Full-Time MBA

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Live Chat with Full-Time MBA Program Admissions

Chat Session Transcript

Join us for a live chat with current Booth students who are pursuing careers in strategy and consulting. This is your opportunity to ask students, as well as Career Services staff, about the resources that are available to help students make the most informed choices regarding strategy and consulting careers. Learn about curriculum choices, concentrations, student groups, recruiting, and more!

Thursday, February 28, 11 a.m. - Noon CT

From -> To Message
Everyone Thank you for participating in our chat. The chat will begin in 15 minutes. Please feel free to submit your questions at any time.
Everyone Welcome! We're happy to have all of you joining us today! My name is Jon Hammer, I'm a second year here at Booth. Prior to Booth I worked for a boutique consulting firm in Boston. I spent my summer in the nonprofit sector with Education Pioneers, and will join Bain & Company in Boston full time after school. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about recruiting for consulting as a second year, particularly if you're interested in a non-consulting internship over the summer.
Everyone Thank you for participating in our chat. The chat will begin in 5 minutes. Please feel free to submit your questions now.
Everyone Welcome everyone. The chat has now begun. We look forward to answering any questions you may have at this time.
Everyone Hi, my name is Janice Farrar. I'm a relationship manager in Career Services. I manage our established relationships with consulting firms. I'm happy to answer any questions I can.
Everyone Hello! I'm Char Bennington, and I lead our Career Management Team here at Chicago Booth - the team that designs and delivers all of our career educational workshops and coaches our students to help them pursue and land roles in their desired careers. I look forward to chatting with you today!
Everyone Hi everyone! I'm Meghan Keedy and am an Associate Director on the Admissions Team. I look forward to your questions today!
Everyone Hey Everyone, I'm Matt Savage a second year student at Chicago Booth. Prior to Booth, I worked in non-profit sector, focusing on community development initiatives locally and internationally. Over the summer, I interned with Accenture Chicago in its Industry Strategy group and will be re-joining the firm upon graduation. At Booth, I'm one of the co-chairs of the Management Consulting Group and am happy to answer any questions you have about the recruiting process, interview preparation, or life in general at Booth.
Everyone Hey everybody! My name is Doug Nagy, and I'm a second-year from Cleveland, Ohio. Before Booth, I worked in politics and build a non-profit to restore the Cleveland neighborhood where I grew up. I've made the switch to consulting and will be working for McKinsey's Cleveland office after graduation. I nearly recruited for Latin America and have helped lots of international students apply for US positions. Looking forward to your questions.
Everyone Thanks for joining us today! I'm Erica, a second year who worked in consulting and marketing strategy before school and will be returning to McKinsey's Chicago Office this fall. I'm best suited to answer questions about the day to day life of a consultant, comparing consulting with working in industry (corporate strategy/marketing) and general Booth questions. Fire away with your questions!
Jonathan Thanks for taking the time to host this chat. I have a question on exit options from a career in strategy consulting. What are the popular exit options for strategy consultant? Can you make a switch to finance and investment after a couple of years? Many thanks!
Jonathan -> GF Hi GF: One of the great things about a career in consulting is that it leaves you open to plenty options afterward. Plenty of consultants go on to work for their clients, so those exit options will really depend on the kind of consulting work that you do. Beyond working for clients, plenty of consultants go on to start their own ventures, work in private equity, or make a switch to the nonprofit sector
Meghan Hi, thanks for hosting this. Certainly, hirability is one of the key factors that the admissions committee looks for in an applicant. Since some consulting firms consider GMAT scores in making hiring decisions, does the admissions committee as result place higher weight on the GMAT scores of applicants looking to go into consulting?
Meghan -> Taiwo Hi Taiwo, Good question. The answer is that the Admissions Committee views your application in a holistic way - placing equal importance on all aspects of the application - no matter which industry you intend to recruit for. However, it's great to see that an applicant has already taken some pro-active steps towards their goals prior to attending an MBA Program, especially if it's a career transition.
Janice Hi. Thanks for hosting this chat. I am from New Delhi. I would like to know if there are any major challenges faced by international students who want to work in consulting in the US upon graduation?
Janice -> PrettyKhare Hi Pretty Khare. Consulting firms typically don't have issues with sponsorship. There are only a few small firms where that could potentially be an issue.
Matt I come from Technology consulting (ERP) and want to transition to Strategy consulting with some focus on technology. First, have you seen many students make this transition? And second, would it make more sense to pursue an internship in Strategy consulting or perhaps an internship in a Strategy role within industry and then apply for Strategy consulting full-time?
Matt -> Brandon Hi Brandon, thanks for the question. To answer your first question, the vast majority of students who enter consulting are career switchers - from banking to non-profit to corporate to technology, many people make the career switch. I think technology is a great background to come from and you should have trouble making the switch to consulting. In addition, many of the strategy firms have technology practices, if that's something that interests you. Second, I would encourage you to purse strategy consulting right away. Strategy role within industry is always a good option to pursue along with strategy consulting, but there are a lot of opportunities to consulting and think it would be best to do this immediately.
Doug Hi - not sure if you are taking questions yet but I wanted to know how successful the typical military MBA can be in transitioning to a career in consulting. I am an aerospace engineering officer in the Navy and would like to work in strategy consulting - preferably for aerospace and defense.
Doug -> ChrisM Hey ChrisM, I transitioned from a non-profit background to consulting and firms were very open to applicants from all backgrounds. I have several classmates who have gone from military backgrounds into consulting and finance. One of my McKinsey interviewers was a Booth alum who had been in the military before.
Erica How is the work-life balance of consultants and do you know if that changes by firms, geographies, countries?
Erica -> JulianMelo Hi, JulianMelo. Work - life balance is a common concern for those pursuing careers in consulting. Unfortunately, the best answer I can give you is, it depends on a host of factors - firm, geography, project type, required travel, etc.. Over the two years I was a consultant at McKinsey, I had weeks I worked 40 hours up to 100+ (thankfully only a couple). I'd say I averaged 60 hours a week excluding travel and only worked 2-3 weekends in 2 years, which in my opinion felt manageable.
Char Hello, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is it more difficult for international studens to get strategy consulting jobs in the US (especially when English is not their mother tongue)? Given ultimately consulting is a people business and international students are less familiar with use of language, culture and habits etc.and hence are more difficult to build rapport with clients? Can you please give some advice on how to overcome this issue?
Char -> guanfra Hello Guanfra! Strong verbal communication skills are definitely important for a Consulting role, and there are many ways to ensure yours are the best they can be when you're here. You'll have many peers to assist with the cultural aspect of networking as it's most likely different here in the US than your home country. One of the best ways to build your english skills once you're here is to stretch yourself and always put yourself in situations when you're speaking English. It's easy to surround yourself with those who speak your native language, but you'll learn best by practicing speaking and listening as much as possible.
Doug is it hard to get a consulting intership if you don't have any consulting background?
Doug -> Irene_P Hey Irene_P, I not only had zero consulting experience before school, I had ZERO business experience before school, so it's definitely possible to recruit for consulting from any background. The school does a great job to get us up to speed to compete.
Jonathan Hi Jonathan, thanks for being here and sharing with us! Hope it is not too early to start shooting a question. How do you convert a non consulting internship to a full time offer in Bain?
Jonathan -> ElaineX Thanks for the question Elaine. I think the consulting firms look for people with a variety of experiences. The most important things are that 1) you were successful in whatever you did, 2) that you can clearly articulate what skills you developed and 3) that you can show how those experiences prepare you for a career in consulting. I think that the fact that I did something that i was really passionate about over the summer made it easier for me to tell my story when full-time recruiting came around.
Meghan I wish to apply as a college senior for the booth mba program . I am currently in pen ultimate year of my college.
Meghan -> Shikhar Hi Shikar, as a college senior I recommend that you check out our page for early career candidates: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/early-career-candidates. You might also consider doing a summer business program, such as Chicago Booth's Summer Business Scholars: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/summer-scholars/. Good luck!
