Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 11:00 AM CST
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Victoria: Hello! Congratulations to recent admits for the Class of 2013. For prospective students, thanks for taking the time to learn more about Chicago Booth. We are all excited to be here.
Eddie: Good morning everyone. The snow is melting here in Chicago! Thanks for joining us.
Richard: Hello, My name is Richard Jones. I am second-year student at Chicago Booth concentrating in Finance, Marketing, and Accounting. Prior to business school, I worked in mergers & acquisitions, strategy, and application development roles in the industrials and software. Last summer, I interned in McKinsey & Company's New York office in the Corporate Finance Practice serving clients in the pharmaceutical and energy sectors. I will be returning to McKinsey & Company in their New York office. I look forward to answering any questions you may have about pursuing a career in consulting.
Fern: Good morning! I am Fern ONeill, a Career Coach in the Career Services office. I look forward to answering your consulting and strategy career related questions.
Haamed: Hi all, this is Haamed, happy to be here and look forward to our chat :)
Lindsay: Hi! Thanks for attending today's chat. We are excited to be here and are looking forward to helping answer some of your questions about Booth.
Janice: Hello, I'm Janice Farrar. I'm a relationship manager in Career Services. I manage our established on-campus corporate relationships with consulting firms, CPG companies, retail companies as well as healthcare and pharma companies. I'm happy to be online with you.
ankur: I would like to know how important is GMAT score in recruitment by consulting companies
Janice: Hi Ankur, GMAT scores are just a data point that consulting firms use to evaluate candidates during the recruiting process.
Mathew: Hi there
Mathew: I am Mathew from South Africa. Will be staying in the States post b-school so happy help out answering any questions about recruiting as an international student and living and working in the US.
Dongwon: Hi I'm Dongwon applied R2. I am wondering if there are any new business related strategy courses at Booth. And how can I find who's teaching in the class?
Richard: Hi Dongwon, you can find out about all our classes at the Booth Portal (http://boothportal.chicagobooth.edu). This portal has all the information related to courses and faculty. Booth introduced a new course this winter taught by Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, founders of Groupon and a number of other exciting start-ups. The course is titled Building Internet Start-ups: Risk, Reward, & Failure. The course is focused on the disruptive power of internet business models and is taught by two practitioners deeply involved in building disruptive internet business models.
Serena: Hello, I am honoured to join live chat at Booth. I am interested in applying Booth gradutate school. what qualities are required as a member of Booth?
Eddie: You'll get a very detailed look at what we are looking for in candidates on our website: www.chicagobooth.edu. Good leadership skills, management experience, good academic profile and a good understanding about Chicago Booth helps!
ankur: I would also like to know how many rounds of interview to top five consulting companies conduct before giving the offer? What are the key deciding factors apart from performance in case studies?
Lindsay: Hi Ankur. Great question.
Lindsay: These consulting firms typically hold two rounds of interviews, with each round consisting of two to three 45-60 minute individuals. The majority of these interviews are a mix of case and behavioral interviews, although some may be entirely case or entirely behavioral.
Lindsay: Hi Ankur. Great question. These consulting firms typically hold two rounds of interviews, with each round consisting of two to three 45-60 minute individuals. The majority of these interviews are a mix of case and behavioral interviews, although some may be entirely case or entirely behavioral. In terms of the deciding factors, I think each firm's focus is slightly different, but all firms are looking for candidates to demonstrate their analytical skills in the case in addition to general business sense. Structure in approaching the problem systematically reaching a recommendation is also critical--in fact most of the time the process in reaching an "answer" is more important than the answer itself. Interviewers are also looking to see that the candidate is someone they would enjoy working with on a team.
Lindsay: In terms of the deciding factors, I think each firm's focus is slightly different, but all firms are looking for candidates to demonstrate their analytical skills in the case in addition to general business sense. Structure in approaching the problem systematically reaching a recommendation is also critical--in fact most of the time the process in reaching an "answer" is more important than the answer itself. Interviewers are also looking to see that the candidate is someone they would enjoy working with on a team.
Yoav: Hi everybody, I wanted to know if there is anything I can do before I will get to Booth in order to prepare myself to the consulting/strategy path?
Fern: Hi Yoav! There are a number of things you can do before getting to Booth to prepare for a consulting/strategy role. First, you can reach out to people you know in consulting to learn more about the role, the skills they use and what a typical day/week is like.
Fern: Secondly, you can begin to work on your resume and think about the transferable skills you have for consulting.
Fern: Third, you can review the websites of consulting firms that interest you. You can also reach out to Booth students and alumni who work at your target firms. Finally, you will have the opportunity to take CareerLeader, an assessment tool that can help you identify the career that is right for you.
SK: What are some of the companies that come for recruitment in consulting?
Janice: Hi SK,
Janice: There are quite a few firms that come to campus for consulting. Companies like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, A.T.Kearney, Accenture, IBM, The Cambridge Group, Booz & Co., ZS Associates just to name a few. Please feel free to view our Employment Report on our website for a more robust list of consulting firms that recruit our students.
G-247520394: A number of people have told me that consulting can provide a strong foundation for entrepreneurship, innovation and product development. This is where I want to direct my career. Do you recommend strategy / management consulting for this career path?
