Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 11:00 AM CST
Moderator: Hello and welcome to our Live Chat about strategy and consulting at Booth! The chat will begin promptly at 11:00am CST, but please feel free to start submitting questions now!
Moderator: Visit http://www.chicagobooth.edu/boothconnect/fulltime/StrategyConsultingChat.aspx to read the bios of the students and staff chatting with us today.
Moderator: The chat today focuses on Strategy and Consulting at Booth. If you have admissions related questions, please visit our Discussion Forums at http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/forums/index.aspx
Moderator: Hello and welcome to our Live Chat about strategy and consulting at Booth! We're ready to begin!
Moderator: If you have admissions related questions, please visit our Discussion Forums at http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/forums/index.aspx
Allison: Hi! My name is Ali and I am a third year joint MBA/MPP student. I spent my summer as a Summer Associate at Bain Chicago and I will be returning there full time next fall.
Joanne: Good morning! My name is Joanne Legler, Associate Director of Admissions. Looking forward to answering your questions today!
Burgess: Hi! I am a second-year student concentrating in Strategic Management and Marketing Strategy. Before Booth I worked in Investor Relations at Lehman Brothers, and following graduation I will be a consultant at Booz & Co. in NY. I look forward to chatting with you!
Alex: Hello, I'm Alex a second year student. I interned for the Boston Consulting Group this past summer and will return there in the fall.
Pam: Welcome to the Chicago Booth chat on Strategy and Consulting. Wayland and I look forward to answering any of your career-related questions.
Wayland: Welcome to the Strategy/Consulting live chat. Pam and I will be representing Career Services this morning, so please send any and all career-related questions you may have.
Andrew: Hi everyone. My name is Andrew; I am a 2nd year from England. My background is in financial services operations and I am going to be working full time at Bain & Co in Chicago after graduation (I spent the summer internship working at Bain in Australia). I can help with questions on international recruiting, career switching and anything else you guys have on your minds... look forward to hearing your questions.
Felipe: Hi, I am Felipe Child, a second year student. I am currently concentrating in Economics. In the summer I worked in consulting with McKinsey & Co. and will be joining the firm full-time in September. I am looking forward to chatting with you today and answering your questions about pursuing a career in consulting.
LT: I am a senior in college, major Asian Studies, and I have decided to go to business school after two years of work experience. My first question is what sort of work experience does Booth want to see on my resume.
Joanne: Hi LT. Chicago Booth does not have any specific requirements for work experience, so we encourage you to find a position that you are excited and passionate about, and then make the most of your two years there. As an early career candidate, we'll be well aware that your opportunities for leadership or supervision may be limited, but we will want to see, from your professional letters of recommendation, what type of impact you've had on your organization in that time, and how you compare with your peer group.
mans: Could you start with briefly mentioning Consulting @ Booth. What are the special things that Booth offers for consulting majors?
Allison: Consulting is the second largest industry for Booth recruiting. All of the major firms as well as a number of smaller firms participate in on-campus recruiting. In addition, we have a student organization, the Management Consulting Group, that provides programming and support for students interested in consulting. In terms of curriculum opportunities, there is a Strategy concentration that many people interested in consulting pursue.
Brian: I am currently working at an investment management company and always want to working in consulting industry. What skill sets do I need to develop for me in order to move?
Andrew: Hey Brian. Do not worry, you are not alone! Many people will be switching careers and your thoughts sound perfectly plausible. There's a lot of crossover between IM and consulting, specifically in terms of research, presentation and strategy evaluation. The skill sets that might help you, and that you can develop at Booth, would be more the project teamwork and implementation of recommendations to clients. There's a lot of opportunities to do that in all sorts of ways - in class, in student groups, in lab classes.
Sha2010: Thanks in advance for taking the time from your busy schedules to answer questions we have. What advantages does Booth have over other top business schools? Both in general and when in relation to Consulting/Strategy. Thanks!
Pam: One of our key advantages is the flexibility of the curriculum. If you are pursuing a particular career path, you can take course work that will allow you to focus on areas which will benefit your overall resume/experience/academics the most. The second piece is a deep focus on pursuing the why not just the how. For consulting and strategy roles in particular, this can be very beneficial.
Tim_Booth: how do you plan to prepare yourself for the interviews besides mastering the case interview process?
Burgess: Hi! The case portion of the interviews are definitely important. The fit portion of the interview is also really important – for both you and the firm. Chicago Booth and Booth’s Management Consulting Group provide many opportunities to practice both fit and case questions. Like anything else, preparing for fit just takes practice – thinking through experiences and articulating them. Generally students work together practicing questions, helping each other prepare.
Applicant2010: What are the 3 things makes Booth an attractive school for applicants who want into Consulting? What has been you personal exprience as to how Booth has helped you guys to get into the roles that you wanted after graduation
Alex: 1) Every major firm and each of their offices globally recruits from Booth meaning there is plenty of opportunity 2)the flexible curriculum allows you to tailor your studies to the type of consulting you want to do or just to fill in gaps in your knowledge 3)the student resources like the management consulting group and career services resources are excellent in preparing you for interviews. Personally, I was able to recruit with several North American offices of major firms and take non-finance courses that better prepared me for a career in strategy consulting.
A1039: Can admits begin working with career services before matriculation?
Pam: There are several career resources at your disposal prior to matriculation. Some key things..access to our website, meeting with a career coach, use of our Career Resource Center are a few examples. Our website (which you have access to as an admit) has a number of resources about the job search - resume writing, research resources, interview preparation, etc.
pmap: To start with a pretty generic question, Chicago is known for finance. Do you, consulting majors, ever feel odd man between the finance people. What all unique things Chicago offers as far as consulting and strategic managment is concerned?