Matt What sort of strategy consulting assignments do the students, and graduands work on?
Matt -> Bella Hi Bella once one enters consulting either during the summer internship or full-time upon graduation, we work on projects that all consultants work on. However, while at Booth there are a number of opportunities to get real-world experience within consulting. The Business Solutions Group puts together a program in which groups of 5 students consult small businesses in the Chicago area regarding real issues they are facing. In addition, there are other "Lab" classes in which the students have an opportunity to work with real companies and advise them on the issues they're facing.
Janice i have read an article about how many b school students want to get into consulting. is it tougher now to land a consulting job after graduation?
Janice -> Irene_P Hi Irene, we typically have between 20 - 25% of the class that land in offer in consulting. Is it competitive, yes, but no more competitive than any other year.
Doug Is consulting background prior to MBA necessary to get considered for top firms like Bain, Mc K?
Doug -> shan Hey Shan, I'd say the vast majority of students going into consulting are NOT from a consulting background. Firms are very open to talent from every sector.
Meghan Hello! Is GRE accepted as an alternative to GMAT by the consulting firms? Thanks!
Meghan -> Francis Hi Francis, Our career services team would strongly recommend that a GMAT be used for consulting recruitment.
Erica Thank you to the panel for your time and insights today. What classes and professors are most recommended for preparing someone for strategy consulting?
Erica -> RyanS Hi Ryan S - Booth's Academic Advising Team is a great resource in selecting courses to help fill out your skillset and prepare you for a career in consulting (and potentially beyond). As someone going into consulting who wants to focus on consumer facing industries, I've gotten a lot out of the marketing and strategy courses here. Additionally, taking classes like Managerial Accounting and Corporate Finance have helped me solve problems more holistically.
Janice Hello, thanks everyone for hosting this chat. Top strategy consultancies are not known to provide many internships, is it typical for Booth students to intern in consulting? If not, what internship paths do Booth students take prior to interviewing for a top strategy consulting firm?
Janice -> Sue Hi Sue, actually, consulting is and has been in our top 5 hires for industry and function for many, many years. We typically have between 20 - 25% of the class going into consulting.
Matt Hi, I am working in ZS- a Sales and Marketing Consulting firm in India. Post MBA I am interested in Strategy consulting or Pharma Strategy. What kind of courses are offered which would best prepare me for the avenues I am look at it?
Matt -> aniruddha Hi Aniruddha thanks for the question. There are a lot of courses that help prepare one for consulting - Competitive Strategy, Strategy & Structure, Marketing. In addition classes like Decision Modeling, Financial Statement Analysis, and Accounting serve to be very helpful as well. Classes like Strategy Lab and Developing New Products and Services offer students the opportunity to work with real companies to deal with issues these companies face on a daily basis. Lastly, the Business Solutions Group organizes 15 projects with small companies in Chicago in which groups of 5 students "consult" the businesses - in this way students get real world experience before they begin their internships.
Char From the school’s viewpoint – how has the world of consulting in big data/analytics changed in the last few years? In addition, has the demand for graduates looking to consult in big data/analytics changed in recent years? Thank you for taking our questions!
Char -> Chris_23 You're definitely right on that bid data/analytics is a hot topic and changing the way we look at the world in the last few years. Just last night we had a Chicago Conversation on Big Data just last night with 400+ attendees. One shift we're seeing in our on-campus interviewing (firms that come here) is a few more roles in Marketing Analytics (vs. Brand). We're seeing a few more students each year interested in using data to make decisions so stay tuned - definitely a growing area!
Doug @Doug. Thanks for this platform. I am an applicant from Ghana with a background in finance and education management. How feasible is it to do a summer internship in management consulting and then transition to a full-time finance role after graduation?
Doug -> Frederick Hey Frederick, your question about doing a consulting internship and then going into finance full time has two-parts. To get a consulting internship, you definitely have to make the case in the recruitment process that you're interested in consulting full-time. If firms think you're not serious about it, they won't hire you. The second part about going back into finance afterwards, I'm not sure about since I didn't do that route. There are students who do consulting internships and don't like it, switching to other options during full-time.
Erica What is the process of selection for chairs and co-chairs at the MCG and the BCG?
Erica -> aniruddha Hi Aniruddha, Co-chairs for most clubs are selected through an application process initiated by the club's outgoing co-chairs.
Meghan Hello! What percentage of students apply in Rounds 1 and 2? Is an applicant at a disadvantage if applying in Round 3 (ie scholarships, financial aid, etc.)?
Meghan -> Trip Hi Trip, our numbers change year to year, but we generally receive the bulk of applications during Rounds 1 and 2. You're not necessarily at a disadvantage when applying during Round 3, but keep in mind that some spots and scholarship awards will already be taken at that point.
Jonathan Hey Jon, I was just wondering what you felt was the most beneficial part of getting your MBA when comparing your prior consulting experience to your expectations of Bain
Jonathan -> rma66 My time at Booth has really been a transformational experience in a lot of ways (in addition to just being a ton a fun!!). First and foremost, Booth gave me the chance to really reflect on everything that I had experienced in my consulting career. While I had done a lot of strategy work prior to Booth, my classes here have given me a structured chance to look at these experiences and reflect on what I had done right, what could have been improved upon, and why. Our flexible curriculum allowed me to tailor this to my experience and my interests beyond Booth. Beyond that, Booth is a target school for almost every major consulting firm, which means that they send representatives to campus and give us the chance to build relationships that I wouldn't have been able to build without Booth.
Janice What is the best way to research consulting opportunities that will not involve much travel - either boutique firms or internal consulting?
Janice -> LB you can do a couple of things. First you can research firms of interest and then ask about their travel model. You can also use LinkedIn to identify people who are in consulting and the inquire about their firm and the travel model.
Doug Do Booth professors take an integrated approach to teaching? For example, will a strategies professor work with a professor teaching finance to provide a integrated and collaborative learning experience?
Doug -> Steve Hey Steve, my classes have definitely built on each other, and there is coordination between the professors. Strategy professors will often say, "remember this from your micro class?" etc. And in lots of cases, there are branches and off-shoots to other material. Professors will say something like, if you're really interested in this part of the case, you should definitely take Class XYZ. So generally, I'd say professors are very aware of the course offerings and how their course fits in.
Matt What is the consulting internship networking/recruiting process like? How important is the consulting club to 'plugging in'?
Matt -> Mr.02090 The networking and recruiting process is one that requires a lot of effort, but is one that is very rewarding no matter the outcome. The Management Consulting Group (MCG) is vital to this process as it provides the students the support and education to help throughout the process. MCG is very proactive during the first few months of class, helping to prepare students for the recruiting process. The process begins in October at which time students have the opportunity to network with the 12-15 consulting firms that come onto campus. The consulting club organizes large Networking events and Lunch n Learns with the firms during the first two months of school. When November and December arrive, MCG begins to prepare students for the interview process by organizing events such as the Consulting Forum and Case Workshops to introduce and prepare students for the "case" interview. Then when interviews begin in January MCG is right there to help students practice their cases. It's a long process, but one in which everyone is in it together helping each other out. MCG is very active and second year students are an enormous help to first year students.
Char My background is supply chain and I will have a work ex of 3 years by the time I will join the b school. Do you think I stand a chance in consultancy firms after MBA in consultancy. Because there are so many aspirants from consulting background, would I stand a chance
Char -> shan There are many, many resources here at Booth that help students identify which aspects of their background are most relevant for Consulting. The skills consulting firms are looking for include analytics, strategic thinking, results-oriented, influencing people, and leadership. Without knowing the details of what you've done in your role, I'd recommend reflecting on what you've done to date and look for examples of those skills - that will help tremendously in your recruiting.
Erica Thank you all for your time! I’m interested in a career in strategy in the media/entertainment industry. Do many media companies recruit at Booth, or do students interested in the industry primarily take the lead in finding opportunities with the help of the Booth network?
