How to Get the Most Out of Your Consulting Network

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People Network

There are many ways to boost an individual’s consulting career. Whether you’re new to the industry or looking for opportunities, a consulting network can easily point you in the right direction.

Many individuals have a misconception about how to build and sustain a solid network within the consulting industry. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Nowadays, there are several tried and tested techniques that can be applied to seamlessly fit professional relationships into a busy schedule.

Maximizing Your Resources

Starting a network from scratch is a daunting task if you don’t know where to begin. The truth is, you don’t have to look very far to get started. Before we get into effective consulting networking tactics, make sure you have your cover letter and resume ready. Depending on the type of event or gathering, it is best to have a hard and digital copy available to avoid idle gaps in conversations.

Don’t forget to make sure your business card is updated with the right contact information. Because you will be speaking to numerous individuals at an event or gathering, have a basic conversation structure handy. Though you may not always need to follow it, this can eliminate stray topics, which can lessen your professional impact.


For students, great places to make the right connections that may be useful in the consulting industry are organizations and clubs. Most people who join business or social clubs are also out to meet people and build their network. This means that everyone starts off with a clean slate. Making an impression is relatively simple, as the members are open to new comers such as yourself.

Not just any organization will do. It is recommended to check the background of your target firm and make a list of student clubs that many of the consultants in the company were a part of. From there, make it clear that your chosen career path is management consulting to the members of the organization. This will help individuals associate your name with your goals and path.

Joining the right groups can increase the likelihood of meeting alumni who moved on to become management consultants. Speaking to such individuals in the setting of an organization gives students an upper hand, as most alumni are willing to help out individuals who come from the same university.


Professionals may not have access to student clubs and groups. In this case, one should first look into his or her circle of friends. Are any of them consultants? Or are they friends with or work with clients in the consulting sector? Once you’ve explained to your friend that you are keen on extending your consulting network for a future career change, chances are he or she will bring you along to social gatherings, meet ups, or casual drinks.

Compared to student organizations and clubs, meeting individuals in this manner is more difficult, as they are not as open to simply talking about the latest news in the consulting industry to a stranger. If you’re meeting a group of consultants who are having drinks after a long grind at the office, the last thing they may want to talk about is work. The best thing to do in this situation is be patient and go with the flow. Have striking conversations, and be sincere about building relationships. In situations like these, you will only be talking about consulting 5-10% of the time.

The key is to make it clear that you are interested in the consulting industry and you have skills that can be useful to top level firms. If the person you are speaking to is interested, they will probe further. If not immediately, in the future when the need arises.

If you are not directly or closely connected to a friend who is a management consultant, the next best places to consider are consulting seminars and expos. Look for listings where the guest speaker is a senior consultant. Most people who are in attendance during these events are related to the consulting sector. This could be consulting clients, or other perspective consultants and professionals. Approaching people in this setting is straightforward, as most events allot time for individuals to go around and meet people.

Sustaining Professional Relationships

Meeting the right people is only a small part of the networking equation. One must also nurture the new connection before being able to openly talk about insider tips and possible consulting job openings.

With a long term perspective, the essential part of the networking process is building trust. This can be done by first being reliable. Setup a casual lunch and show up on time. Don’t send a delayed or late reply to an email or SMS. You don’t have to necessarily do huge favors or tasks for people to increase trust.  Send invites out to your newly acquired network on a consistent basis.

Another aspect of sustaining business relationships is increasing your personal value. Individuals also want to feel that you are a great addition to their consulting network. Therefore, it is also equally important to introduce your network to other professionals who you are close to.

Online Resources

Using online resources to establish a consulting network should not be overlooked. Reaching out to people who you were once in contact with doesn’t have to be an inconvenience. More importantly, making new connections in the consulting industry can be done anytime, in just a few clicks.

When it comes to social media, LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for professional networking. There is no need to beat around the bush, as people and companies who use LinkedIn are there for career or business-related reasons.

Online groups are one of the best ways to get plugged into the consulting industry. Similar to students who are looking for the right organizations to join, it is recommended to first look into which online groups the employees of your target firm are parts of. After joining the relevant groups, it is essential to participate and become active as a rightful member.

This can be done by asking questions, adding insightful comments, and posting engaging content. In the online world, this is an effective way to build trust. Online groups are also a great place to get invites to consulting events, where you can extend your network offline.

This same technique can be applied across other social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. However, one should not only be limited to these platforms. Online forums are also very effective in adding new individuals to your consulting network.

Engaging hash tag conversations in Twitter also applies the same concept in building a consulting network online. An indirect way of using Twitter while networking is by using the updates from your target firm’s tweets as conversation starters.