Haamed: Strategy/management consulting can definitely be a great foundation for many other career paths like marketing and entrepreneurship. Using my consulting experience with Deloitte and most recently Booz & Co, I have been able to start working toward a new venture through the new venture challenge here at Chicago Booth. Consulting can give you great breadth, although if you are interested in specific type of entrepreneurship path or industry, you may want to consider a corporate role that can provide that depth.
SK: When does one have to start looking for internship positions in consulting firms?
Mathew: Hi there SK,
Mathew: The recruiting process starts quite early in the school year. Core begins in early September, and during the three weeks of Core students are introduced to Career Services and the recruiting process. In late October, the companies begin coming on campus to introduce themselves and host coffee-chats, which goes on until early December.
Mathew: It does start quite early but Career Services and the MCG (Management Consulting Group) really do help students to navigate this process and get on the ball.
G-223517319: For current students who didn't have a consulting background pre-MBA: Why did you choose consulting and how did Booth play a part in your decision? Additionally, did Booth provide additional extracurricular or cocurricular learning opportunities about your career choice? Lastly, how do you think Booth prepared your transition into consulting?
Victoria: I didn't have a consulting background before business school. However, I was on the client side of consulting and that experience sparked my interest. I would encourage others in a similar situation to reach out and ask these individuals about their experiences. The flexible curriculum at Booth was a decisive factor in my decision to matriculate. I was a finance major in undergrad and wanted to focus on strategy and marketing classes my first year. As a result, I was able to focus on weaker areas and was well prepared for my internship. Booth provided numerous formal and informal extracurricular opportunities. For example, Career Services, MCG group, First and Second year's all provided valuable guidance in my pursuit of a career in consulting.
Tandra_Bidyananda: What percentage of the MBA class has traditionaly got jobs in the Strategy Consulting domain?
Fern: Hi Tandra! Typically about 23% of Booth students land full-time positions in strategy consulting. The percentage is about 16% for internships. Consulting firms, unlike some other functions source full-time talent via both internship recruiting, and second year recruiting.
pecodilly: I have just been invited to interview and I would like to know what a typical interview entails and what is expected of the applicants during an interview. i would also like to receive tips for the interview
Eddie: It is a "blind" interview. The person interviewing you has not read your file. It will last for about 25 minutes with time for you to ask your interviewer a few questions as well. We are looking for your commitment to Chicago Booth and confidence that you know what you want out of your career with an MBA from Chicago Booth. It's good to review your application, hit a comfort zone when you are talking about yourself and your future plans and relax. Just be yourself.
rachita: How are the consulting opportunities for non american citizens(eg: Indians) in US and especially Chicago?
Fern: Hi Rachita! For consulting, most of the large firms will hire international students for both internships and full-time positions. Some of the smaller firms still require work authorization, but they are continuously evaluating this policy.
G-247515555: Hi, I was wondering what opportunities there are to get some real-world experience while in school.
Eddie: Many students take part in our labs and get a chance to work at companies in the city to solve real time problems with the staff. It's a great way to take what you are learning at Booth to a company.
G-158989572: Is it common for students to obtain a full-time job offer from consulting firms upon completion of internships?
Richard: The majority of firms will make full time offers upon completion of internships, particularly the larger firms. To the consulting firms, the internship is a 10-12 week interview for full-time work. The number of offers is dependent upon the economic cycle and the quality of the candidate pool. As the economy has improved during my time in school, the number of internship and full-time offers have increased dramatically.
Ready2011: In terms of preferred number of years of work experience prior to the MBA, do early career applicants have any advantage/disadvantage w.r.t strat/consulting recruitment?
Janice: Because our students typically have four years of work experience and are often career switchers, there is no real disadvantage for early career applicants. Consulting firms typically have robust training periods in which all new consultants will participate prior to being put on a client team. So you will be well prepared.
G-158989572: What qualities and skills of applicants are most valued by recruiters in consulting?
Janice: Some skills that are valuable are the ability to problem solve, great presentation skills, analytical skills are very important. Interpersonal skills are also very valuable as your ability to interact with the client is key.
Yoav: Which concentration should I choose if I would like to get into strategy consulting? and do you have any recommended courses?
Victoria: I wouldn't focus on what concentration to get if you are interested in strategy consulting. Rather, I would ask what concentrations interest you and work from there. There is no one magic concentration that all strategy consultants have. At Booth, you have the freedom to pursue one or multiple concentrations that interest you. I would recommend taking at least one strategy/case course your first quarter if you are interested in getting into strategy courses. Competitive Strategy, Marketing Strategy or Operations are all great choices.
Charles_Frederick: Hi, can you tell us about Booth student activities relating to Consulting, and some recent campus consulting events?
Haamed: Hi Charles.
Haamed: Most of the consulting activities at Booth are programmed through either Booth's Career Services or through Booth's Management Consulting Group (MCG).
Haamed: In terms of Career Services events, there are sessions designed to explore consulting as a career, understand the differences between corporate strategy and strategy consulting as well as many events geared to help you improve your resume, polish correspondence with recruiters and practice mock interviews. These were immensely helpful throughout the process.