Erica -> MK Hi MK! A handful of media/entertainment companies recruited on campus at Booth during last year's interview season, such as Time, Harrah's, Disney, and S&P. Most students pursuing media and entertainment roles do a fair amount of networking to find internships and full time roles. Because the industry doesn't hire a large number of MBAS, these jobs tend to be secured in more of a just-in-time fashion. Hope that helps!
Jonathan Hi Jon. How does the consulting industry perceive one's intent to work in a non-profit over the summer as opposed to an internship with a consulting firm?
Jonathan -> Hari1983 A number of the firms are putting more emphasis on social impact work and community engagement, so I actually see this as a big positive, particularly if it's something that you're passionate about and can be successful doing. Beyond just working in non-profit, I really tried to tailor my project so I could build skills that I thought the consulting firms would find valuable. I made sure that my project was very analytical, that I was working in a team, that I got the chance to present to leadership and persuade people with my recommendations, and that I could point to tangible results at the end of the summer. I think they care a lot more about your project than your industry.
Matt This question is for current students: What specific resources at Booth, both courses and organizations, have most effectively prepared you for pursuing a career in strategy/consulting?
Matt -> MK Hi MK - There are many general courses that help prepare one for consulting - Competitive Strategy, Strategy & Structure, Marketing. In addition classes like Decision Modeling, Financial Statement Analysis, and Accounting serve to be very helpful as well, providing very specific skillsets that I used over the summer during my consulting internships. Classes like Strategy Lab and Developing New Products and Services offer students the opportunity to advise and consult real companies to deal with issues they face on a daily basis. Lastly, the Business Solutions Group organizes 15 projects with small companies in Chicago in which groups of 5 students "consult" the businesses - in this way students get real world experience before they begin their internships.
Janice are there a lot of boothies landing consulting jobs for tech companies on west coast?
Janice -> dvd Hi DVD, all of the major consultancies have west coast offices so our students do indeed end up there. We also have great relationships with tech companies out west so we also have students that go right into roles within those companies.
Char will it be harder for international bschool graduates to land consulting jobs in the US due to visa issues?
Char -> Irene_P The consulting firms have the resources to gather and fulfill visa requirements for their employees so this has not been an issue, and I don't see that changing. Students also have CPT (Curriculum Practical Training) that they're able to use during their internship to assist which allows them to work in the US during that time.
Meghan Hi I am currently in penultimate year of my college. I wish to apply as a college senior in Booth. So what will be the best time for me to apply
Meghan -> Shikhar Hi Shikhar, a good rule of thumb for when to apply is that it should be when you are the most ready to be here. Our average applicant applies with around five years work experience. While that is not a requirement, you'll want to make sure that you are the most competitive candidate you can be when you decide to apply.
Matt hey guys thanks for hosting this. I will be a member of the 2015 class and interested in consulting. Should i get an early start on cracking the case? or should i simply enjoy my summer?
Matt -> dvd Hi DVD - Enjoy your summer! The MCG will do a phenomenal job of walking you through the necessary steps to help prepare your for the recruiting and interviewing process. The first few months on campus will entail a lot of networking with firms and then once December and January arrive, students will start beginning to prepare for the cases. So, ultimately, you could familiarize yourself with what a case is, but don't worry about doing intense preparation until later in the process.
Janice Hi, I thank all of you for your time... I am an international MBA candidate working for a boutique consulting firm but wanting to experience work in the US. Are there many opportunities to land a job in the USA for foreign students?
Janice -> santiagosb Hi Santiago, yes, therew are many job opportunities of international students. None of the large consulting firms have sponsorship issues. You many run into some challenges when you are looking at more smaller, more niche firm.
Erica I come from an engineering background, how can I best prepare for consulting internships and eventually post-grad?
Erica -> Dave Hi Dave. I didn't mention it in my bio, but my undergrad degree is in engineering. Consulting firms often like candidates with technical backgrounds because they are comfortable with numbers/analysis and can apply the systematic problem solving skills to help solve business problems. In terms of preparing for internship/career, business school in itself will be a huge help in making the transition and grounding you with business acumen. Little things like reading the WSJ can be helpful in picking up the language of business and getting an understanding for industry happenings.
Meghan How would you say the academic experience at Booth prepares students for consulting? Any classes in particular?
Meghan -> Mr.02090 Hi Mr. 02090, I would say that the flexible curriculum at Booth helps students to prepare for the recruitment process because they are able to focus on classes that will bring them up to speed on the tools and skills necessary to have. One class that many students who are transitioning into consulting find helpful is Competitive Strategy. You can read more about it here: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/academics/curriculum/strategic-management#tabContent2
Jonathan Hello Jonathan and thanks for hosting this event. I am thinking on maybe doing a slight shift from IB to Consulting (Financial). When consulting companies come to Booth do they specify if they are looking for a general management consultant or do they sometimes specifically require financial consultants?
Jonathan -> JuanGaravito Hi Juan - great question! The answer is yes, and yes - you will find opportunities to be either a generalist or a specialist depending on your interests. One of the great things about the Booth recruiting process is that you'll have several months of coffee chats, presentations, networking events, dinners with the firms, etc. These events give you the chance to speak with current consultants at the firm and understand what their work is like, what types of skills they are looking for, etc. Some firms really want specialists in an industry or function, while others recruit generalists, and this is something that you'll be able to find out through these conversations.
Matt In BSG, do the students get to work on live projects in the industry or have to work on simulated data/problems? I am asking this because I feel in lot of time companies are sensitive to allow students to work on actual data
Matt -> aniruddha Hi Anirudda thanks for the question - all groups of students have access to the actual data. They work to analyze this data and provide recommendations. The BSG projects aren't just projects to give students practice, the companies are actually seeking advice that they will use. Because of this, they allow access to the data that the students will need to make a viable recommendation
Doug How are projects assigned in the Management Lab? Thanks.
Doug -> Charles_Geraci Hey Charles, clients for the lab courses are listed before you sign up and often the specific projects are listed too. You can then email a professor to request a specific project. They'll try to accomodate specific project requests if possible. For example, there is a new Healthcare Operations course that I nearly signed up for next quarter. All the projects and clients were sent out to all of us via email. I think if I would have said, I'm really interested in project #3 because it ties into my goals after school, I would have gotten assigned to that project.
Matt Hi everyone, thank you for this opportunity. I would like to know if when recruiting for consulting it is possible to ask for a specific office, for example, San Francisco or Silicon Valley.
Matt -> jacoposanna Hi Jacoposann - Most all firms require you to rank your office preferences, so, yes it is possible (and often required) to ask for a specific office.
Char What kind of events are organized where students can meet and network with alumni and recruiters?
Char -> aniruddha There are many, many events that students at Booth are able to attend to meet alumni and recruiters, and many different offices and student groups host these events. From a Career Services perspective, we host Industry Immersion during Orientation (a series of speakers and panels to learn about careers), and then we host 200+ Corporate Conversations for internship and full-time recruiting throughout the year where students can meet company representatives (many whom are alumni). There are also numerous edeucational opportunities such as Chicago Conversations and Booth Business Forums to learn about careers and network with alumni and others in the industry. Students groups also put on conferences and Lunch and Learns to assist students to learn and grown their networks.
Doug What classes or electives have helped you most in your consulting career? Or what classes do you wish you could have taken?
Doug -> EmilyH EmilyH, I definitely think my top three courses for closing the gap with my more-experienced peers were managerial accounting, competitive strategy and operations. I think competitive strategy was the most important because it gave me a good overall understanding of business and helped me drive cases. I took competitive strategy second quarter but would recommend taking it first quarter if you can.
Meghan Hello, nice to meet you all, my name is Camila Shimizu from Sao Paulo, Brazil and currently in the process of applying to your MBA program for Fall 2014. In March I'll be travelling internationally and will visit the campus in person to get the full "feel" of the Chicago Booth experience. I am working with Consulting for almost 5 years now, at Ernst & Young, in Transactions, M&A area and would like to know what is your advise for applicants with brazilian consulting background.
