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Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B

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Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 06:54
I am planning on pursuing strategy consulting during my MBA and am wondering a few things about the top strategy consulting firms (i.e. M/B/B, Booz, Monitor) and how they treat undergrad institutions.

For instance, my undergrad institution is in no way a target school for Business Analysis or Associate Consultants, etc. and my GPA was ok, not great. I did play a sport, had significant extra curricular activities and a very strong GMAT, but my question is: Does having a "low prestige" or non-name brand undergrad institution hurt you if trying to get into one of these firms? Or does having an MBA from a Top 10 school allow you to break in?

Are these firms going to look at what you did conceivably up to 8 years ago or are they more of a "what have you done for me lately" type of recruiting process?

Thanks for any input.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 07:06
I know someone who went to a "no-name" undergrad institution, worked for a small company and got into McK after her MBA. So it's definitely doable. Having said that, big brand names certainly help in the recruitment process and that's true across all industries.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 07:11
SuitUp wrote:
I know someone who went to a "no-name" undergrad institution, worked for a small company and got into McK after her MBA. So it's definitely doable. Having said that, big brand names certainly help in the recruitment process and that's true across all industries.

Thanks, that's relieving to know. And yes, it clearly does help to have a brand name behind you. Does anyone else have any examples of this or is SuitUp's friend one of the few success stories?
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 10:25
I'm in the same boat as you, even though I did sort-of worked for a brand name after graduating from college. However, I'm really not that worried about MC recruiting. As long as you go to a target MBB school and do well in schmoozing, once you land that interview it's all about how you do with fit questions and case interviews.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 10:27
bakfed wrote:
I'm in the same boat as you, even though I did sort-of worked for a brand name after graduating from college. However, I'm really not that worried about MC recruiting. As long as you go to a target MBB school and do well in schmoozing, once you land that interview it's all about how you do with fit questions and case interviews.

Yea same here I worked at a more well known company out of school but I think you are right, once in the interview, it seems like the case is by far and away the most important part
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 10:33
Of course, this is my own wishful thinking but I think at least a small portion of my thought holds true.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2011, 18:39
A lot of people will have big name undergrads that end up at those companies, heck many people coming to school from those companies went to Havard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, etc for undergrad. However, they will look past that if you blow them away. Plenty of very bright people went to their undergrad for a variety of reason, ranging from major to ability to pay. Not everyone is lucky enough to have parents that understand the value of a big name school.

I have plenty of classmates who now work for those companies who went to undergrads ranging from best in the world to tiny unknown schools.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2011, 10:09
You need to think more about how you play things they don't have. You can use your sports background to make a compelling sell that others don't have, plus people always love to talk about that kind of thing. It makes you stand out and have a memorable conversation, and that is your objective.

The quality of your undergrad or the brilliance of your last job fades into the background. That is why everyone is at business school in the first place.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 10:46
Does your undergrad institution really matter THAT much during MBA recruiting?
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 31 Jan 2011, 16:14
southernstunna wrote:
Does your undergrad institution really matter THAT much during MBA recruiting?


I really don't know the answer to that question. I had a pretty good reason why attended a small private college... I got a full academic scholarship (room, tuition, board) - the whole nine yards - and I have that on my resume. Honestly, I am not concerned about that.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B [#permalink] New post 02 Feb 2011, 10:11
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When it comes to M/B/B recruiting at the MBA level, two things matter:

(1) Do you go to a target MBA program? Their websites should publish their recruiting schedules/tours. That should tell you where their priority schools are. It's not like you *can't* get a job there if you don't go to a target school, but it'll be much harder. For the most part, it's the US top 16, plus INSEAD/LBS. McKinsey tends to cast the widest net of the 3, as they are the largest firm and need to hire the most. For their associate recruiting, the overwhelming majority (90% or more?) will come from these programs. Of course, they will hire PhDs, JDs, and experienced/industry folk as well, but that's a different discussion altogether.

(2) Do well on the interview process, starting with the case interview. As soon as you get an interview invite and walk in that door to the interview room, your school DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is your individual performance in that room - how well you do in the case interview, and subsequent interviews/meet-and-greets with the partners down the road. Again, where you went to b-school only matters when you submit your resumes/cover letters ("do you go to a b-school where the firms actively recruit?). Once you get the invite, it's all on YOU.

Now, within the top 16, there are certain schools where it's easier to get an interview than others (while also dependent on the job market -- the hotter the job market, the easier it is to get an interview). In normal job markets, so long as you go to a top 8 program (H/S/W, Sloan, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia, Tuck), the firms will interview virtually everyone who submits a resume/letter to them. In other words, if you go to one of these programs, and you're interested in M/B/B, you are basically assured an interview invite. So within these top 8 schools, it won't matter which school you go to, or what your pre-MBA background was, etc. They will interview you so long as you're interested, and it will come down to your interview performances over multiple rounds. Again, in bad job markets (like the last few years) it won't be 100% -- but still pretty close. You are pretty much assured an interview invite.

Outside the top 16, they won't interview everyone, but will still interview a good number. In plain English, you still have a reasonable chance of getting an interview invite -- maybe not a 100% chance, but they will interview anywhere from 50-75% of the folks who submit resumes to them. In other words, so long as you have a solid pre-MBA background, you still have a pretty good shot of getting an interview -- of course, it's subjective, but one way to look at it is if the quality of your resume is comparable to the kinds of people at the top 8 schools (i.e. you may have applied but just missed the cut at a top 8, but you were close), then chances are you will likely get a shot at an interview.

And once you get an interview, again, it won't matter whether you are a Ross MBA student or an HBS student -- it comes down to HOW YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL DO IN THAT ROOM.

Again, these are the only 2 things that matter. Consulting is a popular option for many MBA students at top schools because it's one of the only post-MBA jobs where there are no real pre-MBA prerequisites. They just want folks from target schools who do well in their interview process.

Which can't be said for other post-MBA jobs. If you want to work in technology, most firms strongly prefer those with engineering backgrounds (until recently for example, Google was adamant about hiring MBAs who had CS/engineering backgrounds, and to this day they still prefer those with technical backgrounds). If you want to work in healthcare, they really want those with relevant experience.
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Re: Prestige and Name Brands at M/B/B   [#permalink] 02 Feb 2011, 10:11
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