April 9, 2020 | Noon - 1 PM CST Live Chat: Pursuing a Career in Corporate Strategy and Consulting
Join us for a live chat with Career Services staff and current students to learn more about the resources available to help Boothies prepare for and land jobs in corporate strategy and consulting. This is a great opportunity to ask your questions about curricular choices, school resources, student groups, peer and alumni mentorship, recruiting preparation, and more.
Guest: Hi Ayaz - Can you talk about the challenges that most international students face when recruiting for consulting opportunities in the U.S.? Do you already have U.S. work authorization prior to starting at Booth (I’m currently on H-1B Visa and wondering whether this might be helpful in term of recruiting process)
* Ayaz Matin: Most consulting companies are very open to internationals students - both for their offices in the US as well as international offices. There are some mid-tier firms which do not sponsor but will look favorably on those who may already have an H1B visa. I personally do not have H1B so I was a regular international student on F1.
Apart from that, international students may need some time to adjust to the new environment and the work + networking culture in the US. Consulting recruiting starts really early so it will be good for international students to arrive and settle in the city a week or two before school starts. Career Services team at Booth has lots of programs organized for international students to prepare and put their best foot forward.
Guest: Can you describe a typical day in consulting?
* Ayaz Matin: While I'm yet to do my internship, I will answer this based on various interactions with consultants. Typically you may travel from Mon - Wed or Mon - Thu depending on the project. You generally have an early team meeting to decide agenda for the day and most important things to work on. Throughout the day you may have client meetings or other team meetings to make progress on a work stream. You may also check-in with the partner together as a team once a week. Finally some days end with a group dinner while on others you may do something else.
Guest: Hi, can you share how Booth helps students to prepare for a managerial career in a corporation? Like courses, clubs and job treks. Thank you!
* Sean Smith: Depending on where your interests align, there a variety of different clubs like the Management Consulting Group, Corporate Management group, Booth Technology Group, and more. The first link below has a listing of all the clubs. Also, depending on your interests and background, there are student-led treks, classes, Career Services programs and more to help you prepare.
Guest: Some people have moved to strategy careers without an MBA. What did you gain with Booth?
* Ayaz Matin: Moving to strategy careers without an MBA is possible and you can go as an experienced hire or a PhD expert. My plan for coming to Booth included making the career switch to consulting, but also overcome certain skill gaps, learn from the best faculty and find fantastic friends like the other people in this chat. It’s also a learning experience to go through consulting recruiting as a group, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
MBA hiring still forms the bulk of consulting recruiting and firms really value the talent they get from top business schools like Chicago Booth.
Guest: Hi! Thanks for taking our questions! For prospective students coming from non-traditional/non-business backgrounds who are looking to make a career change into consulting, what are some recommendations for the best ways to articulate our intended goals if we don’t have the same experience, vernacular, or strong understanding of business as someone coming from a finance or consulting background?
* Swan Lee: Thanks for joining the chat! Not everyone comes from a traditional business background at Booth and there are plenty of ways to leverage your past experience into a consulting career. Booth and our Management Consulting Group (MCG) helps you find out how to best align your skills to fit the areas you can best contribute to consulting and also there are workshops where you can learn business 101 skills applicable to consulting. In my case, I was a data scientist with a lot of coding/quant skills. MCG and my mentors helped me refine my qualitative part of interview prep and how I can best leverage my product management skills into a consulting career.
Guest: I know that a lot of things are in flux right now, but are you expecting any changes to Fall recruiting right now? Is there a plan in place if this goes on longer than expected?
* Anna Chalfin: Thanks so much for joining this afternoon! We do not foresee a change in start date or anticipate continuing a virtual experience into the coming fall. However, we will continue to monitor the ever-changing COVID-19 situation closely and remain nimble and make decisions that protect the safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff. We will be sure to communicate any updates as decisions are made.
Guest: Ayaz - Congrats on the offer, was it a struggle at all recruiting for Atlanta?
* Ayaz Matin: Recruiting for the Atlanta office was not a struggle at all. I chose Atlanta because my wife continues to live there and we are in a long distance relationship while I'm at Booth.
All top firms had representatives from various different offices fly in frequently to interact with you during the networking phase. Sometimes they fly you out to the other city for an event or two, and they are always available to help you prepare for the interviews as well.
Chicago Booth is a key target school for top consulting firms and you can recruit for any office in the US or internationally easily. They are all hungry for top Booth talent.
Guest: Hi, hope everyone is doing well. Question for Frank, please could you talk about your experience with the Management Consulting Group? Thank you so much.
* Frank Montana: Absolutely, great question. So the MCG will facilitate the majority of the Consulting recruiting process and makes the expectations very clear. They will set up many events with the firms (1on1 chats, lunch N Learns, etc.) as well as events for case preparation. They provide case prep materials and facilitate the second years to provide thousands of hours of assistance to first years going through the internship recruiting process. Overall they are the main conduit to making the consulting recruiting process as straightforward as possible.
Guest: Hello! I am interested in pursuing a Booth MBA. I am interested in why you have all chosen to work in the consulting field vs. pursuing industry-specific roles (i.e., corporate finance, R&D, etc.)?
* Heidi Schuette: Hi! Thanks for the question. Personally, I chose a career in consulting because I wanted exposure to a wide variety of functions and industries. I'm not yet ready to settle into one specialized role. Also, consulting gives you a great strategic toolkit that is applicable to a ton of other roles long term, so if I decide to try something different I'll be well prepared.
Guest: Hi, thank you for your time! Could you please elaborate on the kinds of interactions with professors that may have guided you in your strategy/ consulting Booth journey?
* Dylan Remick: Hello, and that is a great question! Something that is extremely valuable finding classes that will help you think with a consulting lens. In turn, using the professor’s office hours discussing how to approach case studies and problems that companies are dealing with today. These interactions allowed me to bring a new and fresh perspective to when it was time to prepare for case interviews. I hope that helps and thank you again for your question!
Guest: Hi, thank you for putting together this live chat! I was wondering if there are any resources you would recommend to prepare for management consulting before starting our MBAs?
* Frank Montana: Hi, great question! I don’t recommend starting anything like Case Preparation or networking before arriving at Booth. I think the most important thing you should do is take some time to deeply reflect on what it is you’re looking to get out of a career in consulting. This will help you when you begin the process and need to think through how you spend your time between firms, what practices you are interested in (only applicable for some firms), and what else you might recruit for outside of consulting.
Guest: In consulting, what is the most useful discipline (economics, accounting, etc.)?
* Swan Lee: Hi! I believe that every experience, background, and discipline have something to bring to consulting. i.e. my data science experience will help me prepare for more of the quantitative analysis going forward in a career. I also think the soft skills I built up through mentoring will allow me to work better with clients and my team. Booth and our consulting group will really help you figure out how to best leverage your backgrounds, no matter what they are.
Guest: Hi there! Are there specific courses at Booth that you would recommend for someone who is trying to learn more about the dynamics behind corporate strategy, outside of the traditional introduction to corporate strategy type course?
* Dylan Remick: Hey and thank you for that awesome question. The two that jump out to me are competitive strategy and marketing strategy. Both of these courses teach different dynamics of strategy and how to think about different issues companies today are facing. Hope that helps!
Guest: Hi, I am planning to apply for MBA booth program. I have around 7 year experiences in finance, and is looking for a career path in strategic management. For those who will intern in management consulting firm, do you get the internship through campus career resources?
* Sean Smith: Consulting is generally conducts most of the interviews on-campus. Corporate strategy can be both on-campus and job postings. Regardless of whether a firm conducts first rounds on-campus, Career Services sources a variety of roles in both consulting and corporate strategy.