Felipe: Hi, PMAP. Given that consulting firms are one of the largest on-campus employers, strategy-related jobs are highly sought after by many students. My experience has been that there is a broad range of different types of interests within the school and that students don’t get labeled as “finance” or “consulting” people. In terms of unique things, the flexibility of the curriculum at Booth allows you to pick many classes early on that will get you ready for your interviews and your internship in the summer. For example, you can take Competitive Strategy, Marketing Strategy, and Operations Management within your first couple of quarters in the school. The school also attracts many different consulting firms that recruit on campus, from the large consulting firms to boutique firms.
Tim_Booth: how many students do firms such as Mck, Bain and BCG usually hire from Booth each year?
Wayland: For '09, Bain, BCG and McKinsey hired a total of 47 Booth grads for full-time. These numbers were slightly down from last year given the severe recession. Several things to keep in mind - this represents the number of accepted offers, not the number of offers extended which is higher. Also, these consulting firms typically open their full-time hiring to those that may have done something else other than management consulting for the summer. A consulting summer associate experience is great, but there are also other experiences that are attractive to firms, such as corporate strategy, some finance positions, among other.
jay: Alison, can you describe your joint degree experience and how classes at Harris and Booth build on each other?
Allison: The joint degree with Harris and Booth is a great program. Much of the core is the same (both require econ and stats) so you only have to take those intro classes once and you can finish both degrees in 3 years. The two programs approach similar problems from different perspectives so it forces me to think about things from many angles. A lot of the classes are complementary and build on each other.
G-352375143: Hi. What courses apart from the ones in the Strategic Management concentration would you recommend taking at Booth to pursue a career in business strategy consulting? Thanks in advance. Pablo
Andrew: Hi Pablo, good question. You are right that the Strategic Management ones are most useful (Competitive Strategy and Strategic Planning being the most relevant). Outside of those, I have liked the macro-economic classes most - classes like Managing The Global Firm, talking about the challenges of international management and trade, and some of the finance classes, like Corporate Finance, seem the best. They help you develop skills to talk to clients in their own language.
oguz2012: Is there any summer preparation we can do that will help us decide if consulting is the right career path?
Pam: Absolutely, a few suggestions:
Pam: - Talk to colleagues/people you know that are in consulting or have worked with consultants - what do they do, what skills do they value.
Pam: - Start working on your resume - really think about transferable skills and experiences that are consulting like - have you done some similar type work that you enjoyed?
Pam: - Read the websites of the consulting firms that recruit MBAs (you can find lists in our Employment Report - look under publications)
Pam: - Reach out to Booth alumni or current students and get input
Pam: Finally, you will have the opportunity to take CareerLeader which is an assessment focused on business careers. Take this and review your results.
FelipeA: Hi, I’m a prospective MBA student in waitlist for Round 2. This question is for Alison Junket: what are the academic and professional opportunities at Chicago Booth for consulting careers focused in the public sector? Do you think your joint degree was a defining factor to secure your consulting job?
Allison: If you want to do public sector consulting, being in the joint degree program will definitely help. Harris brings recruiters from public sector consulting on campus and Booth focuses on private sector, though some of the firms have both public and private practices so may recruit at both places. I don't think the joint degree was crucial for securing my internship since Bain does not have a public sector practice (I will be doing private sector consulting exclusively). But the joint degree could definitely be a defining factor if you want to do public sector.
oguz2012: How do you prepare for a consulting internship if you have no prior experience? I come from an investment banking and corporate finance background.
Felipe: I large percentage of students that go into consulting did not have any previous experience in consulting. At Booth you have many resources that can help you prepare to make the career switch. For example, the Management Consulting Group runs a couple of conferences in the fall quarter to help you prepare for consulting-type interviews. Career services will also runs a large number of events to help you prepare for networking, reaching out to firms, and interviews. As I mentioned earlier, the flexibility of the curriculum allows you to take strategy classes starting in your first quarter, which will also help you prepare for the interviews and the summer. Another great resource is second year students, who have already gone through the process. I am a Career Advisor and have already done over 30 mock interviews with first year students.
Betsy: I'm a Booth admit for the class of 2012 and interested in consulting and strategy, but don't currently work in consulting. What can/should I do now to prepare for the fall and internship recruiting?
Burgess: Hi Betsy! Congrats! I didn’t work in consulting before school, so I can certainly relate to you. I didn’t do any preparation for recruiting before my arrival, and I don’t really think you need to do anything. However, it doesn’t hurt to start researching firms and thinking about where you would like to work and why. Recruiting season can be hectic and thinking about firms and future positions would give you a great jumpstart.
TexMex: Thank you for hosting this chat. I am a first round admit with a undergraduate degree in the social sciences; are there certain courses that I should take during my first trimester to show the consulting companies that I am a good candidate for a summer internship?
Alex: In the first quarter students likely start with microeconomics (a prerequisite to Competitive Strategy) and additionally many students elect to take marketing strategy. Over your first two quarters it is very helpful to have micro, competitive strategy, marketing, and accounting/corporation finance when entering into the interviews. The great thing about strategy consulting is that there is no proscribed curriculum but rather its helpful to get broad exposure to different functions and industries through various courses.
SB: Thank you for this opportunity. For the students who are joining Management Consulting firms after graduation, how is the location (city) of your job determined? Do you get to pick? Is it based on the industry you would like to eventually focus on, if you have such an interest? or is it based on something else entirely? Thanks
Burgess: Hi SB! City selection can vary by firm. Generally speaking, the smaller consulting firms may only have a few offices, so you would be restricted to those cities. The larger firms ask you to select the city (or cities) in which you would be willing to work. The firms may also ask why you are interested in those particular cities. Answers vary by person – either personal/family preference, industry focus, etc. From my experience, the firms are really open to your preferences but will ask for your rationale supporting your selections.
JR2012: Hi everybody - thanks for hosting. I am happy to report that I am a new admit for this Fall. Unfortunately, I recently lost my job; so, I have some free time on my hands. Do any of you have any suggestions on what I can do to help prepare myself for a job in consulting over the next few months? I have already started to briefly look over case studies, etc.; but, I was wondering if there was something any of you might have wished you could have spent some time at prior to school starting. FYI, I come from an engineering background, and I will be pursuing a top consulting position. Thanks!
