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What are my chances to break in management consulting and how to identify and use best accomplishments?

Anonymous A asked on Feb 26, 2019 - 3 answers

Hi all,

I am writing to get some help / guidance about two things:

  1. What are my real chances to break in management consulting?
  2. How to identify my best accomplishments and once done, how to make it impactful on my resume and cover letter.

1)

To give a bit you a bit of background, I have around 3+ years experience in consulting but not in management / strategy consulting. I have worked in business travel consulting, focusing mostly on sourcing and cost optimisation engagements. With time, I have come to realise that the types of engagements I am doing are always similar, and I do not feel excitement anymore. Since there isn't any new challenges to take on, I am thinking seriously about applying for management consulting because I want to have the opportunity to:

  • First: work on different industries and take on different engagements. I am a curious person and I like to start from blank sheet of paper. On a routine, I feel like my learning in stagnating.
  • Second: on my latest position, I hardly had opportunities to work in a team and I miss it. In particular, I appreciate the stimulation / energy coming from a team and also the opportunity for me to cross-check my ideas, learn from others and pass on some of my knowledge when relevant. Without speaking about the fact that working in a team provides the opportunity to make great connections with people.

I am French and currently lives in London. I am from a non-target school in France but my Business School is, I believe, the same level of some target schools in UK. For example, I have seen that McKinsey does visit a fair amount of Universities in UK. So I believe the ones they visit are target schools. I have a master's degree from this school as well an MSc degree from a UK uni (non-target) as part of a dual degree program. I also passed by PwC as a market and sales analyst during a placement year.

So, given all this, do I have my chances to break into management consulting?

2)

Regarding my second questions, I have done a fair bit of engagements in the past. Given my experience, should my accomplishments be taken only from work experience or also any other education / personal achievements?

Say, for instance, during my last work experience, I happen to implement a standardised methodology to take on specific engagements and implemented a semi-automated tool so that other consultants could save time if taking such engagements. I noticed that before I arrived, consultants were always kind of starting from scratch from the client data and wasting valuable time to extract trends instead of spending this time on understanding in detail these trends and what it meants for the client.

So, my question is, would this be considered an interesting accomplishment? If yes, how to best write it down to make it impactful? I know that all should be quantified.

Sorry, I know its fairly a fairly long post but I am starting with the application process and I think I need a bit of guidance. I wish to spend time to prepare the best application possible whether it is for my resume or my cover letter.

Thanks in advance for the feedbacks and thoughts.

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 26, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

in terms of your first question, it is difficult to provide a clear overview without knowing more about your performance at university, the employer brands you have in your CV and your extracurricular activities. Just from the information you provided, it seems your chances are low for what concerns top tier companies, unless you are able to find a strong referral that could push your application.

In terms of your second question, education and personal achievements not directly related to work could definitely be valuable in your cover letter. Your accomplishments should emphasize skills in terms of leadership, impact, teamwork and drive, with some variations according to the company you are applying to; so far that you use a story that shows one of such skills, it could work well for the cover.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi Francesco, regarding my performance, I graduated with honours in France and with Merit in UK. Got A grades in 8 out of 13 courses. It's hard to translate into GPA though but would be around 3.6 I think. For employers: PwC, American Express and HRG. For extracurricular, I headed the ski section for the extreme sport association of my school, organised music springboard, I did some volunteering with kids in Japan during a year I spent there. — Vivien on Feb 26, 2019 (edited)

Vlad
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replied on Feb 26, 2019
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Hi,

I have a friend who was literally selling strawberries at the farmers market and made it to McKinsey. Everything is possible if you sell it in the right way. Also, a referral would help in your case.

Best!

Guennael
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replied on Feb 26, 2019
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Vivien, saw your response to Francesco. What school did you go to in France? MBB has started targeting slighly lower schools lately, but if you tell me "St Etienne", that still won't work.

Rest of your response shows a solid path but nothing outstanding. Nothing in there would drastically improve your odds I'm afraid, but it is also a function of how you craft the story.

Seems like I can't modify my answer... grrr! I want to make sure you do not get discouraged, I have seen plenty of people getting in to good consultancies without a stellar background (me, for starters). Feel free to ping me offline if you want. Je suis francais egalement, et pourrai peut-etre te guider un petit peu. — Guennael on Feb 26, 2019

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