Consulting

New project based on bravery

BraveryDuring times of change, there’s nothing more important than bravery.  So I’m going to explore the topic over the upcoming months.

Whether deciding to take a stand on an issue that is controversial.  Going out on a limb to take on a risky project.  Or deciding to risk everything and tell someone exactly how you feel.

Brave acts are the things that help us make history.  That’s why giving people a platform for bravery is so critical.  That’s why I am exploring the topic.

No details yet, no decisions on platform, but the time will come.

Click here to let us know if you have a story of bravery to share.  I look forward to sharing mine.

#ArtofBravery

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 Business School, Careers, Consulting No Comments

How Do You Like Your Coffee?

Firms with MBA recruiting teams spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on recruiting activities. They put together marketing materials, organize email campaigns, ask current students for recommendations, create new websites, and last but not least they send consultants to campus to interact with students. One way that the consultants interact is by means of atrium hours. Another way is by having large information sessions. Additionally, one final way they do this is also by having Coffee Chats.

Class of 2012 and 2013, welcome to campus. I’m sure all of you are looking forward to recruiting as the year goes on. Dressing up in formal clothes every day. Having questions prepared. Submitting resumes and cover letters. And of course the coffee chats you have with every single firm you’re interested in.

So what are coffee chats you ask? Well, coffee chats are informal discussions with firm employees at a local coffee shop in Evanston. About a week ahead of time, you pick a time slot that works for you, and you meet one of the employees/ campus representatives to chat with them about the firm. Such conversations will enable you to meet the people from different office locations and learn more about the firm and its culture. Everyone that wants to go to a certain industry usually takes part in these chats, even if they know everything possible to know about a firm. It’s protocal.

In general, there’s a lot of advice people tend to give about how to approach the chats. Be prepared. Be likable. Don’t be too aggressive; especially for 2 on 1 coffee chats with classmates. Sell yourself a little but still be subtle. And most of all have good questions. And these tips apply across industries.

In banking, you want to have as many of these as possible and that the person who will be interviewing you should absolutely know who you are before that interview. In consulting, you want to have at least one with each firm. That way you show interest, get the chance to make a good impression, and learn more and more about firm culture to see what firm you fit in the best.

In the end, people often debate the value of these chats. Further, some second years have more or less given up on them. In my view though, the chats are pretty useful. Not just because you learn more about the firm and have a better shot at getting hired, but also because most of these folks at Kellogg alum and will work in many industries you’re interested in over time.

Either way, I suspect you’ll be gong on these chats no matter what industry you go into. So I hope you like coffee.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 1 Comment

Did You Get An Offer? Are You Recruiting Again?

Unlike the legal market, the MBA job market has finally started to make a turnaround. Not only are students starting to get more interviews but some are also graduating with more job opportunities at their fingertips.  Given the environment, there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind now, as everyone starts to return back to campus. Did their classmates get a job offer? And are they going to do recruiting again this year?

At long last, it’s finally that time of year. Time when orientation for new students is over. Second year students are starting to linger back on to campus again. And everyone is starting to think about not only about full-time recruiting but also about really enjoying the final year of school.

For some, recruiting isn’t even an option, as the students have decided to take their summer employers up on their full time job offers. Of that group, many of the students got their first choice jobs last summer, so there isn’t any need to recruit again. For others, the students may not have gotten their first choice jobs but they got a job they ended up liking and were lured into going back either by the prospects of skipping recruiting this year or being offered big signing bonuses and tuition payments in lieu of recruiting.

But for others, the students can’t wait for recruiting to actually begin. It’s the chance to try something to find something different, as they may not have loved their internship this summer, whether or not it was their first choice last year. On the other hand, for others, the prospects of recruiting sound miserable. It means practicing more cases, doing more ‘forced’ networking, competing with classmates for positions again, and buying another set of new suits to wear everyday until you land a new job.

And then there’s one final group of people that just don’t know what to do.  They like their job offers but are still considering recruiting. Maybe so they can search for higher paying jobs. Maybe to get closer to their real dream job, even though they did get their first choice summer internship. And maybe because they know this is their one last hurrah to work for that big brand name company that is coming back to campus to interview in just a few weeks. No matter which of these camps people fit into, a lot of people are talking about offers these days.

