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Prepare for a career in management consulting.

The Consulting Academy @ MSU prepares students, admitted via a competitive selection process, for careers in management consulting. 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.

Consulting Academy Information Sheet

Why choose management consulting?

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 that 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 reimburses the firm on a prorated basis. Visit the Institute of Management Consultants USA or listen to podcasts at ConsultingScoop.com for more information on management consulting.

How does the Consulting Academy @ MSU work?

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, attend the information and training sessions the Consulting Academy holds and practice for interviews with other admitted students. 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.

Undergraduate student sits attentively and listens to a presentation.

Applying to the Consulting Academy @ MSU

  • What qualifications do I need to apply?

    Undergraduate students who meet the following criteria 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.
    • It is expected 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.
    • Active involvement in co-curricular or extracurricular activities on or off campus with strong examples of leadership demonstrated.
  • When do I apply?

    Applications from undergraduates are accepted once each semester. The fall 2019 semester deadline is September 23 at 8:00 am. Students interested in applying to the Consulting Academy @ MSU should email consulting@broad.msu.edu with their resume which must have their SAT or ACT score and cumulative GPA on it. And, a personal statement indicating their interests in a management consulting career and being involved in the Consulting Academy @ MSU.  Students chosen from the written application pool will participate in interviews with the Consulting Academy’s directors and current students. STUDENTS ACCEPTED INTO THE ACADEMY MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR CASE INTERVIEW TRAINING ON 10/11 & 10/12. The Consulting Academy will hold company information sessions, informal conversations with alumni in the industry, etc. for prospects prior to the application deadline.

Students in the Consulting Academy @ MSU gather at tables in a classroom to listen to a presentation from a consultant.

Consulting Interviews

  • 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.

  • How do students connect with alumni in the consulting industry?

    Many MSU alumni 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.

MSU alum Doug DeMartin speaking to a room full of undergraduates interested in consulting.

Qualifications Sought by Consulting Firms

  • 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 and 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
    • 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

    Graduate Consulting Groups

MSU alum Adam Weintrob giving a presentation on consulting to a room full of students interested in consulting.

Alumni Profiles

There are Michigan State University alumni working in management consulting positions across all the major consulting firms nationally. Students in the Consulting Academy @ MSU have special opportunities to gain insight from MSU alumni visits and build networking connections in the industry at a very early stage in their careers as a result.

Kara Brewer headshot

Kara Brewer

  • Senior Consultant
    Oliver Wyman

B.A. International Relations, Minor in French, Michigan State University (2014)

“After working in consulting for over a year, I continue to be surprised by the dramatic differences between each project. Each client has a unique goal or challenge, culture, and a new work approach is taken for every single project. It is a perfect career for those who enjoy continuously learning, being challenged and working with a team to develop strategies and creatively problem solve.”

Amanda DeCook headshot

Amanda DeCook

  • Manager
    A.T. Kearney (London, UK)

B.A. Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University (2010); MBA, London Business School (2016)

“I believe the Spartan spirit of being a strong team member and a ‘Spartans Will’ attitude have enabled me to propel through my career. Keeping this positive, can-do mindset has given me the confidence to tackle projects and embrace life opportunities, such as moving across the world (twice!), that I never would have deemed possible before.”

Doug DeMartin headshot

Doug DeMartin

  • Consultant
    Bain & Company, Inc. (Chicago, IL)

B.A. Finance, Michigan State University (2008); MBA, Dartmouth Tuck School of Business (2016)

“I chose consulting as my post-MBA career because it offers the opportunity to gain exposure across a variety of industries and functions while advising leading businesses on some of their most pressing issues. This experience will provide unparalleled learning opportunities and help me build a solid foundation that I can leverage for the rest of my career.”

Ryan Holcomb headshot

Ryan Holcomb

  • Analytics Associate
    A.T. Kearney (Chicago, IL)

B.A. Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University (2013); MBA, Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management (exp. 2019)

“One of the things I most enjoy about consulting, which I did not consider when joining, is the caliber and diversity of your team members. I am always amazed by the way different backgrounds can work together to solve complex problems.”

