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Any help for a recent graduate

 
#1 Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 10:33

Tony to deleted (#0)

Hi can anyone please help me as I think i'm going mad! I recently graduated with a 2.1 in Marketing from Leeds met (not oxford I know) I don't have A levels as I done the HND route. I really want to get started in business strategy but all the larger firms seem to shy away from my applications. I know i'm not an Ivy league graduate I was a manager for Sainburys for four years I then traveled round the world for 2 years on my own which was a life changing experience.

I just want some advice on what I can do to make my self more attractive to the large consultant firms?? Does anyone think I'm wasting my time and that I should stick to marketing. I don't give up on anything easy and usually put up a fight and this is no different but am I a lost cause?? I have read alot on porter and competitive strategy and also great thinkers like kotler etc at the moment thats what's driving me but should I think again?

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#2 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 14:00

Village Idiot to Tony (#1)

Tony, please forgive me as I don't sugar-coat things.

If the standard of English that you've used in your post is any indication, I can understand why you're not getting interviews in the strat houses. You should invest in a spell checker and a grammar checker.

In an industry that hires the best of the best, with stellar academics from the best universities, you need to understand your relative position. A 2.1 from a second-tier university simply isn't going to cut it.

The recruiters in the strat houses are screening thousands of applications to hire a handful of consultants. Unless there was something exceptional on your CV (4 years at Sainsbury's and a "life-changing" trip around the world don't really cut it) you're unlikely to get a look-in.

By "exceptional", I mean something that really stands out and has clear applicability to the industry. For example, "I got a 2.1 in Marketing from Leeds Met. In my spare time, I founded Google."

If you really want to get into a strat house, an MBA is probably the best route. But it needs to be from the best institutions (LSE, Insead, etc) and you need to finish at the top of your class.

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#3 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 15:10

Tony to Village Idiot (#2)

Ok point taken VI and thank you for the frank reply I am aware my grammer is alot to be desired but when making a formal report it is much better. Do you think doing an MBA straight out of uni is too quick? Or is it my only chance?

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#4 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 16:06

Village Idiot to Tony (#3)

Don't take this the wrong way -- but you can't save your best grammar for formal reports. Every e-mail you send to your client needs to convey the same sense of professionalism. People are paying thousands of pounds a day for your skills and expertise. They've got every right to expect the very best in the business.

I've met quite a few strategy consultants in my time. Almost without exception they are shockingly bright and have been overachievers from day one. They've got straight A-grades at A-level, they've gone on to the best universities, and they've gone on to do MBAs at the best business schools.

What I'm trying to say is this: if you haven't got what it takes to make it now, you're unlikely to have what it takes in the future, regardless of how much money you pour into your education. Even *if* you could get into one of the top business schools (unlikely with your educational background and the lack of any real career experience), there's no guarantee that someone with a better pedigree won't pip you to the post again in the future.

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#5 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 16:20

Tony to Village Idiot (#4)

So what would you recomend me to do? Just forget all about consultanting? Move into a different area?

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#6 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 16:33

jimbob to Tony (#5)

Plenty of overseas students with very poor English get places at good MBA schools on the strengths of their quantitative abilities. They didn't all go to Oxbridge, by any means.

On the other hand, Britain (and consulting) being what it is, you are more likely to be ridiculed by your colleagues for being a bright cockney barrow boy with "poor" English, than for being a bright student from India.

Unfortunately, English such as "I done the HND route" and "my grammer is a lot to be desired" would condemn a mathematical genius from Britain who'd had no chance of a good education, and not a mathematical genius from Holland, India or China who'd had the best that money could buy. It's crap, but it's the way it is.

I don't think it's the same in financial markets though...Bloomberg are always recruiting.

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#7 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 16:34

Clint "hey check my quants, I rock" to Village Idiot (#4)

"Don't take this the wrong way -- but you can't save your best grammar for formal reports. Every e-mail you send to your client needs to convey the same sense of professionalism. "

VI - no, let's be clear - spelling/grammar on this board does not matter. Your opinion does not matter - you are all opinion monkeys, not clients. For that reason, it is perfectly possible to post here, make numerous spelling/typographical errors and still be a high-flying individual.

In fact, there's an argument that the people who spend ages on this board (i.e., ......you!) and have the time to reply to almost every post and meticulously check their spelling/grammar clearly have too much free time! Not billing much, I take it :-)

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#8 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 16:53

Tony to Clint "hey check my quants, I rock" (#7)

Ok I admit I am not going to write the next great novel but I do not see why this should go against my chances of getting into strategy. I do take care when typing emails and reports etc I thought this was a blogg and did not realise that informal "lingo" would go against me. With my academic achievements in mind what should be my next step?

thanks for everyones thoughts

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#9 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 16:54

Villlage Idiot to Clint "hey check my quants, I rock" (#7)

Clint, the original poster asked for opinions about why he wasn't having success in applying for business strategy roles in the large consultancies. I've never met Tony, and can only make my judgements based on the information on hand.

1. Degree from 2nd-tier university

2. Degree in marketing (e.g. not a quant-based degree, so no evidence of strong quant skills)

3. 2.1 - so not even top of his class at Leeds Met

4. Poor grammar

Based on these facts, I drew a general conclusion about the poster. Short of any evidence to the contrary, he doesn't come across as the high-flying intellectual heavyweight that the strategy houses are looking for.

