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Consulting Initiative

The Consulting Initiative 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 Initiative admits students via a competitive application process. Through a variety of academic and professional activities, the Consulting Initiative prepares these students for the highly selective and unique hiring process used by consulting firms.

Upcoming Events

October 11, 2017 – 5:30 pm – Information Sessions – 207 Eustace Cole Hall

Students

What qualifications do I need to apply?

What does the Consulting Initiative consider when selecting students to participate?Undergraduate students who meet the following credentials are eligible to complete a paper application.

  • Completion of at least 28 but not more than 55 credits exclusive of AP, IB or high school dual enrollment credits with a minimum GPA of 3.5.
  • Expectation that many of the applicants will be members of the Honors College but that affiliation is not a requirement. As select consulting firms assess candidates based on scores earned on standardized college entrance exams, SAT/ACT results will also be considered.
  • Allocation of time in their curriculum to take a required 3-credit hour course in consulting the spring semester of their junior year, if not the spring semester of their sophomore year (in preparation for internship interviews).
  • Active involvement in co-curricular or extracurricular activities on or off campus with strong examples of leadership demonstrated.

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.

  • Highly competitive GMAT score
  • Robust, progressive work experience
  • Solid undergraduate degree, GPA and leadership experience

Students in other graduate degree programs may be considered after the 2017-18 launch year.

When do I apply?

When does the Consulting Initiative 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 Initiative 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 consulting@broad.msu.edu with their name, major, number of completed credits and GPA.

Students chosen from the written application pool will participate in interviews with the Consulting Initiative’s Directors. Candidates will prepare and deliver a brief presentation on an assigned topic, as well.

What unique academic opportunities does the Consulting Initiative offer?

What is the purpose of the management consulting course?

The overall goal of this course is to prepare students for internships and careers in management consulting.

Who can or should enroll in this course? When does it meet?

The management consulting course is open to and required for third-year undergraduate students enrolled in the consulting program.

Management Consulting is a semester-long (3-credit) course offered each spring (beginning 2019).

What are the specific learning objectives?

Students will…

  • gain familiarity with the management consulting industry and its segments,
  • understand how consulting firms operate,
  • prepare to work effectively with clients through the consulting engagement cycle,
  • develop analytical and research skills to address clients’ management issues, and
  • anticipate how to manage consulting careers and professional development.

What is the format?

This course offers a variety of ways for students to learn including readings, case studies, discussions, exercises, papers, and presentations. There is a strong emphasis on active learning for skill development and building confidence.

Note: MBA students should enroll in the consulting area of interest offered within their curriculum.

How much time does the Consulting Initiative require?

Does the Consulting Initiative hold regularly scheduled meetings?Unlike a student organization, the Consulting Initiative does not hold regular weekly meetings. Students admitted to the Initiative are encouraged to participate in a student consulting club of interest, attend the information and training sessions the Consulting Initiative holds, practice for interviews with other admitted students, etc. While the Consulting Initiative 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 qualifications do consulting firms seek in candidates?

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:

  • analytical and problem-solving skills
  • adeptness in dealing with ambiguity
  • intellectual curiosity
  • an entrepreneurial mindset
  • strong written and oral communication skills
  • collaborative teamwork style as well as ability to work independently
  • interpersonal skills that engender confidence in clients and colleagues

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.

Undergraduate Consulting Groups:

Students Consulting for Non-profit Organizations

Spectrum Consulting Group, Inc.

Graduate Consulting Groups:

Broad Consulting Club

Spartan Consulting

When are consulting interviews conducted and how do I prepare for them?

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 Initiative will assist students in connecting with firms, primarily through these alumni. The Consulting Initiative 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 Institute will also offer training sessions, as well.

What are the benefits of a management consulting career?

Management consulting is an outstanding way to begin a career for many reasons including:

  • Consultants use the knowledge, skills and abilities gained in their degree program
  • Consultants enhance their already strong ability to problem solve and think critically
  • Consultants develop strong networks across multiple industries and companies

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.

Employers

What do students from Michigan State University’s Consulting Initiative offer you?

The Consulting Initiative enables employers to focus on a group of specially prepared students. As members of the Consulting Initiative, students

  • earned admission through a rigorous application process
  • enroll in a structured classroom experience that includes real-world application of skills
  • practice their interviewing and presentation skills
  • participate in a number of professional development opportunities to enhance their knowledge of the industry
  • engage with MSU alumni and other professionals with experience in the industry, etc.

Not only are Michigan State Spartans well prepared; they are smart, dedicated employees with a commitment to ongoing learning and contributing to a firm’s success.

What are some ways my firm can engage with students in the Consulting Initiative?

Students in the Consulting Initiative enjoy site visits at consulting firms as well as welcoming consultants from firms to campus for firm information sessions, case interview practices, internal case competitions, etc. If you are interested in engaging our students in any of these ways or different ones, please contact consulting@broad.msu.edu to make arrangements.

What firms have hired MSU students in the past?

MSU’s Consulting Initiative is a new organization effective Fall 2017 with a full launch expected for Fall 2018. Michigan State alumni, either directly after earning their undergraduate degree or after receiving a graduate degree from MSU or another major university, have joined a variety of consulting firms. Alums are currently working at firms that include A.T. Kearney, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte Consulting, EY Consulting, McKinsey, Oliver Wyman and many others. If you have not yet hired a graduate from MSU, contact us at consulting@broad.msu.edu to learn how you can do so. We look forward to hearing from you!

Alumni

We welcome the engagement of MSU alumni working in management consulting. If you are interested in getting involved, opportunities include giving presentations on campus, participating in the classroom, offering practice case interviews, mentoring students and championing them in your firm’s recruiting processes. Please contact the Consulting Initiative for more information. Some Michigan State alumni working in management consulting are featured on our alumni profiles page.


Eli Broad College of Business

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