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Should I take the GMAT to break into top-tier consulting firms?

phd PhDtoconsultancy
New answer on May 26, 2020
3 Answers
2.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 10, 2019

I'm currently a social science Ph.D. student interested in going into consulting upon graduation. The GMAT equivalent of my GRE score is ~690. I have approximately a year to write my dissertation and prepare for job applications. Should I take the GMAT to prove my quantitative skills? I did take some stat courses up to multivariate stat.

Also, when recruiters look at my transcript, would they only look at my undergraduate one or all transcripts from my undergraduate, master's, and doctorate? Finally, what else can I do to improve my chances of getting an interview? Some of the things I've done include joining a campus consulting club, starting a mentoring program, practicing cases.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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replied on Jan 10, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Answering your first question - if it requires a lot of prep - definitely not! It's just a line in your resume and it's not guaranteeing anything.

Answering your second question - they will only look at your transcript if you are hired. The actual score does not matter at that point unless you've put smth different in your resume.

Other factors:

  1. University brand
  2. Internships you had before
  3. Extracurricular activities:
  • Launching your own venture and entrepreneurial activities (even failing them is fine)
  • Grants / scholarships - even better if related to some research or entrepreneurial projects
  • Projects for companies - you may consider doing a free project for the company or a startup or writing a case that future grads will use
  • Volunteer / social activities. I would aim at the activities where you can have a leadership role. Organizing some club may work as well.
  • Case Competitions-especially the ones organized by your target company
  • Researches / articles published in well-known sources

4. Career moves so far:

  • Brand of the company
  • Career growth and achievements
  • Postgraduate extracurricular activities


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replied on Jan 10, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Don't waste your time with the GMAT at this point. There are many parameters that recruiters will look at to decide whether to select you for an interview, but this isn't a significant one - especially after a PhD.

Much more important are:

- University brand name

- Grades (Undergrad, Masters, PhD)

- Work experiences, including brand name

- Leadership experiences, both in school and outside

- Prizes, publications

- Non-profit work

- Entrepreneurial spirit...

As a PhD student, most of these are already settled; make sure to get the best grades & leadership opportunities you still can, and start networking heavily if you haven't already.

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Anonymous replied on May 26, 2020

Dear A,

GMAT is not mandatory for you to be considered in consulting. Basically all you grades starting from the high school will be considered if you're applying to MBB firms. Also, I would like to stress your attention on another valuable aspects that were mentioned by other experts, apart from GMAT: work experiences, leadership experiences, both in school and outside, non-profit work, etc.

Good luck,

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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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