I recently saw a few stats that significantly less than 50% of students, on average,  return to their summer employer. In fact, for many schools the number was closer to 30%. So when you take into account those that are sponsored, still less than 50% of students in top MBA program tend to go back, which is significantly different than law school, where the vast majority of students go back to the firm they spent the summer at.

That means that despite nearly half the people thrilled that they got an offer, 50% still need to worry about getting an offer this year, no matter whether they got one last summer or not.

Ideally, that 50% of people that need to recruit again did get an offer for the summer. That way, if they don’t get the job they were looking for, they still have a good employer to go back to. Likewise, it also makes interviews much easier, as often times in interviews employer will ask the question “Did you get an offer from your summer employer?”

For those that did not get an offer, they should come up a good reason why they didn’t. Maybe their employer didn’t give out any offers. Maybe the employer gave out some but couldn’t accommodate everyone; and in the student’s case someone at the firm would still be willing to recommend the candidate. Though in some cases, maybe the job wasn’t the right fit or performance was the issue.

Either way, people are thinking a lot more about offers now than they ever did before. And in the end, you realize that it’s not just important if you got a job offer last summer, but it’s more important that you got the right one this year if you decide to search again.

Best of luck to those that are starting their search. And congrats to those that are already finished.

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 3 Comments

2011 Summer Update

Two years into the JD-MBA program, we’ve all finally come to realize how busy things keep being. In our first years we were 1Ls, which in most cases speaks for itself.  The following summer we had full time course loads in addition to many other activities. In my case, I had that and a full-time job at a law firm. In our second year, we were all first year students again but this time at Kellogg, where things were faster and more competitive than ever before. And this summer, most of us looked forward to having more free time. Except in my case, I decided to split my time at two jobs, launch a new website/company, and take a class at all at the same time. And as a result, the busy-ness has not stopped.

At long last, the JD-MBA program is two years in and our last summer is coming to an end. I spent the first half of my summer working at a consulting firm. Fortunately, my project was local which was nice because I got to come home every day. On the other hand, it also meant I had more time to work more hours and it also meant my commute was longer since I still live in Evanston and not downtown Chicago. Either way, this past week was my last week at the firm, so I look forward to starting my law firm gig in just a few days.

However, there is still one thing standing in between me and my time at the law firm, and that is a final exam I have on Monday.  The exam is for my class Administrative Law, a Constitutional Law class that not only requires a lot of reading but also a lot of writing, at least for the final exam. I’m looking at old practice exams now and it looks like I still have quite a bit of studying to do before the Final Exam on Monday. The exam takes place from 6pm to 9pm, just about one hour after I finish my first day at the law firm.

I am also working a lot this weekend on the website/ company that I am launching. At the moment, I’m in the process of looking for web developers for the site. Someone who not only build the site but also help maintain it in the short run in case I need updates or fixes. It’s taking a surprisingly long time to go through all the emails and figure out who the right person is to help out.

In addition to that, I also have to start shopping for items I’ll need for my KWEST trip. As I’ve mentioned here before, we’ll all be headed to Ecuador in just a couple of weeks, and I’ll need a large array of outdoor apparel, including boots, shirts, backpacks and toiletries.

And finally, I also have to choose classes for next year, a process which is much harder than it sounds. I have to balance my units at the law school with those at Kellogg. I have to be sure I satisfy all my law school requirements – Perspectives class, Professional Skills class, Ethics class, etc. I also have to think about how much to bid for my legal classes and pick teams for my Kellogg classes. A lot more complicated than I thought it would be.

As you might suspect, it sounds like this week is going to be hectic and that August in general is going to be a crazy month just like it was last summer. But either way, I can’t complain. Because just when August ends, things pick up even more. Not only does law school start, but then KWEST happens. Then recruiting also picks up. And then Kellogg classes begin.  It will be interesting to see how everything plays out over the upcoming weeks.

