes more attractive to tier-one consultancies, but also because you gain valuable experience that will help you to figure out whether consulting really is a job you wish to work for full time.

With regards to group 2: This is very rare - in selected cases, candidates show a super strong academic profile where the requirement for practical experience is dropped.

Hope this helps!



Jay replied on Aug 13, 2018

Try your start-up for a few months with full commitment to see where it goes. You can always get a coporate role since you got great GPA and entrepreneurship experience.