Guest: Additionally, how has your coursework at Booth prepared you to enter consulting?
* Frank Montana: Hi! The coursework helps some in the interview process (classes like Competitive Strategy or Marketing Strategy can be helpful in learning some frameworks, especially if you’re a career switcher). In general through, consulting is a job with such varied focus that it’s probably harder to find classes that couldn’t be beneficial in some manner!
Guest: Hello, thank you for participating in this chat. I intend to apply to Booth in the fall for 2021 and am interested in learning more about the Startup Summer experience.
* Anna Chalfin: Startup Summer is a great experience for admits to participate in a 7 week pre-MBA experience at a start-up led by a Booth alum. Startups are generally located in the U.S. with some international options. Internship activities could range from constructing financial models to validating customer needs. For the application process, after round 1 and round 2 admitted students have made their first deposits, they will become eligible to view job opportunities for Startup Summer on Booth’s job board in mid-March. You can learn more here: https://polsky.uchicago.edu/programs-events/start-up-summer/
Guest: Consulting seems like a traditional path for most MBAs, why is that the case?
* Sean Smith: Consulting is a great way to get strategic experience across various industries and a great complement to your coursework. That being said, some students know exactly what industry they want to pursue and go straight for corporate strategy roles while at Booth. I hope that is helpful to get you thinking!
Guest: Hi, what resources did Booth provide that helped you set yourself apart from other candidates and secure an internship at MBB?
* Ayaz Matin: Booth provided a whole plethora of resources to help me do my best in recruiting.
- The Career Services team at Booth is top notch and always available to help guide your strategy, shape your resume and craft your story.
- 2nd Year students also serve as Career Advisors and help you succeed based on their own experience. They are available right from week 1 to when you get your offers.
- All firms have Booth student representatives (summer interns and sponsored students) who also invest a lot of time in helping you prepare.
- The Booth community overall is very "pay-it-forward" and believes in winning together. They don't look at life as a zero-sum game.
- We have technical resources available as well (like rocketblocks and other platforms) to help us
- Classes like Competitive Strategy can help certain candidates enhance their strategic thinking skillset with frameworks.
Guest: How competitive was the recruiting process amongst your classmates?
* Swan Lee: Hello! I would say that the recruiting process is generally competitive for job positions (in all industries and roles) for MBAs across the school. However, I believe that amongst the students, there was a healthy competition and a lot of support and collaboration. I can only speak to consulting and healthcare corporate recruiting but I knew that my friends genuinely wanted to help me improve and would always refer me to contacts that would be relevant to me, despite going for the same job. My friend would bring me into networking circles and introduce me if I shared a same interest as the recruiting.
Guest: Good afternoon! Thank you all for participating in this chat today, I hope you all and your families are doing well! My name is Ayana Littlejohn and I am an Analytical Consultant with SAS Institute, Inc. primarily focusing on new product forecasting in the CPG space. Could someone speak to the analytical course offerings and what languages are used for the courses?
* Heidi Schuette: Absolutely. As you may have learned during some of your school research, Booth is known for its analytical approach and quantitative course offerings. While Booth offers a wide variety of courses, almost all of them have some element of quantitative analysis, which I really appreciate. I can't speak to the languages that are used in every course, but I know many of our stats courses use R
Guest: Do most people do summer internships in Chicago?
* Sean Smith: Students intern all over, although some of the various geographies are dictated by industry of interest. The employment report will help you get a sense of previous classes: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/location/intern-2019
Guest: Hi Ayaz! Thank you for taking the time to join the live chat. I see you are pursuing concentration in strategic management and analytic finance. How different is analytic finance from finance in terms of courses and application? Also, you will be interning at Bain Atlanta office. Are there many opportunities to obtain internship outside Chicago? Thank you!
* Ayaz Matin: All Analytic Finance courses also qualify as Finance concentration courses. The Analytic Finance courses may have a little more quant / data analysis included in the coursework. E.g. I am doing Portfolio Management this quarter where we are using MATLAB / R to analyze returns and find the best ways to construct investment portfolios.
Yes, obtaining consulting internship outside Chicago is very easy. See my other answer for more details.
Guest: Hello! I am from China. I did my phd in biochemistry from U of Delaware and am currently a research associate managing research project. I want to switch my career to business development in pharmaceutical industry and I am very interested in corporate strategy but I do not have much business experience so I am hoping a MBA training can teach me and prepare me for the career switch. So I guess my first general question is how do you think MBA for someone without much business experience, is it going to be very challenging, and how should I prepare for it?
* Swan Lee: Glad to see another person interested in pharma! Career pivot could be challenging for anyone, but MBA/Booth definitely makes it easier for you to get ready. For myself, I knew that I lacked the general strategy skills and other industry knowledge, having been in the insurance industry for the past 4 years. Through my classes like competitive strategy and entrepreneurship discovery, I worked on a great deal of case studies and new venture projects to build up my qualitative strengths. And through talking with my classmates and going to learn and learns in various industries, I was able to teach myself about other areas to be able to get ready for my career pivot/consulting recruiting.
Guest: Hi! I am a perspective student planning to join Fall 2021 class. Currently, I am trying to decide between consulting and investment banking track in my MBA Journey. Would I have enough time in my 1st year to decide considering the load work for each track? Or would it be ideal to pick one track prior to joining MBA Class? Thanks!
* Dylan Remick: Hello, and that is an awesome question! It will definitely be a lot of work and time consuming, both in the networking aspect as well as preparing for interviews. Booth does a great job at the beginning of the year to provide you with all the necessary information regarding the two separate recruiting paths. I encourage you to continue to learn more about the different industries this summer and talk to current and former Boothies who have recruited for both treks in order to get a deeper understanding of the industries and the roles. I do not want to say do not attempt it, but just to be aware of the heavy and intense time commitment attempting both treks will demand. I hope this helps answer your question.
Guest: Hi guys, is this started? I'll go with a first question. Speaking with current student I found out that there is no formal "consulting" concentration, and that the strategic management one is not necessarily made for consulting. What really help your chances is networking and participating in the Management Consulting Group. What is your take on this? Do you think there are some classes that prepare you for consulting, at least to some extent? Do companies care about it?
* Heidi Schuette: Great question. First of all, I totally agree that networking, interview prep, and involvement with MCG (Management Consulting Group) is crucial. That said, I do think there are certain courses that can help familiarize you with some of the vocabulary and concepts you'll see in the case portion of your interviews. Many people find it helpful to take Corporate Strategy or Marketing Strategy during their first quarter. In my experience, firms don't care much about what courses you take while you're recruiting. It's most important that your schedule and classes are convenient and helpful for you.
Guest: Question for Swan - What was your motivation for coming to Booth for MBA given your diverse interest in product, data science, and bio-pharma, and given these different interests, how did you create your story on "why MBA" with these interests?
* Swan Lee: Hey There! That's a great question as I had the same thought when writing my story. I think it was most helpful when I started with my short term and long term goals. What skills and experience do I have currently to meet this goal and which ones am I lacking that I can get through an MBA. i.e. I am interested in biopharma startups in my long term and leveraged my analytics skills & chemistry background as a way into those areas but said that MBA program would be able to give me insight into how a entrepreneur thinks and how to position my strategic knowledge. It also helped me when I looked up some people who are leaders in the field I am in and see what kind of experiences they have had.
Guest: What classes do you recommend to take if you want to be considered a contender for a consulting firm?
