Consulting is one of the key industries that LBS Graduate Masters students choose to pursue. In 2022, about 50% of Masters in Management & Masters in Analytics and Management and 10% of Masters in Financial Analysis (MFA) Graduates worked as consultants after graduating from LBS. However, the process of securing a consulting offer can appear intimidating for many students. Many think that to become a consultant, one must have studied business as their undergraduate degree, completed multiple consulting internships, be an extrovert, and prepare cases since elementary school. However, the reality is very different. Consulting firms value candidates with diverse experiences and have historically hired students coming from a plethora of backgrounds.
In this article, we (seven Graduate Masters students) aim to show that there is not one right way to go into consulting by sharing the experiences of current students and explaining the many resources that LBS provides to help students, even without any prior consulting experience, land a job in the industry.
Diversity Does Not Hurt – It Helps
When Chris Ng (MiM2023, incoming BCG) joined LBS, he had spent the past four years of his undergraduate pharmacology degree conducting medical research and interning in the healthcare industry. Like many students from a non-traditional business background, he was uncertain whether consulting firms would be interested in his profile. However, he soon realised that many firms were interested in his unique experiences. He states: “Coming from an unconventional background, I thought it would be much more difficult for me to land a role in consulting, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many firms value people with different experiences, and my unique profile allowed me to stand out in interviews compared to other candidates.”
Regardless of the relevance of their previous experiences, many LBS students have found that their unique background has only helped them in their consulting recruitment process. For example, Drishti Hoskote (MAM2023, incoming Pearson Ham), a computer science graduate from PES University Bangalore, says: “I thought that coming from a non-business background with zero full-time experience would be a disadvantage for me. But I think that streamlining my internship experiences into learnings that I can use in Consulting helped me boost my application further. Motivation and fit also formed a large part of my application: even if you are good at cases, fit can be a make or break.”
“I would definitely encourage students with non-traditional backgrounds to still apply for consulting.” Fangchen Wang (MAM2023, incoming Delta Partners), a computer science graduate from Nanjing University, says. “You should leverage your unique experiences rather than letting them hinder you in achieving your career aspirations”.
To showcase the diversity of student profiles that go into consulting, we have compiled a brief overview of seven students’ paths to land a job in the industry. You can download these one-pagers here.
LBS Consulting Resources
Landing a job in consulting is far from easy, regardless of the background. Luckily, LBS helps you tremendously throughout the entire recruitment journey in four ways: The Career Centre, the LBS community, the student clubs, and the Consulting Guide.
The Career Centre can be a great help even before your LBS programme begins! For example, Chris already scheduled 1:1 calls with the Career Centre in July, two months before his programme started! This preparation helped him fix his CV, save a lot of time during the year, and begin applying early. Furthermore, during the programme, the Career Centre offers many options to help you land a job: it organises networking events, coaches you in 1:1 sessions, and shares sector knowledge through dedicated sector experts.
Second, LBS offers an extensive student & alumni network. Joao Pereira (MFA2023, incoming McKinsey & Company) argues that this network made the difference for his applications. Not only did he case with MBA students who have previously worked for McKinsey, he even got a referral through this great network and eventually ended up interviewing with LBS alums at McKinsey. Fangchen advises everyone to proactively contact alums and seek mentorship; they’ll be happy to help!
Third, several student clubs at LBS are focused on consulting. Janis Wolfisberg (MiM2023, incoming Oliver Wyman) profited hugely from these consulting clubs. He got access to preparation resources and gained real-life experience in pro-bono consulting projects.
Finally, the team of current LBS students that composed this article also wrote the Graduate Masters Consulting Recruitment Guide. This extensive document will be available to all accepted LBS students and summarises key information across the entire application journey. It starts with the introduction to consulting & the firms and then summarises all aspects of an application, including CVs, cover letters, and personal fit & case interviews. We specifically tailored this guide to LBS students, e.g., it includes a whole section on how to network at LBS. Highlights include example phrases you can use in cover letters and a complete transcribed interview to showcase how one can structure interview answers.
In conclusion, consulting can be an excellent opportunity for business school students regardless of background or experiences. Although landing a job in the industry is difficult and full of obstacles, LBS provides many resources to help students land their dream consulting offer.
Christopher Ng (MiM2023) and Niklas Gaertner (MAM2023)