Consulting is one of the most competitive careers in the world, with recruiters only looking for 20 to 30 students each year. This is a much lower number than other industries, such as Goldman Sachs or Clifford Chance, who hire close to 100. To make matters worse, McKinsey - one of the big three consulting firms - only accepts about 1% of applicants, making it even more difficult to get a consulting job. However, if you're passionate about consulting and want to make it your career, there are ways to increase your chances of getting an interview.
One of the most effective methods is to get a referral from someone who already works in the industry. References may not be part of the official application process, but they can help ensure that your application isn't immediately discarded due to a low GPA. It's also important to express all your achievements related to the consulting industry. Every consultant must take an impartial and independent stance on whatever topic they are addressing, so it's essential that new entrants to the industry are equipped with the relevant consulting skills and knowledge.
When looking for a consulting job opportunity, make sure you explore all available options, including online platforms. To further increase your chances of getting a consulting interview, you'll need a compelling story that explains why you have a low GPA. A management consultant or technology consultant is someone who helps a company with different problems they may have. It's important to know how much your mentor can help and support you before you even venture into the consulting industry.
Start with consultants you know and then add family and friends who can introduce you to other consultants. Kristina Kang, senior change management consultant, told me what it's really like to work in the field. In the typical representation of consulting or the “big four” firms, consultants work on a project for three to six months or so. Consulting provides an opportunity to use analytical and communication skills while working in any industry. These large consulting firms focus more on management consulting, specifically strategy consulting, while the “big four” are accounting firms that also offer consulting. If you're really passionate about consulting, you may have to settle for working in a consulting firm that isn't your best option.
The typical path that people take in consulting is to work in a large consulting firm for two years and then do whatever else they want to do, whether it's working in a startup company or working internally in a large organization and being on the client's side.