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What Masters degree should I do?

management
New answer on May 27, 2024
9 Answers
154 Views
Anonymous A asked on May 24, 2024

I have recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with a first-class bachelors degree in Zoology. I have now decided that I would like to do management consulting, but I have missed all of the deadlines, so I was thinking of doing a masters. Would an MSc in Management be the best option, or will my chances of being accepted be just as likely if I did something unrelated to consulting such as environmental management?

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Alberto
Expert
replied on May 25, 2024
First 30min for free! Ex-McKinsey (4+yrs) | Wharton MBA (GMAT 750) | MBB business case preparation

Hi!

Most consulting companies (e.g., McK, BCG) hire on a rolling basis, so I would still try to understand if you can apply (you can simply ask by connecting with someone working in the firm).

In case you decide to go for a master, I would advise you to go for a Master in Management (or anything business-related, such as Finance, Business Analytics, etc.) if you want to maximise your probability of landing a job in consulting. Given that you have a non-business background, it would help support your story of wanting to move into consulting. 

Having said that, consulting companies do hire students with different backgrounds, so do not be too strict in choosing your master's subject and make sure you follow your passion!

I hope this helps!

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Ariadna
Expert
replied on May 24, 2024
BCG | Project Leader and Experienced Interviewer | MBA at London Business School

Hi there! 

While you don't necessarily need a business background to join a consultancy, you do need a genuine interest in business

Assuming you do have that, the next step is proving this to the companies you would be applying for. 

Having work experience in business, or ideally consulting-related field is one way to prove your interest, but at your level, school is a good option as well

So using this logic, I would say I business MSc would help you 

(1) Prove your interest in business

but also .. 

(2) Give you some good ground level business knowledge

(3) (very important) Might give you good resources to prepare for consulting recruiting. Think: consulting student clubs, networking opportunities, career coaching, etc. 

Now you would have to think if there is other criteria that also matters for you when choosing a master, beyond how helpful it is to go in consulting. Based on all of those, you take your decision. 

Good luck, 

Ariadna 

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on your first-class graduation!

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

I would highly advise you to opt for the option that better aligns with your professional (and maybe even personal) mid- to long-term goals. In order to make an informed decision, I would advise you to do the following:

  • Weigh the different criteria that are meaningful to you independently of the current options (e.g., prestige, field of studies, culture, international exposure, location). After that, score the two options based on your criteria and their weighting, resulting in two scores. This way, you have covered the left-brain perspective.
  • Critically assess your initial reaction to the outcome of the scores. For instance, if you feel the urge to tweak the numbers, this is a solid indicator that you do not want this decision to become reality. This way, you have covered the right-brain perspective.
  • By doing so, you will be able to integrate both parts of the brain into the decision-making, guaranteeing a higher chance that you will still be happy with it years later.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

A degree in Management or Business definitely makes you a more attractive candidate for consulting firms. 

Plus, you'll learn more throughout the degree about the recruitment process and the firms out there and get to join networking events. 

My recommendation would be to chat to a few people who are currently working in your target firms and get a sense of what degrees they went and how would they do it differently if they had to do it again. 

And if you're looking into MiM or MBA, you might also find this article helpful:

Expert Guide: Are MBAs worth it?

Best,
Cristian

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Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

Consulting can have people from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds. You will find doctors, historians, psychology/philosophy majors, and many others.

From the consulting firm's point of view - your background in Zoology and Environment will not be a deal breaker - but it will be grounds for some detailed investigation into your motivation for joining consulting.

From your application perspective - the Masters in Management will mean that you will have an easier time defending why you want to join consulting v/s a Masters in Enviro. You will have to come up with some pretty convincing arguments - and your storytelling can be challenging.

And having said that - the application deadlines are more relevant for recruitment straight out of college. For experienced professionals who have got out of college, the recruitment happens all year round on a continuous basis.

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 25, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Would an MSc in Management be the best option, or will my chances of being accepted be just as likely if I did something unrelated to consulting? 

You can reverse-engineer the common schools/masters of those who joined your target firms in your country by using LinkedIn. However, I would recommend choosing a master that matches both your desired exits and current interests.

Additionally, you might not need a Master to get into consulting. Depending on the country and your CV, you could work for one year in a strategy role (or any role that matches the skills required in consulting) and apply for the next intake. 

Good luck!

Francesco

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Pedro
Expert
replied on May 24, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Consulting firms recruit during the whole time. You can still apply, you just won't go through the university channel.

My suggestion is to first apply (or network + apply). You don't need a masters - if there's something shorter that could work as well… as a MBA later on would be a better option for business.

In the meantime, any professional experience in business would be positive.

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 25, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Generally, you don't need a business background to enter consulting. To illustrate, some McKinsey offices have more than 50% of new hires coming from a non-business background.

What's important and what's looked at on your CV are:

  • consistent excellence in what you have been doing
  • strong uni and GPA
  • relevant work experience (in case of non-business background something analytical and impactful)
  • some leadership experience

All that being said, it does not hurt to go for an MSc in Management if you are interested in business and want to pursue a career in it.

Cheers, and all the best,

Florian

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 24, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

While it is not mandatory, having a business background will make you feel more comfortable during consulting interviews and work.

Consider as well to apply as intern in a consulting firm to get real consulting experience and strengthen your resume.

Best,

Alberto

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Alberto

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