Andrew: Hi there! Sorry to hear about the job. I personally think you are doing the right thing by reading up on cases (such as Case in Point), since this is a big part of the interview process. There's a good blog to catch up on called 'ManagementConsulted' too. You could also start getting familiar and comfortable with the business press - FT, WSJ, Economist - so that you have a broader understanding of how companies deal with their strategic issues. You can sometimes find consulting research online from the big strategy firms, and these are worth reading. Don't worry about all of this too much, though, since you will have a lot of support in building up your knowledge when you are here. Make sure you take a break, go on vacation and enjoy the time off before it all goes crazy when you get here!
Andy: Hi all - thanks for hosting this chat. I was wondering to what degree does the flexible curriculum at Booth help career switchers land a summer internship in consulting. Can I load up classes specifically geared toward consulting in the first quarter, and will that have a significant impact on my chances? Thanks very much.
Felipe: Hi Andy. Yes, you can load up on classes that can help you with recruiting. You can take classes such as Marketing Strategy and Competitive Strategy in the first quarter. If you are a career switcher, these classes can be tremendously helpful. In regards to having a significant impact on your chances it really depends. I have worked with many first year students that did not take these classes, were career switchers, and have done extremely well, mostly because they did a lot of interview-prep. Some first year students do about 20-30 mock case interviews before getting to the real deal…this is particularly important for career switchers.
Joshua: Good morning everyone, and thanks for your time today. I was curious to know are there any international applicants adimitted in round 3 recent years.
Joanne: Hi Joshua. Yes, international students apply to and are admitted in Round 3, certainly. Though Round 3 is the smallest in terms of volume, we see a wide variety of students applying from all over the globe.
Jacqueline: Why did you choose to concentrate in strategy and consulting?
Alex: Booth offers a Strategic Management concentration in which courses focus on business strategy; common economic frameworks; and case classes where students can debate the relative merits of different strategies. Most aspiring consultants choose this because it provides broad exposure to different industries, companies, and analogs that are useful in interviews and internships.
MICHMILL: Here's an easy question to start off: Watching undergrad recruiting in consulting, it looked like recruiting dropped off pretty drastically this year compared to the previous two years--what did it look like for MBAs at Booth?
Pam: We look at internships and full-time. For full-time (the class of 2009), hiring was down from 2008 (which was a peak compared to the last several years) and some students had start dates pushed back (although, some firms moved them forward in the Fall). For internships, they were down slightly - maybe about 15-20% for the larger firms. This was likely reflective of their total hiring, not Booth specific.
JR2012: I have recently come across discussions regarding gmat and post-mba aspirations. Do any of you feel that a high gmat score is a prereq. to find a top consulting job? If so, how high?
Alex: The GMAT is a data point that consulting firms use during the application process. How it is used and to what degree it counts towards getting an interview is only known to the individual firms.
G-429912522: What sets Booth apart from other top MBA programs in preparing students to work in strategy consulting?
Wayland: That's a good question. You'll find at Booth extensive career resources focused on consulting careers. This takes the form of programming that will help you identify the particular strengths of your candidacy, research resources that will give you a competitive edge in researching firms and preparing for your interviews, as well as a robust career coaching team. On the academic side, Booth's multi-disciplinary approach to solving business problems will equip students to face client problems confidently when they are on the job. The approach at Chicago is very rigorous, and this translates into a more robust approach to problem-solving, a critical skill set for consulting.
Dave: Did you prepare for case interviews via coursework directly, through student organizations, or primarily through self-study?
Alex: Case interview preparation is primarily done through the Management Consulting Group, the consulting firms (sessions with students on campus or local offices), your peers, and second year students with firm experience. In order to maximize each of the above opportunities it helps to do self-study using materials provided by career services, management consulting group, and the case books.
YZ: Hello! How does Booth prepare students academically to excel in strategy consulting?
Andrew: I think Booth does a really good job of preparing us academically for this industry. Overall, the approach to learning is fact-based backed up by rigorous research - and this is something the top firms really value when developing solutions for clients. In practical terms, it means it feels like we can talk at an equal level with senior partners at client organizations. There's also specific classes which help - Technology Strategy, Strategic Planning and Competitive Strategy have all been really good classes in that regard. I also really liked the LEAD class - its really improved my ability to unravel the personality types of others, and I think that's a really important skill here too.
Andrew: Do you see many students now at Booth who were previously in finance/banking and are now considering switching to consulting? What specific challenges do those studens commonly face?
Pam: Sure, there are many students who want to transition from finance/banking to consulting (and many from other careers as well). Consulting is generally a good career for career-switchers because it values diverse experiences. Some challenges: (1) Translate your skills. Yes, consulting involves financial modeling, but it involves marketing, operations, market sizing, change management, etc. So, if you only focus on the quantitative, you could miss. (2) Industry knowledge - consultants work across diverse industries and many firms want you to be a generalist for a while. Thus, demonstrating knowledge outside the industry is helpful.
Kiran: A lot of you seem to be returning to the companies you did your internship. Does that mean getting your internship company right is very important if I want to work there after graduating? Thanks.
Andrew: Hi Kiran, that's a really good question. A lot of people who enjoyed consulting over the summer do end up getting offers from those companies and then accept those offers. However, some people do not - generally they don't like the industry or they don't fit with the company. If the latter is the case, you can recruit with other firms that you feel you might be better suited to. If you do, those companies will want to know what happened and why you think you would be suited to another firm. I wouldn't sweat finding the right company for an internship - its very hard to tell between them at that early stage and most people find that they naturally home in on where they fit best.
VictoriaC: I have a couple of questions for Alison. Why did you decide to pursue a career in consulting? How did Booth help you transition from your non-profit career into consulting?