Haamed: MCG focuses on helping students in 3 ways: (1) educating members on consulting as a career through Lunch 'n' Learns and joint programming with Booth Career Services, (2) helping students to develop relationships with firms through different networking events (First-year Networking Night, etc.), and (3) helping students secure jobs in consulting through resume reviews, our Consulting Forum focusing on the consulting interview, a case workshop and case interviews.
Haamed: You can see some of these events on the MCG website:
John: Good afternoon from the east coast! I currently work as a Performance Consultant which is a performance improvement role based in my company's training department. I'm interested in learning about how Chicago Booth prepares students for careers in consulting.
Mathew: Hi John,
Mathew: There are really three aspects to preparing for a role in consulting. It goes without saying that the first is definitely the rigorous and flexible curriculum which allows you to select and focus on your key areas of weakness in terms of technical skills. For me, coming out of an engineering background, my weakness was in finance and accounting and so I have been able to pick up on this. Working over the summer I was able to draw on some of the content I learned during my finance courses to help my client.
Mathew: The second aspect is the student body. There are students who have been working in all different types of consulting across the world and 2nd years who interned at the consulting firms coming to campus. Speaking to these students helped me pick up on the nuances required to be a great consultant.
Mathew: Finally, Career Services and MCG really push you hard to prepare you for the role, whether that is through alumni panels, speakers, conferences, and so on.
G-223561872: How does the curricula at Booth enhances the strategic decision making prowess of an individual? Does it makes an individual learn from scratch or improves on existing skill set?
Victoria: The curriculum at Booth enhances decision making by using a variety of teaching methods to arrive at multiple answers. Teachers lecture using a combination of case method, in-class exercises and analytical rigor. You are often solving problems in a team setting and this experience lets individuals both improve and learn from scratch different skills.
IndiLR: To Janice or Christy: With the consulting firms that recruit on campus, would you be able to give a ratio of the jobs they offer based in the US compared to international postings?
Janice: Overall most on-campus recruiting is for domestic offices. However, we work closely with the on-campus firms to make their international opportunities available to our students. Interviews for international opportunities are often times held off-campus but we work closely with the firms to facilitate that process.
G-247526229: What kind of strategic support does Booth or the Polsky Center offer to entrepreneurs who leave their ventures to attend school?
Haamed: The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship is a great resource for Booth entrepreneurs. One of my mentees came into school with a venture idea that he had already started. He worked with coaches in the Polsky center like Craig Wortmann to help him understand the selling process to potential clients. He got his first sale while in school!
sunny: Hi! After 6 years of military service, I am looking to making a career transition to strategy and consulting. May I please ask your honest opinion on how feasible this is and how a Chicago MBA could/would facilitate this complete career switch? Thanks!
Fern: Hi Sunny! A transition from the military to consulting is very feasible. We have had quite a few students with military backgrounds successfully transition to consulting. There are a number of transferable skills that are very relevant in both the military and consulting. Specifically, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills are critical in both roles. Also, depending on your role in the military, strategy, process improvement, and analytical skills may also be skills you can transfer to consulting. Finally, I can tell you that Booz Allen Hamilton is a firm that really values military experience. Good luck!
G-247507767: Do many people come to Booth without a consulting background and eventually get into consulting?
Richard: I think most people come to Booth without a consulting background and end up in consulting. While I do not have exact statistics, I would guess it is at least 50%. I personally worked in the software industry developing applications and then in industrial distribution working on mergers & acquisitions. Consulting firms are seeking students with diverse backgrounds and experiences as these students provide unique perspectives to client's challenges. If all future consultants were former consultants, the consulting pool would be very homogeneous.
G-158989572: What resources does the Management Consulting Group employ to aid students seeking a career in consulting?
Lindsay: Hi. I am a co-chair of Booth's Management Consulting Group (MCG) and am happy to assist with this question.
Lindsay: MCG focuses on helping students in 3 ways: (1) educating members on consulting as a career through Lunch 'n' Learns and joint programming with Booth Career Services, (2) helping students to develop relationships with firms through different networking events (First-year Networking Night, etc.), and (3) helping students secure jobs in consulting through resume reviews, our Consulting Forum focusing on the consulting interview, a case workshop and case interviews.
Lindsay: You can see some of these events on the MCG website:
sauvi: Hi, I am Suvi from India. My question has something to do with networking. I would like to ask the current students that how do you generally approach networking with alum?
Mathew: Hi, Sauvi. I came straight to school from South Africa so also found the US networking style a little different. Career Services does help everyone to get acquainted with networking US style through events such as Mocktails (one of the best events at Booth).
Mathew: However, going forward I found that the consulting firms are really receptive to international students and go out of their way to make it easy to interact. Many of my friends asked to speak with consultants with similar backgrounds as themselves and were put in touch with people from the same country working in US offices.
Mathew: There is also a massive database of all alumni from Booth and the respective firms they work. I shot out emails to people in interesting roles and thus was able to set up calls to discuss the industry/company/role, etc.
G-158989572: What are the "must attend" courses for students seeking a career in strategy consulting?
