Receiving an offer to a summer management consulting internship is like winning the golden ticket in Willy Wonka. Because the recruitment process is so rigorous, only the best candidates are selected to become summer interns. The majority of these students eventually receive return offers. This means that a management consulting internship is the most surefire way to becoming a full-time consultant.
Nervous or anxious? Don’t be. As long as you work hard and follow a solid plan, you’ll get to where you need to be. Read on to see what steps to take in order to receive that coveted consulting internship offer.
Steps To Land A Consulting Internship
Mentally Prepare Yourself
An often overlooked piece of advice and first step when it comes to consulting recruiting is your mental preparation. Unless you are somehow incredibly lucky, you can expect the journey towards landing an offer to be a long process. At the very least it will take months, and perhaps even years if you start early enough. A lot of hardship can be prevented by having the right expectations.
Beyond the timing aspect of recruiting, you should also mentally prepare yourself for a rigorous process. Many candidates want to work at consulting firms but not all are willing to put in the work that is required in receiving an offer. Be prepared for difficult questions and even some rejections (hopefully not!) as you work your way towards your dream summer internship.
At the same time, don’t overburden yourself with negative thoughts. All we’re saying is that you need to be realistic about the work you’re going to need to put in. Even with the challenges, recruiting for consulting also comes with great personal growth. The process includes learning from Interactions with smart individuals, and challenging business problems.
As it has been said, “luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. When it comes to working towards a consulting internship, the earlier you can start preparing, the better your chances will be. Before the consulting recruiting process begins at your school, make sure to have the following fundamental components of your candidacy ready.
- Maintain a 3.5+ GPA: Management consultant firms highly value academics as an indicator of discipline and intellectual curiosity. A strong GPA won’t guarantee an interview, but a low GPA can definitely cause your resume to be immediately thrown into the trash.
- Keep your Resume Fresh: You shouldn’t be scrambling at the last minute to update your resume when applying to internships or while networking. Building a strong resume can take many weeks, especially if you ask others to help make suggested revisions. You can also work with our expert team to put your best foot forward.
- Update your LinkedIn: Your resume and LinkedIn go hand in hand. In this day and age of social media stalking, you can be sure that potential recruiters will be checking your LinkedIn. Make sure you have a professional photo and that your profile gives a quick highlight of your relevant experiences.
- Understand how to use your Career Center: Your Career Center should have plenty of resources that you can utilize during the recruiting process. From free resume revisions to employer meet and greets, ensure you are not missing out on these important resources! Many Career Centers have partnered with us to provide you free access to our subscription platform.
- Create a List of Target Companies: In order for a bullet to hit a bullseye, it needs to first be pointing towards the right direction. Create a list of companies you want to work for. Do as much research as you can to see what makes each one unique. You can start with our Consulting Firm Directory.
- Know the Consulting Recruiting Schedule: Only undergraduate juniors and 1st year MBAs are eligible for consulting internships. Undergraduates interview between August-early October, and MBAs interview in January. No matter your level, you should begin your prep as early as possible (we recommend 3-6 months).
Take Advantage of Internship Opportunities
This one is for undergrads. One of the key advantages to being a student is that you’re given a free pass to apply to as many companies as your heart desires without experience. Of course, not all companies will reply to you, but they’ll be more understanding about where you’re coming from.
During your Freshman and Sophomore summers, spend time in other internship programs – the more brand name they are, the better. Besides having a low GPA, having zero professional experience will almost certainly be a dealbreaker to recruiters.
Join a Business Organization
Joining a business or consulting organization on campus can be one of the most helpful steps you can take during your consulting recruiting journey. Being surrounded by like-minded peers who you can practice with is an invaluable part of your recruiting process. Landing an offer at a top consulting firm can be a tall and daunting task. Though, it is much easier when you have the weight of a program and organization behind you!
It’s why we created Black Belt – an accelerated program created by McKinsey, Bain, and BCG consultants. Join now.
Take an Easier Course Load During Recruiting
Again, this one applies mostly to undergrads. After learning about the consulting summer internship recruiting schedule at your school, plan to take a lighter course load during that quarter or semester. This means loading up on your harder courses earlier or after recruiting concludes.
With preparations for behavioral and case interviews, networking, and interviews themselves, recruiting will take up a huge amount of time and mental bandwidth. Landing a good job after college is arguably the most important thing you can do with your time at school. You don’t want the time you spent studying for a midterm to be the reason you don’t receive your dream consulting internship offer.
Figure Out Your Edge
You don’t want to seem like the same cookie-cutter candidate lost in the sea of thousands of applicants. Whether it’s through starting a business or actively involving yourself in interesting extracurricular activities, figure out what makes you unique (don’t just take your mom’s word for it!).
Go For It!
One of the greatest parts of being in a degree program is the freedom you’re provided to try anything you want. Take advantage of this opportunity to explore new business or personal horizons. You’ll have a great topic to talk about during interviews but more importantly, you’ll grow from the experience!