Non-MBA business masters programs are becoming more and more popular by the year. And at a macro-level, it makes sense. Whether you care more about opportunity cost or real cost, a specialized business masters program can offer a much cheaper path to an advanced business degree. There is no shortage of ranking lists out on the internet claiming to accurately rank the best MS Finance Programs or top MS Data Science programs. However, our goal is different.
As these special masters programs continue to grow in popularity, more students are looking to use these programs as a springboard into management consulting. Unfortunately, no Specialized Masters program is a target program for any strategy consulting firm. Yet, the programs on our list do offer the best pathway in if you’re sold on pursuing a non-MBA business masters program and then going to consulting.
As we’ve written before, breaking into consulting from a non-MBA business masters program is a nontraditional path into the industry. However, it is possible – we work with dozens of successful MS candidates per year, and have shared our best tips for those of you coming from that background.
Okay, let’s get into it!
Business Masters Programs For Consulting:
Okay, we’ll admit to cheating right off the bat here. The reason Sloan’s MS in Management Studies checks in at #1 on our list is that the program is only open to MBA graduates from MIT’s partner schools. These are folks that would have already been target candidates at one point in their careers. If the consulting bug bites them while at MIT Sloan, they have access to world-class career management resources. Not to mention, a b-school with established ties to top consulting firms.
Our cheating trend continues here, but we promise it doesn’t last forever! This program is only open to MBA graduates from Yale’s partner schools. Considering that Yale’s partner MBA programs are some of the top programs in the world, the Master of Advanced Management is a natural place for consulting firms to broaden the talent search.
Candidates in the MAM program come from target MBA programs for consulting firms. Consequently, all the addition of an extra degree does is give students another year to consider consulting. If they decide that’s the path for them, they have the alumni networks of their own MBA programs as well as that of Yale SOM to help them get an interview.
You may get tired of reading this as we continue, but it holds true when pursuing a nontraditional path into consulting. Brand names make your pitch a whole lot more attractive!
The Ross Master of Management program is the first “traditional” MS program to check in on our list. In other words, it is targeted towards non-business college graduates with 0-2 years of professional work experience. The MM program at Ross offers dedicated career development support, career search activities woven into the program, and multiple leadership development opportunities throughout the 10-month program.
The program consistently has students land offers at firms including BCG and Accenture. If you’re an early career professional looking to pivot into consulting, the MM program at Ross may just be for you.
In a reversal from our Top MBA programs for Consulting ranking, where Stanford GSB did not place in the Top 10, the school checks in at #4 here. So what sets the MSx program at GSB apart? Well for one, the program offers dedicated support from the Career Management office (not a given at MS programs in general). In addition, historical MSx classes have a history of using the program to switch careers, as 57% of graduates between 2014-2017 pursued a strategic job search during or after the program.
The Stanford GSB brand name, dedicated support from Career Management, and program track record give you a solid chance to position yourself for a consulting application.
One caveat: the program focuses on admitting mid-career professionals with an average of ~13 years of work experience. This means that, as a consulting candidate, you’ll have to tell a compelling story of why consulting is right for you. This also can mean that recruiting as a Subject Matter Expert within a particular field will maximize your chances of success.
The MSBA program at UT-Austin McCombs checks in at a strong #5 on our list. Ranked the #3 MSBA program in the world, McCombs offers world-class faculty and curriculum tracks to help you get the most out of your year-long experience. The dedicated Careers team at McCombs is world-class (we would know – we work with them!) and the program is STEM-eligible, a big draw for international students looking to stay in the U.S.
The MSBA program at McCombs consistently places students into Deloitte Consulting. They also have placements in other exciting roles at Walmart and Austin-based Dell.
Duke Fuqua’s MMS program offers fresh undergraduates training from a world-class business school. It also has the advantage of giving exposure to the largest market in the world. For those students looking to add a brand name to the resume and gain international exposure to work outside of the U.S., this program fits the bill. Even better? You don’t need to be proficient in Mandarin to join!
USC masters programs are well known for being some of the first specialized masters programs offered in the U.S. Out of the many USC masters programs on offer at the school, the Master of Science in Business Analytics is the one to choose if consulting is a potential career option for you.
The school counts BCG Gamma and Deloitte as consulting employers. An MSBA from Marshall will absolutely help you break into back-end data analytics roles at consulting firms. But even if you’re interested in client-facing work, an MSBA – combined with effective networking – can help you get your foot in the door.
The 5th ranked MSM program in the nation checks in at #8 on our list of the best business masters programs for consulting. Come from a nontraditional undergrad background? Not discover consulting as a career path until late in your senior year? The MSM program at Mendoza can round out your non-business education. It does this by showing you how to apply your skills in the business world. Not to mention, it helps you learn the fundamentals of finance and accounting along the way.
This degree can be a great way to showcase how your passions have evolved since undergrad, and show you have the understanding necessary to ace a case interview.
Another MSBA on our list? Perhaps you’re picking up on a theme by now. Simon’s MSBA is unique in that it offers an internship track as well. This gives you the option to add relevant work experience to your resume at the same time. The degree is officially STEM-certified. Therefore, it gives international students the ability to work in the U.S. for 36 months without sponsorship.
The program, internship option, and brand name seem to be paying off. Simon MSBA graduates landed offers at firms including Accenture and ZS Associates last year.
The MSTM program at UIUC checks in at #10 on our list. This program is unique – it’s not a technical program. Rather, it’s a general management program that focuses on innovation. It gives technical folks a business foundation and business leaders an introduction to business analytics. In addition, the program offers two tracks to meet different career phases. One for those with a few years of professional experience, and one for those almost immediately out of an undergraduate program.
In the last three years, the MSTM program has consistently placed students at firms including: Accenture, Deloitte, EY, Infosys, KPMG, and PwC.
So, there you have it! The best business masters programs to maximize your chances of breaking into consulting. Have a story of how you leveraged a business masters program to land a consulting offer? Share it with us – we may even invite you to share your story on our podcast!
Ready to write the next chapter of your career story? Engage with us via the editing package to get your journey started!
- MBA Salaries: How Much Do Consultants With An MBA Make?
- Consulting Firms that offer MBA Sponsorship
- Case Interview: Complete Prep Guide