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Getting in to consultancy...

 
#1 Getting in to consultancy...
17/05/2013 20:34

PatrickMcIntyre

Hi guys,

Excuse the ignorance if this has been asked a million times but I'm looking at pointers on how to get in to MC (inc strategy) at the end of my studies - preferably from someone who's currently employed or been in my situation and not guesstimates where possible!

I'm 23 and currently, I'm finishing up my HND in college (Scotland), I'll be going in to first year at the University of Glasgow to study Business & Management. I'll be choosing my modules around finance/project management and taking a small business consultancy module in year 3 (In Scotland, it takes four years for an honors degree). Of course I'll be applying for internships etc with consultancy firms such as PwC (after some research, this firm sound probably the best suited for me as you don't need to specialise straight away and get a taste across different areas) - but I'm looking to know what will help boost my chances (if any) of actually getting on to a consultancy graduate scheme.

As well as this, I also have several years work experience (with around two years experience leading teams). I know the grad schemes are highly competitive but I'm wondering; will my uni be respected enough for me to be taken seriously? Will my work experience benefit me and what should I be looking to do away from studying to boost my chances?

Any information anyone can give me would be great. I really want to pursue this career and feel that if I go in to uni with this as my primary focus, shaping my education around it and putting in the effort away from the classroom then I should be in good stead.

P.s. I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket, I have a few other interests but would like to commit myself to this in particular is there will be no harm done (it's all business related anyway eh?!)

Thanks.

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#2 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
17/05/2013 23:38

detoilet Consultant to PatrickMcIntyre (#1)

Thought I'd better explain why at 23 you're doing an HND to our southern readers.

Basically it sounds like the OP was a whisky apprentice this forms the following career path

@ 19 after A levels (highers in scotland) you go to the highlands normally Perthshire and do the basic malt and malt goggles training

@ 20 you have a recovery year to find yourself - unless you mess up like bravehearted did ( other post)

@. 21 you go to lowlands learn about blends and crap football more women etc

@ 22 you find yourself once more

@ 23 you discover the islands and the smokey malts - it's then you think - I want to work in MC !

Weird - same thing happened to me

Seriously at your age and when you graduate your work experience will be equally important ie relevant degree and blue chip experience otherwise you've got some explaining to do

DC

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#3 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
17/05/2013 23:46

PatrickMcIntyre to detoilet Consultant (#2)

Thought I'd better explain why at 23 you're doing an HND to our southern readers.

Basically it sounds like the OP was a whisky apprentice this forms the following career path

@ 19 after A levels (highers in scotland) you go to the highlands normally Perthshire and do the basic malt and malt goggles training

@ 20 you have a recovery year to find yourself - unless you mess up like bravehearted did ( other post)

@. 21 you go to lowlands learn about blends and crap football more women etc

@ 22 you find yourself once more

@ 23 you discover the islands and the smokey malts - it's then you think - I want to work in MC !

Weird - same thing happened to me

Seriously at your age and when you graduate your work experience will be equally important ie relevant degree and blue chip experience otherwise you've got some explaining to do

DC

Haha, I actually like the sound of that whiskey apprentice - minus the traveling to the highlands! There's only so much greenery you can look at before it gets boring. As for the crap football? Celtic aren't too shabby :)

On a serious note - do you think a business degree from Glasgow with a focus on finance/strategy modules and blue chip experience will give me a decent chance?

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#4 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 08:40

marsday to PatrickMcIntyre (#1)

This isn't a guestimate. Your chances of making it to MC are slim, to very slim indeed.

To explain this to our northern readers - no.

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#5 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 10:16

Camster to marsday (#4)

I dunno, Mars.....

After his first degree, if he then follows this up with an MBA from a top school, the OP should be OK.

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#6 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 11:42

marsday to Camster (#5)

I disagree Camster. Pre-2008 then yes OP would have been in with a shot. In the current environment...and I think a top MBA would be out of the question both financially and in matriculation - this just isnt a top MBA school candidate currently.

Yes in the distant future is a no currently (for the benefit of midlands readers)

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#7 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 11:44

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Camster (#5)

HND? Isn't that one of those really easy qualifications where the exam boards pretend it's equivalent to the first few years of a degree, but clearly it's not because it would then beg the question why not just do the degree instead.

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#8 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 12:17

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#7)

Agree with mars...

Miracles do occur but...

If you're not playing professional youth football by 14, then these days you're not going to make it to the premiership.

If you're not graduating 2.1 from a target school by 24 then you're not making into the mc graduate entry

If you're not graduating with 1st from top ten uni you're not getting into MBB

In this market, ANY deviation from 4 A's at A-level, then 2.1 Hons from target school, means you are off the curve, all by 24. Sad, but there you go....

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#9 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 15:42

PatrickMcIntyre to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#7)

I wouldn't be too quick to judge the HND, the graded unit investigation in particular is a few thousand words short of a dissertation (more if you take the planning stage in to consideration) - regardless, the fact that I'm going back in to uni at first year renders the HND void.

As for the other comments, surely it's not that much of a write off with a strong degree, strong highers and work experience (including internships where possible)?

Route two is to pursure a graduate scheme else were and complete it (possibly doing a masters part time) then re-apply when the scheme is done?

As for the MBA chat, I hear this qualification isn't all it's cracked up to be so I'm unsure the financial cost is worth the risk for little return...

