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Management consulting 101?

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Management consulting 101? [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2013, 13:20
I'm speaking with a partner at McKinsey next week to discuss management consulting as a career option. In a desire to not sound like a complete and total idiot, I'm doing my best to research the industry. I know a lot about the GMAT, various MBA programs, and my current industry (manufacturing business analyst), but I doubt any of that would provide much conversational fodder. Any suggestions as to "baseline" knowledge I should have before meeting with this guy?

In essence, here's what I think I'm looking for (very open to suggestions):

* Top firms
* Day in the life of a consultant
* How to get into those top firms post-MBA
* Areas of specialization within each firm

Thanks folks!
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Re: Management consulting 101? [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2013, 02:19
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nickg1386 wrote:
I'm speaking with a partner at McKinsey next week to discuss management consulting as a career option. In a desire to not sound like a complete and total idiot, I'm doing my best to research the industry. I know a lot about the GMAT, various MBA programs, and my current industry (manufacturing business analyst), but I doubt any of that would provide much conversational fodder. Any suggestions as to "baseline" knowledge I should have before meeting with this guy?

In essence, here's what I think I'm looking for (very open to suggestions):

* Top firms
* Day in the life of a consultant
* How to get into those top firms post-MBA
* Areas of specialization within each firm

Thanks folks!


I'd say look at vault.com for a quick industry review. Other sites are managementconsulted.com , firmsconsulting.com etc.
That should answer most of your basic queries.

If you're looking for options on how to recruit into MC from a B school, there cannot be a better detailed first hand experience than in the following thread:

rhyme-s-guide-to-management-consulting-recruiting-63411.html#p462858


Let us know how it went :)

Best
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Re: Management consulting 101? [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2013, 07:53
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How did this conversation come about, was it through acquaintance or alumni connection?

I think rather than asking about general questions about consulting or consulting at McKinsey, you should focus on understanding his experience with consulting and things that interest you. He probably fields the former types of question plenty through recruiting trips, and you may not get educated enough about the nuisances in consulting within a week to ask insightful questions. If you ask the latter types of questions, you can test to see if your interest fits with his experiences in consulting. In another word, understand if consulting is the right career path for you.

This brings me back to my first question. Because if this conversation is an advise/get-to-know conversation, my suggested framework would work. If it is a recruiting conversation, I don’t think you should be asking basic consulting questions to a partner. You should have already known the answers to basic consulting through previous interactions with other management consultants.
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Re: Management consulting 101? [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2013, 08:15
asimov wrote:
How did this conversation come about, was it through acquaintance or alumni connection?

I think rather than asking about general questions about consulting or consulting at McKinsey, you should focus on understanding his experience with consulting and things that interest you. He probably fields the former types of question plenty through recruiting trips, and you may not get educated enough about the nuisances in consulting within a week to ask insightful questions. If you ask the latter types of questions, you can test to see if your interest fits with his experiences in consulting. In another word, understand if consulting is the right career path for you.


Very good advice, thank you.

asimov wrote:
This brings me back to my first question. Because if this conversation is an advise/get-to-know conversation, my suggested framework would work. If it is a recruiting conversation, I don’t think you should be asking basic consulting questions to a partner. You should have already known the answers to basic consulting through previous interactions with other management consultants.


You're right--it's an advise/get-to-know conversation, as I know this person through an acquaintance connection and I've got a loooong way to go to being recruited by McKinsey. I've done informational interviews before, they've been with people who a) know me well and are forgiving if I make a fool of myself, or b) industries with which I'm familiar. In addition to networking with someone who is both interesting and a potentially great contact, I'm also trying to flesh out my story and goals for the MBA application itself. To that end...

Would questions like this be appropriate?

How did you get into consulting and why have you stayed there?
How is a firm organized?
What industry do you specialize in?
What kind of clients do you work with?
What kind of projects are you working on within your clients?
I want to focus on manufacturing--do groups exist within the firm that focus on that?
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Re: Management consulting 101? [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2013, 08:16
jumsumtak wrote:
nickg1386 wrote:
I'm speaking with a partner at McKinsey next week to discuss management consulting as a career option. In a desire to not sound like a complete and total idiot, I'm doing my best to research the industry. I know a lot about the GMAT, various MBA programs, and my current industry (manufacturing business analyst), but I doubt any of that would provide much conversational fodder. Any suggestions as to "baseline" knowledge I should have before meeting with this guy?

In essence, here's what I think I'm looking for (very open to suggestions):

* Top firms
* Day in the life of a consultant
* How to get into those top firms post-MBA
* Areas of specialization within each firm

Thanks folks!


I'd say look at vault.com for a quick industry review. Other sites are managementconsulted.com , firmsconsulting.com etc.
That should answer most of your basic queries.

If you're looking for options on how to recruit into MC from a B school, there cannot be a better detailed first hand experience than in the following thread:

rhyme-s-guide-to-management-consulting-recruiting-63411.html#p462858


Let us know how it went :)

Best


Thank you! And bless Rhyme for yet another body of work. That man deserves a medal.
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Re: Management consulting 101? [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2013, 11:26
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nickg1386 wrote:
Would questions like this be appropriate?

How did you get into consulting and why have you stayed there?
How is a firm organized?
What industry do you specialize in?
What kind of clients do you work with?
What kind of projects are you working on within your clients?
I want to focus on manufacturing--do groups exist within the firm that focus on that?

Those are good questions. As long as you think you would benefit somewhat from the answer he is going to provide. The question about firm organization may not have immediate impact. The industry specialization and types of clients questions sound similar.

Given your agenda, I would also talk about what your goals are post MBA. Get his advice on how to get there. If he doesn’t mention MBA, ask if MBA makes sense, if so, what schools (and experience during school) he would recommend based on his experience.
Good luck!
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Re: Management consulting 101?   [#permalink] 26 Feb 2013, 11:26
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