Lindsay: Hi. I think one of the best ways individuals can prepare for a career in consulting is to take classes that prepare them across different functional areas in addition to broad strategy classes. Booth has some excellent fundamentals courses including Marketing Strategy, Operations Strategy, Corporate Finance and Competitive Strategy. In addition, there are some more advanced classes in each of these areas that provide some incredible tactics very applicable to many consulting projects, including Developing New Products, Pricing Strategy, Data-Driven Marketing, and Financial Statement Analysis. I have to say that this is something I've really enjoyed about the Booth curriculum--is that you have flexibility to choose very tactical courses in these areas, or in a specific area of your interest.
Moderator: Thank you for your participation in the chat! We have a very high number of participants at the moment, so please be patient as we try to respond to everyone. In the meantime, enjoy reading the questions and answers that have already been posted.
Ready2011: How did you guys zero in on consulting as your post-MBA career? Has your internship experience in anyway impacted your goals?
Mathew: Hi Ready2011,
Mathew: During Core, the first 3 weeks of LEAD and orientation at the school, Career Services does a great job of bringing in alumni from tons of different industries and functions. Thus we got to hear from people across these industries and consulting sparked my interest. The variety of work and ability to interact with top management early in ones career really grabbed me.
Mathew: Throughout the first quarter of school we got to speak to 2nd year students and meet folks from the different consulting firms, all which helped to reaffirm my decision to pursue a role in this industry.
Mathew: My internship really beat all my expectations and I was able to focus in on the sector I was interested in (Infrastructure). I think that what was key for me was the opportunity to get stuck in and learn from the best in this sector. In terms of my goals, I was unsure how long I would stick around in consulting, but my summer made me reconsider this. I now think that I want to be there for a significant portion of my future career.
Tascha: I've heard that consulting companies place a lot of importance on GPA. With Booth's nondisclosure policy, how do you get around that? Are there any issues?
Richard: Hey Tascha, I never had any problem with our grade nondisclosure policy. At no point was I asked by a recruiter what my GPA at Booth was. In fact, for internship recruiting, you will submit your application before your first quarter grades are completed. Recruiters and firms have been working with Booth for many years and abide by the policies.
G-247537757: Greetings! My name is Val Misra. I am born and raised in Dubai, UAE. I did my undergrad at NYU Stern and worked at Lehman Brothers NY in Equity Sales. I later joined my family business group in Dubai to grow it accross the UAE. My goal is to scale my business group accross the Middle East/N. Africa (MENA) region. Dear Haamed Alfulaij, how did Chicago Booth help you realize your goals?
Haamed: I have been most impressed by the Chicago Booth alumni network in UAE. Just two months ago, they helped me validate a new venture I am planning to launch in Dubai by taking a survey I put together as well as taking time off their busy schedule to have 30 minute meetings with me. Furthermore, the MENA club did a great job connecting me with the alumni network in the region. Please review the MENA webpage for more information
Sarah_1: Do recruiters coming to Chicago see its students as offering different things from other top schools?
Fern: Hi Sarah! The key differentiator for Chicago Booth is our rigorous, discipline-based approach to business education. Our students are challenged to always ask "why." Our students and alumni are known for outstanding analytical and problem solving skills. Additionally, like other top schools, Booth offers outstanding leadership programming, and many opportunities for student to take on leadership roles within the Booth community.
BoothHopeful: What are the differences between the Booth Consulting Club and Management Consulting Group, and what other student organizations are useful for a career in strategy/consulting (e.g., Corporate Management & Strategy Group, etc.)?
Lindsay: Hello. The Booth Consulting Club is Booth's part-time consulting club, whereas the Management Consulting Group (MCG) is the consulting group for the full time program. Some of MCG's programming is outlined on their website in case you'd find that helpful:
Lindsay: I think being a member of MCG as a full-time student pursuing consulting is critical. Other great student groups are the Business Solutions Group which enables students to engage in a real-world consulting project their first quarter, which is especially helpful for individuals who are career changers and looking to try consulting the first time. Chicago Global Citizens is another student group in which students can engage in a real-world consulting project, typically volunteering abroad over spring break.
Lindsay: In addition, I think that the Corporate Strategy group, Operations Strategy group, Healthcare group, etc., can also be helpful for students with a specific industry or functional area of interest within consulting.
BoothHopeful: Does the admissions office view more favorably the prospective students that interview on-campus instead of off-campus?
Eddie: No. It doesn't matter where you interview. Many students conduct their interview on campus if they have never been here before. It really doesn't matter who you interview with because we are all looking for the same thing!
G-247537813: Hi, I'm John and am applying in Round 3. How much time do you spend per week working during the internships? Are you able to have a life outside of work during that time?
Richard: Hi John,
Richard: The amount of time you spend working during your internship is entirely dependent on the type of study, your role on the study, and where the study is located. I had a local study and a travel study this summer. On my local study, I was able to be home by 8pm most nights. On my travel study, I was usually able to travel back to New York by Thursday night at 8pm. Fridays were usually early days leaving before 6 or 7pm. I had all my weekends free. I was able to travel out of town a number of times for the weekend without a problem.
ricoshea: I have a question for Richard, it's more about McKinsey in particular: I'm interested in going into sustainbility consulting and was wondering how involved McKinsey is with that, thanks.
