My view on this is not the standard one. If you're applying to a consulting firm in Europe, I do not think that networking or 'knowing' the right people will significantly improve your chances of getting a job at a first or second-tier consulting firm.
Networking with current consultants has two benefits:
Management consulting, like banking, has its own hierarchy of job titles. Here, I outline the different roles in a management consulting firm that you can apply for.
It's worth noting that these are 'front office' consulting roles only (I plan to cover non-consulting roles at a later date) and that these titles are McKinsey specific- although most other consulting firms have equivalent roles, with slightly different titles. If you're curious about what you'd earn at each level, have a look here.
Business Analyst: The most junior team members, business analysts (BAs) have typically just finished an undergraduate degree and are entering the workforce for the first time. A minority of BAs will have had some work experience, but this is usually not substantial.
BAs normally work at McKinsey for 2 years, after which they leave to either complete an MBA, take a job in industry or join or found a startup. Those going to MBA school are often sponsored by the Firm, on the condition that they return afterwards and work as an associate for 2+ years.
Some of the best performing BAs are asked to stay at McKinsey as a Business Analyst for a third year with the option of transferring offices (not all of them accept this offer) and the very best ones (about 5%) are offered direct promotion to associate after they complete 2 years.
In addition to the four skills I wrote about previously, your consulting interviewers will be assessing your 'softer' skills and how you present yourself in general. Some ways in which you can build a favourable impression include:
What's this? Every month, I'll be answering a selection of your questions. If you'd like to submit a question, please E-mail me or use the contact form here. I edit the questions I receive to shorten them or protect anonymity.
Q1. Chances at MBB
Q2. Avoiding consulting travel
Q3. Private vs. Public sector clients
Q1. I have a postgraduate degree from a top 5 UK university and have been working at a small energy consultancy for about 6 months. I want to move. Do I stand any chance of getting a job at McKinsey, BCG or Bain? - JS, UK
Reading between the lines, I think this reader is worried about whether spending such a short amount of time in his current role will negatively impact his chances at MBB.
I can reassure him that as long as he's performed well in his current role (i.e., he's not being fired
I'm a ex-McKinsey London EM who recently left the Firm