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management consulting

Postby jubilee » Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:56 am

I am looking to get out of academia and into consulting. I'm really excited about a career in consulting - I'm finding that academia is not fast-paced enough for me. I'd like to know if there's anyone who's out there who has made this transition and get some tips and feedback - and network, of course. -Thanks
jubilee
 

management consulting

Postby Bill L. » Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:27 pm

Hi Jubilee,

It your're thinking of managment consulting, McKinsey is one of the organizations that actively seek PhDs. You might want to visit their site. Also there is a book called: The Scientist As Consultant: Building New Career Opportunities
by Carl J. Sindermann, Thomas K. Sawyer. Lastly, Science NextWave as a feature index on Management Consulting at: http://nextwave.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/1998/03/29/261?pub_date=1998-02-06&lname=Ruediger&title=Management+Consulting%3A+*Feature+Index*&fname=Nicole&view=full

Good Luck,

Bill L. & Naledi S.
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management consulting

Postby jubilee » Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:54 pm

Thanks for the info. I've actually applied to McKinsey and I've read the next wave pieces on mgmt consulting several times, but I had not known about the book (just ordered it) - sounds like a great resource. It seems as though it's fairly difficult to get your foot in the door - any sugesstions on actually getting an interview?
jubilee
 

management consulting

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:29 pm

Hi Jubilee,

My favorite NextWave pieces on management consulting are the play-by-play series that Charles Boulakia, the former NW Canadian Editor, did back in 1998. Did you check those out? He actually details the process he went through to get the job he did with a consulting firm. Very well written.

Getting an interview is tough . . . Networking is really the key. You've almost got to know someone, and if you don't, you've got to have excellent skills at getting information and help from people who don't know you.

I hope we are able to get some other posters here to talk about what the interview is like with a consulting firm. To say the least, they are a bit UNIQUE.

Dave Jensen, Moderator
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management consulting

Postby jubilee » Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:54 pm

Dave-

HA! Does UNIQUE mean greuling? I've done my homework on those interviews and yes, it is not the normal, "So, tell me about yourself."

I can't imagine, though, that these interviews, if you are adequately prepared, are much more difficult than let's say oh, qualifying exams. Having survived those, I think I'd probably fare pretty well once I actually get to the interview. I just need to find someone on the inside, and I'd hoped to accomplish that here - I'm leaving messages on all sorts of forum boards - but even if I can't, at least I'll get some useful advice. I'm also trying more conventional methods of networking, but as some of the others in this forum lament, my network is not located where I live now, and I don't have the option to relocate right now. Thanks again!
jubilee
 

management consulting

Postby Don Haut » Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:11 am

As someone who has spent time at one of those firms, I can tell you it is a fantastic experience.

I dont know that I have any real advice for you except to try to call the office nearest you directly and speak to one of the recruiting people. Most of the recruiting people at McKinsey are very open and friendly, and they will tell you how to go about seeking a position there. October is the middle of the hiring season so you need to get through now.

Do you know what areas/industries you are interested in? Different offices in the Firm have quasi specialties. NY/NJ has a very strong pharma focus (as well as financial services). MN has a strong medical device focus. Chicago has a strong Retail practice. If your background is biomed, you might want to focus on NY/NJ (although I can tell you that there are people who focus on PMP in most offices).

You might also think about looking at Bain and BCG - they also hire lots of APDs (Advance Professional Degrees).

Finally, I would not underestimate the interview difficulty. Having been on the other side of the table, I can tell you that I saw lots of very smart people come in and fall apart during the interview. McK/Bain/BCG are generally VERY thoughtfull about how they prepare their interviews and how they evaluate candidates (really, you would be very surprised at how much thought and effort goes into understanding what you are looking for in a candidate and how to test those facets of a candidate during the interview). There are a number of resources out there on how to prepare for an interview with one of these firms - generally case interviews. When I was preparing, I bought all of them and practiced for 2 months (no kidding). The competition for these jobs is very stiff and you will be up against people with exceptional talent, intellectual horsepower, and charisma (all of which are necessary for success at one of those firms). You would do best to practice - most of the people you are competing with for the job are practicing. (It worked for me).

Hope this helps.

D
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management consulting

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:32 am

Don,

Your advice is consistently top-notch, and I know from experience over the years that you are on target 100% of the time. Thank you for joining us at the forum, glad to have you on board!

Dave
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