Meghan -> Camila_S. Hi Camilia, It sounds like you have a terrific background. I think that your MBA strategy has a lot to do with what you'd like to accomplish with the tools that an education at Chicago Booth can give you. Visiting our campus is a great start towards answering that question in a compelling way, and incorporating how your experience in a Brazilian consulting firm "fits" into your overall story. Good luck to you!
Matt For Doug and Matt--Did you face any unique challenges preparing for private sector consulting, coming from a nonprofit background? Thanks!
Matt -> Kristen_Uyemura Hi Kristen thanks for the note. Our experience might have made it more difficult in some ways to enter consulting, but in many ways, because our experiences were unique we stood out to the consulting firms. The firms like to see unique and different background experiences and indeed most all students who enter consulting come from a non-consulting background. Because I knew my background was non-traditional, I put in extra effort to network with the firms to land the job. Then in the interviews, I made sure that I was prepared for the interviewer to challenge my analytical/quantitative skills. If you can assure the firms that consulting is what you want to do and why your background would help you excel within the industry, the background is definitely not a hindrance, but more of an opportunity.
Char Appreciate you hosting this call. I was wondering if you could tell us about Booth placement in McKinsey, BCG & Bain post-MBA. Do you have any statistics or percentages you can share?
Char -> 2013MBAHopeful We have an amazing Employment Report that organizes our employment data many different ways including by function, industry, and top hirers to name a few. Take a look:

Jonathan What led into your decision(s) to pursue consulting as opposed to other fields (finance, banking, etc)
Jonathan -> ishiper I think consulting is a great post-MBA career for a number of reasons. The big ones for me were 1) I wanted to continue to be a generalists - to see a number of different companies, industries, and strategic issues. I think one of the biggest benefits of being a consultant is that you are exposed to so many different problems that you learn a lot. 2) I found a firm where i felt that I really fit with and believed in the company culture and values. Through the on-campus recruiting process I got to meet people from Bain, and particularly from the Boston office and felt like it really just clicked. 3) Consulting is something that opens more doors than it closes. If in 5 years I decide that I want to do something totally different, I still have the option on the table
Char for energy professionals, which companies typically recruit for corporate startegy/business development/consulting/banking
Char -> Rahul Rahul - our employment report is a great resource that gives you a sense of where our students have landed. When you click on the categories by function and industry you can see the firms that hired our students for past years. Here's the link:

Janice What is the screening process like for internships and FT offers with the big 3? Do they start tossing weeding out resumes and apps based on undergrad GPA (since Booth has Grade Non-Disclosure) and GMAT thresholds?
Janice -> horns Hi Horns, no, I wouldn't say the firms weed out specifically because of GPA and GMAT, those are only a couple of critieria for which they evaluate students. Leadership is also data point the firms looks at as well as your ability to fit with the firm.
Matt My interest is more aligned towards business development and corporate strategy (for a consulting/non-consulting firm). I am looking at the energy industry in particular. What courses/programs/specializations are typically taken by people with the above mentioned background/interest
Matt -> Rahul Hi Rahul I know there are a handful of classes geared toward energy, but that was not my expertise, so I can't point you specifically toward them. I can offer some guidance regarding preparation for consulting in general. There are many general courses that help prepare one for consulting - Competitive Strategy, Strategy & Structure, Marketing. In addition classes like Decision Modeling, Financial Statement Analysis, and Accounting serve to be very helpful as well, providing very specific skillsets that I used over the summer during my consulting internships. Classes like Strategy Lab and Developing New Products and Services offer students the opportunity to advise and consult real companies to deal with issues they face on a daily basis. Lastly, the Business Solutions Group organizes 15 projects with small companies in Chicago in which groups of 5 students "consult" the businesses - in this way students get real world experience before they begin their internships.
Erica Hi Erica, what is a typical day at work for a management consultant? do they stay late and work for more than 8 hrs a day?
Erica -> Irene_P Hi Irene! Unfortunately there is no typical day - it varies a lot based on your project and team. Generally, I would usually get up around 6:15a, workout til 7a, be at the client site by 8a. At the client site, every day is different, which I loved. Everything from getting data requests from client partners, doing analyses, conducting interviews of clients, gathering information from internal resources, leading brainstorming sessions, presenting findings to clients, internal team problem solving sessions and yes, building power point slides. We would typically leave the client site around 7p, grab dinner on as a team or on our own and sometimes open up the laptop back in the hotel room.
Doug Thanks all for hosting this chat. For career switchers, is there anything we can do to start preparing for a career in consulting prior to classes in the fall?
Doug -> sophiechen SophieChen, I would recommend two things. #1 Network with some current students or recent alums to gather advice tailored to you. You can also cite these convos later when you need a reason to say why Firm X in City Z. #2 There are some pre-MBA summer internships that people take advantage of. That can be really helpful to fill a resume gap. I was a Round 3 admit so I didn't have time to line something up for the summer. I think the marginal return from a new pre-MBA summer endeavor could be higher than an additional few months in your current role.
Everyone We've reached the halfway point of our chat. Please continue to submit any questions you may have for our panelists.
Doug Is it necessary to have exp in consulting to prior to MBA to get into top consulting firms
Doug -> shan Consulting experience is NOT neccessary to switch to consulting.
Janice I noticed that all of the students are full-time - is it typical for a part time student to have an opportunity to enter management consulting post graduation? If so, do you have any recommendations for making this transition easier?
Janice -> Michael_W Hi Michael, yes, it typical. We have part time students who go through the full-time recruiting process that are indeed successful. We have programming that helps part time students who are going through the process put their best foot forward.
Jonathan Do the companies look at the classes attended by the students while they shortlist them for selection process?
Jonathan -> aniruddha Generally firms have no clue what classes you take. Booth has a grade non-disclosure policy, which means that we don't speak with recruiters about our classes at all (unless it's purely anecdotal). One of the great things about the flexible curriculum is that you can really tailor your course-load to help you feel as prepared as possible for your career. If you come from a non-quantitative background, you can front-load your more quantitative classes to help you feel ready. On the other hand, if you're a former banker, then you might want to get more exposure to marketing, or managerial and organizational behavior courses. It all depends on your background and interests
Meghan Hi - I was wondering what opportunities exist at Booth (both in and out of class) for those interested in a technology focus?
Meghan -> mbm8e Hi mbm8e, Sure - academically, we have an assortment of elective classes that have a technology bent. Some examples would be Technology Strategy and our Clean Tech Lab. Outside of the classroom, there is a High Tech Student Group, where members attend lectures and go on tech career "treks".
Erica Hi - I come from a consulting background and am interested in both consulting and internal strategy positions. However, I am looking for the internship experience to provide me with a new opportunity within industry. If i recruit for internal strategy positions instead of consulting for my internship, do you think I am at a major disadvantage for consulting position for full time opportunities?
Erica -> Jessica Hi Jessica. I think it's great to want to try something different over the summer and consulting firms respect that, given your past experience in consulting. The only challenge this presents is that full time recruiting happens really quickly and there aren't as many opportunities to meet the firms before interviews happen. If you think you're interested in pursuing consulting for an internship or full time, you'd be well served by getting to know the firms when they come on campus during internship season so that you can establish relationships with firms. Most consulting firms hire during full time recruiting, so you aren't closing the door on a post MBA consulting career by not doing a consulting internship.
Char Thanks a bunch for hosting us. I'm wondering if you can give an overview of what the process looks in terms of timings through the year -- resume submission to interview to offer / decision.
Char -> PRS Student attend exploratory programming at the beginning of the year to learn about careers and help them make a decision. They then craft a resume that targets employers by late October. Corporate Conversations start mid to late October, and students also begin pursing off-campus opportunities as well. Career education programming continues to help students with networking, compelling cover letters, and interviewing. Opportunities are posted on-line for both on- and off-campus opportunities. Deadlines to apply for on-campus interviews start in early to mid-December, and on-campus interviews begin in mid-January. Many students land opportunitie through on-campus interviews, and many will continue their search to find the right role for them for the summer that positions them well for full-time recruiting. That's very high level - there's so much more, but I hope this helps.