Making Your Consulting Network Work for You

Once you have gathered momentum, things should start falling into place. A few months before consulting recruitment season, begin to inquire about possible job openings from individuals in your network. Ideally, you should aim for setting up meetings with partners, or seniors to better present yourself as a possible candidate for the vacant position.

Unfortunately, this does not happen all the time due to time constraints, especially for consultants who have their hands full with ongoing projects. If you are unable to secure a direct meeting with consultants who are in a position to consider you for an upcoming job post, don’t worry. You can also ask your connection for a personal email address to send your cover letter and resume. This is a very effective way to make sure your credentials don’t get lost in the inbox of a recruiter.

Lastly, you should also mention who referred you for the consulting position in the introductory email. A direct recommendation is very powerful in bypassing the usual shortlisting process. Even if you have to go through the consulting interview, having a personal recommendation from a relevant member of the firm can ease the stress and tension often associated with recruitment. Don’t forget to send out “thank you” emails or messages to the individual in your consulting network gave you the tip or “put in a good word” for you.

Be Persistent

The key to effectively building a consulting network is by being persistent in the expansion process. Networking isn’t limited to the time you allot for it. For example, if you’re having a work-related meeting with new clients, see to it that you collect their contact information, even if they don’t sign on with the company. Don’t be scared to seize the opportunity to promote yourself in unlikely situations.

To conclude, boosting one’s consulting network is not a one-time ordeal. It is a continuous, ongoing and repetitive process. Because of the useful tools available to today’s professionals, there is no excuse in having a poorly managed network. Staying updated in the latest “go-to” places and online groups for individuals in the consulting industry is an effective way to ensure that you’re adding quality individuals who can enhance your consulting connections.

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How to Shift Your Career to Management Consulting

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time for a change

There is more than one way for a determined individual to reach his or her consulting goals. The most common road that many consultants take is through a relevant degree from a recognized university or an internship in a top tier firm.

Not Your Ordinary Path

However, this does not mean that one who comes from other backgrounds such as law, the military, or even health care cannot break into the consulting world. Even though these paths are unconventional, there are still a number of successful management consultants today that come from these industries.

Shifting into management consulting from an unrelated degree or expertise can be difficult. A consultant’s skill set takes years to develop with exposure in the relevant field. As a result, individuals from other sectors must work twice as hard to make up for the lack of knowledge and experience.

Below highlights some of the most popular backgrounds that consultants have started from.


After a service, many soldiers that return home are looking to transition into a new career. You may be surprised to know that there are a notable amount of veterans who take on a career as a management consultant. An individual with a military background is recommended to study from a recognized university. Furthermore, one must maintain a high GPA and work extra hard in building a consulting network from scratch.

There are some downsides that people coming from a military background face. Years of deployment means that by the time an individual applies for a consulting position, he or she might be at the same age as a mid-level professional. This can be a problem if the firm is looking to invest their time in young graduates. While age discrimination should not be tolerated during the interview process, it is a reality that many applicants face. Another concern that individuals with a military background have is lack of experience. A recruiter will most likely choose an applicant who has a background in the relevant field rather than someone who spent time doing military duties.

From another perspective, there are several reasons why a military personnel is suitable to transition to consulting. The competitive nature of deployment can serve as a solid foundation for breaking into the consulting industry. The drive and motivation that a veteran holds is an asset that many recruiters are looking for during the consulting interview process.


Though somewhat relevant to the industry, auditors may have a frustrating time landing a consulting job. This is due to the type of work auditors are accustomed to. Consulting requires “out of the box” and strategic thinking. On the other hand, the nature of audit work is very repetitive and monotonous. In order to break away from how individuals view auditors, it is recommended to get an MBA from a recognized university. This can show a recruiter that the applicant is capable of doing tasks outside of auditing.

For professionals with an MBA, moving into consulting from a career in auditing can be complicated. One of the best ways to do this is to get into a firm in a non-related field, and get relevant experience. If possible, transition within the firm through an entry-level position or consulting training program.

Information Technology (IT)

Individuals with a background in IT may consider a career in consulting, under the right circumstances. In order to get recognized by a recruiter, and stand out from the competition, it is advisable to be a top performer or have distinctions. It is also essential to have a strong consulting network. Because one may lack experience in consulting, he or she may need someone to vouch for work ethics and professionalism. Ideally, IT specialists looking to make the career shift should consider taking on relevant projects before the change, depending on the type of clients the prospective consulting firm specializes in.


With a high GPA, and internships from reputable companies, engineers can transition towards a career in consulting. As mentioned earlier, it would help if such an individual graduated from a top university. A great way to get one’s foot in the door is by attending networking events, as this is a big part of the consulting world. Because engineering and consulting are not directly related, it may take some time to get to know the right people that can help you get access to these types of events. This is the time to use one’s university contacts and call alumni’s and other graduates.