No one likes to hear that they can't cut it, and there's a real tendency on this board to encourage people to strive for things that are out of their reach. That's a lofty ideal, but I'm not sure how much practical sense it makes.

What's your advice and opinion, then? What do you suggest the original poster do to increase his chances of securing a place at one of the strat houses?

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#10 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 16:56

D to Clint "hey check my quants, I rock" (#7)

Forget consulting for now. Work in the best job you can find for at least three or four years then, if you still want to do it, apply to the top business schools.

With some decent work experience you may be able to get in. No guarantess of course but without work experience you have no chance.

If you get into a decent business school (not LSE, as somebody up there mentioned. If he/she knew what they were talking about they would know that LSE doesn't offer MBAs) then getting into consulting is relatively easy. You don't need to be at the top of the class either.

What you do now is most important. Get a decent job where you manage people, and do well at it. That will help with business school applications in future, and whatever you do after. At the moment your education simply doesn't cut it for consulting. It's tough but it's life. You will have to work around it.

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#11 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 17:01

Village Idiot to Villlage Idiot (#9)

>Ok I admit I am not going to write the next great novel but I do

>not see why this should go against my chances of getting into

>strategy.

You're applying for a place in one of the most competitive industries around. The companies in the sector get huge numbers of qualified applicants applying for each place. They're turning down candidates that other blue-chips would snap up in an instant.

Put yourself in their shoes: why would they select you over someone with a first from Oxford?

Answer that question and you'll know exactly what you need to highlight on your CV to start getting interviews.

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#12 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 17:13

snooty to Village Idiot (#11)

Since when has Leeds Met been a second tier university (as we are not sugar coating, let's be completely blunt).

Second tier universities usually include (in no particular order)

Some of the colleges of the university of London (Imperial, UCL, LSE)

The two ancient Scottish universities (Edinburgh and St A's)

A smattering of regional English universities (Usually includes Durham, Bristol, Warwick and others come and go)

After the 2nd tier, the rest have some strong departments (eg English at York, Engineering at Loughborough, etc).

Snob value is important in consulting. I'd say that unless your degree comes from Oxbridge or one of the established 2nd tier, things will be harder for you. Get around this problem by getting in to a first or second tier business school to do your MBA.

First tier: London Business School

Second tier: Cranfield, Oxford, Cambridge, City, Manchester, Warwick (perhaps others from time to time)

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#13 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 17:14

snooty to Village Idiot (#11)

Since when has Leeds Met been a second tier university (as we are not sugar coating, let's be completely blunt).

Second tier universities usually include (in no particular order)

Some of the colleges of the university of London (Imperial, UCL, LSE)

The two ancient Scottish universities (Edinburgh and St A's)

A smattering of regional English universities (Usually includes Durham, Bristol, Warwick and others come and go)

After the 2nd tier, the rest have some strong departments (eg English at York, Engineering at Loughborough, etc).

Snob value is important in consulting. I'd say that unless your degree comes from Oxbridge or one of the established 2nd tier, things will be harder for you. Get around this problem by getting in to a first or second tier business school to do your MBA.

First tier: London Business School

Second tier: Cranfield, Oxford, Cambridge, City, Manchester, Warwick (perhaps others from time to time)

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#14 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
25/08/2006 17:15

snooty to Village Idiot (#11)

Since when has Leeds Met been a second tier university (as we are not sugar coating, let's be completely blunt).

Second tier universities usually include (in no particular order)

Some of the colleges of the university of London (Imperial, UCL, LSE)

The two ancient Scottish universities (Edinburgh and St A's)

A smattering of regional English universities (Usually includes Durham, Bristol, Warwick and others come and go)

After the 2nd tier, the rest have some strong departments (eg English at York, Engineering at Loughborough, etc).

Snob value is important in consulting. I'd say that unless your degree comes from Oxbridge or one of the established 2nd tier, things will be harder for you. Get around this problem by getting in to a first or second tier business school to do your MBA.

First tier: London Business School

Second tier: Cranfield, Oxford, Cambridge, City, Manchester, Warwick (perhaps others from time to time)

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#15 Re: Any help for a recent graduate
31/08/2006 05:02

Beng

MC firms recruit at top tier schools not because of "snob value" per se, but because the schools have done the initial screening for us. If we cast a wide net and recruited everywhere, we'd be interviewing 1,000 people for every 1 we hired...not an efficient use of time. At the top schools, it's probably more like 100 to 1 (at the really best schools, it's maybe 10 or 20 to 1). Billable consultants do the interviewing...and time is money.

Consder the US. The fact that you're not an American automatically gives you an edge, as US B-schools want a "well-rounded" class composed of various educational/professional backgrounds and nationalities.

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#16 Any help for a recent graduate
12/09/2006 15:36

na to Beng (#15)

How is York University considered among recruiters? Its been at #7 in Sunday Times league for a few years, but I am aware it is small and not so well established university brand, and am worried my degree may be undervalued as a result...

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#17 RE: Any help for a recent graduate
13/09/2006 10:51

York grad to na (#16)

York is generally well-regarded.

Most blue chip companies that came to the university whilst I was there said it was in their top tier for recruitment. Alongside places like Warwick, Durham, LSE etc....

But then I'm of course biased!

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