Richard: You can find out more information about McKinsey's sustainability practice here http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/sustainability/. In general, McKinsey's sustainability offerings would be part of a broader set of capabilities that we bring to our clients. As an Associate with an interest in Sustainability, you would reach out to the partners and engagement managers in this area and express your interest. The Firm has an incredible database of prior studies that will allow you to find these people easily. Additionally, the Firm has many interest groups that allow people with specific interests to find each other.
Aaron: Hi, my question is what would you say is the most useful thing Booth offers to help students prepare for consulting jobs and interviews? Thansk in advance.
Fern: Hi Aaron! Booth offers a comprehensive array of programs, events, and resources that help prepare you for consulting. We will work with you on assessing your skills, writing your resume and cover letter,conducting research, and preparing for interviews. We have a full day event with panels of alumni discussing their careers and providing advice to students on how to land consulting positions. You can meet individually with a career coach and a student Career Advisor who did an internship in consulting. We run several mock interview programs that will get you ready for the rigors of consulting interviews, and we run a networking event that helps you navigate the corporate events that are so important to recruiting. We will make sure that you receive all of the support you need to be successful in consulting recruiting!
Mina: Hello this is Mina and I might be joining the 2013 class. I am Project Manager with Telecommunications engineering background. I am keen on knowing what sort of student groups at Chicago that one can join to develop strategy skills and to what degree are they capable of assisting students in getting into consulting.
Lindsay: Hi Mina.
Lindsay: I had a similar focus upon coming to Booth and in coming from a non-business background.
Lindsay: Booth's strategy and fundamentals courses (Marketing Strategy, Operations Strategy, Competitive Strategy, Corporate Finance) are definitely very helpful in this regard.
Lindsay: In terms of helpful student groups, CMSG (Corporate Management and Strategy Group) holds a number of sessions throughout the year focusing on more mainstream strategy issues.
Lindsay: In terms of gaining "strategy" experience, Booth has two student groups, the Business Solutions Group and Chicago Global Citizens, that help students to develop these skills firs-hand through engaging in real-world consulting projects with clients outside of Booth. This is a great way to really experience what consulting is and show recruiters your passion for consulting and that you have transferable skills and can be successful.
Lindsay: The Management Consulting Group (MCG) provides a large number of resources to students, focusing on helping students in 3 ways: (1) educating members on consulting as a career through Lunch 'n' Learns and joint programming with Booth Career Services, (2) helping students to develop relationships with firms through different networking events (First-year Networking Night, etc.), and (3) helping students secure jobs in consulting through resume reviews, our Consulting Forum focusing on the consulting interview, a case workshop and case interviews.
Lindsay: You can see some of these events on the MCG website:
Peter: Greetings! I am a waitlisted candidate, wanting to learn more about what the consulting firms are looking for in a perfect candidate when they come and recruit on campus, and how to position myself to be very competitive utilizing both Booth's curricular and extracurricular opportunities.
Fern: Hi Peter! Consulting firms look for students with strong analytical skills, ability to problem solve and think strategically, have strong leadership, teamwork and communication skills. We will help you position your previous experience to demonstrate that you have the requisite skills for consulting. Good luck!
aj: Hi Mathew, how different is it for an international student to land a consulting job in the US?
Mathew: Hi aj,
Mathew: All the big firms do not distinguish between international students and US students, with the recruiting process a complete meritocracy (as it should be!). Many of my fellow international students and I were able to land jobs at these firms in the US without feeling like we had to do more than our US friends. It really is one of the most refreshing aspects of this industry - they take the best with no consideration to background or nationality.
MED: How difficult did you find it to get consulting/strategy positions in NYC as opposed to elsewhere in the country?
Victoria: Hi MED, Getting a position in New York City was difficult but so was getting a position in Chicago for my summer internship. You will often find the level of competition greater for locations near the school, so the Chicago office for Booth and Kellogg. For New York City, there will be competition from students from the surrounding schools as well as other top schools. Similarly, there might be less competition for offices in Ohio but there are candidates for whom that is their first choice. All of this means that it is difficult to find a position in nearly all offices of the top consulting firms. I would instead focus and be able to articulate why you want to be a consultant for that specific office.
bennka: Thia question is not directly tied to strategy/consulting, but i was wondering about financial aid. Namely, how can students afford such a great school like Booth, especially when Need-based awards are not given out?? Thanks!
Eddie: Students who are not offered one of our awards apply for financial aid. We have great loan programs. You can find out more information about those loans on our website: www.chicagobooth.edu.
Jimmy: Hello, this is Jimmy. I would like to learn more about strategy/consulting career opportunities that are specifically in the pharm/biotech industry. For example, any firms in this field that frequently hire Booth students?
Janice: Hi Jimmy,
Janice: Most of the firms have healthcare/pharma practices for which they recruit. So it's just a matter of you specifying your area of interest. In most cases, you're brought in as a generalist, then you can declare the industry for which you would like to gain deeper knowledge.
R: Hi Mathew, how well do you think your background in engineering equipped you for consulting?
Mathew: Hi R,
Mathew: In short, the consulting firms love engineers. The attention to detail and the great analytical skills are cherished by managers on the job and I know that my engineering background really helped me in a particular situation over the summer.
Mathew: Obviously longer-term in consulting the analytical skills gives way to working with managers and solving their problems, thus moving away from the core engineering skills. But it is a great basis off which to start.