Janice What is more desired -- an MBA or PhD in the consulting world?
Janice -> ssp527 Hi ssp527, I would say the MBA because that's where our hiring reports speak to. But I will say unless it is a very specific subject matter for which expertise is needed, companies typically are looking to MBAs for their more operational and strategic prowess.
Jonathan Jonathon, did you already have something lined up with Bain before you set up your summer with the non-profit? If not, what incentive does a Bain or any other firm that is super selective have to hire "sight unseen" -- i.e., without having seen how you perform over a summer? I guess you really have to woo them, or they really trust Booth, or a combination? Thank you for your answer!
Jonathan -> brad.clements Great question Brad. I did not have anything set up with Bain before the summer. I met a number of people from the Boston office through the first year recruiting process, and made sure to keep those relationships alive over the summer, specifically so, to your point, they wouldn't actually have to hire "sight unseen" even though they had never worked with me.
Matt I know very little about consulting and was wondering what the job entails and what the average day might look like. My background is in advertising/marketing. Thanks
Matt -> Caitlin Hi Caitlin you're in good company as most students who enter consulting come from a non-consulting background. However, the fact that you have a marketing background will definitely give you an advantage as many projects within CPG have a marketing tilt. Your question in general is difficult, because every project in consulting will be different from the last. In addition, it depends heavily upon the industry in which you're working. But, the general projects that you'll see would be growth, cost cutting, organization structure change (HR), go-to-market strategy, or competitive response, to name a few. To answer your second question, there really is no typical day. If I had to try and create a typical week, here goes: answer/write a few emails first thing in the office; chat with the team about the direction for the day; once a direction has been established, begin doing research to answer the big question; pare down research into what's important and analyze it through excel; create slides for client presentation; daily client meetings to demonstrate progress; team check-ins throughout the day; concluding meeting with team to wrap the day.
Doug Thanks for getting back to me Doug. Would you suggest any way - in addition to informational interviews - to best prepare for transitioning into consulting?
Doug -> ChrisM Hey ChrisM, one strategy is to do a summer project (either in a preMBA internship role or find a volunteer opportunity on your own. This will give you something additional to complement your military service and something else to talk about in interviews too. For example, I led an a voter registration drive as a volunteer and talked about it in one of my interviews to explain how I persuaded key stakeholders (parish priest, teachers, etc) to help.
Janice What do consulting companies look for in evaluating applicants?
Janice -> vinceaccurso Hi vinceaccurso, they look for a number of thing. A few are problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, presentation skills, cultural fit with their firm, academic rigor and leadership skills just to name a few.
Matt Thank you everyone! Can you tell us about the day to day life of a consultant? I'm curious because I have always worked in the consumer good industry, but I'm thinking about pursuing a strategy and consulting career.
Matt -> Cami Hi Cami - To answer your question, there really is no typical day. If I had to try and create a typical week, here goes: answer/write a few emails first thing in the office; chat with the team about the direction for the day; once a direction has been established, begin doing research to answer the big question; pare down research into what's important and analyze it through excel; create powerpoint slides for client presentation; daily client meetings to demonstrate progress; team check-ins throughout the day; concluding meeting with team to wrap the day.
Jonathan I intend to be an entrepreneur, but I believe it would be nice to work as a consultant for a couple of years to acquire market experience. Do you think it's a good approach?
Jonathan -> Paulo I think you'll get different answers to this question depending on who you talk to. I'd encourage you to think a lot about what you would really be looking to get out of your few years in consulting. If, based on your background, you think you need to develop a stronger analytical skillset, need to build deeper industry expertise, or want a better grasp on strategy, then spending time in consulting can absolutely help you. On the other hand, if you have a specific idea, particularly a time sensitive one, then Booth and the Polsky center have plenty of resources to help you launch that while you're here.
Meghan I would have a work expierence before joining an MBA program. Does Chicago booth have any requirements for a prior duration of work ex.?
Meghan -> Anuj Hi Anuj, we do not have requirements for how long a candidate has worked prior to applying, but I will say that most of our applicants apply with at least 5 years experience. Overall, you should apply when the time is right for you, and when you feel you have the most compelling reason to do so.
Char Hi! Thank you for hosting this chat. I would like to know if you have statistics about the proportion of international students that get jobs in the United States after graduation.
Char -> Cynthia That percentage has shifted from year to year based on students' interest and where they are wanting to land after graduation and can be anywhere from 45 - 60%. Here's information overall about where our grads land in our Employment Report:

Matt Are students that are interested in consulting join both the management consulting club and business solutions group? Are the groups complimentary?
Matt -> NRogg Hi NRogg to answer your question, all students interested in consulting join MCG, however only those that are interested in gaining real world consulting experience join the BSG. MCG is much more oriented to offering students access to firms and helping the students through the recruiting and interviewing process. BSG offers students the opportunity to work with small businesses in Chicago, consulting them on the real issues that they face. It's valuable experience for students and is also valuable advice for these companies
Doug Thanks for hosting the chat. I´m planning in making a career transition, from an accounting/financial to a consulting. What would be the best cocurricular activities to have a better chance to land a consulting job?
Doug -> Mmilan Mmilan, obviously get involved with Management Consulting Group. You may also want to do a consulting project for a student group. There are lots of opportunities to do one. I'm working on a strategy project once a week on-site at Teach for America here in Chicago. My roommate did a project with Business Solutions Group fall first-year, so he was able to cite that in internship interviews.
Erica Hi Erica. I worked in a strategic planning role in a corporate function. I have always perceived this as a role equivalent to that of an internal management consultant. I wish to make the jump to mainstream strategy consulting. What would you suggest as key skill upgrades to make this transition?
Erica -> Hari1983 Hi Hari! It sounds like you're in a great spot, wanting to transition from corporate strategic planning to strategy consulting. You're right in that often internal consultants do very similar work to consultants, so the day to day work shouldn't be that different. There will be a difference in your relationship with your clients - in strategic planning, you're all on the same team and as a consultant, even though you're working toward making the same company better, different tensions arise. Some of the Management and Organizational Behavior classes and opportunities in the Leadership Development office at Booth will help you be more effective with this.
Jonathan What clubs and organziations would you recommend we look into if we are interested in Management Consulting?
Jonathan -> Michael_W I found the Management Consulting Group to be very helpful. They host regular lunch n' learns and corporate conversations will all of the big consulting firms, which is a great way to build relationships. They also put together a case book with real case questions from prior years, and hold case prep workshops for students interested in consulting. That said, your biggest resource will be the other students on campus. I spent countless hours with my friends who had interned in consulting over the summer, or who were recruiting for consulting second year practicing cases.
Erica Do you always advise putting your GMAT score on your resume if you are recruiting for consulting?
Erica -> Jessica Hi Jessica. The career services team will help you through this once you're here, but most people recruiting for consulting include their GMAT score on their resume.
Meghan Hi Meghan, Thanks for taking the time to answer our question. I am about to be in my final year, and will be interning with the Boston Consulting Group and hopefully starting full-time there as well. From your experience, is there a typical number of years that applicants work full-time in consulting before matriculating at Booth?
Meghan -> karjanr Hi karjanr, you're welcome! Congratulations on your internship. Most of our applicants apply to the program with around 5 years work experience. However, the answer to your question depends on the individual; if the time is right for you to get an MBA earlier than that, then you are encouraged to apply. For specific recommendations for early career candidates, please see our website: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/early-career-candidates
Doug Thank you for hosting this chat. How would you say experience in the nonprofit sector has affected your consulting dynamic?
Doug -> ghardt Hey ghardt, I'd say one of the key attributes a nonprofit person offers a consulting firm is the ability to persuade, motivate and inspire. I was able to tell lots of stories about sticky situations where it was neccessary to win over a skeptical stakeholders. And what better evidence of people skills than inspiring volunteers to work for free?