Allison: I think consulting is probably the best way to get great training and experience in the private sector. In the longer-term I will probably go back into the education world and I think my experience in consulting will make me a better problem-solver and manager no matter what I do. Being at Booth is really helpful for the transition from non-profit to consulting. Consulting firms actually really appreciate people with different backgrounds, but they tend to be a little wary of people coming from non-profit and teaching because they are so different. Because of Booth's quantitative focus and reputation for being a rigorous school I felt like I was given the benefit of the doubt to start with and then had to prove myself in the case interview.
TexMex: I understand that last year some consulting companies asked canidates to delay their start date after graduation for up to 9 months. Has that been the case for this years graduates? Have you seen the number of offers from consulting companies change during the last three years?
Pam: Let's start with the start date delay first. With most firms, students don't start until Aug-Oct, which for Chicago Booth is 2-3 months post grad. There were a few firms who did voluntary delays of start dates, some created more of a spread of when the class started and yes some pushed them to the Feb/Mar timeframe (although, several actually had these students start in the fall - earlier than expected). We saw this in the prior downturn of the economy in 2002. The class of 2010 is not seeing anything to indicate large pushes in start dates, but, some firms are still spreading when the class starts and often, start date timing is based on your accept date. Likely, this year, the number of offers will increase as the economy improves, better than last year, but, likely not to the 2008 levels which were a peak from the past 5-6 years.
G-429935176: Firstly, thanks for answering our questions. I wanted to know more about consulting placements in the emerging markets. Do consulting firms offer summer placements and recruitment for the Asia, Africa or Latin American offices as well, or are they more focused on US/EU?
Wayland: Depending on the firm, there will be opportunities in different regions of the world. You need to show a real and sincere interest in the region, as well as commitment there long term in order to be taken seriously. And of course, the language and culture familiarity helps, as well.
Moderator: We're halfway through the chat and we've had lots of great questions so far! Our students and Career Services staff are eager to continue the dialogue. Continue submitting your questions!
Moderator: You can check out their bios here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/boothconnect/fulltime/StrategyConsultingChat.aspx
jamie: Good morning. What have been your favorite electives that compliment your desire to concentrate in Strategy? If you have any favorite electives that also involve International Studies or Global Business, I would be most interested to hear about those. Thank you.
Burgess: Hi Jamie! I have really enjoyed all my electives at Booth (Competitive Strategy, Business Policy, Strategic Planning, Strategy and Structure, etc.). I have not yet taken any classes related to international business, although have heard great things about Managing the Firm in a Global Economy. My favorite class thus far was Managerial Decision Making. The class related to understanding how “average” people think irrationally and how decisions can be improved (or more rational). It was a great class that helped me think through decisions more logically and can directly apply to future strategic actions.
Dan: Does Alison feel she has a unique advantage as a dual degree student?
Allison: I think being a dual degree student had some benefit as it set me apart from other people and also meant that I had an extra year of classes and an extra summer internship. All of that might have helped get me in the door for an interview (though I'm not sure how much weight it carried), but after that it's all about doing well in the case interview.
bridge: What type of opportunities are there to get involved as a student and gain leadership opportunities?
Alex: Student can be involved in the leadership in several ways. 1)Student can lead the various career and social clubs. 2)Students can be involved in the graduate business council which is similar to other school governments. 3)Students can become LEAD facilitators (ask Andrew about that). 4) Students can join various administration/student partnerships such as the Marketing Committee, Admissions Fellows, and Admissions Committee.
Brian_1: To bridge academics, what opportunities do Booth students have to practice consulting skill-sets in an experiential learning setting?
Andrew: Hi Brian. There seems to be a lot of good experiential learning opportunities here at Booth. Perhaps the most relevant is Management Lab, essentially a mini-consulting case for real clients who parcel out a piece of work to a group of students. The school takes part in, and does very well in, the national case competitions sponsored by the large consulting firms. In general, student group leadership (whether consulting linked or not), student government and other lab classes like LEAD all contribute to being a well-rounded candidate.
G-429983606: Hi Felipe. Which experiential opportunities at Booth do you think provided you with the most transferable skills (hard or soft) for your internship/full-time job?
Felipe: Hi. Early on in my time at Booth I participated in the Leadership Challenge, which is a part of the LEAD program. As part of the Leadership Challenge, we were paired up with a fellow classmate and we were placed in simulated environment where we had to deal with conflict. On the other side of the simulation, we had experienced alumni playing the part of clients, board members, etc. I chose the consulting simulation, and it was by far the most valuable experience I’ve had at Booth, in part because it gave me such a realistic experience that taught me a lot about how to deal with conflict in a high-stress environment.
Nilesh: From admissions point of view, what does booth look in an applicant in strategy area? For instance, I do not really have workex related to strategy/consulting but am very much interested. So is background in this field a must?
Joanne: For those interested in pursuing consulting, past work experience isn't really an issue from an admissions perspective, as there are so many transferable skills from past work experience to a future in consulting. Many students without consulting or strategy work experience will still be successful in their field, and along with the skills and network at Chicago Booth, your ability to find jobs and internships will be good. From an admissions perspective, your aim in your application is to clearly state your goals, your need for the MBA and your proposed path or plan to get you to your intended job or career.
Dave: How much flexibility is afforded to entering associates on where they live? Do you feel that your home location dictates the types of clients you will have (i.e. you have primarily manufacturing clients in Chicago, financial ones in New York, and technology ones in SoCal)?
Pam: Some of the firms ask you your office preference during the recruiting process - and that is the office you interview for, where your internship and full-time offer are. Some firms have "virtual offices," but this is less common with the larger firms. Yes, in many cases, the office drives the type of work you do. The work is driven the partners and where they are based is often where they staff the team - some firms do have more regional or global models, but, office is a key influencer. In the recruiting process, you are encouraged to think about where you want to be and if you have industries/type of work you are interested in, you should meet the team and determine if they do more or less of that work. Also, you want to learn the firms staffing models - each does this a bit different. Also, your geographic alignment is not necessarily the case (Chicago has lots of CPG, NY has many Pharma/Media, and SoCal has insurance, media, aerospace). So, the research you do in advance of the interview is really important.
