Just yesterday, first and second year MBAs gathered after classes to attend a networking event hosted by McKinsey & Company. A variety of firms have hosted similar events since school began a few weeks ago. These mixers have not only been a great way to learn about the companies themselves but also a way to meet some of the professionals and recruiters who work there, many of which are Kellogg alum.
Conventional wisdom says that when it comes to management consulting, McKinsey is the gold standard. Well, whether that’s true or not, the turnout at the reception certainly supported the idea. Last night over 200 of my classmates came together at the Orrington Hotel to meet McKinsey consultants. About half of them were second years who are gearing up for interviews with the firm over the next week or so. And the other half are first years, who are gearing up for the next few months of networking and receptions, before recruiting officially takes place in January.
Overall, the reception served two purposes. First, it allowed people to start to learn more about McKinsey. They firm did that by kicking off the event with a presentation and also by leaving time at the end for Q&A with consultants and former consultants. Second, the event was also a way get to know more people who work at the firm. From the Midwest office to the Northeast office and from those who worked on strategy cases to those on the Business Technology team, McKinsey was well represented. Kellogg’s local recruiter was at the event, as were thirty to forty other consultants and former consultants, some of which are current students at Kellogg now.
Most of the night served the second purpose. The McKinsey team spread themselves out around the room, separating themselves at various networking tables based on office. As you might suspect, the consultants I met at every table, were not only accomplished but also happy to be at the firm and excited about how they thought McKinsey was impacting their careers.
I met one consultant with a background in IT consulting who now works in McKinsey’s Business Technology team. I also met a partner from the Cleveland location, another consultant from the Chicago location, another from the west coast office, and another one who came in all the way from the Shanghai location. In addition, I also spoke with a few Kellogg students, some of who worked at the firm prior to Kellogg, another who just graduated in 2010, and another Kellogg student in the class of 2011 who spent last summer at the firm last year (click here to read his blog).
As a 1st year JD-MBA at the law school last year, I spent most of my time at these mixers just to meet a few new people without any real intention of recruiting, given the timing was still early. But this year is a bit different, as I’m recruiting for jobs here in business school. Fortunately, McKinsey is a big supporter of hiring from law schools and especially from the JD-MBA program. One example of that is John Livingston, a JD-MBA alum in 1993, and the Managing Partner of McKinsey’s Chicago location. John did not attend this specific event.
The whole process of getting a consulting job looks like it’s going to be long, just like applying to business school. But the process should also be fun and should be a fun way to meet a lot of interesting people over the next few months. It will be interesting to see how the next McKinsey event, and the upcoming consulting events shape up. It will also be interesting to see how the crowd at the event changes over time.