The Consulting Academy @ MSU is an offering of the Broad College of Business to the MSU student community that prepares a select group of students for careers in management consulting. The Consulting Academy admits students via a competitive application process. Through a variety of academic and professional activities, the Consulting Academy @ MSU prepares these students for the highly selective and unique hiring process used by consulting firms.
The 2017-2018 year welcomed our first group of students to the Consulting Academy @ MSU, see below for names. We are hosting an information session on Fri., 10/5 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm in N103 BCC. The fall selection and application process is now open and the application can be found here (due Nov. 16th): UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT APPLICATION. Look for announcements on upcoming information sessions soon.
What does the Consulting Academy @ MSU consider when selecting students to participate? Undergraduate students who meet the following credentials are eligible to complete a paper application.
Students in the full-time MBA program or its joint degree programs who have a highly competitive GMAT score and robust, progressive work experience are eligible to complete a paper application.
Students in other graduate degree programs may be considered after the 2018-19 launch year.
When does the Consulting Academy accept applications? Applications from undergraduates are accepted once each semester. When determined, specific dates each semester will be posted under “Events” on this website. The Consulting Academy will hold company information sessions, informal conversations with alumni in the industry, etc. for prospects prior to the application deadline. Students interested in attending pre-application events should email email@example.com with their name, major, number of completed credits and GPA. Students chosen from the written application pool will participate in interviews with the Consulting Academy’s Directors. Candidates will prepare and deliver a brief presentation on an assigned topic, as well.
Does the Consulting Academy hold regularly scheduled meetings? Unlike a student organization, the Consulting Academy does not hold regular weekly meetings. Students admitted to the Academy are encouraged to participate in a student consulting club of interest (see list and links below), attend the information and training sessions the Consulting Academy holds, practice for interviews with other admitted students, etc. While the Consulting Academy does not mandate attendance at a weekly meeting, it does require a considerable commitment of time and energy. Students report spending the most time honing their case interviewing skills.
What do consulting firms seek in candidates? Many consulting firms initially screen campus-based applicants on both their GPA and their standardized test scores (ACT/SAT for undergraduates; GMAT/GRE for graduate students). (Yes, undergraduates, some firms consider test scores you earned in your junior year of high school.) Candidates must demonstrate exceptional ability in each of the areas below:
What academic profile do consulting firms prefer? General management consulting firms typically do not have a strong preference for any particular academic focus. Rather they seek candidates from a variety of backgrounds (business, engineering, liberal arts, etc.) to foster diversity of thought and approach to problem solving. All candidates without regard to their major must demonstrate the skills noted above. Management consulting firms with subject-area practices and specialized (niche) consulting firms (those with focused expertise in information technology, supply chain management, life sciences as examples) seek majors relevant to their focus.
What kind of work and community experiences do consulting firms value? Consulting firms consider previous work experience for both graduate and undergraduate applicants. However, many consulting firms do not offer internships; those that do may offer fewer internships than they have full-time openings after graduation. Internships with client firms (Fortune 500 companies for the large consulting firms) can be advantageous. Consulting firms value unique community-service projects at home or abroad. In addition, the experience of starting your own business (successfully or not) can enhance a candidate’s appeal. Leadership experience gained through student organizations is a plus, especially a role that results in stories of working through challenges faced. Involvement in a student-run consulting club that incorporates case interview practice is not a requirement, but highly preferred.
How do students connect with alumni in the consulting industry? Many MSU alums have or had consulting positions at a variety of consulting firms including international, regional and boutique organizations. Some individuals make their career in consulting; others join for a lesser time then choose to pursue other types of positions or return to graduate school. Students must do considerable networking with alumni and employees in an effort to secure internship and full-time position interviews. The Consulting Academy will assist students in connecting with firms, primarily through these alumni. The Consulting Academy has developed an alumni directory, available to admitted students, to assist with this activity. What application process do firms use and when does it take place? As is happening with campus recruiting in general, consulting firms typically start their internship and full-time hiring in September just as soon as classes resume. Deadlines and processes vary by firm, but are likely to include an online application, one or two phone screens for “fit,” and both behavioral and case interviews for the successful candidate. Firms may assign a “buddy” to practice a few case interviews with its candidates, but the applicant must do the bulk of case practice independently. Many successful candidates indicate they did 30-50 practice cases as part of their preparation. Brain teasers, mental math tests and market-sizing questions are common, as well. How can students prepare for case interviews? There are a number of resource materials available to students to practice case interviews. A good place to start are the websites of consulting firms. Under the “Careers” tab, they generally offer sample case interviews for students to try. In addition to reading books and watching videos, it is important to practice with a capable partner willing to critique your performance. The Consulting Academy will also offer training sessions, as well.
Management consulting is an outstanding way to begin a career for many reasons including:
Some firms hire undergraduates for a period of 2-3 years with the intent they will leave to pursue graduate education. A subset of these firms sponsor select hires to attend graduate school, paying (some of) their education costs. In exchange, the employee commits to return to the firm for a stated time (e.g., two years) or reimburse the firm on a prorated basis. For more information on management consulting: Institute of Management Consultants USA: http://www.imcusa.org/
Congratulations to the fall 2017 and spring 2018 admits! Feel free to reach out to any for information on their experience or with any questions.