Janice Hello everyone :) this question is for Janice, I am a prospective round 1 application to start fulltime fall 2014, I work as a Technology Consultant in Chicago currently, I was born and raised in Kuwait and will like to leverage an MBA as a vehicle to transition regionally back to the Middle East. From my contacts in the Middle East at various bschools including Booth I have heard that this year's recruiting to Middle East offices for top consulting firms were quite difficult. What has your experience been with recruiting trends to the Middle East offices at top consulting firms the last 3-5 years and what are your expectations for the next 3-5 years for aspiring bschool students who are interested in consulting in the Middle East.
Janice -> Ahmed Hi Ahmed, I think if you leverage your experience and your contacts you will be okay. Recruiting in those regions can be difficult, but Booth is doing great deal to leverage relationships we already have in that region as well as forge new one. I have a colleague who sits in London, but is responsible for managing corporate relationships in that region.
Char Q: What do Consulting firms hiring MBA graduates look for w.r.t the student's prior experience. DO the student's academic choices & courses during their MBA matter as per their likability towards Consulting firms? Or is it a arbitary selection of intellect?
Char -> AK_(Amit_Kapoor) Consulting firms look for many skills including analytics, strategic thinking, being action/results-oriented, influencing others, and leadership. The flexilble curriculum here at Booth is incredibly helpful in being able to select courses that complement your background and fill gaps if needed. For example, if you've never read a Balance Sheet, an accounting course in your first year would be incredibly helpful.
Matt As someone who is interested in corporate strategy within industry, can you comment on the recruiting opportunities and ideal preparation for an internship?
Matt -> Mike Hi Mike thanks for the question. First, the recruiting opportunities are pretty endless - you can recruit with almost any firm in any location. To answer your second question, an ideal preparation entails a handful of things. First, it will be vital to network with the firms. This helps you not only land an interview spot, but will help you pare down what firms are most attractive to you. Second, the case interview is a challenging interview and will take some time to prepare for. However, with career services, the management consulting group, and your fellow classmates, you'll have more than enough help. Third, you should tailor your curriculum to the areas in which you feel need the most improvement - this will help you during your summer internship
Meghan A technical question-- I found so many useful answers here, is there a way to export the conversation? It is going pretty quick now.
Meghan -> ElaineX Hi Elaine, Yep - check our website for past chat transcripts: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/events/online-chats?source=modules_engage_ft
Erica What types of MBA concentrations are more conducive towards careers in consulting?
Erica -> lidiapyip Hi Lidiapyip, It really depends what you want to do within consulting and beyond. A lot of future consultants pick up concentrations like Strategic Management, Finance, Marketing Management, Entrepreneurship, etc.
Matt Hi. From the Booth website, it looks like there are several different concentrations that one could pursue with the end goal of landing a management consulting role. Would you say there are any concentrations that are more/most common for those wishing to pursue consulting post-graduation?
Matt -> KGriffith Hi KGriffith thanks for the question. The most common concentrations would be strategic management, entrepreneurship, and general management. That being said, students tend to focus on individual classes that are interesting or will improve their skills the most - the concentrations tend to fall in place. For example, my concentrations will be finance, accounting, and general management.
Janice How often are the top firms (MBB) on campus?
Janice -> NRogg Hi NRogg, the larger firms along with some others are on campus quite a bit. They some times will have a class ambassador whose responsibility is to get to know the students. That person will hold office hours on-campus as a way to get to know students. Firms will also do eductational things with students groups as well as recruiting events through our office.
Jonathan Hello there. Thanks for putting this together. Even though most students who get into consulting are not from a consulting background, do the consulting firms place the students in similar practices as their backgrounds. Ex: I have an automotive engineering background, if I go into consulting, will the company place me in their automotive consulting practice? Are you free to go into other practices where you have no experience?
Jonathan -> ColtsFan Hi Colts Fan - First of all, as a Boston guy I have to take issue with your name, even though you raise a good point :-). Consulting firms look for a range of backgrounds, and it really depends on what you're looking for. If you want to continue in automotive, then there are definitely chances to do so (I know Roland Berger has a really strong practice in this area). On the other hand, if you want to become a generalist then you can definitely do that. It might be harder to make a total switch, for example into healthcare, if you've never worked in the industry but you can always take classes, join clubs, do nonprofit consulting projects, etc. to build your credentials and show your interest.
Char How different (or difficult) is it for international students to take up strategy consulting? Are there certain steps that a student can take to better prepare himself/herself for such a career path?
Char -> Sumat Many of the Consulting firms do not require permanent work authorization and certainly hire international students. There are many steps to land that career path... first, I'd learn as much as possible about what consultants do, then survey your background to understand what are your strengths. You definitely want to make sure your marketing materials (resume, cover letter) reflect that. Networking with individuals and also case preparation are also both important steps.
Doug Hi, thanks for hosting this event, it's a great platform for us to get information. I wanted to inquire which other concentrations, apart from Strategic Management, should a candidate target to build a strong foundation for a career in Consulting? Thanks in advance.
Doug -> Akshay Hey Akshay! Nearly all concentrations will help you build a strong foundation for consulting. I've chosen to do Finance and Operations, so I can have a good understanding of the processes within an organization. I could also see a strong case for accounting, marketing, etc. No matter your concentrations, you'll leave the MBA with a strong well-rounded skillset.
Meghan Greetings, how does Booth foster innovation and entrepreneurial/business development?
Meghan -> DP-NYC-2013 Hello DP-NYC-2013 - I'm happy to answer this question! Booth is becoming quite well known for it's entrepreneurship programming done through the Polsky Center. If you're interested in learning more about them, I'd recommend checking out their website: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/entrepreneurship/
Erica Thank you for making yourselves avaiable today - I appreciate it. I am a chemical engineer and want to focus on technology consulting, how competitive is this sector?
Erica -> Dave Hi Dave, It's hard to comment on how competitive any given sector is, since I didn't recruit for technology consulting and it changes. I know that tech firms (consulting and others) really look for candidates who are passionate about technology and having a background in engineering will position you well in that regard. There are definitely opportunities for those without technical backgrounds to break into the technology industry, candidates just need to make their passion shine in touchpoints with firms.
Doug Is there a specific profile for a strong consultant? More specifically, what type of functions or environment should one be comfortable with to enjoy a career in consulting?
Doug -> snachu Snachu, I think comfort with ambiguity is key. It's key for doing well in cases and in showing how you made a difference in explaining your career.
Janice Would you say it is common for those looking to go into strategy consulting to do an internship in IB or other areas of finance?
Janice -> Sue Hi Sue, no, I wouldn't say that's common. If a student is interested in consulting, he/she will try to secure a position in a consulting firm. If the student isn't successful then he/she might pursue a strategy role in a company and use those transferable skills to help secure a full time offer in consulting.
Matt Hi Matt. Are there any profiles offered by strategy consulting firms that are closely linked/relevant to social sector businesses? I basically would like to understand if it is possible to make a strategy consulting career a logical extension of a non-profit/social enterprise stint
Matt -> Hari1983 Hi Hari1983 thanks for the question. Most all consulting firms have an opportunity to do social sector work while at their firm. Most of these projects are pro-bono or done at a discount, but they are very popular at the firms. In addition, consulting is a great preparatory career for a variety of future careers. Thus if you ultimately want to end up in the non-profit sector, consulting will be a great preparation. The vice versa is also true - many of us come from the non-profit sector and make successful entrances into consulting. This type of background can often be an advantage as it is unique and we have the leadership and teamwork that consulting firms desire.
Jonathan Hi Jon, my name is Juan Andion I'm currently applying to Booth and I have my interview tomorrow. But, besides that I would like to know how easy is for mexican to get an intership job over the summer? Does the school helps you out with a Visa that allows you to work in the USA?
Jonathan -> Juan Hi Juan. Good luck on your interview tomorrow!! There are definitely consulting firms that do not require permanent work authorization for your internship - I have a couple of international student friends that interned here over the summer. If you receive an offer from one of these firms, then Academic Affairs and the Office of International Affairs will help you through this process.
