Student Leadership And Volunteering: Your Way Into Consulting

by Jaineel Aga

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

Clubs, student councils and committees - Every university, whether it is in India or abroad, Duke, Stanford or Cornell, has a student council. There has to be a body and medium to communicate the problems of students to the program directors or the professors. Make sure you volunteer-- don't shy away from volunteering for councils or student body groups. A lot of people are either shy or lazy; they don't see the value of volunteering. They ask what's in it for them in the short run? What are they getting in return? They are obviously thinking short term.

Get involved in volunteer programs. It may take a couple of hours a week, but the visibility that you'll get from your professors, seniors and peers will be immense. Your volunteering contributions will certainly be visible when there's an election in the future; you'll be the one with the highest visibility, so you'll be the one with the highest chance of securing a leadership position.

Volunteer, be driven, and be active in program organized by your particular club or your student council.

The Duke MEM's student council was divided into 5 committees. One dealt with managing events on campus like the international day, which needed significant planning and logistics management.  Their work was well appreciated and in fact one of the volunteers of that event was elected to chair that  committee the next year! Talk about Karma!

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Clubs, student councils and committees - Every university, whether it is in India or abroad, Duke, Stanford or Cornell, has a student council. There has to be a body and medium to communicate the problems of students to the program directors or the professors. Make sure you volunteer-- don't shy away from volunteering for councils or student body groups. A lot of people are either shy or lazy; they don't see the value of volunteering. They ask what's in it for them in the short run? What are they getting in return? They are obviously thinking short term.

Get involved in volunteer programs. It may take a couple of hours a week, but the visibility that you'll get from your professors, seniors and peers will be immense. Your volunteering contributions will certainly be visible when there's an election in the future; you'll be the one with the highest visibility, so you'll be the one with the highest chance of securing a leadership position.

Volunteer, be driven, and be active in program organized by your particular club or your student council.

The Duke MEM's student council was divided into 5 committees. One dealt with managing events on campus like the international day, which needed significant planning and logistics management.  Their work was well appreciated and in fact one of the volunteers of that event was elected to chair that  committee the next year! Talk about Karma!

I actively worked on a couple of committees; one of them was the recruitment committee. Recruitment committee was used to help recruit students to the program; we addressed any questions or concerns that potential students had while applying to Duke. I was mainly looking at international students from the Indian subcontinent who had to depend on the website and conversations with current students to clarify their questions and concerns.

We had a marketing strategy in place to best describe the value proposition of such a niche program to an audience like Indians who aren't very adventurous when it comes to picking schools and programs. The team under the supervision of the program director executed this strategy which such finesse that the program became more popular than we had ever anticipated. This experience becomes a real-life learning experience on its own. It makes an excellent story about real life  marketing strategies, something you might talk about during your consulting fit interviews.

There are plenty more examples of clubs and committees that you could volunteer for to add value and gain visibility. Joining clubs like consulting clubs,  finance clubs, VC clubs that help in the recruiting process are some of the best ways to network with other students interested in such programs while showcasing your volunteer and leadership skills.

If you're part of the consulting club, set up practice case interviews and distribute resources and materials that are helpful for the club members. Invite alums from your program to talk about strategies that helped them get into consulting. Every bit of incremental effort you put in will come back in one form or another.

Always show that you are driven. Every innovative idea that helps your peers, you visibility and earns appreciation from your peers is a great bullet point to add to your resume, which eventually leads to that coveted consulting interview!
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