I've held off on writing about 'how to succeed as a consultant' until I knew that I could provide real, valuable advice to students who are entering the field or to new consultants who have just started. As I approach the median tenure at a consulting firm (likely somewhere between 2.5-3 years), I've learned quite a few things along the way. This series is meant to share some of that and over the next month I'll be posting about the following 5 topics that will help you succeed as a management consultant:
Every man should have a 'go-to' outfit (sorry, women... not exactly my area of specialty). And while Harvey Specter (above) looks like a million bucks, you actually want to go the other way. What every student needs - especially when you're recruiting - is a clean, simple, and professional combination of clothing that you can throw on at a moment's notice, without having to think about it. This is your go-to.
And it doesn't have to break the bank, either. Below I outline how you can get this together on the cheap. Starting from the top...
1. Shirt (White, light blue) - $60-$100
How you think you look: suave, smooth, and like Justin Timberlake meets Johnny Depp.
How you actually look: Like an (ahem) d-bag.
I'd like to introduce a simple concept today: high risk, low reward.
When you crack a joke with a consultant that you think will go over well, that's high risk but high reward. If you genuinely make him or her laugh, you've immediately won someone over. If they don't find it funny, they probably aren't going to go out of their way to ding you.
Now high risk, low reward is the opposite. When you wear a tie clip, handkerchief, 3-piece suit, slick back your hair, bust out your best cufflinks, and flip that fedora onto your head, you are going to bring out 2 potential responses:...
A recent study by researchers from and The Wharton School - published in Psychological Science - analyzed 9,000 interviews over ten years of MBA admissions. The researchers found that the assessment of the interviewees before you had a direct impact on your own assessment. Specifically:
"Even after controlling for lots of other factors (like the candidate’s GMAT score, essay quality, and characteristics of the individual interviewer), there was... a negative correlation between the previous scores given to candidates that day and the score given to the current interviewee."
In other words, if previous candidates have received higher scores, you are more likely to receive a lower score. And vice versa. Click through to read more about this phenomenon, as well as an analysis of the best times to schedule your consulting interviews.
Many students in Canada don't know that Montreal used to be the economic powerhouse of Canada. It was only after fears that Quebec might secede, that many companies moved their offices to Toronto - today, the major consulting firms all have a presence in Toronto.
As most McGill students know, the Montreal consulting space has been fairly limited to McKinsey, Oliver Wyman, Accenture, and Deloitte. Major firms like BCG, Bain, and Monitor simply didn't have any offices here.
Interestingly, however, this has been changing. In 2012, BCG opened a new Montreal office, and ramped up recruiting in nearby universites (McGill, HEC, etc.). Just a few months ago, Roland Berger - historically a European-centric company - opened an office in Montreal as well. KPMG bought out the Montreal-based Secor. And the word is that other consulting firms growing their operations in the city (click through to read more).
A big thanks to our loyal fans - who have already provided some great feedback about the new changes. Apart from a complete technical upgrade (faster load times and some nifty new features), the organization of the site has changed. In the past, we had received feedback that the material was awesome but overwhelming for someone without much time to prepare for their interviews. Our content is now organized as follows:
1. Overview - a review of the 5 key steps to gain the most benefit from the site's materials
2. The 6 Steps to Success - the comprehensive, 75+ page guide to the recruitment process (organized in 6 easy-to-follow sections)
3. Published Content - Workshop slides, consulting booklet, and firm-specific advice. The essentials of the recruiting process (if you don't have time to go through the 6 steps to success)...
While certain other sites (ahem) may charge you a couple of hundred dollars for this information, it's not rocket science. And to throw in an unrelated anecdote, a friend used the following quote in an I-Banking interview: "I'm an engineer. I can literally build rockets. Whatever you throw at me, I can handle" (Yes, he did make it to the final round).
Now back to e-mail addresses. Remember - before you e-mail an individual, or if you're looking for the right person to e-mail, Google "Firm Name + Your University + Recruiting".
A simple "Bain McGill Recruiting" search takes you right to Bain's McGill-specific page for recruitment, letting you know that Courtney Evans is the right person to e-mail. And what do you know, her e-mail is listed right there on the page. The second google link that comes up? BCG at McGill. Yes, folks, it's that easy.
The following is the basic e-mail format for the major consulting firms:
I recently read an article on The Verge discussing various 'gentleman's agreements' between the major tech companies. Fascinating to see the insider's perspective on this - as well as copies of the actual e-mails sent to and from top execs at Apple, Google, Adobe, etc.
Steve Jobs, for example, writes an e-mail to Ed Colligan, the President and CEO of Palm at the time, stating that their recruiting techniques were "not satisfactory to Apple".
It's well worth the read, and gets you thinking; do consulting firms have similar agreements in place? You don't hear much about consultants being poached between one firm and another (at least below the partner level). Is this intentional or due to other factors?
I suspect there's a couple of factors at play here:...