Doug how many people take up business development/corporate strategy at a non-consulting firm (say in an industry)
Doug -> Rahul Hey Rahul, lots of people go into strategy roles within a company. Many students recruit for both strategy consulting and corporate strategy roles.
Everyone We have about 15 minutes left in our chat. Please submit any remaining questions for our panelists.
Meghan Thanks for your time today - have you started to consider the IR section of the GMAT on admissions yet? Is a good score likely to improve the chances of getting into a top consultancy?
Meghan -> ChrisM Hi ChrisM, Yes we do consider the breakdowns when reviewing test scores. However, I would say that the overall score is taken into the most consideration so the IR section, while informative to us, would not make or break an admissions decision.
Char Hi! As you mentioned, many students moving to strategy/mananement consulting are career switchers. Is the Evening MBA program a viable option for those who want to switch careers from say the legal field to management consulting (aka my situation)? Is there still that ability to secure internships for Evening MBA students? Thanks!
Char -> bturnbull We are in the process of developing our statistics for the E/W program about where their students/grads lands. There are a handful of students in the E/W program that pursue Consulting roles and land them, but I don't have the actual numbers. Some of the E/W students pursue and land internships on their own to help them with full-time recruiting - it depends on their work situation.
Matt When does recruiting typically take place for corporate strategy and business development roles?
Matt -> elayat Hi Elayat thanks for the question the recruiting for corporate strategy begins in the Fall as many corporates will come onto campus, present to the students, and have networking conversations with interested students. In December, students submit their resumes and will then interview in January/February. Throughout this process the Corporate Management and Strategy Group will help the students network with firms and prepare for interviews. There is any number of corporates that recruit on campus and you'll have the opportunity to meet just about any corporate in any location.
Erica Hi Erica, Thanks for answering questions for us. I will be interning as a Summer Associate at BCG this summer, and wanted to know your recommendation, as someone who has worked in consulting, as to how best to prepare prior to the internship. Thanks!
Erica -> karjanr Hi Karjanr. Congrats on your internship! In terms of preparing, be sure to relax a bit before things get started. I'd suggest speaking with past interns to see what they found made them successful and generally staying in touch with the contacts you have in the office. Once you're there, be a good team member, solve problems for your client and use the time to see if the firm is a good fit for you. Good luck!
Doug Hi all. I'm curious to hear if anyone has any experience with consulting for nonprofit clients (through The Bridgespan Group or the social impact practices of the main consulting firms) and if so, how Booth has prepared you for that route?
Doug -> elizamiller Elizamiller, Booth has some awesome opportunities to consult directly for nonprofit clients. I've done 3 non-profit consulting projects while a student here, one first year and two second year. My current clients include Teach for America and the City of Gary, Indiana. Every Tuesday, I'm working on site at TFA HQ here in Chicago and every Friday I'm on-site at Gary City Hall. Two of my projects have been through the Net Impact student group and one has been through a course in the Public Policy school.
Janice Hi, Thanks for hosting this. I have a question on placements. How tough is it to join Consulting companies at a level other than Associate level. If I have lets say 8 years experience in consulting, is it possible to get hired by consulting company at manager role(or sr associate), or they concentrate on associate roles only/
Janice -> Raman Hi Raman, typically the firms that recruit on-campus are looking for entry level consultants. That's not to say your experience would go unnoticed by the experience hire recruiter, but again, they are typically looking for associates.
Matt Thanks again for you time. Can you tell me if there's a good way to start building a relationship with a consulting firm you'd like to work with? Do they have a presence at Booth beyond recruiting that I can interact with? Thanks!
Matt -> Dave Hi Dave thanks for the question. Recruiting is the best way as firms come onto campus and students have amazing access to the firm representatives. However, if you're feeling ambitious and want to reach out yourself, a great way is to go to the community directory of Booth or your undergrad institution and reach out to consultants who have the common connection with you. These consultants are usually very responsive, particularly when the Booth commonality is shared!
Jonathan How do you think your consulting peers (those without a postgraduate degree) would benefit from an MBA in Booth?
Jonathan -> Frank_J_O Hi Frank. I think that there are both long-term and short-term benefits to pursuing your MBA (beyond it being a ton of fun, and one of the best ways I can think of to spend two years!). In the short term, business school gave me a chance to really round out both my analytical and interpersonal skill-set. Booth is such an incredible place to learn, and it has completely transformed the way that I attack problems. I have also been given incredible opportunities to develop leadership skills, and work in safe team settings, and have every confidence that I will return to consulting better equipped to handle the rigors of the job better than when I left. In the long-term, as many of you know, most senior consultants/partners will be asked to sell work and contribute thought leadership to their firm. I am sure that I will rely on my Booth network if I decide to take this route.
Char Hi. How does Booth prepare an international student for the cultural differences faced during networking for consulting?
Char -> PrettyKhare There are many workshops throughout the year to assist international students that both the full-time Program Office and Career Services hosts. The International Student Orientation, International Student Event, and Mocktail are all events that help tremendously in this effort. Jumping in and making sure you surround yourself with your American counterparts whenver possible is one of the best ways to really assist with your feeling comfortable with the US culture (it's much easier to connect with those from your home country so you have to make a conscious effort to stretch yourself.)
Doug Hi Doug. I'm glad to see someone with your background on here. If it hasn't been answered already, what was your experience as a student coming in from the non-profit sector? Lots of the student profiles I read are finance, IT etc. I'm currently a director of an international foundation, based in DC; prior to that my experience has been in public policy and education.
Doug -> JSG Hey JSG, firms were very open to the non-profit background. My roommate and I are both heading to McKinsey. Before school I ran a small nonprofit with 1.5 FTE and he was a book editor working remote from Argentina. That being said, I think you have to shape your resume and your anecdotes for consulting skills. How did you solve problems? How did you win over skeptical stakeholders? Can you use excel? Frankly, getting into Booth made me a lot more credible candidate.
Meghan I will be graduating in December with my undergrad and I have started to look into strategy consulting. I want to do it for two reasons. First, it seems super interesting and second, because I've noticed it provides tremendous opportunities to get into good MBA programs like Booth. Is that true? I feel like MBA programs like consulting applicants. If that is true, where would I go to learn more about preparing to apply for these firms?
Meghan -> shelbymr Hi shelbymr, Strategy consulting is a very good career choice, and certainly many MBA students come from that line of work. It will be great experience for you post-graduation, and will expose you to many different aspects of business. In terms of research, I'd recommend seeking out assistance from the career services team at your undergraduate institution, or looking to network and attend industry events close to where you live. Good luck!
Matt Hi all & thanks for hosting. My question is what do you see as the major differences between a strategy role in industry vs. an external consulting position? Or said another way, what are the 'typical' reasons for choosing one over the other?
Matt -> Mike_Maley Hi Mike good question. The primary reason I chose external consulting was because of the variety of projects that I'll see. An internal strategy role can be very exciting, but one can often remain on a single project for quite some time. In management consulting, I'm confident that I'll see a new project every few months that will present a different challenge with a different company and will involve working with different teammates. Both are great experiences, but external will allow you a bit more variety.
Janice I've heard about pre-MBA internships at consulting firms and think it could help since I come from an engineering backgroun. Did you participate in any of these? Can you provide any insight/tips?
Janice -> Dave Hi Dave, we will make any pre-MBA information we get available to students. I wouldn't necessarily say that's anything you need to do. The firm will do an excellent job training you. I would use that last summer before starting school to enjoy that time, and do some career exploration. There will be a ton of resources available to you once you're admitted that can help prepare you prior to getting here.
Jonathan Can you talk a little bit about recruitment into Strategy roles into larger companies straight out of Booth? Is this common or do more people work in a generalist consulting program like BCG/Bain/McK before working in industry? Also, do you know of any Booth students who have gone on to work in strategy roles in sports (NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL)?
Jonathan -> 2013MBAHopeful There are plenty of opportunities to go directly in to strategy or general management roles right out Booth if that is something that you're interested in. Many of the biggest companies in the world recruit at Booth for their leadership programs. With respect to sports, we have a pretty active Media Sports and Entertainment Group that helps students interested in this area. Last summer I had a couple of conversations with the Cubs about an internship in their Corporate Development group before deciding to pursue Education Pioneers.