But perhaps more interesting is the fact that we’re all pretty far along the way now in the JD-MBA program. I can’t wait to see where all my classmates end up. I look forward to sharing more about it in the upcoming months. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 6th, 2011 Careers, Consulting 2 Comments

Deep Dive

Ever heard of the terms “bucket,” “scope”, “T-shirt size” and “baseball cards”?  These are all words that are not only used in the consulting industry but often overused.  Incoming consultants are expected to learn them quickly. Even summer MBA consultants are expected to pick them up right away when having discussions with project teams. That’s definitely been my experience this summer, and one term that has specifically stuck out is the phrase “deep dive.”

One word that I’ve heard of a lot this summer is the term “deep dive.” Doing a “deep dive” means doing an in-depth exploration of a particular topic. Sometimes it’s learning more about the specific industry your client is in. Other times it’s learning about a particular function or business model that you don’t know much about. And sometimes it’s learning about a really technical topic.

Learning about all of these can be pretty challenging on their own. It’s even more challenging to do deep dives in more than one, such as a new industry and a new function. From experience this summer, I am actually working in all three areas. Not only am I working in an industry I don’t have experience in but I’m also working in a new functional area and it’s a topic that enormously technical. So in some ways, it’s a really really deep dive.

As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on the industry and its issues. Writing and rewriting slides where I didn’t have enough technical understanding. Sitting in on meetings and phone calls trying to figure out exactly how everything works at the company.

In some ways it’s fun to learn and in other ways it’s frustrating. But in some ways that’s the life of a consultant. Always learning. Often changing industries and functions, some of which you enjoy and others that you may not. And working through new business models.

In sum, consulting is filled with deep dives.

 

For your reference, CLICK HERE for a list of other words that are used in consulting.

Monday, July 4th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting No Comments

Summer is Finally Here

At long last, after nearly a full year taking classes at Kellogg, the summer is finally here. After months of taking core classes, fighting to stay at the top (or sometimes middle) of the curve, attending as many social events as possible, and battling through the recruiting season, we all finally finally made it to the summer and get to enjoy a break from all the hustle and bustle of business school.

For JD-MBAs, this summer is specifically exciting, as we didn’t get a traditional summer last year. With me being the exception, none of the JD-MBAs worked full time last summer but instead spent more time focusing on classes, both at the law school and at Kellogg. So this summer, it’s finally a chance to go out and make a difference in the workforce.

Likewise, my Kellogg classmates are also quite thrilled to be working. To have the chance to test there interests and see what new things they are actually interested in. And in some cases work on changing careers. It’s also a chance to make money again, probably more than many students made before coming here.

In general, a lot of classmates will be going into marketing and consulting. Others will be pulling long hours in the investment banking industry. And others will test their leadership skills in general management positions, start-ups and nonprofits.

Geographically speaking, Chicago is always a popular summer choice. The Facebook group that I administer currently has about 135 people in it, which is the highest of any geography for summers. As you might suspect, New York and the Bay are also very popular choices for summer internships for Kellogg students. Though as you might not expect, places like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Boston are also fairly popular choices.

Personally, I am staying in Chicago, and I just started one of my summer jobs this past Monday 13th, which was a pretty popular start date for my classmates. Like many of them, I’ll also be working in the consulting industry, and fortunately I recently found out that I won’t be traveling all that much for the summer. For the second half of the summer, I’ll head back to the legal industry again, not only to get more legal experience but also as a way to keep both options on the table for next year.

But perhaps more important for me is the fact that I’ve got a few big picture things on my mind too.  As a 2012 McCormick Scholar, I have the opportunity to do a research project for both Kellogg and Medill. And the idea I have in mind is quite big. Furthermore, I also have an idea that I might undertake related to the JD-MBA program, so check back periodically to see how that idea play out.

Either way, it looks like for me, as well as for a lot of other Kellogg students, the work doesn’t end with finals week last week but instead continues throughout the summer. Stay tuned to hear how the summer turns out.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting No Comments

Top Kellogg Employers From 2000 – 2010

Just a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post that discussed where students from Kellogg went to work for the summer and upon graduation.  As a follow up to that analysis, I thought I’d also do a bigger one. This time measuring where alumni have gone not only for the past year but also for the past ten years. While some of the results might be surprising, on the whole most of them are probably things I could have anticipated.

