The ironclad way to get into management consulting top firms like Bain, McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group is through a college or post-graduate internship. Each of these companies reports that they give a full-time job offer to the overwhelming majority of their interns. Listed below are the fundamental facts on how to get a consulting internship.
What Management Consulting Firms Look for in Interns
Internships generally happen at two periods: either following the junior year of undergraduate education, or midway through an MBA program at a top business school. The top four management consulting firms primarily consider recruitment at the top 30 colleges and universities in the United States, and likewise throughout the world, a stellar academic record is critical.
Most firms, including Boston Consulting Group, argue that interns are well-compensated, so they are expected to work on cases painstakingly during their summer program. They must demonstrate the ability to learn quickly, think rationally and apply techniques carefully. More often than not, you will come across this intellectual capability requirement when looking for strategies on how to get a consulting internship.
The Management Consulting Internship Application Process
As mentioned above, management consulting recruiters visit schools for recruitment purposes. After informational sessions, interested students may have up to two interviews on campus before they travel to the office where they could end up spending a summer. Much like entry-level positions, the interviews tend to focus on case studies and tests of applicants’ ability to reason out marketing and business possibilities using mental math and reasonable estimations.
Another thing you must know on how to get a consulting internship is the fact that recruiters also assess your personal characteristics. They ask questions designed to determine your values and habits as a professional. Boston Consulting Group, as an example, generally looks for humble individuals.
What If Your School Isn’t a Target of Consulting Firms?
ConsultingFact.com has an entire article about how things are different for those who graduate from a state school or a non-targeted university. But briefly, if you do not attend a school with on-site recruiting, it’s not impossible to get a management consulting internship that can help you get started on a path to a rewarding career in the field.
What you will need to do is start creating a personal rolodex of any potential contacts that you know, or could make. This means talking to professors in business and management courses at your school, contacting your school’s alumni information for names of people who have worked at the big name firms. Establish these contacts before recruiting events at other schools, and leverage them into a potential contact in the HR department of a potential firm. Keep in mind that you may have to work harder on introductions, but the payoff is very rewarding. You will be able to demonstrate your persistence and determination, two characteristics you must acquire to understand how to get a consulting internship.
For tips on how to ace interviews for an internship or entry-level position, download this free guide. ConsultingFact.com offers guides for resumes, cover letters, case interviews, case frameworks, and other topics that help you land a consulting job.