* Swan Lee: I would say that any class would really give you skills to be prepared for consulting. You don't necessary need to take any class to be a "contender" for a consulting firm. If you're recruiting for 1st year, recruiting happens starting October and classes have just started by then so you won't be leverage that as much during the process. However, you should take classes where you believe you can improve on before your internship to complement your current skills. i.e. for me that was competitive strategy and entrepreneurship classes.
Guest: What has been the biggest help from career services in preparing you for recruiting?
* Frank Montana: Hi, thanks for joining! Career Services offers a ton of support for people going through the Consulting Recruiting process. Just to throw out a bunch of stuff, this includes coaching sessions (general planning), resume review, and interview prep. Personally, I found the coaching sessions early in the process to be the most helpful. A lot of people use this to help craft their story, articulate why they’re interesting in their career path, and plan out how they’re going to allocate their time in the fall. They offer this support both through coaches (full-time staff) and Career Advisors (second years who when through the process last year)
Guest: Hi! My question is probably best for Frank -- I'm interested to hear how you've taken advantage of opportunities at Booth to build on your background (already in strategy consulting) as you pursue a return to consulting this summer.
* Frank Montana: Hi! Yeah, I think that coming from consulting was definitely helpful in that it gave me some clarity as to what I was looking for in a consulting internship. I remember rumors going around early in the process that it would hurt me in some way and nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t know if it really changed the way that I was interacting with Booth’s resources, they make all of their programming pretty applicable to someone coming from any background. I personally didn’t choose to engage in some of the different consulting-like offerings that you can do throughout the year (Business Solutions Group, Strategy Lab, etc.) but that was more of a personal choice.
Guest: Hi, thank you so much for holding this Q&A session! For Dylan, what resources or classes at Booth were the most helpful in preparing for a pivot into consulting and marketing yourself to potential companies?
* Dylan Remick: Hello and great question. To start, I utilized career services early on to help craft my message and story to potential companies. I also used career advisors to help solidify my resume in the proper format and structure. Lastly, and most definitely my most helpful resource, was the Management Consulting Group and all the second-year booth students. MCG provided me with all the resources for both the networking portion and interview portion of the recruiting process. Coming from a non-traditional background, I was nervous I would be behind the eight ball in recruiting, but MCG and the willingness of second years who had been through the process before were instrumental in both their resources and advice throughout each phase of the process! In terms of classes, I found competitive strategy extremely valuable with listening to and engaging in discussions as it provided a fresh lens on how strategy thinkers view problems.
Guest: The statistics regarding placement in the consulting sector post-MBA for international students are probably different compared to domestic students. Can you make an estimation for this?
* Sean Smith: For consulting, many firms are open to sponsoring international students. As a result, the number of successes is dictated more by strong interview performances and strong networking over anything related to Visa. They want the best talent!
Guest: Hi guys! Thanks for hosting this. What is your perception about the willingness of consultancy firms to recruit international students? How often do they sponsor full-time offers?
* Sean Smith: Consulting firms have historically sponsored international students, but this can vary by firm.
Guest: How is the consulting recruiting process structured, and when does it start/end?
* Natasha Chan: Beginning in Fall, you will have the opportunity to participate in networking events such as corporate conversations (company presentations), meet & greets (small group chats of up to 4 students with a company representative), and invitations to happy hours and dinners with companies. Consulting applications are typically due towards the end of Fall quarter and invitations for interviews will be sent out around Christmas. First round on-campus interviews typically begin as soon as you for Winter Quarter. Students typically learn about whether they will be moving on to final rounds within a few days to a week. Second round "super days" happen off-campus at the company around 1-2 weeks after first rounds with offers coming out shortly after around early to mid-February.
Guest: Hi there! I'm Indira, currently on waitlist for R3. I see several of you have backgrounds in consulting prior to Booth. Is this something that is preferred if you're trying to target consulting during your MBA? Is it more difficult for people who don't have a consulting background? I have a talent background. However, I'm interested in pursuing consulting as a short term career goal so I can broaden my skills/get client experience etc.
* Dylan Remick: Hello and thank you for asking this question. I had zero “traditional” work experience in my life prior to Booth and somehow got through the process. Having a consulting background is not necessary to successfully recruit for consulting internships/full-time rolls while at business school. It will be difficult at the beginning in order to get comfortable with the case interview learning how to structure your thoughts and answers. However, Booth and the Management Consulting Group provide ample resources and support for all students, no matter your background, to be well prepared come interview season.
Guest: How did you decide the locations that you wanted to recruit for?
* Heidi Schuette: It was a tough decision! Everyone takes a different approach here. Ultimately, the most important thing is to have a real reason as to why you're interested in a certain geography or office location. I was deciding between NYC and Chicago. I chose Chicago because I wanted to give the city a fair shot after living in NYC for 4 years, it's a very central location for travel, and it's closer to my family in Michigan. I'd recommend asking other folks as well, because everyone has a different approach!
Guest: Question to Frank: How was the transition from CPG to consulting? How did you leverage the various support systems available at Booth to enable this transition? Were you also actively involved with the Kilts Center?
* Frank Montana: Hi! So I actually was working in consulting before Booth, and just happened to work with a lot of CPG clients so not quiet an industry transition. I’m not involved with the Kilts Center, but there are definitely people that are who participated in consulting recruiting! That programming will be more marketing-centric though, typically with larger corporations, not consulting firms.
Guest: Hi Frank - what is it like recruiting for consulting, coming from a consulting background?
* Frank Montana: Hi! So I found recruiting for consulting with a consulting background to be a very seamless process. There were rumors going around campus early in the process that it wasn’t ideal, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I think I was able to very easily connect with the recruiters on their daily lives, bond over stories about client, things like that. It definitely helped them understand my background. It did influence the ways I chose to spend my time, for example I didn’t take advantage of some of the resources that other people use to gain consulting-like experiences (such as the Business Solutions Group.) While organizations like this can tremendously help people in their process, choosing not to be involved in it didn’t negatively impact me in any way.
Guest: Hi All, thank you for hosting this session today. Could you please share a typical timeline for how campus recruiting works in regards to strategy consulting roles? Also, what are the specific resources on Booth's campus that help students navigate this process?
* Sean Smith: Career Services starts programming in orientation and early fall to help you get ready for recruiting. Employer events and networking start in Mid-October throughout the rest of the fall quarter. First round interviews are in early January, with second rounds and offers coming 1-2 weeks after. The interview process is very consolidated.
Guest: What was the thought process behind each person's location preference for their internship/job?
* Ayaz Matin: I chose Atlanta because I had spent 3 years in the city before coming to Booth and my wife continues to live here. Atlanta also has decent sized consulting offices with work happening across multiple industries. It worked out best for my situation.
Guest: Any of you can answer this one but what aspect of Booth do you think has had the largest impact on helping its students succeed in the recruiting process for top consulting positions?
* Dylan Remick: Hey, great question! I would say the second years at Booth who provided their time during the process had the most positive impact on my recruiting experience. Do not be shy to ask any second year for support or advice, as most are more than willing to help pass down their experiences. From not getting too overwhelmed by the day to day recruiting grind, to preparing me for interviews, to motivating me at times when I was questioning whether it was all worth it, the second years at Booth were beyond incredible at helping the first years succeed in the process. Do not be afraid to ask for help as that is why this school is so great, the pay it forward mentality is alive and present and honestly helped me more than I realized when I looked back on my recruiting experience.
Guest: Hi Frank, Can you talk a little bit about moving from a boutique firm to a corporate strategy firm like Bain? How did you prepare for the internship (in terms of classes, projects, networking, mentoring)?