I’ve always suspected that a lot of Kellogg grads go into consulting. But after running the numbers, it turns out that a great majority of alumni do. McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and Deloitte are at the top of that list.

It’s important to keep in mind that this analysis doesn’t take into account where alumni began after school. But instead it measure where they were as of the date of the survey, in 2010. Likewise, it also only captures data from those who provided responses to the survey from the career center. Understanding that sometimes we all get busy, there will certainly be a number of alum that were not able to fill out the survey.

With that said, below is the data collected on alum from the past ten years.

 

A few points of analysis:

1. First, one interesting observation is that the top ten employers account for 28% of all people that have graduated from Kellogg in the past ten years. That is to say, the biggest employers are hiring a lot of students.

2. Second, the consulting industry is far and away the largest hirer of Kellogg students over the past ten years. Of all the students that went to top ten employers, 81% of them went to consulting firms. Not that this comes as a surprise given Kellogg has long been known as one of the strongest schools for those that want to recruit for the consulting industry.

3. Third, of all those that went to consulting firms 73% went to the Big Three consulting firms – Bain, BCG and McKinsey. From an absolute standpoint, that means that about 17% of all the population went to big three consulting firms.  And of those, nearly double went to McKinsey versus the next closest firm, which was BCG.

4. Fourth, it is quite surprising that neither high-tech firms nor marketing firms played a large role in the top ten list, as only Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson represent those functions.  On the other hand, it’s probably likely that the next ten employers are dominated by marketing and tech.

5. Fifth, financial services firms, e.g. Investment Banks also didn’t play a very large role. Two banks made the top ten list – Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch – but combined they have less than 10% of those that went to top ten employers. Perhaps on the surface that’s not surprising because many people don’t consider Kellogg to be a “finance” school. But on the other hand, the finance major is the most popular major at Kellogg.

6. FINALLY – services firms generally, generally accounted for 90% of the top ten employment stats (81% consulting + 9% banking).  This is not a large a surprise.  Top MBAs have flocked toward these careers for year, as these firms not only pay more but they are also seen as being launching pads into other careers.

Sunday, June 12th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 2 Comments

Friends in Business School

I realized the other day that a fair number of my good friends at Kellogg come from very different circles. While some of them did come from my section, others I met in student clubs that I’m involved in, others while going throughout the recruiting process, some while transitioning in the JD-MBA program, and others study groups that I’ve been assigned to in class.  To my initial surprise, a smaller number of them actually come from the fun nights I’ve spent in Evanston or downtown Chicago.

This quarter, I’ve been working a lot with smaller groups that I did last quarter.  I’ve spent a lot of time with one group for a project in my media management class, and we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well in the process. Likewise, I’ve also spent a fair amount of time working on planning a KWEST trip for the incoming students in August, and I’ve also gotten to know these students really well, especially Josh.  I’ve also spent a lot of time working with a small group of people in the consulting recruiting process, especially my friend Vishal, and we’ve gotten to know each other quite well given the intensity of that process.

In addition to Kellogg, I also realized the other day that I have been working with a few people with regards to my blog.  Dino, Marquis, andEmanuel to name a few. My friend Marquis and I have been talking a lot about our websites and about potential start-up ideas we have for almost two years now.  My friend Emanuel and I have been talking a lot about new media and how to leverage that to have a large impact in the community.  And I’ve also stayed in touch with my classmate Dino since the application season, and we’ve discussed ways that we can improve our blogs and catapult Kellogg’s reputation in the internet atmosphere.

Over time I’ve come to realize that you don’t all-of-a-sudden make friends with people like these after one fun night in the city.  But instead you have to create friendships through a series of more personal interactions. You have to spend more time with them to understand their personal story and learn their career goals. You have to work with them on hard assignments to get a better sense for what they like to work on and how they perform under pressure. And you have to have longer, uninterrupted discussions with them to see who they really are and what they believe in at the core. In the business school environment with hundreds of people in each class and not enough time to make friends with most of them, establishing some of these deeper relationships is critical even though it feels impossible.

One of the simplest things to do in business school is making lots of friends. But one of the hardest things in business school is finding good friends that last well after business school is over.