Charles_Frederick: Hi, can someone talk about the primary skills used in day-to-day consulting work and how Booth classes address these?
Victoria: It's important to note that primary skills differ day-to-day because consulting work differs day-to-day. That being said, over the course of a project, most consultants will rely heavily upon their analytical, communication, presentation and client facing skills. Booth classes address all of these in various ways. Additionally, you can also join a club like Business Solutions Group. This will allow you to solve problems and recommend solutions for clients in the greater Chicago community.
Oscar: Hello, I was wondering about career placement in terms of geography for consulting firms, specifically for west coast recruiting. How prevalent are positions say in the Bay Area as opposed to NYC and the Midwest?
Janice: Hi Oscar,
Janice: Many of the consulting firms that recruit on-campus have dedicated west coast schedules. Those offices don't typically hire as many people as the other offices, but they do indeed have a presence.
G-247527133: Hi, everyone. I applied R2 to Booth and have two questions. First, do consulting firms evaluate candidates by undergraduate GPA during the recruiting process? Second, does (or how does) Booth help coordinate opportunities for students who may be interested in non-profit/pro bono consulting?
Fern: Hello. Your undergraduate GPA is one of the wide range of data points that firms use to evaluate candidates, along with GMAT, and work experience. We have a growing number of students interested in not-for-profit careers, and there are student groups that support that career area. From a Career Services perspective, we have developed strong relationships in the not-for-profit career area, and post a large number of positions. While I don't have specific data to share with you, we will be happy to help facilitate opportunities for you when you are on-campus.
Hamid: Hi! What are the chances of an international student to get a job at the management consulting firm in the US after Booth?
Janice: Last year, 23% of the class accepted full-time offers in consulting. If a student takes advantage of all of the educational opportunities, he/she will be well positioned to secure an offer of their choice.
G-247503118: Hi. Thank you for hosting this chat. How important do you think consulting experience is, if you want to start a business?
Haamed: Because consulting tends to give you fundamental skills like analytical, public speaking, team work, it can be a great foundation for starting new business. Of course, I don't think it is a pre-requisite but the skills it teaches you are valued by venture capitals and angel investors.
WMorgan: How does someone with no strategy consulting experience obtain an internship or experience in the field when competing with students with directly relevant experience?
Richard: First, the consulting firms are not looking exclusively for former management consultants. They appreciate a broad experience base. That being said, folks from a non-traditional background can be at a disadvantage when it comes to cases. Many cases require some basic knowledge of business concepts such as profitability. For these students, the key to success is to practice cases and develop a basic understanding of business so that they can be successful in the interview. In many cases, students with relevant experience have a much higher bar when it comes to some of these things as they are expected to have this type of knowledge, while students from atypical backgrounds are not. McKinsey has many consultants with MDs, PHDs, JDs, and other advanced degrees who had no business experience before interviewing.
G-247520012: Hi, I am really looking forward to become a Booth student. I am prepared to apply now, but I heard R3 is strongly difficult. Would you recommend waiting to R1 for next year?
Eddie: We will still have seats in round 3 and have always made offers in that round. It's best to apply when you are ready. If you feel that you want to apply to an earlier round you may consider waiting until the fall.
kanav: Hi All. My question is directed at Lindsay. Why did you choose to head the MCG. How did you get elected for the same and what are you key responsibilities at co-chair of MCG
Lindsay: Hi Kanav. Thanks for your question.
Lindsay: For me, my decision to become a co-chair of MCG was because I felt it was the single-most important resource for me as a first-year and I truly felt it helped me to be effective in securing a summer internship. I came to Booth knowing little about consulting and the group really supported me in my process to learn about what consulting was, network with the different firms, and be effective in securing and executing interviews.
Lindsay: In terms of the process, each Spring MCG outgoing select the next year's co-chairs through an application and interview process. Co-chairs have a large number of responsibilities including: running MCG's three large conference events and networking events, reaching out to new firms for sponsorship, maintaining relationships with MCG sponsors, assisting with on-campus Lunch 'n' Learns, resume reviews, mock interviews, developing the Case Book. There are 6 of us who share this role, but to get a better idea of the events we work together to run (with assistance from 2nd years who have been successful), below is the link to the MCG website:
mikegallagher: Hello, thank you for hosting this chat. Since Booth has such a flexible curriculum, do you find that students hoping for a career in consulting tend to craft their coursework in any particular way to help their internship candidacy?
Lindsay: Mike, great point.
Lindsay: I think that this is definitely the case. For individuals without a lot of business background, many choose to focus on gaining a broad set of fundamentals, later taking more advanced courses in areas of interest.
Lindsay: For me, for example, although I had worked in marketing briefly, I had little business background coming into Booth (studied math, worked in education) and as a result, wanted to take basic finance, operations and strategy classes before my internship. One thing I like about Booth is that many of the courses (for example Developing New Products, Pricing Strategy, Data-Driven Marketing, Financial Statement Analysis) are courses that cover many of the projects that come up frequently in consulting. I also took an Excel modeling class to gain more experience in this area before my internship.
Lindsay: I think these courses are a great way to help an individual's candidacy, as are some of Booth's student groups (such as Business Solutions Group and Chicago Global Citizens) which enable students to work on real-world consulting projects before they begin interviewing.