* Frank Montana: Hi! So I think the firm that I was at prepped to succeed in the process by giving me a strong foundational knowledge in several areas that helped in the case interview process. I think a few things on my radar that I’m paying attention to as I go into the internship is leveraging all the connections that you make in the recruiting process to actually set up your mentorship network before you even arrive for the internship. I’ve also been thinking some about my old employer which wasn’t typically as feedback driven as Bain will be, and mentally preparing for that adjustment. Overall I would say that my classes/project selections are less driven by trying to succeed in the internship and much more by what interests me!
Guest: Can you guys help provide details and timeline of consulting recruiting process, in terms of employer’s info sessions, networking, interview prep, first-round interview, final round, and offer. Anything you could share would be much appreciated.
* Sean Smith: Career Services starts programming in orientation and early fall to help you get ready for recruiting. Employer events and networking start in Mid-October throughout the rest of the fall quarter. First round interviews are in early January, with second rounds and offers coming 1-2 weeks after. The interview process is very consolidated.
Guest: Hi Heidi, can you talk a bit about Entrepreneurship resources at Booth and how you've been able to structure your entrepreneurial interests throughout coursework and club affiliations?
* Heidi Schuette: Sure! Since I'm a 1Y, I've been primarily focused on fulfilling my foundational coursework and recruiting for my summer internship. I'm planning on taking advantage of a lot of the entrepreneurship resources next year. That said, the Polsky center offers periodic events throughout the year and there are some great elective courses that I'm excited to enroll in as a 2Y.
Guest: Hi everyone, I am actually interested in recruiting for international offices (I'm American). What is the best way to approach/connect with firms about working in their international offices? Do representatives from international offices come to campus? Does the career center have a mailing list for students looking for opportunities abroad?
* Sean Smith: Most consulting firms have a Booth assigned recruiter. Sometimes they might manage international processes, or they will put you in touch with a recruiter. Their willingness to hire Americans for different offices will also depend on that counties immigration policies.
Guest: Hi, can you talk about what is the most helpful resource at Booth that helped you locate a job/internship in consulting?
* Frank Montana: The most helpful resource WITHOUT A DOUBT is all the help that we received from second years in the process. Dozens and dozens of second-years will give tons of hours of their time in resume review, case prep, coffee chats, etc. I have no idea how I would have been prepared without all of that help and its one of the most concrete examples of Booth’s Pay-it-Forward culture that I can think of.
Guest: Hi - I hope you're all doing well! Just curious whether anyone is currently enrolled in Consulting Lab, and if so could you please share some highlights from your experience/project so far? Thanks!
* Swan Lee: Hey there! I don't think anyone here has done consulting lab but I know a few friends enrolled in the class. Happy to connect you with them if you contact me through Ask a student portal or LinkedIn. Also, just an FYI, the class started THIS week so most people are very few to the class. Some of the projects included working with a computer manufacturer to remove plastic in the packaging.
Guest: Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time out to do this! Are consulting firms against recruiting international students given the constant fear around the H1-B visa scenario?
* Sean Smith: Consulting firms have historically sponsored international students, but this can vary by firm.
Guest: Hi, hope everyone is doing well. Is there anything we should do know to be better prepared to recruit to consulting?
* Swan Lee: Hello! I personally like to say that before coming onto campus, you should not be worried about how to best prepare for consulting and focus more on developing a wide range of skills. If you're a prospective applicant, definitely focus on the MBA application first and if you're an admit, I would say that start thinking about how to best tell your story. One additional thing you can do is look into consulting pre-MBA workshops/scholarship programs. They give you a really good insight into how the companies work.
Guest: Thanks for your time this afternoon. Heidi, I was wondering if you could share any resources for women at Booth or the Chicago area that you have been able to leverage. Thanks!
* Heidi Schuette: Sure! I've been involved in the Chicago Women in Business (CWiB) group, which formed women's circles / small groups that I participate in. Our group uses our time to host fun activities and discuss current events. I'm also involved in a program called LeadHERship right now, which has a small group component as well as larger workshops. It's been a fun way to explore my strengths as a leader and get to know other women in my community.
Guest: What is the recruiting process like for a consulting job?
* Swan Lee: This is going to be a long answer but will try to keep it simple! Generally, it starts in October with company presentations and learning about companies. We chat with company reps and 2Ys/formers who were at the company. Then we start to do interview prep, both behavioral and case prep start around late Oct/Nov. Interviews happen all throughout Jan-Feb. Don't worry to much about the detail as our consulting group does an awesome job of laying out the details and walking you through it.
Guest: Thank you all for taking the time to answer our questions! Were there any experiences/habits that you either employed pre-MBA or wish you had started practicing pre-MBA, that helped you make the most of your consulting recruiting process?
* Swan Lee: The Startup Summer program through Polsky, U Chicago's accelerator, was extremely helpful for me. I wanted to be able to understand how it's like to work in a fast paced smaller team environment coming from a large insurance company where I mostly did coding individually. I developed market entry strategy and worked on sales lead generation which were totally different experiences from my previous background. That helped me a lot in consulting as I spoke more confidently about my wide ranging ability. Outside of that, I would say that I really benefited from doing a lot of volunteer/mentorship programs where I taught kids. Teaching others was a really important skill I learned that is very applicable to consulting.
Guest: I have heard in other MBA Programs that students sometimes do consulting for local and community businesses. Is this something that any of you are involved in at all? If so, has that type of experience benefited you in terms of preparing you for management consulting?
* Heidi Schuette: Yes, great question! Booth has something called Business Solutions Group (BSG) that 1Y students can apply to join. You're put in groups of 5 1Y students and paired with a small business or non-profit. It was helpful experience for sure, but I think it's also great exposure to firms that sponsor the club and judge the final competition.
Guest: Hi everyone - when exploring MBA options, how did you know you wanted to attend Booth? What stood out most to you? And how would you describe the average classmate you've met while at Booth? Thanks for your help!
* Heidi Schuette: I chose Booth for three reasons. 1) I really valued the flexible curriculum. I knew exactly the types of skills I needed to sharpen, and I wanted to round out my profile by taking classes that were outside my comfort zone. 2) I had lived in NYC for 4 years so I wanted to continue to live in a large city, but see a new part of the country. 3) I valued Booth's analytical approach to problem solving
Guest: Hi! Thank you for taking our questions. Does a Corporate Strategy job require prior knowledge/experience in the industry?
* Heidi Schuette: Hi! Good question. As with many questions like this, it depends. Relevant work experience is always a plus, but it doesn't need to be completely linear. If you don't have experience in the industry or a strategy function before coming to Booth, you can use your resume and interview to highlight projects or experience that showcase the skills and strategic thinking that are desired for these types of roles.
Guest: Hello, Thank you for this live chat. I'm going to apply to the Booth Full MBA Program next year and I'm interested in Management Consulting. Can you give me some advice for the essays? I am international applicant with IT background.
* Anna Chalfin: Be sure to read the questions and answer the prompts carefully - the current questions are available on our website when you look at the Application Process, but they are subject to change each year. When you are answering the question pertaining to your goals, be sure to show how your experience and future goals are a good fit for Booth. Think about how the Booth MBA, coursework, extracurricular, etc. will help you achieve your goals. We have many students looking to make a career pivot, and we are just looking to understand your interests and goals, and see how Booth can support you.
Guest: Hi! How have you all enjoyed the recruiting process (for your internships) at Booth so far? Have you found Chicago to be a good hub for consulting and corporate strategy?
* Ayaz Matin: Consulting recruiting starts early and is a structured process. It does get very busy for 2-3 months in the fall quarter. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and learned a lot. Chicago is a fantastic place for consulting, corporate strategy and also some tech. Chicago offices for consulting firms are pretty big and have a lot going on.