Friday, March 11th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 3 Comments

Interview Season

If the freezing cold Chicago winter hasn’t got you down, the recruiting season probably has.  Like the winters are long and dark in Chicago, recruiting season is also long and hard.  You network with employers, you impatiently wait for interview invitations, you prepare for the case interview process, and you prepare answer to behavioral questions for hours upon hours so you can nail that coveted interview you’ve been waiting for. It really is a process full of ups and downs.

Unfortunately, despite the intense preparation, just about everyone here at Kellogg also has too face rejection. And a lot of it. In pursuit of the job you’ll have this summer, you have to compete against far too many people for a single spot, sometimes an employer doesn’t always take someone from a given school, often times you don’t know exactly what an employer is looking for from candidates, and quite often the process is pretty subjective. As a result, the recruiting season can be a hard process.

In general this year, the month of January has been very busy. There’s a lot more nervous energy in Jacobs, a lot fewer people at the Keg, a lot more people surfing the CMC webpage these days, and a lot more people requesting “acceptance” to the Kellogg LinkedIn group to update their profiles just in case employers are checking online – I know that because am the LinkedIn group owner.  Likewise, people all over the school are checking their phones incessantly, awaiting calls and voicemails from recruiters for that coveted offer for summer employment.

Some schools call this process “hell week” although at Kellogg, there’s no such name as hell week, though perhaps there should be.  And unfortunately, the hell isn’t just confined to one week in January.  Instead it takes place for a few weeks for some students, and it goes on much longer for students that may not have jobs yet.

The good news is now that it’s February, some of the worse of it has past, whether you have a job or not.  The grueling processes of as consulting, banking, and brand management are just about over, which comes as a relief to a lot of people.  To those who got the offers they wanted, things are definitely looking good for the rest of the year.  For those who did not, they have to figure out what the next steps are and what their contingency plans might be.

But no matter which camp you fall in to, most people on campus are exhausted. Congratulations to everyone for making it this far. And hopefully those who are finished will help their classmates reach the same status.

Saturday, February 5th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting No Comments

Job Interviews Begin

After months of waiting for Kellogg to begin, and then months of attending recruiting events during the first quarter of school, interview season is finally here at Kellogg. While many of my classmates spent the last three weeks applying to jobs and bidding on positions to get a few additional interviews, last week marked the beginning of the real interview season. Every day at Jacobs, people are dressing up in suits, taking up study space to do mock interviews, and waiting in the career center to take part in interviews with firms.

Just last week interviews began here on campus. A couple of marketing jobs finally kicked off earlier in the week, starting with Coke, which hosted interviews on Tuesday. One of the big consulting firms also got underway just a few days ago, as did a few finance firms that are hosting their interviews off campus. And you can definitely tell that the time is here. Everywhere you go, there’s not only a lot of people, but also a lot of nervous energy and a lot of people working hard.

To get one of these coveted interviews though, you first have to successfully apply on the Kellogg online application system, which requires submitting a resume and cover letter and filling out an online application form on the company website. But even if you weren’t successful in that process you could also bid points to interview for the position, since we’re all given a total of 800 points to bid on jobs. But some jobs tend to go for a lot of points, so bidding isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.

For some, the process is actually quite strategic, and for others it can take quite a bit of planning. It’s no wonder there are less people at the local Keg these days.  Not only do people don’t have the energy after a full days events but they also don’t have the time, since we still have to figure out school work as well.

But don’t worry, good things will happen if you put in genuine effort. At least that’s what people are saying. But it’s hard to imagine that that’s the case for everyone here.

Most students didn’t get “ALL” of the job interviews we wanted. And some missed out on quite a few and have to employ a bidding strategy. The logical next question is, well what went wrong? Especially if you had straight As, had solid business experience before school, have a couple of extra degrees in your back pocket, and can pull the 99th percentile GMAT card if you’re questioned by employers.

Every now and then, some people submit the wrong cover letter. Whoops! But fortunately that’s pretty rare for Kellogg students. Others submit way too many applications, which is not quite as rare. In fact, it’s possible I even fall into that camp. For them, maybe focus is an issue, and you you should have spent more time refining materials for less job applications.  Others couldn’t decide on what they liked and may have missed the boat on certain jobs. And finally, some students got interviews, thought they did well on game day, but didn’t get positive news.

