What are the best practices of networking to get a management consulting opportunity?

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New answer on Aug 19, 2020
9 Answers
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Anonymous B asked on Jun 16, 2017

I am a PhD student and I have been studying all my life. It is really awkward for me to network and ask for jobs. In scientific conferences, there were many common topics of discussion over which networking was easy. I am not sure how to approach networking to get jobs in management consulting. I also want to know what are the best practices one can use both offline as well as on linkedin to establish the credibility to ask for a job.

I see some people getting opportunities through their sheer network, i am not sure how they do it, i asked them and nobody has given me substantial answers till date.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 09, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Here are some tips on consulting networking. You can do several things:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people at the events and send Thank You notes.

  1. At the events look how MBB consultants approach solving a case
  2. Be ready with cases if needed. Many events have the group cases and you can shine if you are prepared more than the average candidate. Here your main objective is to demonstrate how good you are at solving the cases. That's the only and the best way to impress. Also be careful, since it does not mean you should not listen to others and try being an absolute leader. Be the guy with the smart ideas. I know many candidates who got invited to McKinsey PST or Bain interviews without a test after these events.
  3. Talk to MBB people and get some information for you FIT interview (why The Company reasons, topics for your questions to the interviewer, etc)
  4. Meet with the other candidates with whom you can practice the cases further
  5. Have in mind interesting questions to ask. Skip the boring / negative ones are career growth or work hours. Ask the smart questions about different industries and the future of the consulting
  6. Do a lot of networking after the event. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. If you want to keep in touch - send a thank you note after the event:
  • "I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University...
  • It was especially interesting to hear about...
  • Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.

Alternatively, you may use LinkedIn for that.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!

(edited)

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Jun 11, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Anonymous replied on Jun 18, 2017

Hi,

One thing that should make you feel better is that firms love to have a variety of personalities, introverts and extroverts. Being less comfortable in these type of events usually balances with deeply analytical and logical mind. Saying this, let me answer your question.

There is no 1 approach that works for everyone. I did not network always to get my positions. I write amazing CVs, Applications and smash my interviews and cases. But I also know people who have gotten jobs via this route. It is all about maximising on your strengths.

My advice is this - get everything in place:

  • Great CV
  • Structured Application Questions
  • Practise Numerical tests - some consulting firms use these, others prefer SJT

The above should get you interviews without networking. I help in all of these areas as well as prep for interviews and cases. If you need help, reach out.

Victoria

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Guennael
Expert
replied on Jun 09, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Events... be the first to arrive, the last to leave. Try to make an impression, and obviously follow-up with well thought out, hopefully personalized thank you notes.

Good luck convincing a partner to have coffee with you unless it is at a school-sanctioned event though. If you need to network outside of the strict recruiting process (and you should), then best to start reaching out to people who just joined a few months before, and then slowly making your way up the experience ladder as best you can.

Ultimately though, this will only help get an interview if your profile puts you in the ballpark (school, grades, experiences) - and you still need to put in the work to crack a case and pass the interviews. No amount of networking will get you through that.

Good luck

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Originally answered question:

Networking - how?

Chris
Expert
replied on Feb 22, 2017
Ex-BCG Consultant / Interviewed 100+ applicants at BCG / Received offers from McK (US) and BCG (DE)

There are numerous ways to get in touch. Just a few:

  • Recruiting events of consulting companies. Usually require application (CV) but selection criteria differ from event to event
  • Join a local consulting club. Most large universities have a student led group that is not necessarily exclusive to students
  • Get introduced through your personal/professional contacts (Search for 2nd degree contacts at consulting companies on linkedin)

Hope that helps!

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Anonymous replied on Aug 19, 2020

Dear A,

Actually, the first step you have to make is to understand that networking is essential either in consulting or as a way to get there. So, put aside your doubts and start attending events and other meetings that other coaches has already mentioned, start communicating with people and start pitching yourself.

Best,

André

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Originally answered question:

Networking - how?

Astrid
Admin
replied on Feb 24, 2017
PrepLounge Head of Product & Marketing

Hi Anonymous A,

thanks for asking your question on our Consulting Q&A :)

I found an old Q&A that might be relevant for you. One of our users asked questions about the Open House at BCG which is a great networking opportunity for candidates. An interesting discussion evolved with some of our experts. Here are some tips for networking that were mentioned by our expert Francesco:

  • The questions you ask a consultant in a business environment pre interview should ideally respect the following: 1. You are genuinely curious about the topic, 2. The question will help the consultant to remember you positively and provide a referral in the application process.

  • You should not find the answers on Google, as Guennael correctly pointed out, The questions should be related to personal experiences interesting for the consultant, ideally making him/her feeling important; this is the easiest way to have him/her to remember you positively. The questions should help you to understand better the core values of the company; this will help you to understand if that company is indeed a good fit for you.

  • There is a specific list of steps to follow to receive a referral when you talk with a consultant, and ideally you should not ask for the referral directly. The steps would include (i) breaking the ice in the right way (ii) creating a connection with the interviewer and (iii) closing with an indirect request for referral.

  • Assuming you do not have any current direct contacts in the firms you are interested in, I usually suggest following a three-step approach: 1. Identify who are the people who could more easily help you, 2. Write them a customized cold email, 3. Have a call with the consultant, and indirectly ask for a referral

For the full discussion, check the following link: Open House at BCG

I hope this is helpful for you!

Astrid

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

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Originally answered question:

Networking - how?

Anonymous C replied on Feb 22, 2017

To add to Chris comment: maybe you have friends or friends of friends, other alumnis of your uni who work at MBB. Career center of your university could have some connections (you can contact them even after you graduated). Cold call/email is an option but I wouldn’t recommend it.

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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