G-247535701: Do you find that when being recruited for jobs in strategy consulting that Booth students are mostly placed in the Chicago office? What are the chances of getting into, say, the NYC or San Fran offices?
Janice: No. Most of the firms recruit for many different offices across the US as well as internationally.
sauvi: Is there anywhere a list of companies available?
Janice: Hi Sauvi,
Janice: You can view our Employment Report. http://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/index.aspx
Ying: I am an engineer who would like to switch to consulting. Is it possible to get a consulting internship during the summer before starting business school? Can booth help facilitate this?
Eddie: No, sorry. The Career Services office would be working to help the current students and preparing programming for when you begin.
Sandra: Referring to the answer by fern for Yoav: where can I take this CareerLeader test?
Fern: Hi Sandra! All admits will be provided several "homework" assignments over the summer, and the CareerLeader assessment is one of the things that will be on your to do list. We will send you the information you need to take the assessment.
Tascha: Can somebody speak about their internship experience at a consulting firm? What was it like? Was an offer of FT employment received upon completion?
Victoria: Tascha, I had a great experience during my summer internship at Booz & Company. Most consulting internships are 9-10 weeks and are very rigorous. You usually take over a full-time position role so there is no "lighter" internship role. For Booz, I traveled Mon-Thur to a client in Pennsylvania. I would work from the home office (Chicago) on Fridays and every other weekend if a deadline was approaching. I worked on a five person team within a greater 25 person team so I was able to meet a lot of wonderful people and get a real sense of the variety of work and interests just within the Health Practice. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-time offer and will be returning in the fall.
Alok: I have 10 years of experience in IT , how do companies look at this experience when hiring for a strategy and consulting position ?
Janice: Hi Alok,
Janice: Your experience will be looked upon favorably. However, you would just need to specify with the recruiter that you're no longer interest in IT during the process if that is case. Most of our students are career changers, so we would work with you on how to best position yourself.
Moderator: The chat will end in 5 minutes.
Ed: What would you guys say were the most helpful case study...study materials? Would you recommend looking at these before coming to campus?
Haamed: Hi Ed! I assume you are talking about the time between getting admitted and starting school. If that is the case, I encourage you to relax! There will be plenty of work to do especially in your first quarter. If, however, you insist on doing some prep, it is helpful to get basic calculus knowledge under your belt for classes like Investment and Economics.
jzalkin: Do consultancies pay attention to which classes you have taken?
Haamed: Not really. When interviewing candidates, consulting companies look for fit with the corporate culture and ability to handle the analytical rigor of the job. They evaluate this by asking fit type questions for 10-15 minutes followed by a 30 minute case. The skills needed to crack the case can be acquired through practice as opposed to coming from specific classes although fundamental classes like Marketing Strategy and Competitive strategy are usually helpful to take in the first quarter.
steven81882: Are there any positions with these strategy consulting firms that don't require the Mon-Thurs travel each week? The work seems extremely interesting, but the lifestyle not so much. Thanks!
Lindsay: Hi Steven. Yes, consulting does have a reputation for being a 4 days traveling, long hours type of career!
Lindsay: While some firms still utilize this model, many firms now are offering a broader options. This may be that when looking into staffing, firms allow consultants to prioritize location over industry or function. Also, there are many firms that are regionally staffed so the majority of their work is done close to their office. Still other firms (for example, the Cambridge Group) only do consulting in a specific area so working for one of these firms would require minimal travel.
G-247544650: Thanks you for taking the time to answer our questions; Having come from consulting and corporate strategy, are certain students allowed to take more advanced courses in strategy, prior to taking certain strategy prerequisites?
Mathew: The flexible curriculum is a winner in this regard. I came in off a consulting background so after talking to one of the professors I decided to give the basic strategy course (Competitive Strategy) a skip. Instead I took a more advanced course which I think was a lot more relevant to me and which I enjoyed.
Mathew: I think that the whole point of the flexible curriculum is to take the courses that challenge you and not to repeat content which you have done previously.
G-247537813: How much time did you spend preparing for the interviews?
Mathew: Hi G,
Mathew: Consulting interviews are rigorous, really testing your business acumen, numeracy skills and communication skills all in 40 minutes. You have to put the leg work to ensure that you are successful.
Mathew: Thus I spent a fair amount of time preparing for the case interviews. My friends and the 2nd year students really rallied around to help out and prep everyone up for these interviews so it was actually a lot of fun.
RC__Guest_: How important is your coursework during your first year when interviewing with firms for internships between your first and second year?
Mathew: Hi RC,
Mathew: I think that the specific coursework is less relevant than gaining an overall grounding in the business basics, rounding out your technical weaknesses. Consulting projects come in all shapes and sizes, so specific technical skills are less relevant than just having a solid basis in business.
Mathew: I came to Booth really wanting to round out my finance and accounting skills, which I think helped me during my interviews and during the summer. But I would not say that any specific course was absolutely required in order to get the job or do well in the job.
jman: Hi, What kind of roles do entry level graduates (With little experience before MBA ) have in a consulting firm ?
Mathew: Hi there jman,
Mathew: All students, no matter what their background, come into a consulting firm at the same level. The firms all call it different names but it is basically the Associate level, which is for post-graduates. Thus no matter what the ages or profiles of the students they all come in at the same level.