Becky: Mr. Campbell, I recently graduated with a BA in Political Science. I'm interested in a career in consulting. Could you tell me what attracted you to consulting and what your experience was like during your internship with BCG?
Alex: Consulting is great place for liberal arts majors! I wanted a position where I could work on new problems all the time. Consulting was the most obvious fit. I interned in the Chicago office of BCG where my team developed a new commercial strategy for a recently merged pharma company. I really enjoyed the case, the clients that we worked with, and my BCG team. They were all factors that contributed to my decision to return full-time.
Dapo: Hi Everyone my name is Dapo and i am a propective candidate for this year's fall program. My question goes to Felipe. Management consulting is really what i want to specialize in on the short term. Felipe what are your experiences and what am i to expect.Also could you describe a typical work week
Felipe: Hi Dapo, sorry for the long wait. Consulting is a really interesting career option because you are constantly given the opportunity to work on high-level problems on an on-going basis. Every three to four months you are moving from one company to another, which gives consultants a unique learning experience. Consulting is high paced, you travel a lot (typically from Monday to Thursday) to work directly at the client site, and you tend to work long hours. Consulting firms have a ton of great resources to help you grow within the firm and learn how to be a good communicator, how to analyze and structure problems effectively, etc. In terms of a typical work week, it’s hard to say because every week is different, which is in part what makes consulting so dynamic and interesting. You can expect to be working at the client site, working on presentation documents, and running the necessary analysis of a specific part of a project.
nirav: Do consulting firms look for particular concentrations when hiring?
Wayland: Consulting firms are actually quite open to different types of backgrounds and concentrations. More importantly is being able to explain how your background and how your concentration applies well to consulting. So, having a great story and making that connection to consulting is very key.
Avi: Could you please explain what are the current recruiting trends by consulting companies in view of the current economic climate. How is the school assiting in finding employment with these companies? If there is trouble in finding a position in consulting does persuing a consulting related concentration prove a problem in finding alternative employment in general management or the like?
Wayland: We have seen slightly increased numbers this year for consulting hiring, indicating a measured approach by firms given the current market. Booth has strong relationships with the major consulting firms, as well as small and mid-size firms that students may be interested in. Academically, strategy focused coursework should serve you well for both consulting roles and corporate strategy positions. There's nice overlap there.
nirav: Andrew, coming from financial services are there any particular considerations to focus on while transitioning to consulting?
Andrew: Hi Nirav. There's actually a lot of commonality between FS and consulting - both are high performing organizations with a high level of intellectual thought. The differences I found (and, sometimes had a hard time dealing with) is that FS tends to be rather individualistic, the focus in consulting is on teamwork and is a lot 'softer'. This does take some individual development and self-reflection to build these skills out.
Betsy: How does recruiting for consulting internships work at Booth, i.e. about how many companies recruit on-campus, how many positions do they offer, and what is the breakdown of closed interviews to interviews open to bid?
Wayland: The larger consulting firms will recruit on campus, starting in mid/late October with corporate conversations, meet 'n greets, coffee chats and other networking events with company reps that will give you an opportunity to get to know people at the firm and vice versa. About 15 major consulting firms recruit on campus, with additional firms posting opportunities instead of actually coming to campus. Approximately 100 of our first-year students will land consulting internships and about the same number of second years will land consulting full-time offers. The breakdown of closed ('invitational') to bid interviews depends on the firm, but each firm is required to provide a certain percentage of bid slots based on the number of invitational slots they have in their interview schedule.
mw: Are there region-based preferences you've seen for strategy (in-house at companies) and not necessarily consulting? I know of the big city hotspots but I was wondering if you could speak to the recruiting and the types of strategy-oriented jobs available in the south (TX, GA, FL, etc)
Wayland: There are opportunities in the South with corporates and the way to find them is several fold: (1) our Employer Development team focuses on specific regions of the U.S. and globally, and will uncover different opportunities at both large corporates and other lesser known companies that still have great MBA-level opportunities, (2) we have extensive research capabilities through our Career Resource Center (CRC), and the CRC staff provides programming to teach you how to find these firms and opportunities in any geography, and(3) we teach you how to effectively reach out to alumni in specific geographies, and this will also be an important piece of your search.
Steve: Hello Felipe. How would you describe your summer experience? Which office are you going to be joining?
Felipe: Hi Steve. My summer experience was fantastic. I got to work on a short, two month study, from beginning to end. As a Summer Associate I was given the same responsibilities that they typically give full-time Associates, which entailed being responsible for a large work stream within the project. My part of the project was designing and executing a large marketing research campaign, which included focus groups and quantitative surveys. I was given complete leeway to design the research, which was a key piece of our overall analysis. Afterward, I was responsible for using the results from the research to start developing the intended solution. It was a ton of work but I loved every minute of it. I will be joining the Bogota office.
dimitry: Good morning! Thank you so much for chatting with us. What classes at Booth do you think most prepared you for work in consulting? Are there any classes that you think prepared you most for the "consulting environment"?
Burgess: Hi Dimitry! So many classes at Booth have helped me prepare for consulting. I have a financial services background and therefore really focused on the strategy classes. In particular, Competitive Strategy, Business Policy, Strategy and Structure, and Strategic Planning have been particularly helpful. These classes are all case-based and have you work in teams to discuss the strategic decisions the firms face. These classes have really helped me prepare by thinking through issues and constructively problem solving with others.
G-429983499: Hi! I am applying to be a MPP/MBA candidate, so this question is primarily directed to Alison: Were you able to apply for summer internships opportunities that were focused on public sector issues or did you do your recruiting as a generalist? Are there any specific resources for seeking public sector/ government consulting opportunities? Thank you in advance for your help.
