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How important is an internship?

 
#1 How important is an internship?
18/10/2011 21:57

Imti

Hi,

I'm currently pursuing a PhD in corporate finance from one of the top business schools in the UK and am interested in working for a strategy consulting firm. I am about to apply for a full-time position (as the deadlines are fast approaching) with McKinsey, BCG, etc.

However, I was just recently wondering on how important a consulting internship is for getting a job in these top consulting forms? Is it like Investment banks where 50-70% of full-time positions are filled by interns? Does anyone have an idea of how many interns get offers? Lastly, I was told that top firms prefer that PhDs don't apply for internships (which may be why most internship programs are directed at undergrads). Can someone comment on whether this is true?

The reason I ask is that I'm expected to get done in October-ish next year, so I can choose to apply either for an internship or for a full-time position (and push myself to submit my thesis earlier). I would appreciate any advice from people in the industry on what would be the more appropriate route for me.

Many thanks in advance!

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#2 RE: How important is an internship?
19/10/2011 09:15

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to Imti (#1)

From my experience internships are the exception rather than the norm, so you'll not be disadvantaged if you've not got a consulting internship under your belt. The reality is that the firms make far far more entry level job offers each year than they've had interns in the firm in the preceding year, so there's no shortage of spaces for those who've not done an internship; and an internship isn't a shoe-in for a permanent job offer unless you're a really strong performer anyway.

As for whether, timing-wise, you should be applying for an internship or a permanent role, my only input would be that the top strategy firms tend to recruit to a fixed timetable each year - so if you miss the timings for securing an entry level role one year you're then forced to wait until the same point the following year to get your foot in the door. Hence understanding the timetable and how your thesis fits into this is key.

Good luck

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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