Starting with a 2nd tier firm is a great stepping-stone to consider for those in the engineering industry who want to be consultants. Moving to a larger city with hopes to find more opportunities is not advisable to do immediately due to the level of competition. Alternatively, one may also use LinkedIn to establish a strong set of consulting contacts. Joining online communities is another venue that is starting to become popular due to the information shared in the groups.

History and Literature

Individuals who are highly considering a consulting career without background in financing or business have a lot of catching up to do. Even with a high GPA, one of the best ways to ensure a positive transition would be to get in relevant companies for internships and volunteer work. At the same time, it is recommended to learn basic financing during off hours. Accounting is also suggested. These two topics can help an individual stay up to speed in consulting conversations and when talking to recruiters during the interview process. An individual may need to prove that he or she has knowledge in these subjects. Therefore, it may be a good idea to take a form of certification program from a prestigious institution. Getting an MBA will probably be necessary for many candidates to shift to management consulting.

Consider Relevancy

One of the main issues that individuals encounter when making a career shift to consulting is building up relevant experience. Because one’s degree isn’t related to consulting, recruiters rely on experience to gauge how suitable the applicant is for the consulting industry. The first step in gaining relevant experience is to set a target. You should first know what kind of consulting you want to do, what projects you want to take up and which firm(s) you want to work for.

Secondly, think outside the box. Consider internships, certifications, volunteer work, temp work, freelance and etc. Be prepared to invest time in these areas to show that you can do more than your current area of expertise. It also helps to do what you can on your own time. In order to be able to compete with other prospective consultants, one needs to be well versed in terms, phrases and the latest news circulating the consulting world.

Once you are equipped with the right experience, you may use your consulting network to get the inside scoop on possible openings. The complicated part in this step is if you have no way to start building your network. If you started building the foundation correctly, as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, you should have stumbled upon a few leads, which can help you break into the consulting industry.

Which Firm Should I Apply for?

Depending on where you are, it is recommended not to completely disregard 2nd tier firms. These types of firms are a great place to gain solid consulting experience, which can help catapult one’s goal of working for a top-level firm.

On the other hand, don’t get too comfortable in these types of companies. Once you’ve gathered enough experience from relevant projects, and you feel confident about the knowledge you’ve acquired, it is a good idea to move on to the next step of your plan. It is common for individuals without a relevant background in consulting to lack confidence in their skills. An effective way to overcome this mindset is by staying updated and gathering more knowledge in the relevant field.

A great tip in knowing which firm to target is by knowing what type of clients they are working with. This may help narrow down your choices depending on your previous background or degree. If you’re looking into a completely different speciality, one that you have no prior experience or knowledge in, it is essential to start as early as possible in planning your transition.

In conclusion, an individual without ideal starting credentials can still land a consulting job. However, one has to work extremely hard to achieve the same level of success as a consultant who has taken a relevant path. Never underestimate the foundation of a high GPA and a degree from a top university.

Getting a MBA can solidify one’s chances in getting into a high caliber firm. This can prove to a recruiter that you have the capacity to take on a consulting role. Finally, be prepared to work hard until you’ve closed the knowledge and experience gap.

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Why You Should Be Thinking About Your Consulting Network During the Holiday Season

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During the upcoming holiday season, the last thing on the mind of a consultant is a new job. However, research indicates that new job postings increase within the last two months of the year.

Is it worth looking into your consulting network during this time while everyone is relaxing and taking time off? The answer could be yes. If you think that companies don’t hold interviews during the holiday season, think again.

Over 53% of recruiters from a recent survey mentioned that they conduct interviews in the end of the 4th quarter.

Networking During the Holiday Season

It’s very common for consultants to hold a gathering for their network during the holiday season. This can be a great time to socialize and grow your own personal consulting network. It is important to remember that these parties are not like conventions. Clients, alumnus, and other consultants who are in attendance are there to unwind and have fun. Therefore, it is not recommended to open directly with lines pertaining to possible job openings.

Instead, enjoy the party as well and make it a point to have engaging conversations that your possible new contacts will remember. Also, don’t forget to bring business cards. You may want to consider leaving the hard copy of your cover letter and resume in the car or tucked away in your coat.

A smoother way to pass your cover letter and resume is to keep a copy of it in your phone as an attachment. Then you can casually send a personal email through your phone with your consulting cover letter and resume to your new contact, should the conversation lead to the possibility of new job posts.

