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Qualifications

 
#1 Qualifications
11/09/2009 09:20

Consultant Hopeful

If a graduate can't get into consulting after a Business degree and a Management Consulting Masters degree, both from top tier universities, what is the next step? I'm looking to do a course or gain a qualification that will stand out / stand to me when I go to grad interviews. Six-sigma green belt certification, PMP, CMC qualifications?? What would you all recommend? Thanks in advance.

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#2 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 09:38

anon to Consultant Hopeful (#1)

If you have no experience at all you won't be able to get a CMC or PMP.

Maybe green belt training, i don't know if you need experience to do that (but a keen interest in continuous improvement is probably a must!)

If as you say, you have "good" degrees (bachelors and masters) from good universities (which ones - do any of the consulting firms have recruitment offices/liaisons with the Uni you were at), i can only assume that either your application/CV doesn't hit the spot and needs tailoring or you need to work on your interview strategy or you are applying to firms that aren't hiring.

Are your pre-university academics good?

When you say you cant get into consulting, at what stage are you getting rejected (application? 1st interview? 2nd interview? etc)

Who have you applied to?

What is a masters in MC (which specific degree was it)?

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#3 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 10:20

Consultant Hopeful to anon (#2)

Thanks for the reply Anon. You're right, I half thought that you needed project management / consulting experience to get the CMC and PMP.

I'm from Ireland so went to Trinity College (No. 1 ranked University) and got a 2.1 honours in Business Studies and then went to UCD Smurfit Business School (No.1 ranked business school) to do an MBS - specialising in Management Consulting and am awaiting results.

As far as I'm aware, the consulting firms do not have recruitment offices/liaisons with the Universities apart from the typical 'milk round' presentations and information stands around sept/oct.

Any advice on where to get good coaching on consulting specific applications / CV's / interview skills? I do put a lot of time and effort into them but they are not all successful, for example:

Accenture: Rejected at application stage

PWC (PI): Rejected after 1st interview

KPMG: Rejected after 1st interview

Deloitte: Rejected at application stage

Ernst&Young: Rejected at application stage

BearingPoint: Not hiring

Pre-University results would be top 5% in the country. Any ideas for next steps, courses to do, companies to apply for, qualifications to get?

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#4 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 10:59

Irish in London to Consultant Hopeful (#3)

“I'm from Ireland so went to Trinity College (No. 1 ranked University) and got a 2.1 honours in Business Studies and then went to UCD Smurfit Business School (No.1 ranked business school) to do an MBS - specialising in Management Consulting and am awaiting results. “

I was educated in Ireland too and would really take issue with your assumption that an underfunded Irish tertiary education is in any way comparable with the top tier universities on the UK mainland.

Trinity college comes 50th in world rankings, and UCD doesn’t even make the top 100:

http://www.topuniversities.com/worlduniversityrankings/results/2008/regional_rankings/top_european_universities/

Carysfort fares just as badly in terms of its business school, coming 99th in terms of the FT’s MBA rankings:

http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/map/global-mba-rankings

Don’t forget this is the business school that had a professional with totally fraudulent qualifcations on its teaching staff for years.

We are fed this nonsense in Ireland that our education is superior to the rest of the world. Its not – its well below the top 50 Universities in the UK. Your poor academics might explain why you’re getting knocked back at the first round. Why not take the time to remedy this and do an MBA at a decent business school?

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#5 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:22

Consultant Hopeful to Irish in London (#4)

(A) I did not "assume that an underfunded Irish tertiary education is in any way comparable to the top tier universities on the UK mainland". At no point did I make any comparison between the Irish and UK education systems.

(B) Trinity is ranked No.1 in Ireland - Fact

(C) Smurfit is ranked no.1 business school in Ireland - Fact

(D) You're assuming that I'm applying for jobs in the UK, when in fact I'm applying for jobs in Ireland - Therefore, you are not comparing like with like. Think about it in relative terms.

(E) Nobody claims or thinks that Ireland's education system is superior to the rest of the world - No more outlandish statements please.

(F) I do not have 'poor academics'.

(G) You, my good friend, are an argumentative idiot.

Now...aside from that nonsense, does anyone have anything constructive or helpful to say?

Cheers.

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#6 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:27

anon to Irish in London (#4)

I am not sure that they are 'poor' academics, bit harsh, they are excellent for the country he is from

Why did you do an MBS and not an MBA out of interest?

Why did you not go to a b-school outside of ireland?

