Management consulting jobs are highly coveted and very prestigious in the world of business and management. The career is one of the few professions that endures and even thrives during a slow economy. Management consultants from top-tier firms are utilized to help companies increase their revenues and eliminate excess spending. The field is one of the most lucrative careers but challenging to break into.
Very few candidates actually land jobs with the top tier consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain or A.T. Kearney. These companies hire the best of the best and in order to be one of the few selected to work in management consulting at one of the firms, you must prepare ahead of time. In this article, we share some helpful strategies for landing a job in management consulting.
The need to do your homework cannot be emphasized enough as the first crucial step to getting a job in management consulting. Although studying the firm’s website is a component of preparing yourself, the real preparation goes into readying yourself for a career in management consulting. Candidates must be equipped with a high level skill-set that includes superior communication, management, leadership, problem-solving, and analytical expertise.
It was previously thought that most careers in management consulting required an MBA, but that is not the case. Firms like BCG and Booz are hiring entry level management consultants that do not have an MBA, but offer a proven track record of accomplishing great tasks while under pressure. Attending a brand-name school and maintaining a high GPA is more important than your major. Management consulting firms place a premium on high test scores, interviewing skills and high performance on aptitude tests in their hiring processes.
Creating a resume and cover letter that sets you apart from the pack is also of significant importance in landing a job. Your cover letter should showcase your accomplishments and abilities to work well with the firm, while your resume should reveal the big-branded school you attended. A diploma from a top-flight school, such as Columbia, Harvard, or Yale, is indispensable (almost a prerequisite) for a top-tier firm to consider your application. Preparation early on is needed in order to attend the right school that will elevate you to the next level of a career in management consulting.
Most firms allow for networking possibilities. It is crucial that you take advantage of your network to land a job in management consulting. Information sessions and presentations are offered at some of the leading schools so that firms can recruit candidates for jobs as management consultants. The information sessions allow the candidates to learn more about the firms they are targeting and provide opportunities to meet and get to know other management consultants currently working for the firm. Be sure to be armed with well-thought-out questions for the management consultants to gain insight into the firm and to build a strong rapport with people who may be your colleagues or references in the near future.. The meetings should last no more than ten minutes at a time unless a strong relationship is developing. Thoroughness and follow-through cannot be overestimated: be sure to take your recruiter or consulting representative’s business card after talking with them to send them a personal thank you note. The networking sessions are a great way to get your face out there and into the minds of the hiring committee.
The key to landing a job in management consulting is preparation and steady persistence. A top-tier management consulting career demands dedication and perseverance; targeting your goal of landing a job as a consultant and going after it aggressively is proof positive of your suitability. By preparing early will you learn what the firm wants and how you can become just what they are looking for in a candidate.