Don’t Forget Your Old Contacts

The holiday season can also be a great time to keep in touch with your old contacts who you haven’t seen in a long time. This could be an ex-consultant who left the firm you’re working in, or an old classmate during your college years. The gesture of catching up is always rewarding and can give you new insight on what’s happening in other parts of the consulting industry.

To conclude, the holiday season isn’t an excuse not to think about your consulting network. If you play your cards right, a new opportunity may be on its way for the new year. Lastly, even though everyone has their guard down during the holiday parties, it is still best to exercise patience and have meaningful conversations before talking about the latest scoop in the consulting world.


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Why Do so Many Job Seekers Want to Go into Management Consulting?

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People waiting for job interview

Management consulting is once again a sought-after career option among recent graduates and experienced professionals. This practice of helping business organizations improve their productivity is increasingly becoming one of the most competitive industries to break into.

The high pressure environment of this field requires consultants to identify problems, provide practical recommendations, and implement change to help businesses improve their operations. Consultants are also expected to help new businesses become established in their respective sectors by providing corporate planning strategies and modifications.

With such enormous responsibilities on their shoulders, why would so many people want to pursue a career in management consulting? The push is due to the following benefits:

Exposure to Diverse Fields

One of the greatest benefits of being a consultant is the exposure to a wide range of industries and clients. You will never get bored as projects tend to vary with each client. This industry also offers a tremendous amount of career opportunities. Exposure to diverse  projects, roles, and industries will help those who are unsure about their career path determine which avenue they really want to pursue.

Continuous Learning

Because management consulting caters to all types of industries, you have an endless opportunity to learn new things. Consultants interact with different people from across a wide range of industries including company executives and established professionals. Working with these dominant and influential individuals will help you cultivate your own executive presence. Many agencies also provide international travel opportunities, which is a great way to learn about new cultures and countries.

The nature of the job itself is mentally stimulating, as consultants are continually analyzing existing business dilemmas and designing innovative modifications for company growth. This field is one of the few that offers the chance for constant learning and development.

Competitive and Accelerated Compensation Package

Many see management consulting as one of the most lucrative careers today. This is because the industry has traditionally provided its professionals with a competitive and accelerated compensation package. Many consultants in their early to mid-thirties enjoy six-figure salaries. Even talented fresh graduates can earn a decent amount of money in this industry.

Sense of Fulfillment

It’s not just about the money. Having the ability to make a major impact on the future success of an organization provides a strong sense of satisfaction and can likewise boost one’s confidence and sense of self. The entire process of developing a strategy and anticipating the results is really exciting. Those who have the passion to implement positive change will thrive in this field.

Freedom, Control, and Flexibility

This applies to independent consultants as they have the power to choose which clients to work with. Even if this industry can be stressful at times, independent consultants still have  complete control over their destinies.

Top-Notch Networks

The management consulting sector tends to attract top graduates and professionals. If you’re the kind of person who loves working with diverse and intelligent colleagues, then you can be easily lured to this career. Consultants always find themselves at the door of some of the largest and influential companies in the world.

There are hundreds and even thousands of powerful connections you can make through top consulting firms. And professionals in this field are generally more receptive to new hires seeking career assistance.

Many people are shifting to management consulting because of the numerous benefits it  offers. If you’re creative, innovative, and want a challenging yet rewarding role, you should definitely set your sights on this career.

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How Can I Land a Consulting Position without Relevant Experience?

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Consulting is considered a prestigious career by many business professionals because of its intellectual challenges and financial rewards. Although having prior experience can be an advantage, experience is not an essential requirement to landing a consulting job. However, you need to clearly demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to become a successful management consultant.

Excellent Academic Record

A high GPA is a strong indicator of your potential to add value to a consulting firm. Top-tier firms place a great deal of importance on an applicant’s outstanding academic background. And although possessing a business or finance related degree is a big plus, it is not as important as performance.

If you have an impressive GPA, then you have a better chance of being interviewed. You may also include your standardized test scores in your resume such as LSAT, MCAT, and SAT scores. HIgh marks on such tests demonstrate your strong theoretical skills, which is essential in consulting. Your educational background will help firms assess how equipped you are, even if you don’t have any consulting experience.