Erica Can anyone speak to strategy roles outside of the typical strategy consulting positions?
Erica -> Megan Hi Megan. I looked into a lot of corporate strategy, brand management and general management internships last summer. In a lot of ways, corporate strategy is a lot like strategy consulting in terms of the day to day work but I found a few differences. First, you are committing to an industry, which can be a good thing if you know what you want to work in. Consulting gives you more flexibility to figure this out when you start working as a generalist. Secondly, in a corporate setting, you get the experience of 'eating what you cook' in that you hand off your recommendations to others in the company to execute and have a stronger feedback loop to learn from what goes well and is an area for improvement. I found I learned a lot from seeing this connection. Third, I found corporate work life balance to be an improvement over consulting in that I wasn't traveling nearly as much and was working fewer hours. Every company's corporate strategy team is positioned a little bit differently, so it's important to understand how it fits into the organization and what they do (e.g., business unit strategy, M&A activity, marketing efforts).
Matt I am from Oil and Gas industry and interested in Consulting post MBA. What all resources does the MCG provide in preparing me for it?
Matt -> AK Hi AK thanks for the question. The MCG does a phenomenal job preparing students for the recruiting/interviewing process. The networking and recruiting process is one that requires a lot of effort, but is one that is very rewarding no matter the outcome. The Management Consulting Group (MCG) is vital to this process as it provides the students the support and education to help throughout the process. MCG is very proactive during the first few months of class, helping to prepare students for the recruiting process. The process begins in October at which time students have the opportunity to network with the 12-15 consulting firms that come onto campus. The consulting club organizes large Networking events and Lunch n Learns with the firms during the first two months of school. When November and December arrive, MCG begins to prepare students for the interview process by organizing events such as the Consulting Forum and Case Workshops to introduce and prepare students for the "case" interview. Then when interviews begin in January MCG is right there to help students practice their cases. It's a long process, but one in which everyone is in it together helping each other out. MCG is very active and second year students are an enormous help to first year students. In regards to your oil and gas interest, you will get the most support and help from the Energy Group on campus and from specific classes that relate to that subject material.
Char Thanks for taking the time to host this chat. I am an international applicant. Could I know what's the typical firms which recruit international MBAs on jobs focusing on strategy? I would appreciate if if any one of you could give me a list of those firms.
Char -> joy Most of the consulting firms do not require permanent work authorization for their offices here in the US so often hire international students. Take a look at our on-line Employment Report to get a more in-depth view of which consulting firms hire our students:
Doug What were some of the best resources you found available at Booth when focusing more on "off-campus" recruiting for consulting? Where there any surprises as you went through the process that you could share with us?
Doug -> Kevin_K Hey Kevin_K, almost all of my consulting recruiting was on-campus. The biggest surprise was how quick the recruitment process ramped up. October first year you're already attending firm presentations, networking, etc. That being said, there were some questions I had that I got "off-campus". For example, I was unsure about whether to recruit in in the US (I'm american) or whether to recruit for Latin America where I had lived abroad. Classmates helped put me in touch with two Americans that had made that jump so I got excellent primary source information.
Char Hi! Thank you for hosting this chat. I would like to know if you have statistics about the proportion of international students that get jobs in the United States after graduation.
Char -> Cynthia This % can differ depending on students' interest in remaining in the US after graduation and has ranged anywhere from 45% - 60% depending on the year.
Janice Is there a member of the Career Management Team who focuses specifically on students who wish to enter the consulting field?
Janice -> Brad Hi Brad, our Career Management team members are generalists so any one would be able to give you sound and great advice. However we do have someone on the team who serves as the liaison to the management consulting group (student group) who could be a great resource.
Doug How difficult is it for someone who currently works in an industry other than consulting (i.e. investment management) move into consulting at Booth?
Doug -> Vic Vic, super easy. Firms are open to all backgrounds: military, nonprofit, wiget factory, etc. Before school I ran a nonprofit and my roommate edited books remotely in Argentina. We both made the jump to consulting.
Everyone Thank you to everyone for participating in our chat. The chat transcript will be posted within 48 hours.
Jonathan Hi Jon, I have heard that Bain and BCG employ more regional travel models so their consultants don't travel as much as they would for McKinsey and Booz. Can you comment on your experience with Bain and their travel model?
Jonathan -> elayat Bain's travel model is driven by their staffing model. Consultants are generally staffed on projects that are sold/lead by partners in their home office. While a partner from Boston may have projects in Seattle, they are more likely to be located near Boston. The firm looks at projects in terms of low travel (0-1 day per wek), medium travel (2-3 days) and high travel (4+ days). A majority of projects are low-to-medium travel, but high travel projects do exist. As a general principle, we try to only be on the client site when we really have to.
Doug Hi and thanks for taking our questions. Like Doug, I also come from a non-traditional background and have zero business experience. What do you think is the best way to prepare, prior to business school, for a career switch into consulting? Would it be best to get a pre-MBA internship, take classes, or do something else? Thanks!
Doug -> dspicer Hey dspicer, pre-MBA internships (or a summer volunteer project) are a great route to strengthen a resume. I also took the pre-MBA accounting course offered by Booth. Among other things, it made me not feel like an idiot when the other students got to campus.
Erica Is it almost definite that a career in consulting involves traveling? And if so, how many hours a week is typical?
Erica -> akhatkhate It depends on the firm's philosophy and client list and an individualism staffing preference. At McKinsey, it was important for me to work on projects in industries I liked, so most of my projects were on the road and I was often gone Monday morning to Thursday evening. If it was important to me to work on local projects, I could have done that. I found on average that I worked 60 hour weeks over my two years. Hope this helps.
Doug Doug - did you try to get a consulting job prior to Booth? In what ways did Booth help you get your position with Booz and Co? Would this have been possible without Booth?
Doug -> DTM DTM, I had some informational interviews with people in consulting to see if I could make the switch to consulting directly. It turned out the best way for a state school poli sci major working in the non-profit space to make the jump to consulting was bschool.
Janice do you need an MBA if you want to make a career swith to consulting from let's say corporate finance?
Janice -> Irene_P Hi Irene_P, about 75% of our class are career switchers and the firms that recruit here know that and students are very successful.
Char What percentage of Booth students that apply are successful in securing first round interviews with the major strategy consulting firms?
Char -> Brad We don't keep data at this detailed level, but I can say that on average, students land anywhere from 7-8 interviews on campus (this is for all functions/industries). There are many resources to assist students in marketing themselves and landing Consulting interviews.
Jonathan For someone with experience in industry, is it difficult to pull off the change into consulting? Secondly the recruitment season for internships starts early, what strategy would you suggest to make sure the switch is successful?
Jonathan -> dy Most students who go into consulting are career switchers, so this is not only possible it's the norm. The best thing that you can do is to do your research, and get out there and meet people. Coming to Booth gives you the opportunity to get in front of the firms and talk to people in order to secure interviews. From there, make sure you put in the time necessary on case prep (but don't even think about worrying about this until a month or two before), and then crush your interview.
Everyone Thanks everybody for chatting today. Apologies if we didn't make it to your question. Please feel free to email me at dnagy@chicagobooth.edu if you have more questions, especially about switching from nonprofit to consulting.
Everyone Thank you again for participating in our chat. The chat transcript will be posted within 48 hours.The chat is now ending.
Everyone Thanks for all the great questions! Good luck to you.
Everyone Thank you and good luck everyone!
Everyone Thanks for your questions everybody! Good luck, and I hope to see many of you on campus soon!
Everyone We hope you've gotten many of your questions answered and found this helpful. Best of luck to you as you learn more about consulting and Chicago Booth and determine the best next step for yourself!
Everyone Thanks for the great questions - hope to see you walking through the Winter Garden soon!
Everyone Best of luck everyone! Enjoyed spending time with y'all!