Why All MBAs Should Recruit for Management Consulting

strategy consulting

These past weeks have been particularly challenging in terms of adhering to my personal commitment of having at least two posts a month. The reason is simple: internship recruiting.

One of the most stressful industries to recruit for at business school is strategy consulting, yet every year roughly about 50% of the MBA class at Kellogg (including yours truly 😉 ) interview for consulting internships, and about 23% actually get consulting internship offers. The reason? Salaries are quite decent, and there is the allure of “working with the world’s top companies and helping them to understand and solve their most challenging problems.”

Another reason for the strategy consulting internship rush in my opinion is that it tends to act as some sort of reputation currency on campus. So you got an offer from MBB (McKinsey, BCG and Bain)? You’re awesome! You didn’t? Maybe you’re okay… Of course this type of thinking is really nonsense. We all have different strengths that may or may not lend well to a strategy consulting career. As Victor Cheng, a former McKinsey consultant would say, “the most creative and successful CEOs would make really lousy consultants!”.

Despite its very demanding preparation process, relatively low success rate, and the fact that failure can be a very public and painful event, I still think everyone with the slightest interest in strategy consulting should participate in the recruiting process for three reasons:

1. You Learn

I found the process of preparing for consulting cases interviews to be a sort of mini capstone for my first quarter courses. By working through different cases, I was forced to think through business problems in a variety of functional areas like marketing, operations, and finance, in industries ranging from pharma to agribusiness. I think this was a really good way to consolidate the knowledge I had already gained and even learn some new things along the way.

2. You Reflect

The stress of recruiting for consulting starts quite early in the Fall – as you constantly run from company presentations to coffee chats – and continues through case prep all the way to when you actually walk into your interview. From my experience, the sheer pressure of the entire process really makes you to stop and reflect on what you really want from your life and career, and I think that this is a really valuable thought process to go through while at business school.

3. You Build Relationships

By doing case preps with some of my class mates, complaining about the entire process with them, and sharing some of the outcomes of the introspection process that I mentioned earlier, I was able to create some new relationships which I highly value.

It is important to note that all the benefits that I have highlighted above come during the PROCESS of recruiting for consulting, and not from actually getting a consulting job offer. It’s about who you become in the process people! 😀


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