Craft an Effective Job Application

An excellent academic record is not enough; you will also need to write an equally impressive cover letter and resume in order to get an interview. Your consulting application should be able to demonstrate that you’re exactly what the firm is looking for. Make sure  that your resume and cover letter clearly exhibit your skills, achievements, and other qualifications significant to consulting. The most critical of these are:

Logical thinking skills As an aspiring consultant, your ability to devise innovative and pragmatic solutions to problems will be put to test. Demonstrate creativity and practical reasoning in your application
Problem-solving skills Great consultants have excellent theoretical, analytical, and practical knowledge. You need to prove to your potential employer that although you don’t have prior consulting experience, you have what it takes to become a good consultant – the passion to solve problems.
Communication skills Be very articulate in your application. Consults communicate with diverse people on a daily basis, so you need to be able to clearly convey your thoughts and ideas. If you showcase your excellent writing skills on your application, it will tell recruiters that you possess good communication skills. Use a confident and professional tone.
Confidence Your consulting application can reveal a lot of things about you, even your personality and character. Top-tier firms are looking for go-getters and confident individuals who can deliver the desired results regardless of the complexity of the situation.
Social skills: As an aspiring consultant, you must demonstrate great people skills. Successful consultants are personable and can easily gain the confidence of those they work with. Solid evidence of your social skills will work to your advantage.
Leadership skills Proven leadership skills will enhance your consulting application. Ensure your resume and cover letter establish your ability to manage and motivate people.
Achiever This is probably the most important characteristic you need to demonstrate in your consulting application. Even if you have no consulting experience, a proven track record of success in your current or previous roles could just land you an interview. Firms are looking for quantifiable achievements, so make sure that your application is results-oriented.

Practice Case Interviews until You are Confident

The case interview is the most dreaded part of the consulting recruitment process. As you have little to no experience in this field, it is imperative that you take the time to practice as many cases as you can. Although there is no fixed amount of time, it is recommended to spend approximately three months preparing for this interview. Only you can actually determine how much time you need, based on your confidence level. It all boils down to your dedication and how much you really want the job.

There are plenty of available resources that can help you prepare. You can try the interactive case interviews provided by top-tier firms like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG. There are also many websites that offer practice case interviews that can help you formulate the right approach to strategy consulting.

It is recommended to practice with a friend, colleague, or professional. Conducting mock interviews will help you hone your critical thinking and communication skills. Simulating the interview will also help you learn how to effectively handle stress during the actual interview.

The Power of Networking

Networking plays a crucial role in management consulting and could be your key to success. Many aspiring consultants overlook this strategy, but at the end of the day, it’s all about connections. The number and quality of your professional network contacts can lead to a consulting job.

Your Goal

In regard to networking for consulting application purposes, your main goals are to be able to make a good impression on consultants who are associated with the recruiting process, collect valuable information about your target firm and its employees, and establish firm contacts who will provide you with relevant advice and potential references.

Your Means

There are many effective ways to harvest potential contacts. You can join industry organizations and attend functions and seminars to meet consultants or professionals who can offer referrals. Online networking through social media is also gaining popularity; take advantage of professional networking sites like LinkedIn and social sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to make connections who will assist you with your career goals.

Although networking takes time, building strong relationships with key people in the consulting industry will definitely help you achieve your goal of landing a job in management consulting. Your contacts can provide you with valuable information about what you need to do to jump start your consulting career.

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What GMAT Scores Mean to Consulting Firms

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The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a tool often used by business schools in evaluating applicants for the MBA program. This standardized assessment is also an essential criterion for a management consulting career, as some firms consider a candidate’s GMAT score during the recruiting process.

Why Consulting Firms Consider GMAT Scores

GMAT scores are taken into consideration by some consulting firms because the results may reveal the applicant’s management consulting competencies. GMAT scores can help recruiters determine whether or not candidates will move on to the interview stage.

Quantitative Reasoning Ability

The quantitative section of the GMAT helps employers gauge your quantitative reasoning ability. An impressive score on questions related to numerical problems implies that you have the capability to effectively deal with numbers on a regular basis. Consultants frequently assess financial reports, compute costs and revenues, and engage in many other quantitative tasks. If you’re not good with numbers, you may not be consultant material.

Critical Reasoning Skill

GMAT scores can also reflect your reading comprehension and critical reasoning skills. Employers want to gauge your ability to understand written text, formulate sound reasoning, and interpret and express ideas. A good score in this section implies you have outstanding verbal reasoning skills, which consultants must have in order to study research and write reports and recommendations.

Your marks on the integrated reasoning part of the GMAT may be used by recruiters to evaluate your graphical and table analysis capabilities. Consultants analyze data in different formats, and a good score in this section indicates your ability to resolve complex problems.

Written Communication Skill

Finally, GMAT scores help employers assess whether you can write analytically under pressure. Consultants have great idea organizational skills and are frequently called upon to develop comprehensive presentations for various clients within a short period of time. Therefore, the ability to organize ideas and provide supporting facts is attractive to recruiters.

How to Compensate for a Low GMAT Score

If you don’t have an impressive GMAT score, you need to compensate in other aspects so as not to completely derail your candidacy.


