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Ian

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6

What are the chances for a PhD in STEM with 3 years working experience (in industry) to get hired by a consulting firm?

I know that consulting firms have started hiring more PhDs during the last years, but I was wondering what are really the chances to get a job offer (or even an interview). Besides, I am also still considering if moving from the industry into consulting would be a "good move" - taking also into consideration my age (I am 31 yo).

Lastly, I would like to know if some of you hava an idea of how many people get an interview (and eventually hired) at McKinsey aftre completing the Virtual Academy.

I would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you!
A.

I know that consulting firms have started hiring more PhDs during the last years, but I was wondering what are really the chances to get a job offer (or even an interview). Besides, I am also still considering if moving from the industry into consulting would be a "good move" - taking also into consideration my age (I am 31 yo).

Lastly, I would like to know if some of you hava an idea of how many people get an interview (and eventually hired) at McKinsey aftre completing the Virtual Academy.

I would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you!
A.

(edited)

6 answers

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Hi there,

If you've performed well and attended a strong university then your chances are actually good!

Consulting firms like to supplement their generalists with specialist knowledge - lateral/expert hires are desired!

Furthermore, most firms actually host webinars, workshops etc. specifically tailored to PhD holders :)

Hi there,

If you've performed well and attended a strong university then your chances are actually good!

Consulting firms like to supplement their generalists with specialist knowledge - lateral/expert hires are desired!

Furthermore, most firms actually host webinars, workshops etc. specifically tailored to PhD holders :)

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Hello Anonymous,

These are actually great questions. I cannot the latest one but for the first one here are some elements:
1. experience is valuable: our clients tend to be more demanding for the expertise and in-depth on-the-field knowledge. That's why having consultants who went through a Ph.D. & an industry experience can be very beneficial because you are more mature and knowledgeable from an operational and topic perspective.
2. Age is not a criterion of selection: Our clients are asking us to be supported by people who are from diverse backgrounds. And they want to be supported by consultants who have been in the field and tend to give more credibility to consultants who are "older"
So I would actually say that your age is an asset!
Let me know should you have any other questions,
Best,
Norah

Hello Anonymous,

These are actually great questions. I cannot the latest one but for the first one here are some elements:
1. experience is valuable: our clients tend to be more demanding for the expertise and in-depth on-the-field knowledge. That's why having consultants who went through a Ph.D. & an industry experience can be very beneficial because you are more mature and knowledgeable from an operational and topic perspective.
2. Age is not a criterion of selection: Our clients are asking us to be supported by people who are from diverse backgrounds. And they want to be supported by consultants who have been in the field and tend to give more credibility to consultants who are "older"
So I would actually say that your age is an asset!
Let me know should you have any other questions,
Best,
Norah

Hello Anonymous,

I can't answer the second part, but can weigh in on the first.

I myself am 33, PhD in Chemistry followed by 5 years working at a US national lab. I just got an offer for March 21, so it is definitely possible. I also didn't feel that my background was that unconventional compared to some others. I would recommend researching very carefully which firms could be most interested in hiring you (LEK, for example, focuses strongly on bio/medicine, Kearney likes engineers, MBB go for all kinds, ...). Not only will doing so increase your chances of being invited, it will also make the transition easier as there will be training courses designed to level the playing field.

As to whether it makes sense: I think that you would be hired as a senior consultant/associate/... If you networked and were in a relevant industry, you might make the jump to the project leader position, but this seems less common and is supposed to be a rather tough transition. Whether the jump to senior consultant/associate/..., which is essentially an entry level position, makes sense to you is entirely dependent on your own goals.

Good luck!

Hello Anonymous,

I can't answer the second part, but can weigh in on the first.

I myself am 33, PhD in Chemistry followed by 5 years working at a US national lab. I just got an offer for March 21, so it is definitely possible. I also didn't feel that my background was that unconventional compared to some others. I would recommend researching very carefully which firms could be most interested in hiring you (LEK, for example, focuses strongly on bio/medicine, Kearney likes engineers, MBB go for all kinds, ...). Not only will doing so increase your chances of being invited, it will also make the transition easier as there will be training courses designed to level the playing field.

