Hi, I have recently started prepping for case interviews, but I'm more worried about getting my foot in the door. What is the best way to network to better my chance of securing an interview?
What is the Best Way to Secure an Interview?
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 web sites, subscribe for 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 for everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.
3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or 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. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.
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.
the easier way to get invitations for interviews is to receive a referral from an alumnus of your university.
To do so, I would suggest going through the following three-step approach:
1. Identify who are the people that can more easily help you
2. Write them a customized email
3. Have a call with the consultant, and indirectly ask for a referral
As general tips:
- Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work a lot better. There are several tools nowadays that allow to find very quickly the email of basically anyone. You should target at least 30% conversion for your messages – if you are not achieving that there is space for improvement in your message.
- When you write to your target connections, your goal should not be to ask questions, rather to organize a call. Then in the call you should ask the right questions to create a link with them.
- Whatever questions you ask during the call, you should have a closing question to ask (indirectly) for the referral. Don’t leave that to chances.
You should prepare three main things before the call:
- Your own pitch, highlighting who you are in 3-4 key sentences. Previous /experience with relevant brands/companies would be great to show you are qualified
- 3-4 questions, focused on the personal experiences of the person (and not on the company only). Ideally you should try to learn as much as possible about the contact before. You can also discover relevant information with the first questions. Your goal here is to have a conversation and not a Q&A session.
- Closing question for the referral. You should ask (in an indirect way to avoid to be too pushy) a referral at the end of the call. If you correctly introduce yourself, do a good job with the questions before and have something in common (eg former alumni, common connections…), you can increase by a relevant amount the likelihood of a referral. If you don’t ask, they may not volunteer to offer one.
Before the call, I would recommend to review your CV and Cover, to be sure they are updated and structured properly for your MBB application, so that you can forward them without delays if needed.
If you are interested to know more about the exact steps to maximize conversion for referrals, please feel free to PM me.
A good way would be to attend events of those firms and talk to consultants there. But especially big events (especially at MBB, where all participants who get invited to those top-events are automatically invited to an interview) are often even more competitive to get into than the actual interviews. Also, try to find out whether those firms organize info-sessions/are present in career fairs at your university.
Another good way would be to contact people who work at the company you want to work on LinkedIn, and ask them for a phone call so that you can answer "a couple of questions you have" (do not ask for referrals explicitly!). Many of them are happy to chat, and maybe volunteer to give you a referral if you're lucky or/and make a good impression (it worked for me twice, not for MBB though, and the success rate was really low considering the number of people I tried to contact)...