Allison: One of the benefits of the joint degree program is that it's 3 years so you get to do 2 internships. Public sector consulting firms recruit at Harris and all of the generalist firms recruit at Booth. So if you are interested in public sector recruiting, being enrolled at both schools can definitely help. Harris has connections and resources in public sector consulting, which is definitely helpful, though I'm guessing that Booth's career services staff can also help with that. I did my policy internship at the Chicago Mayor's Office (kind of an internal consulting position) and then recruited as a generalist in consulting for my second internship.
Soni: Thank you for taking the time to answer questions! For those of you who hadn't done consulting work prior to your internship, what surprised you the most?
Allison: I was really impressed with the mentorship, training, and feedback I received over the summer at Bain. Consulting is a demanding job that really is different from other professions so it can be hard to get used to. When you come in with a non-consulting background, they are fully aware of where you stand and work hard to teach you what you need to know. I had frequent contact with my manager and the consultants on my team and they constantly gave me informal and formal feedback. I really felt like they cared deeply about my success and development. This type of mentorship and training (formal and informal) continues for as long as you are at the firm and I think it's amazing what they do to develop their people.
aviad: Hi all, what other strategy positions besides consulting are available to Booth graduates?
Pam: There is corporate strategy within corporations, internal consulting and some corporate development/business development which involve strategy. Also, some students pursue operations roles in a portfolio company of a PE firm, which a lot of times involves doing strategy work. Same for non-profits/microfinance. So, there are numerous firms where you can do strategy.
MJ_1: When you were applying to B Schools did you know you wanted to go into consulting? And if so, what made you choose Booth over other schools?
Burgess: Hi MJ_1! When applying to business school I was pretty sure I wanted to go into consulting. I chose to attend Booth because I (1) really liked all the people I met and (2) valued the flexible curriculum. Since I have a background in finance, I liked that Booth would allow me to choose the classes I wanted/needed to take to prepare me for my future career. That is something I hadn’t really found at other schools and wanted to be sure every class I took was a class I really wanted to take.
Andy: Hi Andrew! Could you please describe how you marketed your financial services operations experience to consulting firms during the summer recruiting process?
Andrew: Hi Andy. That exact point came up a lot in interviews... 'so why don't you want to be a banker?'. Its really important to tackle these questions head on, so its important to have a story. Mine was simply that it was too narrow for the sort of things I want to do. Its important, however, to show value in what has gone before in terms of how it would relate to consulting - so I stressed on my resume and in interviews the project-nature of things I worked on, the teamwork (where I could) and the strategic developments I was engaged on. Its not like you have to ignore what happened in the past completely - they do value the diversity in experiences... its just a case of positioning. Luckily, Career Services is very good at coaching you through this!
Nilesh: How is H1 visa issues affecting international students, specially in consulting area?
Pam: Nilesh, we recognize that in the current environment, this is an ongoing challenge for students with an H1 visa. For corporates, some firms require work authorization, some don't. It depends on their talent strategy. For banking, after last year's TARP issues, some of the banks have started to move away from work authorization (and a few banks were not part of TARP). For consulting, most of the large firms did not change their work authorization requirements - they have hired with or without. A few of the smaller hirers of MBAs still require work authorization, but, we see that they are continuously evaluating this. They may require in the fall for full-time and change for internships. They monitor given the economy. Career Services works with the firms and does our best to try to keep students informed on a real time basis.
MG: Andrew : Can you please tell me about your experience as LEAD Facilitator and what inspired you to take up this position ?
Andrew: LEAD has been a really interesting experience for me. It does take up a lot of time and is a full year commitment. The plus sides are that you get to have a really positive impact on the next year's class intake in how they kick-off their MBA experience. You also get, by virtue of the content of the modules we facilitate, a really good understanding of how people tick. I really enjoy Organizational Behavior as a topic, so this was an obvious choice for me. I am pleased to say this experience is also something that consulting firms value - whether as a participant or as a facilitator - as it makes us much more well-rounded than a typical MBA hire.
Libby: I noticed that Alex had international consulting experience in Australia. What are some tips for getting involved in consulting in foreign countries, and how did Booth in particular prepare you for that?
Andrew: Hi Libby. The big consulting firms actually are really keen to get people to apply internationally if they have the desire. Usually, there's a single, global application process where the candidate selects a range of offices they wish to apply to. In my case, I wanted to see what Australia would be like to work in and Bain were more than happy to give me that chance. I used Booth to find alum in Australia in consulting to get a better perspective of the market and what it was like to live there. I am really pleased I did it.
Evan: Hi Burgess, At the beginning of my b-school research, I had the opportunity to have an hour-long conversation with Evren Sungur about Booth and the MCG. But that conversation was many months ago. In terms of the MCG's relationship with consulting firms, and MCG's strategy for building new and/or deeper relationships, what are MCG's priorities for the year? How do you envision these priorities shifting in the coming years? Thanks!
Burgess: Hi Evan! MCG has strong relationships with all of our sponsors. MCG and Chicago Booth are constantly working to deepen and broaden our relationships with firms. MCG is about to transition to new co-chairs, and I can’t imagine these priorities changing. However, I believe the new co-chairs will continue to focus on developing relationships with boutique firms as well as firms with more of an international presence.
dimitry: Besides the Consulting Group, what other clubs did you join that helped you prepare for a career in consulting? Thanks.
Alex: I joined the Business Solutions Group in my first quarter which gives students the chance to work on a real consulting engagement with a local firm. Our team of first years was guided by second year student and mentored by consultants. BSG gets consultants from several firms to serve as mentors and judges of projects. It was how I made my first connections with BCG.
nick: Felippe,Can you please tell me how does Economics concentration apply to consulting?
Alex: The Economics concentration provides several models and concepts that are immediately applicable to strategy consulting. Microeconomics specifically has a significant impact on how to view markets and competitive behavior. Many Booth faculty teach both strategy and economics courses further intertwining the material.
lred_1: Based on Alex's remarks regarding the GMAT, does the career services team ever recommend students to retake the GMAT?