As to whether it makes sense: I think that you would be hired as a senior consultant/associate/... If you networked and were in a relevant industry, you might make the jump to the project leader position, but this seems less common and is supposed to be a rather tough transition. Whether the jump to senior consultant/associate/..., which is essentially an entry level position, makes sense to you is entirely dependent on your own goals.

Good luck!

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Hi Anonymous,

In principle that's possible and nothing to be worried about your background and age - I have coached many candidates in similar positions like you and not only did they fine in interviews, they actually also thrive in their job!

The 3 years of working experience won't make you yet an experienced hire - so you will basically run through the same process like the majority of candidates. While your situation is nothing to worry about at all, obviously it will be about the specifics of your profile and how well that matches with McKinsey screening scheme in general (impossible to say without more details here).

However, the most secure way to get to interviews is always to network your way into that, and have some consultant (the higher in the ranks, the better) forwarding your application to HR. Unless your application documents are a complete mess, with that route you surpass the first HR screening and get invited to interviews directly. Oftenly this is easier said than done - but with Xing/Linked-In etc. you have good tools in your hand to do some research and try to find some connections, unless you anyway have some acquaintances "somewhere" around close to those firms you are targeting.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

In principle that's possible and nothing to be worried about your background and age - I have coached many candidates in similar positions like you and not only did they fine in interviews, they actually also thrive in their job!

The 3 years of working experience won't make you yet an experienced hire - so you will basically run through the same process like the majority of candidates. While your situation is nothing to worry about at all, obviously it will be about the specifics of your profile and how well that matches with McKinsey screening scheme in general (impossible to say without more details here).

However, the most secure way to get to interviews is always to network your way into that, and have some consultant (the higher in the ranks, the better) forwarding your application to HR. Unless your application documents are a complete mess, with that route you surpass the first HR screening and get invited to interviews directly. Oftenly this is easier said than done - but with Xing/Linked-In etc. you have good tools in your hand to do some research and try to find some connections, unless you anyway have some acquaintances "somewhere" around close to those firms you are targeting.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Hello!

With the info you shared, your profile indeed looks like a good match. However, we would need to know more detaisl suchs as performance until now, responsabilities, school you attended to, etc.)

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

With the info you shared, your profile indeed looks like a good match. However, we would need to know more detaisl suchs as performance until now, responsabilities, school you attended to, etc.)

Cheers,

Clara

Hello, just some more info about me. I studied Industrial Chemistry, I did Bachelor and Master Degree in Italy. After that, I moved to Germany where I did my PhD in Chemistry at the Max Planck Institut. I then moved to another part of Germany as I got a job offer from a chemical company, where I have been working for 3 years now. My role is technical - method development and research - but it includes some kind of customer support. I have indeed some projects in which I work with customers quite regularly. I hope this helps having a better picture of me! — Alice on Jul 06, 2020 (edited)

Dear A,

Your university is strong and working experience is also valuable piece in your performance.

As for PHD chance in consulting, it all depends on the market. For instance, PHD candidate are higher valued in Germany and Central Europe than the MBA candidates, therefore it depends a lot on location and particular office policy. In general, I would say that MBA have a way more practical business experience than PHD and therefore it is easier for them, coming from business school environment to land an offer in top firm.

Nevertheless, you can also train skills either on your own, with peers or with coach.

And don't worry about your age.

If you need any help, reach out.
Good luck,
André

Dear A,

Your university is strong and working experience is also valuable piece in your performance.

As for PHD chance in consulting, it all depends on the market. For instance, PHD candidate are higher valued in Germany and Central Europe than the MBA candidates, therefore it depends a lot on location and particular office policy. In general, I would say that MBA have a way more practical business experience than PHD and therefore it is easier for them, coming from business school environment to land an offer in top firm.

Nevertheless, you can also train skills either on your own, with peers or with coach.

And don't worry about your age.

If you need any help, reach out.
Good luck,
André

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