Again, based on wat you say, it would appear your application technique/resume may need work?

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#7 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:35

Irish in London to anon (#6)

Hmmm … with an attitude like that, I don’t think a career in consultancy is for you. On a constructive note, why not try a course on interpersonal skills? Good luck with finding a job in Dublin. Have you tried McDonalds?

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#8 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:39

Trinity Grad Consultant to Consultant Hopeful (#3)

Hi Consultant Hopeful,

I would n't pay too much attention to the rant from Irish in London. He can't even put a coherent argument together - using his own 'facts' how can a uni placed in the top 50 in the world be below the top 50 in the UK? Doing an MBA now without any work experience would not be beneficial, you would be best placed to explore this option after 5+ yrs work experience. The firms you are applying to do not require you to have an MBA and fork out the best part of £45,000 in the process.

I graduated from Trinity, Dublin with a similar degree a few years back and now work for one of the big firms on your list. Unfortuantely you have been applying when firms have dramatically cut back on their grad places so I would n't get too disheartened - its just a case of a lot of people chasing very few slots.

One option is to try and get practical job experience in another field and reapply to some of the firms in 6-12 months when the market should have picked up (some companies have a minimum time period before you can reapply). This experience will definitetly look good on your cv.

One firm you might want to look into is Cap Gemini as it looks like you have already approached the other usual suspects. You might also want to get some tips on your application / interview techniques to give you a better chance with future applications.

Good luck

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#9 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:40

Consultant Hopeful to anon (#6)

Thanks Anon,

I was advised that the MBS is more suited towards people coming straight out of an undergraduate degree who want to specialise in a certain field and that an MBA would be more suitable for mid/senior managers who have hands-on experience. I do plan to do an MBA abroad after I gain 4/5 years work experience.

What do you think that I could do in the interim to improve my CV/skills? (Course/qualification wise)

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#10 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:46

Consultant Hopeful to Consultant Hopeful (#9)

No CapGemini office in Dublin

NEXT!

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#11 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:51

Consultant Hopeful to Trinity Grad Consultant (#8)

Hi Trinity Grad Consultant,

Many thanks for the advice, it does indeed seem to be a bad time to come out of college looking for consulting jobs...chin up though! You're right, I think getting any work experience would be beneficial for the minute. Best of luck in your own career.

Thanks.

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#12 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 11:54

Consultant Hopeful to Consultant Hopeful (#11)

P.s. That wasn't me talking about the CapGemini office in Dublin, it seems like we have an imposter in our midst.

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#13 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 12:31

Mr Cool to Consultant Hopeful (#11)

Consultant Hopeful,

I’d second the advice above (except for the inane, pointless and rather cowardly attacks by “Irish in London” – he clearly has a chip on his shoulder). You appear to have done everything “right” – good degree from best local uni, good decision not to go for an MBA before having the right experience to benefit from it, and focus to apply to the right firms. Your response to “Irish in London” is also well-argued and straightforward, in direct comparison to his self-contradictory and emotional drivel. If you communicate as effectively as that in your interviews, then I’m surprised you’re not getting further. That said most of the rejections are at application stage, so you’re not getting the chance to show what you’re made of – a shame. I’m afraid the market for grads is just immensely competitive at the moment due to shrinking revenues and market uncertainty.

I'd agree about changing tack and applying for jobs outside of consultancy and getting 18-36 months of industry experience with a view to moving into consultancy as an experienced hire. I can assure you this will do your long term career prospects no harm at all. I’d even go so fare as to say that right now I’m not sure its worth getting an MC grad position – there’s a good chance it would lead to significant bench time, which can be much more harmful to your career!

Why not target “client” companies in the sector that you’d eventually like to consult in? It would not surprise me to see you doing really well and in 18-24 months time you might find headhunters are actively seeking you out on behalf of the very firms that are turning you down. They should have some openings by then, particularly when they get rid of the “Irish in London” type of deadwood.

Persevere, diversify and good luck.

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#14 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 12:57

AlexanderMeerkat to Consultant Hopeful (#1)

If you are getting some interviews (even in current difficult recruitment market) it suggests that it's not your CV that's the problem, it's the interview.

You had two interviews and got dinged on both of them first round - did you think they went ok? was the case study the difficult bit, was it the general interview ?

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#15 Qualifications
11/09/2009 13:54

Consultant Hopeful to AlexanderMeerkat (#14)

Hi Mr. Cool,

That's very helpful and uplifting advice, many thanks. It seems like the general consensus is to target industry positions with a view to getting into consulting at a later date, sounds like a plan! What do you think I could do to upskill in the meantime so that when the consulting industry improves I'll be well placed?