If done properly, networking can be the key to getting your foot in the door of a prestigious consulting firm. Remember, your goal is to add contacts who are associated with your target firm. You need to network with people in your prospective firm, even if they are not involved in the recruiting process. You may use these valuable contacts for informational interviews, in which you ask for advice about your career path such as day-to-day consulting responsibilities, how your contact became interested in their firm, challenges and rewards, etc.

You can then use the information you have learned in your cover letter. You may mention who you have met and what inspired you to pursue a position at the company. Resume screeners will see these specific details as a genuine and dedicated effort to learn about them, and your letter will stand out even if you have a low GMAT score. Who knows, you might even build strong relationships with consultants who can influence the resume screening and interview process.

Extracurricular Activities

The activities you participate in outside of school or work may also help compensate for a low GMAT score. You can mention volunteer work, student council involvement, school newspaper contribution, etc.—anything that will prove academic excellence and/or notable social involvement. When discussing your extracurricular experience, ensure you highlight roles that demonstrate your leadership and people skills as well as your communication skills and motivation.


Another way to impress recruiters, even if you have a low GMAT score, is by providing a results-oriented track record. Consulting firms want achievers who can prove quantifiable accomplishments. Ensure that your application clearly shows your valuable contribution to your previous or current employer. Regardless of your background, firms are generally impressed with the quantifiable impact you have made in the past.

Leadership Roles

Consultants must possess strong leadership skills. Listing leadership roles you’ve held will also help compensate for a low GMAT score. Firms are after individuals with great people skills—an ability that effective leaders have in common. As consultants handle diverse interpersonal situations, your application needs to establish you as a personable leader.

Consulting Skills

Of course, if you really want to excel in the consulting industry, you have to make extra effort to hone essential consulting skills. One critical skill you need to improve is your math skills. Consultants need to be able to calculate numerical data fast and accurately in their heads. As an aspiring consultant, you need to develop this skill if  you’re not that comfortable with numbers.

Additional key skills you need to take the time to hone are your problem solving and analytical skills. You can take advantage of the available books and other material to help you improve these essential consulting abilities. Consultants typically exhibit strong competencies in devising efficient solutions, so work on it.

Moreover, ensure your application is properly structured and well-written in order to convey your excellent communication skills. You will also need to prepare for the case interview. Consultants must be able to convey their ideas in a concise manner, so work on your written, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills, particularly if your GMAT score is not that impressive.

The GMAT and other standardized tests must not be taken for granted. These exams  reflect your capability to handle the responsibilities of a management consultant. Ensure to provide your GMAT score in your application, especially if it’s good, and remember to compensate in other key areas if you didn’t do so well.

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Practical Tips for Becoming a Successful Management Consultant

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woman smiling

Management consultants are known as problem solvers. Their job is to help organizations maximize growth, improve business performance, and find solutions to their clients’ challenges by providing objective advice based on their expertise and skills.

Management consultants focus on analyzing and examining the structure, management, and operations of their clients. It is the duty of a consultant to formulate recommendations for positive change. Consultants cover a wide variety of services including business strategy, financial and management control, human resources, information technology, marketing, and operations. The business consulting industry is also known to generate a good amount of money and consultants are among the highest paid professionals.

There is no specific formula to becoming a successful business consultant, but utilizing the tips below will help get you started:

Know Your Strengths and Market Them

If you are new to management consulting, you need to step it up and market your expertise to your colleagues, former employers, and other contacts. Look at these people as potential employers who can refer you to businesses that require the services of a consultant.

Improve Your Social and Communication Skills

In addition to conducting a thorough analysis of the company’s overall business operations, you must have the ability to clearly communicate your thought process. Hone this important skill so you can express your brilliant recommendations and evaluations successfully. As you will be dealing with diverse people, including managers and employees, you need to project confidence when communicating. If you are not that confident about your interpersonal skills, attend seminars and workshops to improve this particular skill.

Monitor Your Client as Well as Its Competitors

If you already have a client, make it a habit to stay updated on the company, its top competitors, and recent industry developments. You can set up Google Alerts using related keywords. It is crucial to stay current if you want to remain on top of your game. By doing this, you are equipping yourself with powerful information that can lead to successful projects.

Know Your Client CEO and Senior Management

You do not want to have a casual conversation with an employee only to later realize that you were talking to the company CEO or the Executive VP—that can be very  embarrassing. Many newbie consultants have had this experience. Do your homework and visit your client’s website to familiarize yourself with the names and faces of senior management.

Find a Few Good Places for Team Dinners

Giving attention to this small detail is also important as it demonstrates your diligence. As a new consultant, the chore of planning and organizing team dinners and other team-bonding activities may fall on you, so it is best to be prepared. You can ask some friends for recommendations or search the Internet.