Cheers for the feedback so far guys, even the tongue in cheek posts :)

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#10 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 15:53

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to PatrickMcIntyre (#9)

OK, some points:

I wouldn't be too quick to judge the HND, the graded unit investigation in particular is a few thousand words short of a dissertation (more if you take the planning stage in to consideration)

It's not the quantity of words that matters, it's the level/standard. A copy of The Sun has about as many words in it as a ground-breaking PhD from Harvard, but I wouldn't quite put them as equivalents based on the number of words alone. And besides, everyone know that coursework-based subjects are easier than those where you are reliant on exam performance.

regardless, the fact that I'm going back in to uni at first year renders the HND void.

That to me indicates lack of planning. I mean, why do the HND at all in that case?

As for the other comments, surely it's not that much of a write off with a strong degree, strong highers and work experience (including internships where possible)?

"Strong" is subjective... "Strong" in the world of MC generally means Ivy League MBA, Oxbridge PhD, etc.

Route two is to pursure a graduate scheme else were and complete it (possibly doing a masters part time) then re-apply when the scheme is done?

Yeah, might not be a bad idea.

As for the MBA chat, I hear this qualification isn't all it's cracked up to be so I'm unsure the financial cost is worth the risk for little return...

It beats an HND, that's for sure.

If I were you, I would focus on getting a foot in the door. Get a job - any job - that is broadly in your field of interest. Then work your way up the ladder. Remember, "Nobody makes it to CEO based on their academics alone..."

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#11 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 16:01

marsday to PatrickMcIntyre (#9)

Route two is to pursure a graduate scheme else were and complete it (possibly doing a masters part time) then re-apply when the scheme is done?

Grad schemes will require a 2.1 Degree and you will still be competing with people who didnt waste time doing an HND beforehand. And now you want to do the HND, then a degree, then get on to a grad scheme, then apply to MC?? So another 4 years for your degree, then 2 for your grad scheme, assuming you get into one at first attempt and overcome all the competition from those who didnt waste time on an HND...So you'll be in your 30s before you start in MC as an analyst...

Good grief.

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#12 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
20/05/2013 16:46

Mr Cool to marsday (#11)

Glasgow is a perfectly fine uni - but given you have not exactly raced there - you'll need to show prospective consultancy employers that you've benefitted from the extra years by getting a first and coming top if the class.

Anything less will make you look slower to achieve average than the competition.

You may be the one in a million exception. But for 999.999 other people getting into a top strat house from where you are is impossible, and getting into mc firm quite difficult.

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#13 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
21/05/2013 15:18

PatrickMcIntyre to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#10)

I know it's about quality over quantity and I promise the hard work goes in there too. And you also do a graded unit 3 hour closed book exam.

Lack of planning yes - but I wasn't focused on any sort of career path originally and Aberdeen, Stirling & Caledonian all offered me third year entry - only Glasgow was going back to first and I'm choosing that as I realise that the university name matters in MC and that's the arguably the best uni there - hope this makes sense.

Yea I don't expec anything less that a 2:1 and would be striving for a first as essentially I'll be repeating two years so by the time I enter third year I should have a really good core understanding of what I'm studying and the age thing was a concern initially, but why stress over it? I want to enjoy uni.

I don't think my plans are unachievable lol?

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#14 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
21/05/2013 15:49

I to PatrickMcIntyre (#13)

At this stage I will be more concerned about getting things right in life than about working in a consultancy. You need a university degree to get a decent job

I would say try and maximize what you have. What you need to do:

1) Do really really well in your degree (top your class),

2) do internships, lead clubs/societies at uni,

3) volunteer. example: run the London marathon to raise funds for a charity, volunteer for a charity such as Young Foundation, mentor kids who have gotten into drugs etc and help them get back to normal life etc

3) captain a sports team.

At 23 you are still quite young but you will be more mature than the rest of your classmates. Make your experience count- make them look up to you.

If you can do all these rest assured you will find a decent job after you finish your degree.

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#15 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
21/05/2013 16:04

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to I (#14)

Yeah, and besides, MC isn't all it's cracked up to be. The public sector pays more these days (thanks to our commie govt) and you get about 200 days holiday a year.

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#16 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
21/05/2013 16:18

I to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#15)

Yes exactly. Career/Life goal cannot just be to work for a MC as that's pretty shallow goal!

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#17 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
23/05/2013 20:06

PatrickMcIntyre to I (#16)

Hi guys, sorry for the delayed reply. Thank's for all responses so far.

I plan on working hard towards a first and participating as much as possible at university so hopefully all goes well.

Also, that's not my only life goal - It's merely something to work towards and stay focused on rather that 'I want some sort of good job' if this makes sense. A bit of direction.

Four years down the line, a lot might change, but for now I plan on doing whatever I can to put myself in the best possible position to pursue this type of career - and surely that can only be a good thing?

Thanks guys.

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#18 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
24/05/2013 11:48

I to PatrickMcIntyre (#17)

Good luck! And please keep focus. Having a career goal is always helpful.

Have fun in uni but think of your time at uni as a three-year long assessment centre!

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#19 RE: Getting in to consultancy...
24/05/2013 12:15

PatrickMcIntyre to I (#18)

Thank you! :) I'll definitely make the most of it!

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