On a Friday morning, a no-class day, about half of the class gathered to do at least one of the two things:
- To find out if consulting can be one of their career paths
- To ‘Network’ – the mantra of every MBA candidate
There were not only those people who said ‘I want to be a consultant’, ‘I want to take up Strategy’, but even those who were planning their career paths in operations, supply chain management and investment banking. Because the MBA program is all about discovering oneself. It gives people opportunities to play around with their options and find their best fit.
The session was opened by Fisher Professional Services, the association every aspiring consultant wants to be in. It not only gives students the platform to work on real projects for business and not-for-profit organizations, but also provides an opportunity to work on international projects during summer for those interested in exploring beyond the US.
Jeff Rice, Executive Director of Office of Career Management, forwarded the discussion with a very simple question ‘what is consulting’. Here are the few responses he got for ‘why do you want to join a consulting firm’:
‘I want to do strategic consulting’
‘I like solving client problems’
‘I want to pursue a career in marketing…’
Jeff – ‘None of you would make it. There are scores of other candidates who want to be a strategic, marketing or financial consultant. Be more specific.’
In this world of competition, where you find 10’s, 100’s of alternatives for every service or product, one needs to distinguish oneself from others by defining and detailing goals and skills to a micro level. The one thing that every consulting firm is trying to find in a swarm of suits and blazers is that one skill that can add more value their firm. In Jeff’s words, ‘a functional spike that can mark you as different’ . Build a functional skill and portray it to your potential employer. This is your key to success in a consulting career path.
McKinsey, Ernst and Young, Deloitte, Gallup, Accenture and Navigator to JP Morgan Chase, Nationwide, Cardinal Health and Emerson – there was representation from core management consulting and top professional services firms to the best internal strategy firms. The majority of the boot camp was filled with insights into these firms through firm overviews and panel discussions. The best chance for the new MBA entrants to understand the consulting industry and to know the culture of firms thriving successfully in this industry.
It was a long 8 to 5 session and at one time, I was literally fighting my dropping eyelids, but the drive to know more about these top firms kept me active till the end.
I couldn’t define a more enriching experience for consulting than this. Great Insights into the industry and the firms and a chance to meet the representatives from these firms. Definitely one of the best boot camps on my list!