B-schools and getting into consulting

by Jaineel Aga

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Getting Consulting Jobs In India.

Does the B-school I go to decide my fate to break into management consulting?


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Does the B-school I go to decide my fate to break into management consulting?


The Business School you go to has a significant role to play in the kind of opportunities  that you will have to break into consulting - To quantify this opportunity, some of the metrics you must consider are –
  • Number of consulting firms on campus:  Before you select a B- School please check out the number of management consulting firms that are recruiting on your campus. It is a no brainer that greater the number of firms = greater number of consulting job offers. Please make sure to see how the split is between firms coming for summer internships and full time placements, although they should not be too different.
  • Strength of Alumni network:  Whether or not a consulting firm comes to your campus, is often dependent on the alumni relationship of your school with the firm. Alumni prefer to come back to their Alma Maters to recruit candidates as they can relate better with candidates from their own school. The more alumni your school has sent to say BCG, greater will be the chances of them coming back to your school to recruit for more. The additional advantage is that you can network with Alumni from your school and get the “inside scoop” on your target firm to maximize your chances of getting an offer.
  • Core Vs  Non-Core schools:  It is very important to go to a few consulting firms’ websites that you want to break through and check out which are their core schools.  In times of a downturn, companies will still go to their core schools to recruit but drop their non -core schools. This is true for consulting as well as banking jobs. I remember, Goldman Sachs had come to recruit at Duke undergrad in 2009 for investment banking positions even though they were not really hiring – this was purely to maintain their relationship with the school! This is the same reason why ISB happens to be a “core school” for consulting jobs in India.  Parthenon for example – enjoys the “preferred status” as it only recruits at ISB in India and offers the highest package among all consulting firms.  Internationally, INSEAD has carved out a reputation for being a great “consulting feeder” alongside the usual suspects of Harvard, Stanford and Wharton!

The good part about schools in the US and Europe is that the big consulting firms now come to almost every top 15 school.  You will see your Mckinsey recruit at Harvard as well as at McCombs school of Business. You will see BCG recruit at Stanford as well as at Johnson School at Cornell.

For the ones who thought this was a no- brainer, let me leave you with a mini case study  that we will leave open to a discussion:

Case Background:

You are from a decent undergrad institution and have worked in a respectable Indian company in a tech- project management role for 4 years before pursuing your B school - You want to make it to the most prestigious consulting firms after B school.  You have two admits and its decision time -

Option 1: School “D”

“D” is your dream school; it is a school where people come to get into consulting. Firms flock and pick up by the dozen at this school.  It is also very difficult to break into D – let us say it is the most difficult school to break into. You know that if you get into D, it will be super prestigious and a great resume builder in the long run but you know that 20% of your class of 500 gets into management consulting and you will be competing with the best  around the world for the same number of slots allotted to D.

Option 2: School “M”

“M” is a very good school by all measures – quality of education is not lesser than any Ivy League school. This school however would not be among the top 5, maybe not even top 10 but surely among the top 15. 3 out of the top 5 consulting firms you would want to join also recruit at this school. This school is smaller – has around 400 students and on average 15% get into consulting. Given your profile, you would be among the “top” contenders to secure an interview for the consulting jobs that come on campus.

Ceteris Paribus, which one would you pick solely from a breakthrough into consulting perspective?
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