First, I wish you all a happy new year 2018 to you, your friends and all your family members.
Second, this is going to be an usual post as you don't see a lot of rants here on the Consulting Q&A section of PrepLounge, but given what has happened to me, I'd like to share my thoughts on the matter (and blow off some steam) and ask those here on PrepLounge who have the luxury of working for these top firms whether the situation I'm about to describe is normal or not.
Fair warning: This is a long post. I apologize for the novel but I had to be as specific as possible.
I'd like to preface this by stating the following:
- I have no sense of entitlement whatsoever and will never have. If I came off as entitled in this post, then I apologize, that was never my intention.
- I recognize that top consulting firms have their own hiring standards, rules (reject-reapply for one) and process, as well as the fact that they are flooded with thousands of applications, ranging from the stellar to the unremarkable, and I like to believe that they do take time to sift through the pile with some semblance of scrutiny before inviting applicants to an interview.
- I am also well aware of the feedback practice (and lack thereof) that is prevalent in consulting firms and in other companies in general.
As someone who applied twice thus far to the top 3 consulting firms only to be rejected both times (interviews with two MBBs and screening rejection from the other on the first time, screening rejection from all three after 2 years on the second time), I still held some hope that "third time's the charm" and began to seriously work on my flaws and shortcoming based on the feedback I've received from the two MBBs who invited to an interview 3 years ago, with an application window in 3 to 4 years time. As far as my profile goes:
- Graduated from the flagship programs from two target schools with High Honors (one in engineering and the other in finance)
- Internships in brand name companies and currently working for a specialized consulting firm (think Accenture, Capgemini Consulting, Simon-Kucher...)
- Published in a major European financial journal and hefty extracurriculars all involving leadership
I reached out to a senior consultant in an MBB in North Africa and, after discussing his roles and responsibilities as well as the overall culture of the firm he's working for, he offered to forward my resume to get an informal HR feedback on its strength (since I told him I wasn't interested in applying to an MBB at present).
Fast forward a couple of days later, I received a three sentence email from their HR flatout stating:
" We've received your application from X. We cannot respond favorably to it. Your profile does not suit our needs."
So, not only has my feedback request turned into an application, but there is no such feedback in the email, if only a scathing "your profile does not suit our needs" line and nothing else.
This leads me to the following questions:
- Is this normal? I get that some HR don't give feedback because they don't want to/don't have the time/can't be bothered/fear a potential backlash from the candidate. But something as scathing as this is rather frightening.
- Should I contact my guy at that MBB and clarify the situation? Given what transpired, I don't think there's even the remotest chance of him picking up the phone and taking my call.
- Should I reply to the HR person? I'm inclined not to, especially in my current state of mind.
- Should I give up on consulting, whether at MBBs or elsewhere, period? I know the old argument "you don't need an MBB to have a successful career" and honestly, that's moot (since everyone is striving to snag a spot there, whether they admit it or not). But, if despite working hard and networking harder, there are no results (let alone feedback), then what's the point?
Thanks in advance.