HOW DOES A PHD FIT INTO THIS CAREER?

PhDs provide two distinctive benefits compared to MBAs (who are predominant in management consulting). First, PhDs generally have excellent problem solving and quantitative skills that allow them to quickly drill down to the key issue and focus on asking the right questions. Second, because PhDs are experts in specialized fields, often times without direct business experience, they bring opinions that are less likely to be biased by traditional business thinking, introducing new and unique ideas to solve difficult problems.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF THIS CAREER?

Pros: Unparalleled career growth in the business sector. Opportunity to work in a collaborative environment with some of the greatest minds from many industries. Access to C-level management at entry level. Exposure to many industries. Training in developing high-level visions and perspectives on the business environment.

Cons: Very challenging travel schedule: Monday-Thursday nearly every week. Long hours (60-70 hours per week). Lower usage of specific technical knowledge in the context of client problems (most business models require only basic quantitative concepts and limited specialized technical language).

WHAT ARE THE FIRMS THAT RECRUIT PHDS?

The biggest recruiters are McKinsey & Co, Bain & Co, and BCG. For life sciences consulting firms, there are Charles River Associates and Putnam. We have alumni in EY, Simon-Kucher, and KPMG. Porsche and Merck are also looking for more PhDs. The club is striving to open doors at many other firms for our PhDs. 

WHAT ARE THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

The full-time job application cycles generally begin early in the fall or late in the summer. Internship application cycles are in the late fall and early winter. Candidates who are invited to interview will generally face two or three rounds of interviews.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE TO GET THE JOB?

  • Familiarize with consulting career and consulting firms. The first step is to network with others interested in consulting and those already in consulting. Building a network that introduces your to the consulting as a professions, and you have a chance to ensure that consulting is the right career for you.

 

  • Learn business basics and practice case interviews. Prepare for the distinctive case interview format that management consulting firms follow. These interviews require practice and preparation to perform your best. It is beneficial to research and study basic business concepts to ensure you can have a meaningful conversation with someone who has a business background.

  • Participate in extracurricular activities. Discovering this career early gives you the opportunity to add skills and experience that will help you during the application process. Consulting firms are looking for candidates with a set of skills that will be evaluated during the interview. Some of them are listed as below:

    • Achieving and result-oriented (e.g. can you demonstrate the results of a direction or cause that you have championed?)

    • Problem solving and ability to draw insight from ambiguity

    • Entrepreneurship

    • People skills (e.g. resolve conflicts when working in a team)

    • Leadership (e.g. lead a team to overcome a challenging difficulty)

 

  • Practice teamwork/leadership stories. Reflect your past experiences by yourself or by talking with previous teammates and practice to tell the stories concisely to emphasize your qualities mentioned above.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE TO GET THE JOB?

1. Understand the formats of case interviews (interviewee-led, interviewer-led)

2. Read introductory materials to understand the flow of a case interview (Case in point, Case interview secrets)

3. Watch examples of case interviews. Many examples can be found online on websites like YouTube.

4. Read casebooks from t-square site to learn basic types of case, business situations, and corresponding frameworks.

5. Watch the Case Interview Workshop Introduction (free sign-up)

6. Attend club’s case interview practice beginner workshop.

7. Practice interviews with club members.

8. Other self-preparation materials (https://www.rocketblocks.me/, https://www.bcg.com/Interactives/ICL/)

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