Organize Project-Related Documents

If the company has not implemented a shared hub for storing project-related documents, take the initiative and construct one. You can upload documents such as the annual reports of clients and competitors, briefings on the industry, and other client-related work. Reviewing work you conducted for your clients can provide you with ideas and help your team avoid previous mistakes. This will be a valuable resource to your team if you  organize it properly. Remember to frequently update the files as the project progresses.

Maintain a Healthy Working Relationship with Team Assistants

As the new consultant, you need to earn the respect of your team members. Earning their respect will enable you and the team to be more productive. Exert yourself and make an effort to get to know the team assistants on a personal level. After all, these people also have busy schedules and you want your requests to take top priority.

There is no sure formula to success, but it won’t hurt to follow these basic and practical tips for becoming an efficient and sought-after business consultant.

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Where to Get Inspiration for Your Consulting Career

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The creative man

Vying for a position at any management consulting firm is not an easy job. The recruitment process is tough and your competitors are highly qualified. When you feel that the odds of being invited to an interview are against you, take a breather and look for some inspiration on the web.

Here are some websites that can provide you with a daily dose of inspiration and motivation, and some nuggets of wisdom that can encourage you to manage your challenges optimistically.


At, you will find a collection of talks given by influential people such as Bill Gates, Larry Page, Al Gore, Malcolm Gladwell, and other Nobel Prize winners. Each video contains innovative ideas on technology, design, entertainment, science, global issues, and business, among others. In addition, you will hear stories about how professionals succeed in their careers, ideas that you may use once you become a consultant, and simple tips on how to live life to the fullest.

Let’s Talk About Work

Founded by Mary-Frances Winters, offers practical advice, motivation, and guidance for personal and professional development. It posts daily inspirational quotes that can get your work day started on a positive note. It also publishes work-related blog posts that help  employees resolve issues with their boss or colleagues and conducts polls where you can share your ideas on relevant issues.

Marie Forleo is the personal blog of Marie Forleo, a marketing and lifestyle expert who helps everyone live rich, happy, and hot. Most of her blogs contain a video of her interviewing an influential or successful person. At times, she provides practical advice for questions raised by her viewers or readers. In her posts, she encourages reader interaction by asking a question  about your career, preferences, business, or life in general.

Goins Writer is the personal blog of Jeff Goins, a writer, speaker, creative coach, and consultant. He writes about dreams, art, careers, decisions, business, and other topics that will help you become an effective person. What you’ll love about his ideas is the fact that they are presented in a very simple manner. Readers remember his tips because they are easy to apply.

Careershifters is a website for professionals who want a change in their career. Its authors aim to help readers escape from their dead-end or unfulfilling jobs by gathering expert ideas on how to find a new profession that brings you to life. It explores the reasons that keep you from following your calling and provides you with tools on how to land your dream job. It also features the stories of professionals who successfully shifted from one career to another.


On, Leo Babauta proves that less is more. He believes there is happiness and productivity in finding simplicity and clearing the clutter. Each week, he features a few articles on motivation and inspiration, frugality, goals, health and fitness, among others. This uncopyrighted blog may have no images, but the simple yet powerful content is more than enough.


Many consider as one of the premier productivity and lifestyle blogs on the Internet. It provides advice, resources, and tips to help you perform tasks efficiently and effectively. It contains sensible articles and provides quotes on communication, lifestyle, money, technology, work, productivity, and relationships.

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Consulting Wear: Tips for Projecting Your Professionalism

Written by . Posted in Consulting Application, Fit Interview Prep

Businessman in classic vest against row of suits in shop

In preparing for your interview, you’ve researched your target consulting firm, networked with some of its employees, and practiced resolving case interviews. However, when you woke up on the actual day, you realized you hadn’t thought about what to wear during the interview.

Being in this situation can cause you some problems. Whether you like it or not, your consulting wear affects the interviewer’s impression of you. This doesn’t mean you have to look like attractive TV stars and models; what’s important is that you convey professionalism and here’s why:

Sociability Consultants deal with clients from different companies across various industries. In order for you to maintain the firm’s brand, you should practice good grooming and look neat.
Confidence Your choice of clothing affects how you project your confidence.  Remember, those who dress smart look smart.