On the other hand, there are those who are lucky enough to have good fortune on their side. They not only get the interviews with the firms they were hoping for, but they hit a home run and land a job they actually wanted. They seize the moment.

What’s funny though, is that many of these people even admit that they thought they blew part of the interview. Perhaps the lesson is that finding the right job isn’t a perfectly defined process. And while some have the good fortune of landing one quickly, others spend different amounts of time, depending on what they’re aiming for and depending on the role of luck in the process. Either way, good luck to everyone in the search.

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 1 Comment

What Types of Jobs to Apply to?

The best advice that many speakers who come speak at Kellogg tell us is that we should find a job that we love. After that, the money won’t be important, and in many cases it will eventually come falling in our laps because we’ll be more successful in our jobs.  Most of us admire the people that say this, especially when they take their own advice. On the other hand, most of us will also apply to more typical jobs, not only for the summer but also for full time employment after graduation.

As the quarter goes on, you see that a large number of students who over time lose sight of their personal passions and start interviewing and recruiting for the typical types of roles – investment banking, consulting, and brand management. In fact, I recently an email from Bain & Company saying that they received a record number of applications this year.  It’s not to say that people don’t want to do these professions. After all, working in any of those industries can give you strong training and can be a great launching pad for your career. So people are preparing intensely for their interviews there.

On the other hand, it’s clear that a lot of my classmates who have applied also have other interests. Many prefer to work in the technology space or in the media industry. Others prefer to work at non profit organizations or have an interest in public finance. And others are excited by the idea of joining a start-ups and or helping to grow an emerging company. But in the end, many of them see value in working in a more traditional job or industry in the short term, so for now, they are putting their interests to the side.

Is this the right move? Well, I’m not sure there’s a single answer to that.  And it’s likely that the answer is different for everyone. Either way, during my time at Kellogg, I’ve learned that achieving the right balance between passion and profession is hard and will never cease to be difficult.

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting 1 Comment

Race To Land A Summer Internship Position

From the minute we walked back on to campus after winter break was over, people were already in a race to land a summer internship position. Those running the hardest were those looking for positions in management consulting, investment banking and brand management. In part, that’s because these are the three mostly highly sought after industries at Kellogg. But it’s also because these industries are very structured in how they interview, so students are doing the best they can to prepare for the interviews to come at the end of the month.

At long last, it’s finally second quarter here at Kellogg, the time that many students have been waiting for. Not that most of them are excited to embark on the quarter after spending a week ski’ing in Aspen, spending a few weeks in front of the TV back at home, and now immersed in the pressure to scramble and find a job for the summer. On the other hand though, it is the reason that just about everyone came back to business school.

As I mentioned, those in banking and consulting are up first. There are dinners and receptions taking place this week, hosted by some of the industries’ top firms, such as McKinsey. Many of these firms put an enormous amount of time, and resources, into the recruiting process, not only by having dinners, meet-and-greets, and receptions, but also by having “atrium hours” at Jacobs and by having “alumni” and current consultants lingering around campus talking to prospective applicants about the firm.

This Friday, some of the closed listed interview results will finally be released. Most of them will be from banks and a few others from consulting firms. Likewise, other big names firms, like Monitor Group, have drop deadlines this Friday, so lots of people are still writing cover letters and submitting applications.

Meanwhile, we all also have to figure out what classes we want to take, step up our involvement in clubs again after a few weeks off, and figure out the details for the KWEST trips many of us will be leading next summer (click here for my post on KWEST last year).

Sound like a lot of chaos and pressure at the same time? Well, I suspect it will be over the next few weeks. But thankfully, most people at Kellogg usually end up doing well across all these activities.  As a class full of smart, accomplished, achievers in our past professional lives, they can at least be assured they’ll have summer jobs and won’t be facing long term unemployment after school.

While those prospects certainly won’t necessarily make everyone happy, from a 30,000 foot view, it’s important to keep in mind that we all have a lot of opportunities at our finger tips, that we’ll all get another shot to try for new opportunities in the following year, and that we all get to go through the process with a great set of Kellogg classmates.

