This is a BITS2BSCHOOL initiative to form a ‘Frequently Asked Questionnaire’ on Management Consulting for the aspiring consultants on this e-group. This FAQ has been compiled from answers provided by a panel of Consultant BITSians, to consulting relating questions posed by this group.
▪ FAQ Structure
The questions have been classified into the following sections:
B Schools and Academic background (pre and during MBA)
Professional work experience (pre MBA) and expectations
Post MBA Consulting experience
Interpersonal Skills and Networking
B SCHOOLS AND ACADEMIC BACKGROUND (PRE AND DURING MBA)
Q1. When evaluating MBA programs, ...view middle of the document...
Try to take classes that help you broaden your thinking. Take classes that you like since most of the learning for a consultant will be on the job.
PROFESSIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE (PRE mba) AND EXPECTATIONS
Q1. What is the typical profile of a consultant prior to his MBA? If there is no typical profile, what characteristics or job experience, do B Schools look for in a consultant wannabe?
There is no typical profile of a consultant. Though there is no typical profile, the skills you bring to the table matter the most. Leadership, problem solving and communication abilities are critical.
Infact, there are quite a few consultants without an MBA degree; but they all have the right skill sets to be a consultant. You don’t need an MBA degree to become a consultant but you will establish more contacts in Bschool. Bschool also changes the way you think. Some consulting firms also have short internal MBA programs for individuals who get into consulting companies without an MBA.
q2. As I begin to think of my career progress and an MBA, I am keen on differentiating myself from the multitude of IT professionals and was seriously considering a Consulting profile pre MBA. I have my own doubts and apprehensions on what (if at all) would an ideal Pre MBA candidate would be required to know / learn to get into esteemed consulting firms like McKinsey.
The differentiation comes in when you are getting into Bschool. When working at a company, try to work in a business role instead of a purely technical role. Marketing or project management helps you gain skills that are critical to become a consultant.
Irrespective of the background, success in consulting interviews primarily depends on one’s ability to develop a coherent story to sell oneself by highlighting all achievements and skills. “Spin it right and you can win it”
Apart from leadership and diversity, extracurricular activities also give you an edge. If there are two equally good candidates with similar work background and achievements, the individual with more “out of work” activities will get the job.
q3. How do consulting companies view a career shift from Software to Mgmt/Strategy Consulting during recruitment? - Is it viewed positively/negatively, is the prior IT experience disregarded completely?
IT experience can help you get an interview. The key is to change one’s mind-set from deriving sense of achievement in IT coding to being able to see the big picture, develop strategy and solutions to business problems. Mgmt Consulting companies could look at some of these critical aspects: Did you manage people? Did you solve business problems using IT? Did you perform any community service?
It is important to note that a consulting job involves providing advisory service, developing strategies for implementation and operational aspects. So, one needs to be flexible and play a multitude of roles depending on the stage of the...