Guest: Hi everyone. I see that some people worked in strategy before coming to Booth and some did not. For those who did not come from a strategy background, how has your experience been at Booth in terms of getting caught up to those who might have worked in strategy consulting beforehand? Have you found the coursework or the extracurricular more helpful in getting a good background for strategy consulting?
* Ayaz Matin: Yes, even without a strategy background there are plenty of resources available at Booth to adapt quickly and be successful in recruiting. Consulting firms also welcome a diversity of backgrounds because we may bring a different skill set and thought process. Firms have workshops and other events to make sure everyone gets a level playing field. I have mentioned some of the Booth resources and coursework that helps to succeed in other answers above. I missed out on mentioning Management Consulting Group - which manages the entire recruiting phase very well and also provides a lot of resources (E.g. MCG Family - a 2Y student leads a group of 4-5 1Ys and they prepare together)
Guest: Hi! To your last point in one of the recent questions, Frank, do folks pursuing consulting often also recruit outside of consulting? If so, what are common overlapping career interests in terms of recruiting? And do you know how one would go about that, especially given the offset recruitment calendars between industries?
* Frank Montana: That’s a great question. It is very normal for people to do some recruiting outside of consulting as well. There are many different approaches and no one strategy is right for everyone. Many people will also recruit at tech companies (could be for Corp. Strat, Corp. Fin, PM, etc.) or for a multitude of roles at larger firms, think big Fortune 500 brands you’re familiar with. These calendars are a little offset, but typically they still have events to learn about the firms in the fall and the interviews are a few weeks after consulting in the winter. There were definitely people who received offers from those kinds of firms before their consulting offers were due, so no issues on timing. My personal choice was to recruit at start-ups if consulting didn’t work out, so I actually didn’t really do much of this in the fall and would have begun that process in January if the interview season hadn’t gone like it did.
Guest: Hello – Thank you guys so much for hosting this event! Can you guys please share about what inspires or motivates you to pursue a career in consulting? This career path interests me a lot and I want to learn more about it, so it would be great if I can get some new perspectives here.
* Frank Montana: Absolutely, great question. I think for me, it really comes down to a few key things. First, the people you work with are insanely bright and talented. You are working on organizations pressing issues so you get a lot of people’s attention and can really enact change. Second, you face an extremely wide variety of problems, so you never stop learning and growing. Last, I think the pace of it is incredibly attractive, you are constantly demanded to add value and it challenges you to really push yourself to the limits of what you’re capable of as a team.
Guest: Thank you for taking the time to join the chat. I have four years of auditing experience. Do you see people with auditing background entering into consulting a lot? Thanks!
* Swan Lee: Hello! All different backgrounds go into consulting - I don't know specifically the number going in from audit but I definitely have a few friends from audit, tax, and other financial fields interning at consulting firms.
Guest: Good afternoon! Thanks for taking the time to be with us today. Can you shed some light on your personal experience with the recruiting process at Booth and anything you wish you would have known ahead of time?
* Swan Lee: Good afternoon! My process was quite interesting. Coming into Booth, I felt not as prepared as some others b/c of my last minute decision to pursue consulting. However, Management Consulting Group (MCG) gave me mentors and resources to get ready. Initially the process was daunting and somewhat stressful (I've heard it's similar in other schools as well) but I had a lot of emotional support from my 2nd year mentors. After a week or two, I learned how to be more of myself and figure out the best networking, interview prep method and had more fun with the process. I would say that I wish I figure out how busy the consulting recruiting can be.
Guest: Hello - thank you for your time today. Are you all pursuing full-time MBA's, or are any of you part-time? I currently live in Chicago and am considering a part-time MBA (i.e., night classes). Are there any major differences between the part-time & full-time programs (i.e., networking opportunities, career resources, etc.)?
* Anna Chalfin: Thanks so much for your question! All the students in the chat today are part of our Full-Time program. That being said, the Full-Time and Part-Time programs overlap quite a bit. The core of the program, offerings, and support are all the same, just catered to each program's student population. It's more about what the candidate is looking to get out of the experience. For example, students in the Full-Time program are looking to leverage the internship and time to get more involved with extracurricular activities during their time. The Part-Time programs still offer similar recruiting events and programming, and students within those programs may just have specific goals and priorities to focus on with their time.
Guest: What's the best course you've taken so far?
* Dylan Remick: Hello and thank you for asking that question. Competitive strategy has been my favorite class so far at Booth. Each class flew by and the class debates around each case topic was extremely enlightening.
Guest: How tough is the recruitment process for the big 3 consulting firms?
* Frank Montana: I guess it depends on your definition of tough. It is very time intensive throughout the fall quarter that is without a doubt. Between events with the firms and interview preparation, it will likely be the largest use of your time (more than classes/homework.) In terms of how hard it is to succeed, it varies a great deal year-to-year and person-to-person and is hard to really sum up. What I can say though is that Career Services and the Management Consulting Group give you a ton of tools, support, and make it as straight-forward as it could possibly be.
Guest: Hello, thank you for participating in this chat. I see that Swan participated in the Summer Startup program and will be interning at Bain this summer. Was your original interest in Entrepreneurship and did it change to consulting, or is it common at Booth for those who are interested in Consulting to also participate in the entrepreneurial programs?
* Swan Lee: You got me! Yes, I was originally intending entrepreneurship and wanted to join a startup. (However, I know plenty of people who did Startup Summer without entrepreneurship in the short/long term. Even people going into investment banking!) Which is why Startup Summer was such a valuable experience from me. I learned so much from the summer but also realized that I lacked some of the core skills needed in a small, pre-seed startup environment such as business development and product development. I thought of consulting as a way to build up my knowledge of best practices in all different industries and figure out what area I can really contribute.
Guest: For someone coming from a non-traditional business background (high school educator, etc.), which courses would you recommend a 1Y student enroll to best prepare for the consulting recruiting process?
* Frank Montana: Some people find classes like Competitive Strategy and Marketing Strategy helpful in the fall, some people say that they're not super applicable. If you're coming from a non-traditional background my take is that it will probably help your mind-set but won't necessarily be linearly helpful.
Guest: For anyone - curious what you got out of Booth that you feel was most valuable to you in preparing you for a consulting career (i.e. course work, groups, etc.) and why. Thanks.
* Swan Lee: Hello! As I come from a more quantitative background in one industry (insurance), I personally worked a lot on my strategy and soft skills to prepare myself in a consulting environment. Entrepreneurship discovery was a class that I really learned how to work in a team, identify opportunities, and see how we can leverage that to make a new product. I also joined our Management Consulting Group (MCG) in order to better understand what consulting is and prepare for the interview process well. Booth in particular was amazing in preparing because of the "pay-it-forward" culture. I had more 2 years offer help than I could take. They gave me such valuable advice in terms of how to approach recruiters but also gave me emotional support in a stressful situation.
Guest: They say "people don't (can't) work in consulting firms for too long". Is it a myth or what?
* Dylan Remick: Hello and that is a good question! I will preference this by my answer will be dictated by the answers I heard from consultants when I asked this question during the recruiting process. Like any company, the road to the top gets smaller and smaller and not everyone will be able to go from summer intern to partner at their consulting firm. However, many consultants use their time to learn as much as they can about specific industries and/or companies. With this, consulting firms have great exit opportunities if and when consultants find a company or a role that they wish to challenge themselves on in a next adventure. As well, life evolves, and families and kids can play a role in the travel aspect of a consultant’s life. I know I may not have fully answered your question, but instead show that consultant potentially leaving can be seen as a positive step taking on a new challenge.