It should be interesting to see how those opportunities get spread out amongst the class. Stay tuned to hear how things play out.

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 Business School, Careers, Consulting No Comments

2011 Summer Job Hunt Begins

Although we’ve been taking part in lots of recruiting events over the past few weeks, the summer job hunt seems to finally be picking up now that ski trip is over. How important is it to find the right summer job, you ask? Well, that answer depends on who you ask. While some people are okay recruiting again going into their second year, others are dead set on that coveted consulting, banking, or brand management job they’ve been seeking for years now. For them, the hunt is on.

Ever since the end of the quarter, most of the first year students have re-engaged with the recruiting process again. During ski trip, a number of job applications were due, especially in the consulting industry. A number of students, myself including, had to take time away in first few days of the trip to finalize cover letters, fill out a few data forms, and submit applications not only on the firm websites but also on the Kellogg CMC website.

Filling out applications during Ski Trip was definitely not the highlight of the post finals celebration in Aspen. In fact, many students still aren’t sure why the deadlines fall during this period. Some students did a good job of submitting their firm applications before they took off for the trip, since most of the application deadlines had been set well before the trip. On the other hand, most students didn’t have much time to finish the applications in advance given the tight schedules between final exams and departing for ski trip.

To everyone’s surprise, one firm actually moved its application submission date forward. And even though it first listed a due date in early January, right after exams the firm changed its due date to be during ski trip. I suspect that doing this was a way to ensure applications came only from those who were most interested in the firm. Fortunately, though, most applications were due during a two day period so most people were able to get most of the work applications done in one to two sittings.

Since returning on ski trip, recruiting activity has increased again. Kellogg students have been flooded with emails from employers and the career center, they have continued spending time tweaking cover letters and resumes, and everyone has finally starting to prepare for interviews. Sounds fun, right? Well, fun or not it’s definitely going to be a lot of work over the next few weeks.

But in my view, nobody here at Kellogg can complain. After all, recruiting is the reason many of us came to business school in the first place. Further, we all have great access to an innumerable number of companies, not only that we can apply to in the short term but also that we can form relationships with in the long term.  It will be interesting to see how the recruiting process evolves over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned to hear how things shape up.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 Business School, Careers, Consulting No Comments

Recruiting for the Consulting Industry

For the past week, MBAs at Kellogg have attended dozens of recruiting events put on by consulting firms. Rumor has it that the firms are doing well again and are looking to hire in record numbers for the summer of 2011. As such, Kellogg MBAs want to be sure to put their best foot forward for their interviews that will take place in January and February.

In recent blog posts, I wrote articles about the campus visits of BCG and McKinsey when they came to campus over the last two weeks. Since then Deloitte consulting has also visited campus as has Monitor and the Parthenon Group. Internal consulting group American Express also came to campus a couple of weeks ago and next week the internal consulting group for Fidelity is coming. And as the semester continues, more and more people seem to be  attending these events, and I suspect a lot more will be submitting applications in December.

About one year ago, most people in my class of 2012 had just finalized their applications to business school. Some of them had plans to enter the consulting industry, the day after submitting their applications, but for many of them, their goal in coming to business school was not necessarily to enter the industry. But over the past months, a shift has taken place, and more and more people have had a change of opinion, evident by the increasing number of people that continue to attend these networking events. Most recently, over 150 people attended a BCG reception and Bain’s reception in two weeks is anticipated to have more than that.

Inspired by the large number of smart alumni in the industry that are coming to campus talking about their jobs and future exit opportunities, students have increasingly become more interested in the field as time passes. Similarly, as the firms continue to come to campus not only for information sessions but also to host receptions, provide free open bars, and hang out and talk to students in the atrium, students continually become more attracted to the idea of working for one of the firms. At Kellogg, many people understand this phenomenon as the “atrium effect.”

And why does the “Atrium effect” happen every single year, you ask? Good question but upon reflection the answer is pretty simple. One reason is the fact that you see many of your classmates doing the same thing. And when you see 50 intelligent people with impressive backgrounds trying so hard to enter one industry, it’s nearly impossible not to take a second look and consider it yourself. A second reason is because you also see another one or two dozen smart and happy  alumni who you admire that are at these consulting firms.  Often times, you see people in high level positions you want to be in, and they’ve often spent time at some of these consulting firms prior to that and speak highly of those experiences.