Consulting Wear for Women

The majority of management consulting firms follow a conservative dress code. Below are some suggestions for consulting wear for women which fit the industry’s culture:

Suit and Blouse Select a black, dark brown, grey or navy blue suit. Your blouse should match your suit and shoes.
Shoes Wear conservative and comfortable high heels.
Jewelry Limit yourself to three basic pieces of jewelry. Don’t wear dangling earrings as they distract the interviewer.
Makeup Apply light makeup to conceal nervousness. Use lipstick and foundation that complement your complexion and wear neutral eye shadow. You may also want to tweeze any stray hairs on your browline.
Scent Dab on a little bit of sweet-smelling perfume, but if you’re not sure about the scent, don’t take the risk. You wouldn’t want to be remembered as the applicant with the strong smell.
Hairstyle Keep your hair away from your face. Use a bobby pin to fix your bangs, or if you have long hair, pull it back in a ponytail. A nice hairstyle should keep you from fiddling with it.
Nails Keep your nails clean and neatly filed. If you get a manicure, don’t choose colors that are too bright. Beige polishes are recommended.

Consulting Wear for Men

Men are not exempt from dressing appropriately during the consulting interview. Here are some suggestions for consulting wear for men:

Suit and undershirts Wear a solid colored suit, such as navy blue or black, and a white or light-colored collared shirt that matches the tie.
Shoes and socks Your shoes should be black, closed, and well-polished. Sandals are definitely not allowed. Wear dark socks to look more professional.
Jewelry A watch is appropriate, however, other accessories are discouraged.
Hairstyle Keep it clean and neat. You may use a matte styling product if necessary. Avoid coming to the interview with a trendy hairstyle.
Shave A clean-shaven face is pleasing to look at. An unkempt beard will make you look unprofessional. If you’re not comfortable with this, you can always grow it back once you’ve sealed the deal.

Don’t Wear Uncomfortable Clothes

When you are planning what to wear during the interview, think of the most important thing— comfort. If you go into the interview anxious about the length of your skirt or hairstyle, you won’t be able to focus on analyzing the business case and finding the right solutions. Your consulting wear should boost, not ruin, your candidacy.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare

You should get sufficient rest the night before the interview, and wake up early to shower, dress, shave, and fix your hair so you’re not rushing to the interview. Leaving enough time for preparation will keep you calm, lessen your anxiety, and boost your confidence.

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How to Break Into Booz

Written by . Posted in Consulting Application


Although Booz doesn’t belong to MBB, it has established itself as a reputable organization in the management consulting industry. In fact, some people would add another B to the acronym to include Booz with the Big Three.

The history of Booz dates back to 1914 when founder Edwin Booz began researching and solving problems for several clients in Chicago. He believed that organizations would improve their performance if they incorporated objective recommendations from experts. Eventually, his theory developed into the practice of management consulting, and his company opened satellite offices in countries all over the world.

Get to Know Booz

To break into Booz, you should familiarize yourself with the firm’s goals, services, values, corporate culture, and industries. Your company knowledge will guide you in writing your job application and answering questions during job interviews. Here are some tips to apply during your research:

Website Visit Booz’ website and read its pages. It contains relevant information including the history, portfolio, office locations, work values, and everyday life of its experts. All the fundamental facts you need are published on the website.
Social Media Follow Booz on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social media websites for updates about their activities, priorities, and vacancies.
Networking Join off and online activities, events, and forums. Build connections with professionals who are or were connected with the firm—they can provide practical tips for acing the application process.

Write an Effective Job Application

Your consulting application plays a vital role in your dream to break into Booz. Your cover letter and resume summarize your qualifications and motivation for the management consulting position. These marketing tools serve as recruiters’ basis for deciding whether or not you should be on the interview shortlist. Therefore, make sure that you include your experience, quantified accomplishments, and other relevant information in a comprehensive manner.

Prepare for Case Interviews

Candidates who break into Booz do well during case interviews, an instrument used to assess a candidate’s ability to think analytically and resolve problems logically. An applicant usually undergoes two rounds of interviews, with each round consisting of two 45 minute sessions. You will be presented with a business scenario based on projects Booz professionals have worked on. In order to crack the case, remember the following:

Problem Get a thorough understanding of the case and determine the relevant factors to be investigated. If some information is missing, ask probing questions. Some recruiters won’t disclose all the necessary details unless you use your initiative and request it.
Framework Apply a consulting framework that can help you structure your thoughts and approach to the problem.
Recommendations Explain your conclusion and recommendations in a clear and comprehensive manner.

There’s no “correct” answer to the case. As long as you logically arrive at sensible conclusions, there’s a great possibility that you will break into Booz. Practice and enhance your consulting skills before the interview in order to feel prepared and confident during the interview.

Learn More

If you need more expert advice on how to break into Booz, see this management consulting ebook. It explains the qualities most top tier firms look for in applicants. These attributes should be your bases when crafting your job application. The guide also contains tips for acing pre-employment tests and case interviews. The three types of case questions you may encounter in the interview are also elaborated in the guide.