Guest: Hi. Thank you for taking the time. Could you please share one or two key skills that you feel helped you most in transitioning from market research and consumer insights to consulting? Also, can you talk a bit about how the Consulting Club helps you prepare for interviews?
* Ayaz Matin: Critical thinking and Client Servicing were two skills I was able to leverage during my consulting recruiting process. Market research and consumer insights has aspects of consulting involved - just that it is focused on a niche business problem. The client servicing skill is key as consulting is all about solving client's most pressing issues. Yes, the Management Consulting Group at Booth is instrumental in managing the whole recruiting process and have a plethora of resources to help us. Right from MCG Families, Networking nights, Case prep with firms, Math & business 101 sessions - they organize many events throughout the process. They are heavily invested in our success.
Guest: Can you talk a bit about the recruiting process for corporate strategy roles and how that might compare to the process for consulting roles if one were to recruit for both?
* Sean Smith: Corporate strategy can blend on-campus processes if they hire in bulk, and therefore would follow the campus timeline similar to consulting (although first rounds could be on campus as late as February). Some strategy roles may decide to post the position if they are only hiring 1 or a handful of interns and would be off campus. These can come through as late as June. I would also encourage you to think about industry - a strategy project at a CPG is going to be different from tech, etc.
Guest: In addition to consulting, I am also interested in potentially recruiting for positions in corporate strategy departments (specifically in healthcare/biotech). Are there different types of skillsets that companies may be looking for when preparing for consulting versus corporate strategy?
* Sean Smith: Besides the desire to do strategy work, corporates like to know the candidate want to work for them. So for you, showing a passion for healthcare will be instrumental in those recruiting processes!
Guest: Can you speak at all to steps that you took to start getting ready for the recruiting process (or wish that you took) ahead of actually starting at Booth?
* Swan Lee: I always tell people not to worry about it yet! Booth does an awesome job preparing you. I did not do any actual prep, except for applying for some of the consulting summer workshop/scholarships.
Guest: How easy/ challenging is handling the data-driven aspect of your courses?
* Ayaz Matin: It is challenging but in a good way - because with struggle comes learning. Booth has non-grade disclosure policy so we don't need to disclose our grades to recruiters. This allows us to take challenging courses and focus on learning.
Guest: Hi team hope you're doing good. I'm going to apply to Booth in Fall this year with career focus on Management Consulting while my background is Life Insurance and Retail Banking. Can you please give some advices on actions I should take from now to better prepare for the career choice?
* Heidi Schuette: Hey! Good question, and I definitely understand wanting to be prepared. Honestly, I would recommend enjoying your summer before coming to Booth. Recruiting picks up pretty quickly and you don't want to be burned out before you even get here. Booth has a ton of resources to help and most people don't have consulting experience when they're recruiting for consulting. That said, some firms have summer mentorship programs that you can apply for, so you can look into those if you want to do something!
Guest: Hello! For those who weren’t in a consulting role prior to attending Booth, could you please elaborate on your decision process to pivot? What resources offered by Booth played a role in that decision?
* Ayaz Matin: My decision process to pivot to consulting happened before I joined Booth. I realized that consulting will provide me with the challenging environment to work on most pressing business problems and hone my business judgment skills. I also love working in teams and learning from other talented individuals.
Before we start at Booth, Career Services already shares resources and surveys to help map our skills to our interests. This can be one way to figure out what path you'd like to pursue. I also spoke to multiple 2Y students to get real on the ground info and make the best decision for myself. It is good to have some idea on what you'd like to pursue when starting at business school. Consulting and Banking recruiting start really early so it will be good to know either way - whether that's something you are interested in or not.
Guest: How do you anticipate the recruiting process happening if the Fall semester starts remotely? Would students still have access to the resources that Booth offers?
* Anna Chalfin: We do not foresee a change in start date or anticipate continuing a virtual experience into the coming fall. However, we will continue to monitor the ever-changing COVID-19 situation closely and remain nimble and make decisions that protect the safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to keep everyone updated. To speak from current state, since students are virtual for the spring quarter right now - career services and other departments have reacted quickly to offer resources and alternative programming virtually to best support students during this time.
Guest: Hi! Thanks for this session. I want to know if a person inclined towards Strategy must begin with studying the consulting courses and then narrow down to Strategy? Or directly start off by taking up Strategy courses? Please advise.
* Dylan Remick: Hello and that is a very good question. That depends on your level of comfortability with the higher-level strategy courses. If you are not coming from a strategy background, some of the base consulting/strategy level courses provide a solid foundation for the more advanced strategy courses. It is not necessary at all and depends on your level of comfortability with higher level strategic thinking that would be required for those classes. Academic advisors are also a great resource once you get closer to the start of school to go over more specific classes for your first quarter.
Guest: For those who were switching into consulting, how did Booth help you with your internships when campus recruiting starts so early in your MBA career?
* Ayaz Matin: I have listed many of the resources in some earlier answers. Booth provides a lot of support through the awesome Career Services team and the 2Ys who really live the "pay-it-forward" culture. I saw 2Ys that helped us do case prep and spent 6-8 hours on certain days to help as many 1Ys as possible.
Booth also has a fantastic reputation in the industry as a school where students really know their subject matter and are hard working. All consulting firms hold Chicago Booth in very high regard.
Guest: Thank you for your time to answer questions, could you all tell me resources for military veterans at Booth that we may be able to leverage?
* Lizzie Seidenstricker: The University of Chicago and Chicago Booth have numerous resources for our military applicants and students. Definitely take a look at The Office for Military-Affiliated Communities (https://veterans.uchicago.edu/) and see exactly what Booth's expanded resources are here (chicagobooth.edu/blog/ftadmissions/2018/veterans-day-2018). Also definitely get in touch with our Armed Forces Group (http://www.boothafg.com/) who are at the center of the armed forces support system at Chicago Booth.
Guest: Booth MBA is fully STEM now, irrespective of concentrations. Right?
* Anna Chalfin: Yes! We are very excited that all concentrations are now STEM eligible. You can learn more here: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/blog/ftadmissions/2020/chicago-booth-stem-mba
Guest: To echo everyone's comments, thanks for setting this up. Given that Booth is on the quarter system, are consulting firms fairly flexible for considering a later start date for summer internships?
* Sean Smith: Consulting firms work with us to make sure start dates align with the academic calendar. We have processes in place for students.
Guest: Hi Ayaz, can you speak to course offering in the Analytical Finance space, such as any econometric offerings?
* Ayaz Matin: Analytical Finance space has a wide variety of offerings - e.g. Portfolio Management, Financial Econometrics, Behavioral Finance, Cases in Financial Risk Management, "Debt, Distress, and Restructuring", Advanced Models of Option Pricing and Credit Risk
Guest: Hi, what is the second most suitable concentration to choose, apart from Strategic Management, for someone interested at MBB post MBA? Business Analytics? Thanks
* Sean Smith: The curriculum is flexible and a lot of classes overlap concentrations. Generally, I would not stress about concentrations, but those could be decent ones to show interests and skills. That being said, keep in mind that internship recruiting happens after only one quarter so you can only have so 3-4 classes done by that time anyway!
Guest: If you don't have a consulting background, does the prep for recruiting take up all your time or is it possible to split time between consulting recruiting and something else if you're undecided?