Now, given what I’ve said above, fast forward about six weeks into the first quarter. And imagine our session now, where the classroom was jam-packed corner to corner with eager first year students ready to start prepping for a consulting job next summer. And as time goes on, everyone is starting to realize that there’s a lot of competition, so it’s going to take a lot of prepping to land one of these coveted consulting jobs. And that’s in addition to school work, outside activities, and social activities that everyone is involved in.

The question that many people will have over the next few months is, is all the work required to get a consulting job worth it? And more broadly, maybe the better question is “are MBAs with strategy consulting experience better off as business leaders?”

In my view, that’s probably not quite the right question to ask. The right question might be something more like, “will consulting make me specifically a better business leader in the long run, given my specific career goals and current skill sets? And if so, which firm will offer the best training to do that, and will I be happy there?” And even if the answer to the latter question is no, then is the time I spent at the consulting firm still worth it for me personally?

In my experience, most people don’t know their answers to these questions just yet, and they tend to go through the recruiting process first and then ask themselves this question second.

Stay tuned to eventually hear how these decisions play out over the next few months. I’ll be sure to post regular updates and answer applicant and career questions along the way.

Saturday, October 30th, 2010 Business School, Careers, Consulting 3 Comments

Boston Consulting Group Firm Reception

Last night, I attended a firm reception with the Boston Consulting Group. I attended a similar event with Mckinsey & Company last week (click here to read), and tonight, Monitor is having its own version of the event. Other than the fact that these consulting firms are all coming to campus during midterm week, the events are a lot of fun. Not only is it a good way to help differentiate all the firms, it’s also a way to get to know a lot of interesting people, both at the firms and in the Kellogg class of 2012.

With a group of 20 or more consultants from 7 to 10 offices, BCG filled up the Orrington Hotel yesterday to talk with students intersested in working at the firm. Our discussion focused on what to think about as you go through the recruiting process – what criteria are important for getting hired, how to think about choosing offices, how to approach cases, and the importance of getting to know people at the firms.

Among others, the Chairman of BCG, Carl Stern, was in attendance and he kicked off the event by making a few remarks. In large part that’s because he works from the Chicago office. But it also because he wanted to personally address the Kellogg students, giving us his take on the firm and on the consulting recruiting process in general. Chief among those things is that consulting field, and BCG specifically, are looking to hire its biggest class ever next year.

As he made the comment, I looked across the room, left to right, and saw a ripple of smiles, as the Chairman emphasized–as I recently have in a number of my posts–that the economy is doing well and that the firm is looking to not only hire great people but hire more of them than ever before. He said that’s because the job market is doing well for skilled people, and that BCG is doing exceptionally well. He followed that by gestfully making a comment that we’d all have a job at BCG if we just applied.

I’ve have heard similar messages at other company presentations I’ve been to recently, including Mckinsey’s last week, which has come as great news to Kellogg students. And that’s especially true now, given recruiting has been down in recent years, not specifically at Kellogg but across the nation and not only in business school but also at law school and in other programs. In fact, last year (for summer 2010) represented the worst legal recruiting year ever.

Granted, no one is under the impression that they are guaranteed a job in the consulting field. After all, a consulting job has long been considered one of the hardest things to get coming out of business school. And to be successful in the consulting interview process, you’d better be able to ace the case study! And that’s in addition to doing well on all the other things too – going to information sessions, meeting consultants, understanding fit and firm culture, doing well academically, and translating all of that into a great interview on a single day in January.

Right now there is an appealing growth and excitement in the consulting market for MBAs. The question is, who is going to ride the wave in the summer of 2011. And who is going to ride the wave with BCG?

Though perhaps the more applicable question for my class right now is  how do you stand out so you can be sure to ride the wave? With exactly 150 people registered for the event yesterday, there unfortunately won’t be room for everyone, even all the highly accomplished, smart and motivated students at Kellogg.

Stay tuned to see how things play out!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 Business School, Careers, Consulting No Comments

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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