Karthik Khajana headshot

Karthik Khajana

  • Senior Business Analyst
    McKinsey & Company (Chicago, IL)

B.A. Supply Chain Management and English Language and Literature, Michigan State University (2013)

“Focus on getting on projects with the right people. Consulting is very much an apprenticeship-based model. Learning from individuals invested in your growth is key to your success.”

Rebecca Marciniak headshot

Rebecca Marciniak

  • Project Manager
    Roland Berger (Detroit, MI)

B.A. History and International Relations, Michigan State University (2006); MBA, University of Michigan Ross School of Business (2012)

“There is a bit of a ‘generalist myth’ in the consulting world. The business model doesn’t really tolerate someone who is a jack-of-all-trades/interests after a certain point. Ultimately, the more you specialize, the more you are able to bring value and the more your consulting career will develop.”

Don Miller headshot

Don Miller

  • Managing Director, Human Capital
    Deloitte Consulting (Seattle, WA)

B.A. Finance/Accounting/Economics, Albion College (2000); MBA, Change Management and Human Resources, Michigan State University (2006)

“Determine which industry and areas of consulting truly excite you. Doing so will keep your interest high and your career moving in the right direction, no matter the engagement or client.”

Adrienne Petersen headshot

Adrienne K. Petersen

  • Principal
    Deloitte Consulting (Chicago, IL)

B.S. Marketing, University of Colorado–Boulder (2000); MBA, Michigan State University (2006)

“I joined Accenture out of undergrad (it was Andersen Consulting at the time) mainly because I was not interested in doing one specific job. I wanted a breadth of experience, and consulting provides the opportunity to work with different clients on various issues. I joined Deloitte out of business school because of the people at the firm and the ability to own my career.”

Dave Ryeson headshot

David Ryeson

  • Associate Director
    Boston Consulting Group (Detroit, MI)

B.A. Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University (1986); MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business (2002)

“Relationships are critical with colleagues and clients alike. It sets the foundation for the context of how work gets done and business problems get solved.”

Aaron Walker headshot

Aaron Walker

  • Consultant
    Bain & Company, Inc. (Dallas, TX)

B.A. Marketing and Spanish, Michigan State University (2008); MBA, Stanford Graduate School of Business (2016)

“After speaking to classmates and alumni, I explored consulting when I started business school. I discovered I greatly enjoyed case interview practice. That was the first sign I might really like consulting. Ultimately, I was sold on the ability to learn how to tackle problems in a structured way, learn about different business industries and capabilities, and be surrounded by like-minded individuals.”

Geng Wang headshot

Geng Wang

  • Engagement Manager
    McKinsey & Company (Pittsburgh, PA)

B.A. Finance and International Relations, Michigan State University (2008); MBA, Harvard Business School (2015)

“At MSU, I had my most memorable experiences when I acted upon opportunities when they presented themselves. For example, when one of my classmates and I got really excited about starting a business together, we decided to actually do it. We ended up losing money on the idea, but it is still one of the experiences I look back on most fondly. I have continued to practice this throughout my career.”

Adam Weintrob headshot

Adam Weintrob

  • Case Team Leader
    Bain & Company, Inc. (Chicago, IL)

B.S. Retail Management, Michigan State University (2006); MBA, Duke University Fuqua School of Business (2015)

“I learned many things at MSU, but one thing that stands out is how to work well in a group setting. As a consultant, you are constantly working with others (e.g., your case team, your manager, your clients) and learning how to do this effectively, including how to frame questions in order to get the desired output (e.g., buy-in for an idea) is extremely important as a consultant.”

Group of Consulting Academy students posing for photo.

Current Students

Congratulations to the current Consulting Academy @ MSU students listed below! Feel free to reach out to any for information on their experience or with any questions.

Andrew Good headshot

Andrew Good

Mary Graves headshot

Mary Graves

Kelsey Heitzman headshot

Kelsey Heitzman

Raymond Kattoula headshot

Raymond Kattoula

Yuvrai Khaira headshot

Yuvraj Khaira

Tyler Kramer headshot

Tyler Kramer

Kathie Lee headshot

Kathie Lee

Gigi Ngcobo headshot

Gigi Ngcobo

Abhishek Tekumulla headshot

Abhishek Tekumulla

Profile shot of undergraduate student listening to presentation on consulting.

Contact Information