* Heidi Schuette: Great question. While having a background in consulting might help a bit when it comes to case prep, background doesn't make a huge difference in the networking time commitment in the beginning of fall quarter. In terms of having time to recruit for other industries, it really depends what that industry is. Recruiting for banking and consulting at the same time isn't recommended because both processes are pretty rigorous. However, doing a bit of recruiting for corporate strategy roles, tech, startups, etc. is much more manageable
Guest: Hi Ayaz, I have a question for you. What's the path of going to corporate strategy from a real estate background? Is there any significant experience to gain before applying for the same?
* Ayaz Matin: Corporate Strategy has many opportunities available across industries. The nature of the corporate strategy role may be structured a little differently depending on the firm or the industry. They are pretty open to people from a different background so I don't think it will be difficult to pivot from a real estate background. The Career Services team and us as 2Y students will help you craft a compelling story which will show how you can utilize your current skill set to be successful in the role. MBA overall is great time to pivot as companies are very open to a variety of backgrounds.
Guest: As a waitlisted R2 applicant continuing to learn more about Booth resources for consulting, I'm curious if any of you recruiting for generalist consulting tracks already know the industry or function you're hoping to specialize in. If so, how did that play a role in the recruiting process in communicating with prospective employers?
* Dylan Remick: Hello, thank you for asking that question! I am going into my internship as a generalist and I would say a large number of interns go in this way. Do not hesitate to let any consulting firm know if there are specific industries that interest you, they do an incredible job of connecting you to consultants who are specialized in that specific industry or working on a current project in your area of interest. This will allow you to have in depth conversations of areas of interest. There are some consulting firms that ask you to name an industry preference for the interview (which may be a great opportunity if you know specifically the industry/function), but most allow you to generalize at the beginning.
Guest: Hi everyone, within Career Services, are students assigned a specific advisor based on their interest in consulting / corporate strategy? Additionally, in terms of the 2nd year career advisors, are students able to work with multiple students advisors that are within their field, or are they assigned a contact?
* Natasha Chan: You are not assigned a Career Services coach, and are welcome to meet with whomever you'd like! All of our coaches are able to speak to any industry and function, however, each coach is a liaison to a particular student group and there will be one that is assigned to the Management Consulting Group. You will be able to read about each of the coaches' backgrounds on Intranet. For 2nd year Career Advisors, you are also welcome to meet with anyone you'd like! Their background are also available on the CA page on Intranet
Guest: What helped you choose Booth over other business schools you have been admitted to / applied to?
* Dylan Remick: Hello and good question. Cards on the table, I only got accepted round 1 to Booth and so it made my decision quite easy. However, Booth was my first choice for a few reasons. I wanted to go to a quant heavy school to balance out my strengths that I gained from playing soccer (which did not include any corporate finance discussions). As well, I enjoyed the creativity in the relaxed schedule from Booth that allowed me to take courses that interested me. That provides me with the opportunity to make the most out of my two years with the classes I take and the professors I interact with.
Guest: Question for Swan - can you talk a little bit about your experience and reason for participating in the Startup Summer program? What sort of work were you in charge of? How did it prepare you for business school/your future career?
* Swan Lee: Hey! I wrote a little bit about my motivation in another answer but basically wanted to first try entrepreneurship - that was the farthest thing away from a risk-averse insurance company I was with for four years, still a great experience. Personally, I was involved in business development and product marketing. I worked with a Booth alum leading the sales initiative to identify new markets and contacts to potentially make sales calls to. Then I researched 10+ different countries health policies to identify the international market size. On top of the market research skills, this first gave me such a great insight into how startups operate and also how I need to position my work in order to capture attention.
Guest: After your consulting (or, any in general), and you so happen to get a return offer, do you accept what they offer or is there room to barter? Is bartering frowned upon?
* Sean Smith: I assume you are asking about salary? That is going to depend on the industry. We have many conversation with students and can help you think through offer negotiations. Generally, firms that hire in bulk make sure everyone gets the same rate by location / role.
Guest: Is it compulsory to join Booth management club for recruitment for consulting?
* Ayaz Matin: It is not compulsory - you can apply to consulting firms directly. But joining the Management Consulting Group at Booth gives you many resources and a very supportive group of people who will definitely increase chances of success.
Guest: Hello, thank you for hosting the online chat. I am very much interested in Booth MBA programs. Is there a specific program or a set of curriculum in Booth that are focused on Business Analytics, which might be data mining driven and based on big data analysis, for High Tech companies? Thanks!
* Heidi Schuette: The short answer is yes! Booth has a ton of business analytics courses that touch on the topics you mentioned. Different courses are offered different quarters and usually have pre-requisites, but there are lots of opportunities to learn more about that space if you're interested.
Guest: For students in Booth who go to strategy roles in corporates instead of consulting firms, do they normally have prior industry backgrounds? I am interested in seeing how people normally decide between consulting firms and corporate strategy.
* Sean Smith: Many firms that recruit at Booth know many students are career changers. The key is to show passion for that industry during networking and interviews. Some students pick corporate strategy because they know they want to be in that industry from the onset or travel with consulting is not appealing / possible.
Guest: All of these answers have been really helpful, thank you. How do management consulting firms view your MBA concentration? Is it okay to venture into one that may not be directly related to strategy?
* Frank Montana: Hi there! I think one of the best things about the process is that the firms don’t really care at all about your concentrations or what classes you’re taking. You are completely free to explore whatever you’d like and no one will talk about it at any point in the recruiting process!!
Guest: Hi Ayaz, as an international student, in what ways have the STEM certification for the Analytic Finance concentration impacted your internship opportunities this summer and post-MBA job prospects?
* Ayaz Matin: STEM certification helped in a few applications where companies wanted international students to have the 3 year OPT option. However it isn't a key factor for internship recruiting specially as the internship is part of the MBA curriculum and included in the F1 visa. It may become a more important factor for full-time recruiting because that's when it becomes more impactful.
Guest: What good resources, other than classes, Booth can provide for students interested in corporate strategy? Is the preparation process and skill set for a corporate strategy career very different from the consulting one?
* Sean Smith: The skills you want to highlight are similar, although you want to show passion for that company. Career Services and student groups provide a lot of programming to help you prepare.
Guest: This is unrelated to consulting, however, do a fair percentage of students work while doing their MBA i.e. they got a start-up or VC gig and continue it part time alongside their studies? Is this something that is encouraged or common?
* Anna Chalfin: Thanks so much for joining today! Sometimes students will take on work with start-ups or other firms during the school year. I am not sure on the percentage, and I wouldn't say it's a majority, but there are a good number especially with specific interests where a role might align that do take on these types of roles. What we hear quite often is, students really appreciate the flexibility of the program for the quarters when they find a role they would like to pursue - they can stack their classes during a certain part of the week or opt into an evening class through our Part-Time program to best fit the experience into their schedule.
Guest: Hi, what do 2nd year students do after securing a full time offer from their internship? Do they continue networking, pursue personal interests in other clubs etc.?
* Natasha Chan: This can vary depending on the student! If students decide to accept their offers, and are done with recruiting for the year, this is a great time to pursue other interests through clubs, academic year internships, challenges/competitions, or considered lso to focus on academic and other social activities.
Guest: Hello everyone, thank you for providing your time and advice. After having successfully completed your consulting recruitment, is there anything that you would have done differently in retrospect or that you wish you would have known going into the process?
* Frank Montana: Wow, great question. Honestly, I think the biggest thing is just to worry less about what everyone else is doing. It’s super easy to get caught up in feeling like you aren’t making enough headway or aren’t prepped enough, you just need to focus on your own process. The other one is to start behavioral prep for interviews earlier!! Like way earlier. Everyone tells you to and very few people actually do it, it will make things way less stressful come December.
Guest: Hi Frank, what made you decide to get an MBA, and choose Booth in particular, given that you came from a strategy consulting background and want to continue in that direction post-MBA?