AlexanderMeerkat,

In Ireland, the graduate recruitment for the PwC and KPMG jobs just entailed an online application followed by a final interview with a director and/or partner. In the KPMG one, I know myself that I let myself down on 'commercial awareness' but it went well otherwise. The PwC one went very well and I think I was on the 'reserve list' in case people didn't accept their offers as I was rejected weeks after other people who went for the same job. I think it was just a case of 140 people into 6 jobs didn't go!

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#16 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 13:57

Ronan to Consultant Hopeful (#15)

Does your Dad know anyone who could pull a few strings for you?

Who does the audit for his company? That's the easiest way to get into any of the accountancy firms

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#17 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 14:08

Consultant Hopeful to Ronan (#16)

Unfortunately my Dad doesn't own a company so I'm going to have to go it alone, it'll be more satisfying that way I think. Not really a fan of the 'string-pulling' anyway (maybe to my detriment!)

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#18 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 14:17

Ronan to Consultant Hopeful (#17)

Hmmm... String pulling, or relationship building as some call it, is a core skill in consulting. If you’re anxious about milking your relationships, then that will make business development much more problematic for you.

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#19 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 14:42

Consultant Hopeful to Ronan (#18)

Personally speaking, I'd rather get in on my own merits. I think I'd end up second-guessing myself down the line as to whether I was good enough for the job or not to be honest. Is that naive of me?

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#20 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 15:29

ex-grad consultant in Dublin to Consultant Hopeful (#19)

Consultant Hopeful,

I joined the graduate programme of one of the consulting firms you mentioned in Dublin.

Unfortunately, not many graduate consulting places exist in Ireland and as a result competition is very, very strong. I wonder if you've actually spoken with any consultant in Dublin to find out the kind of consulting jobs and roles you would have in any of those firms.

I am afraid that given the current economic position in Ireland consulting opportunities will be very limited and the jobs quite boring and unchallenging.

You do have good qualifications and probably a decent CV. If I were you I would target good industry companies in or outside the country (you can find some very decent multinationals operating from Dublin) or else target the accounting arm of the Big 4 firms you mentioned (if you want to get a good qualification then ACA would be one of the best ones you could get, even if you do not want to be an accountant). If 3-5 years down the road you still want to give consulting a try, do an MBA from a reputable school and you will most likely get a consulting job in a decent firm.

I hope this helps.

Sarah

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#21 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 15:29

Mr Cool to Consultant Hopeful (#19)

The point is somewhat academic as you don’t have a rich daddy to pull the strings (me neither – love you anyway Dad), but philosophically I agree with you Hopeful Consultant. Relationship management IS very important in consulting, but only in respect of relationships that are a two way benefit. I have clients that cut me a lot of slack (such as paying me for a full day while I’m surfing sites like this!) because in return I save them literally shedloads of money every year. If you start pulling strings on the basis of “you owe me cos you know me” you might find people start getting a bit resentful.

A few times I’ve interviewed at consultancies for bus dev positions and been asked “how many clients could you bring with you”. It’s as they think I’m a hairdresser moving to a salon down the road and bringing a few old biddies who want a blue rinse with me. Usually its become clear that those firms had no value propositions to take to market – they were bodyshopping and winning business on price alone.

Relationships are based on mutual benefit. Wait until you’ve got something of value to offer back before you start asking favours.

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#22 Qualifications
11/09/2009 16:34

Consultant Hopeful to Mr Cool (#21)

Thanks for that Sarah, you're right, I think as a graduate analyst the tasks are fairly unchallenging and repetitive, I'd do it though with a view to making it up the ladder as quickly as possible but as you say the best bet now is to get experience in industry and then return to consulting later.

Thanks again Mr. Cool,

I think I'll hold off on asking for favours until I'm a bit more established and have something to offer in return!

Anyway...thanks to everyone for your comments and advice.

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#23 RE: Qualifications
11/09/2009 17:40

curious to Consultant Hopeful (#22)

“I'd do it though with a view to making it up the ladder as quickly as possible” – that way madness lies. Everyone is trying to do this, and by the sounds of it, most of them are far better connected that you are. Leave Dublin, move to someplace like Sydney, London, or New York and start there. With the Irish economy in a tailspin, the demand for consultancy is going to get a lot worse.

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