Mathew: The basic difference is that the Associate role is less analytically and more focused on client leadership than a straight out of undergrad role.
G-247523755: Hello Fern – What surprises students most about consulting when they return from their summer consulting internships?
Victoria: There are many things that surprise students about their consulting internships. Some are surprised to learn that while the experience is challenging and rewarding, the travel is a bit overwhelming. Travel models for certain firm's aren't always very conducive to particular lifestyles. I was surprised by how the client dynamic can really affect your experience. You are trying to solve tough problems with different personalities and it can be very challenging. I used to the support of my team and my relationships with the client to overcome this feeling but I will encounter this issue on most projects. Lastly, some students were surprised by the the amount of responsibility they were given. You were often in charge of multiple work streams and managing younger consultants.
WMorgan: Haamed, can you briefly explain the new venture challenge at Booth?
Haamed: Hi WMorgan, the new venture challenge is one of the most thrilling experiences here at Chicago Booth. Basically it starts with you forming a team or joining a team with an idea for a new venture. It can be anything from a breakthrough technology like Bump Inc. to baking like Andreas Baking Company. You write a feasibility summary that is evaluated by veteran investors and entrepreneurs. If successful, you are enrolled in a class that helps you take the plan to the next level. Finally, you present your business to a group of 25-30 investors and if you win the competition, you get $50K in funding as well as expertise from those people. Check this website for more info: http://research.chicagobooth.edu/nvc/
snrath: Do consulting firms recruit for a specialist position at Booth ?
Janice: Hi Snarth,
Janice: There are a couple of consulting firms such as Cornerstone Research and PRTM that recruit for economic consultants. However, most of the firms hire our students as generalists.
Chris_1: I actually work at a mgmt consulting firm, but I am interested in shifting my consulting to China. What recruiting opportunities have you seen in your class of doing mgmt consulting in Asia?
Mathew: Hi Chris,
Mathew: There are tons of opportunities to change geographies and one of my closest friends (from Europe) is moving to Asia as he thinks that the work there will be more interesting. I think that in your specific circumstance while the the consulting firms are background agnostic, there will be a question about language skills if you are focused on China (instead of Hong Kong or Singapore). I think that if you can answer this question it should not be a problem.
Lindsay: It was great to chat with you all! We hope this has been helpful.
Betsy: Should a student have a very clear idea regarding which companies s/he wants to intern with when s/he starts school in the fall?
Richard: In general, I would recommend having a sense of the industry or role in which you would like to work rather than the firms by the beginning of recruiting. During the fall, there are plenty of recruiting events that allow you to get to know the different firms, their people, and their work. By the end of the fall quarter, you will have a good sense of which firm at which you would like to work. It does not hurt to get a sense of where you would like to be, but it will likely change dramatically throughout the fall.
G-247523755: Hello Richard, In what capacity did you serve your clients? Operations? Strategy? How would you say Booth prepared you for your internship/fulltime position? What experiences did you have Booth that other intern MBA students at other business schools did not have?
Richard: My first study was a new product launch plan for a pharma company. This was a marketing focused study where we helped the client plan their next 2-3 years to get a drug from clinical trials to launch. My second study was an organization diagnostic for an energy where we helped the client understand the proper role of their various functions (Finance, IT, HR) and to align them to support their overall strategy. For these specific studies, I think the most helpful classes were competitive strategy, which I took, and developing new products and services, which I wish I took. In general, Booth's flexible curriculum allows you to target the courses that you think will be most supportive of your career goals. Many other schools require a specific curriculum in the first year. Additionally, Booth has a number of experiential opportunities such as management lab and the business solutions group to allow you to get hands on consulting experience prior to arriving at your internship.
Janice: It has been my pleasure chatting with you all. Best of luck to you. Thanks!
G-247537757: Dear Haamed Alfulaij, were you part of the Middle East Area Studies program? I met with Mr. Eddie Pulliam and Mr. Bryce Kirchhausen at the Booth presentation in Dubai - it was great! I am very excited about Chicago Booth Haamed and I would love to hear your experiences either on this chat or privately.
Haamed: My experience has been very rewarding at Chicago Booth. Our alumni network in the region grows larger year after year with over 80 Booth alumni in the region. From the last couple of years, we had around 8 students who decided to move to Dubai for their fulltime opportunities. Please check this webpage for more information about our efforts in the MENA region: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/beyondacad/groups/abg.aspx
Richard: Thanks for coming folks. Best of luck with your applications, decisions, and consulting. I hope to see you all at a future Booth event or at McKinsey.
Eddie: Thanks for joining us today. I hope we were able to help!
Haamed: Hi All, thank you for joining us today. I really enjoyed talking with all of you and I hope to see you around campus in the near future.
Mathew: Hi there
Mathew: Hope I have been able to help you get a better understanding of the ins and outs of getting a consulting job out of Booth. I think that it is a very rewarding career and know that I am really excited to start by job later this year.
Mathew: Best of luck during the application process or making the decision on which school to accept!!
Moderator: Thank you for your participation in this chat! The chat has now ended. You can read a transcript of this chat within 48 hours at http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/chat/