* Frank Montana: Great question! So I knew that I loved consulting, but felt that I wanted to round out my education and meet a lot of amazing people and that was the main reason for getting an MBA. To be completely transparent, transitioning to a consulting firm like Bain from the tenure I was at in my career without an MBA or advanced degree would have been extremely challenging, so that also played a large role. In terms of why Booth, I think out of tons of reasons that you’ve heard up to this point, one of the ones that actually attracted me was that there were a lot of students who didn’t do traditional recruiting paths (banking, consulting, etc.) and I thought that diversity in my classmates interests was incredibly valuable!
Guest: For a person who want to be an entrepreneur in tech field, do you think that working on a consulting firm before going to tech is a good choice?
* Swan Lee: I think the answer really depends on you! I think that it's both a great idea to go straight into startup tech, or explore consulting, bigtech as well. Personally, I have a strong interest in biotech startups and using consulting as a way to explore different industries and figure out which business field I can most contribute to. I would say though that if I also just jumped straight into startups in healthcare, I would have been able to still learn that area. I decided to choose consulting b/c of the fast learning and strong mentorship aspect. This might be a good question to ask yourself based on your short/long term goals and which skills you want to acquire going into your desired industry/function.
Guest: Hi, thank you so much for taking some of your time today to answer our questions. I am interested in the Business Solutions Group at Booth. Do any of you have experience working with that group?
* Heidi Schuette: Yes, I do! I participated this year as a 1Y and I'm one of the co-chairs moving forward. It's a great way to get some preliminary consulting experience, meet 2Ys, and have a little more exposure to firm reps.
Guest: Apologies if someone has already asked this, but are you aware of any pre-MBA internship opportunities with the major consulting firms with the on-going COVID-19 situation?
* Natasha Chan: A list of pre-MBA internship opportunities is available on the Admit site, so I would start there to see if a company you are interested in is listed.
Guest: Hi guys! Hope you're all keeping safe! Based on your experience and knowledge, do any of the bigger consulting firms allow you to work with a specific industry that you have interest in or does one go for a corporate strategy position in the industry instead of consulting?
* Natasha Chan: While you are always welcome to state your preferences or indicate where your knowledge expertise lie, firms will place you where there is a need for an intern. Hopefully this is based on your preferences, but it may not always align with something you have interest or knowledge in.
Guest: Frank, very cool about the info regarding concentrations. As someone who's been to Northwestern for undergrad, what differences have you enjoyed at Booth - undergraduate and graduate differences aside?
* Frank Montana: Have to preface this by saying that I love both my Wildcats and Maroons. I think there is a little bit more of an “academic” (and I use that work very deliberately) environment to Booth where research and theory are emphasized. Culturally, very similar just full of awesome caring people.
Guest: For people who leave consulting after a few years, what are the few career paths going forward?
* Ayaz Matin: Consulting provides excellent exit opportunities across a wide variety of industries. Some of it depends on your experience and expertise that you end up developing in certain industry or function areas. A lot of Tech companies have been hiring consulting talent recently but overall it depends on your interest areas. Many consultants are also taking the entrepreneurial route where there background and experience helps in access to VCs and capital.
Guest: Frank, a follow up question on your previous answer; could you please elaborate on the nature of behavioral prep needed for interviews?
* Frank Montana: Yeah, so there is a behavioral element to interviews that is very similar to other interviews you’ve had in the past. (i.e. Tell me about a time when you….) You’ll get a lot more info on this when you get here in the Fall, so don’t worry about it too much for now, but generally you’ll probably find that you prepped for a lot of the same types of questions for your Booth interview.
Guest: Hello, and thanks for the perspectives! Are students admitted in R3 eligible to apply in Startup Summer?
* Anna Chalfin: Thanks so much for your question! The application is open first to Round 1 and Round 2 admitted students, but it can be fluid year to year depending on open roles and applications for the program. We would keep Round 3 admitted students updated if there are roles available. You can find updated information regarding the application guidelines here: https://polsky.uchicago.edu/programs-events/start-up-summer/application-eligibility/
Guest: Consulting offers are hard enough to come by, is it unheard of to pursue a niche such as a digital arm of one of the major firms? Or would it be best to keep an open mind and take what is available?
* Frank Montana: It’s not unheard of at all!! There are a lot of people that might recruit only for digital practices, private equity groups, etc. I know people that only recruiting for one firm because there was something particularly interesting that only that firm really did in the US (granted, he also did recruit for a lot of non-consulting roles). Basically, you just need to figure out what it is about consulting that makes it right for you and construct a strategy that will let you accomplish that. Despite the fact that all the firms are AWESOME, they really aren’t all the same and you should just be honest about why you want to do consulting in the first place and make sure that if you are recruiting for a subset of firms in particular that you recruit for other stuff that will make you happy in addition to it.
Guest: Hello all - thanks for your continued help today. What level do most Booth graduates enter in the consulting field (i.e., Associate)?
* Frank Montana: So this is a tough question to answer because all of the firms have different titles. From my experience, Booth graduates typically enter consulting firms at a level that is about 3 years ahead of undergrad hires and about 2-3 years prior to some title resembling manager.
Guest: Hi, I have heard that people go to MBB sometimes decide to peruse a career in Private Equity afterwards. Is that something you have considered or do you intend on staying in consulting long term?
* Frank Montana: It’s definitely something I’ve considered. Many firms will have Private equity groups and this becomes apparent in the process as something that differentiates firms. Some hire into it and all you do is PE work, some staff you into a “ringfence” that does PE due diligence for ~6 months to a time, some just staff the occasional PE deal out of the general staffing pool. I personally think I’ll be in consulting for the long-term, but having PE as an option I can explore was definitely attractive to me and informed my ultimate choice as to where to intern.
Guest: Have any of you taken Robert Topel’s ‘Energy Policy Practicum’ or Jason Blumberg’s ‘Lab to Launch’ courses? What have been your experiences in these courses?
* Swan Lee: I had Topel for accelerated econ and he was awesome! Not sure about the energy policy practicum but find me through the ask a student portal and I could try to find someone for you. I also heard great things about Lab to Launch and plan to take it next year.
Guest: Hello, and thanks for the perspectives! Are students admitted in R3 eligible to apply in Startup Summer?
* Anna Chalfin: Thanks for your question! It's currently open to Round 1 and Round 2, but the process is fairly fluid so it's possible there would be opportunities or that may change year to year. We would keep admitted students updated. You can also see more about current application process here: https://polsky.uchicago.edu/programs-events/start-up-summer/application-eligibility/.
Guest: What are the good resources for students interested in Merger and Acquisition?
* Frank Montana: Hi, So there are classes like Mergers and Acquisition Strategy that dive into the strategic portion of the deal, as well as some finance and accounting classes that go more into the financial and regulatory components of these deals (sorry the names escape me now, but it’s something along the premise of “complex deals” in the title).
Guest: Heidi, what made you decide to choose BCG (consulting) for your summer?
* Heidi Schuette: I chose BCG because I loved the people I met through the recruiting process and I also valued their global reach. Every firm is great, however, and I think you'll hear very unique and personal reasons that people make their decisions.
Guest: Any recommended reading prior to showing up (if any of us are fortunate enough to be admitted) to help with recruiting?
* Swan Lee: Definitely check out startup summer. There are also a lot of cool pre-MBA opportunities from consulting, corporate, banking companies. I think Poet's and Quants have a list of those. I would say don't prepare yet for more specific interview prep, Booth will do that for you! Think about how to position your past experience in your future industry now.