Pam: I think Alex gave a really good view of this - so, we generally have a discussion with you about your overall background. If you have a comprehensive background that is well positioned for consulting and you have strong academics and evidence of quantitative skills, we don't necessarily encourage it. We will however work with you on that hurdle and talk about other things you can do to stress your skills and capabilities. Like business school, the consulting firms have a range that they look at for the GMAT. It's pretty individual, so, if you are looking at your situation, it is worth talking to a current student or Booth's Career Services before you matriculate.
G-430104130: Hi, my name is Lauren and I am currently working at one of the big consultancies with a focus on finance information systems, but I eventually want to transition to a strategy role after pursuing an MBA. As many of you have interned at consultancies and have experience in the field, how has that experience shaped your curriculum and campus involvement decisions in your 2nd year?
Andrew: Hi Lauren. I think its fair to say that Booth students tend to shape their curriculum based on what they like and what they are interested in, as opposed to aligning it really closely with the consulting industry. But, since people tend to go into industries they like, they end up being pretty similar anyway. In terms of campus involvement, again, I think this is driven by personal interest (eg. Wine Club) - though some people (such as Burgess, also on this chat) get heavily involved with the Management Consulting Group by volunteering as a co-chair. Overall, the Booth philosophy is about personal challenge and development, so its case of you decide, rather than it is decided for you. I hope that helps.
TSRittle: What percentage of Booth / Consulting graduates work in Chicago post graduation? Can you expound upon the opportunities to obtain a consulting career based in other cities around the U.S. or internationally?
Wayland: About 50 '09 graduates took pure consulting opportunities in Chicago, and 113 '09 Booth total stayed in Chicago post-graduation. Some grads landed other strategy-related roles within corporates. With the larger, more global firms, there are opportunities in other U.S. cities and internationally. We encourage students focusing on specific regions to think about why they want to be there and what they can offer in a consulting role in the region, based on their background, skills, etc.
Paulo: Hi Wayland and Pam! In the recruiters point of view, which qualities of the Booth MBA students they like at most?
Wayland: Paulo, good question. There are many qualities that you'll hear most recruiters mention - Strong analytical skills, great people skills, particularly working well in teams, confidence tempered with humility,being a good leader (and knowing when to be a good follower), there are many.
chastushka_guy: hi, could you tell me more precisely about the sources that help students to make career choices?
Allison: Career Services at Booth is incredible. They are really helpful when you get here in the fall, providing presentations and panel discussions about different career paths. There is also an army of second-year students who are available to help you decide how to focus your recruiting and be successful in securing an internship. In addition, there are student groups for every career area that also provide programming, bring in speakers, and provide support for your job search. Overall you have a lot of resources at your disposal here to get advice and support about career decisions.
JR2012: Hi Alison - your background aligns very well with my future goals. Based on your previous experience, will you be focusing on either public or social consulting at Bain? Do you have a choice to do so?
Allison: Bain does not have public or social consulting practices, actually, so I will be focused mostly on private sector. They do some pro-bono work, but they actually spun off Bridgespan Consulting which does exclusively social consulting and I might be interested in going there in the future. As a consultant at Bain you can do a 6 month rotation into Bridgespan, which can definitely help you get your foot in the door if that is something you are interested in. At Bain I will get great training and mentorship that will be valuable no matter where I go in the future.
bridge: Is there anywhere online to find out what elective courses are offered? I have had trouble finding this on the Booth site.
Joanne: Chicago Booth's flexible curriculum ensures that technically, all courses are elective ones; while we do have a core curriculum, you as the student get to choose which class fits the required area best. On our website, there are a few areas you should check out. This one, http://boothportal.chicagobooth.edu/portal/server.pt/community/courses/205, lists our courses by discipline area. The curriculum website details the requirements and choices to fulfill them: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/academics/curriculum/index.aspx. Finally, the concentrations page can help you get a sense of which courses will fulfill the 14 concentrations that Booth offers: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/academics/curriculum/concentrations/index.aspx.
chastushka_guy: Mr. Campbell could you explain the influence of your major in history on your current career position in consulting? thanks in advance. Ivan
Alex: Honestly there is very little content cross-over but there is some skill carry over. Being able to communicate clearly with clients through e-mail or powerpoint is key to develop strong client relationships. Writing tons of papers in college helped me to develop communication skills that have served me well at both Booth and BCG.
Daniel: Hi, many thanks for taking the time to chat to us. To the current students entering consulting, how have did the consulting club assist with your interview prep etc?
Burgess: Hi Daniel! Booth’s Management Consulting Group (MCG) helps a lot with interview prep. In November, MCG held a Consulting Forum for first-year members that introduced the interview process, cases and even demonstrated case interviews. In January, MCG held a Case Workshop that allowed students to practice cases with consultants from all the major consulting firms. Additionally, MCG provides a case book, and other organized case practice opportunities for members. Booth’s Career Services are also amazing. Career Services offers many consulting-focused events to help students prepare for interviews, particularly the fit portion of the interview.
Nageshwara: This one is for Felipe. You appear to have worked previously in a family business. For someone who wants to move into family business post MBA, how does a consulting experience and the Booth MBA experience help in making this move?
Felipe: Hi Nageshwara. Working in consulting gives you many transferable skills you can leverage once you move on to the family business. These would include the ability to quickly diagnose and determine potential problems or areas of improvement in a business, designing and implementing the strategy of the firm, and communicating your ideas and recommendations in a succinct and convincing fashion. Overall, it helps you become a more structured thinker. These are all things that go hand-in-hand with what you will learn at Booth. I had the opportunity to work in the family business after doing consulting, and I think it was very helpful when dealing with the Board of Directors, the executive committee, etc.
InJune: After graduation, which position level does normally student get at the consulting firm?(project manager? senior consultant?)
Pam: Most MBAs enter consulting firms as Associates (this is the entry MBA level). If you are sponsored, this may change. If you have prior consulting experience, unless it is with a peer firm, you are likely to enter as an Associate. The next step is usually manager/project manager/engagement manager. Most of the large consulting firms have the career path on their websites, I'd encourage to you look through this as it also gives a nice overview of progression in consulting.
Jacqueline: What advice would you give to a first year student that was not given to you?
Andrew: My personal view is that you should really try and be yourself (don't try and impress others by being someone you are not) and to enjoy it (two years is a very short time). I think its vital to jump in with two feet and push yourself out of your comfort zone, as you will never get an experience like it again! Good question :)
G-352416609: Hi everyone - based on my conversations with a couple of current students who have gone into consulting, I understand that networking is a very big part of the recruiting process for consulting. In fact, I was told that a lot of times, companies offer their closed-list interview slots based on how often you've talked to them. Is this representation true? If so, can you elaborate on what "networking" actually means?
Alex: Networking is the act of building relationships with strangers based on your mutual affinity for something in this case consulting. Consulting firms are keen on professional presence since they put you in front of clients and clients' customers on a regular basis. Networking events are opportunities to assess your social interactions and for you to demonstrate things about yourself that don't appear on the resume. Having compelling interactions with consultants from your choice firms will help you make the closed list. So it's not number of interactions but quality that counts most.
Burgess: Wow, so many great questions! Thank you all so much for participating in today’s chat!
Meenal: Amongsts the various groups/clubs at Booth, which are must for consulting and strategy?
Felipe: Hi Meenal, there are two main groups that are in charge of helping students get careers in consulting and/or corporate strategy: the Management Consulting Group, and the Corporate Strategy and Management Group. I would say that the Marketing Group can also be very helpful. There are also many Treks (trips) to different regions (locally and internationally), where you get to visit firms, which may include consulting firms.
Argentina: Hi Burgess, I have a career in private equity but i'm interested in consulting. Do you think joining the Management Consulting Group during first year would help me better understand the industry or should I first take courses in strategy/management and then join the Group in 2nd year?
Burgess: Hi Argentina! I definitely recommend joining the Management Consulting Group (MCG) in the first year. MCG provides both networking opportunities with the firms and interview preparation. The first-year members have a busy fall schedule with weekly MCG events that introduce the various consulting firms to the students. As the fall quarter progresses, many events shift the focus to interview preparation. I definitely recommend MCG, but there are many great strategy courses at Booth. There is no reason you can’t do both!
bridge: What skills and knowledge do you think you have best developped during the program?
Allison: Hi Bridge! Not sure if you mean at Booth or at Bain, so I'll answer both. At Booth I have gained a lot of important specific business knowledge (accounting, economics, investments, etc). Booth's program is pretty rigorous and I think it provides a really great education. I have also taken a lot of strategy classes which have helped me frame big picture strategic questions. Especially as someone without a business background, I feel my education at Booth is incredibly valuable. At Bain I had the chance to apply a lot of the tools I learned at Booth. There I learned how you take those big, ambiguous strategic questions and break them down in order to solve them. The combination is really incredible - I feel like I am a much better problem-solver than I was a few years ago.
G-429935176: Hi Felipe, all the best for a great career at McK! Coming from a consulting background, what did you think were the key learning points for you at Booth? How has the education at Booth helped you as you go back to the consulting industry? What would you suggest for aspiring applicants from consulting industry interested in advancing their careers?
Felipe: I came to Booth mostly for the academic experience given that I knew that I wanted to go back to consulting. My main goal was to learn more about Economics in general, which is why I have taken several courses in Economics including microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic development, competitive strategy, economic analysis of policy issues, and Asian economies and business. Thanks to these classes my understanding of the underlying factors that influence business and our society as a whole has been greatly expanded. So I would say that my key learning at Booth has been developing a broader economic mindset. As I go back into consulting, my experience at Booth will be helpful as I begin to focus on the type of consulting work that I want to do, which is helping governments with their most pressing economic development issues. It has also helped me learn some very specific tools that I didn’t have in the past and will be very helpful for consulting. For those aspiring applicants that come from consulting and are interested in advancing their careers I would say to look at the MBA as an opportunity to truly expand your frontier of knowledge.
bridge: Is there anything about BOOTH that surprised you that you didn't expect coming into the program?
Felipe: I had no idea that Booth had such a fantastic set of entrepreneurship classes and professors. The entrepreneurship classes at Booth are world-class…the professors are top notch and have a ton of relevant experience. The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship has some very relevant and valuable programs such as the New Venture Challenge, which is a great opportunity for students to pursue their ideas.
Felipe: Goodbye everybody! It was a pleasure answering your questions. Good luck with the application process!
Joanne: Thanks to everyone for joining our chat today. Great questions!
Andrew: Hey guys - it was great talking to you all today. For those who are admitted, we look forward to seeing you in the Fall. For those applying - the best of luck to you.
Alex: Good-bye and good luck to those of you still applying. I hope we see you soon for those of you who have been accepted.
Allison: Thanks for joining the chat! I hope this was helpful for all of you. Booth is a great school and I have really enjoyed my time here.
Pam: We hope you found this valuable and identified good resources to learn about Consulting/Strategy careers, explore if it is the right fit for you, and begin to think about the preparation you can do over the summer. This is a great time to think about these things and Career Services is happy to support you before or after you matriculate. Good luck and we hope to see you in the Harper Center in the fall.
Waylund: Thanks to all of you for the great questions today! I hope our answers will be helpful for you as you begin to focus on a career and continue your decision-making process for schools. Best of luck!
Moderator: The chat has now ended. There were so many engaging questions that we're sorry we weren't able to answer them all. Please also check out the transcripts that will be posted later as we may have answered other questions similar to yours during the chat. Look for them here within 2 business days: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/chat/
Moderator: Thanks and have a great day.