The target schools for top consulting firms – an area of perennial interest for consulting candidates and those interested in consulting careers. It’s easy to see why that’s the case – consultants at top firms often start out making close to or even above $100,000 a year. So, students aspiring to break into consulting often want to know what the best undergrad degree for consulting is. In this article, we take a look at what sets undergraduate target schools apart.
Not at a target school? Don’t worry! We’ve helped thousands of students from non-target backgrounds break into consulting. Here are our best tips for you to do the same.
Which U.S. Undergrad Programs Are Best For A Career In Consulting?
Most of the best schools on this list are not only the best undergrad programs for consulting, but they are also more generally known as top programs across a range of disciplines. Here, we take a look at some of the things that make target schools for consulting. Some are famous for MBB recruiting—that is, sending students to the top consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group). We’ll narrow down what might make these schools uniquely suited to students looking to go into a consulting career.
Top Programs For MBB Recruiting:
(No particular order)
University Of California, Berkeley
UCB feeds heavily into the recruiting pool at Bain & Company, making up 8% of Bain’s total recruits. UCB grads also made up 2% of Boston Consulting Group recruits. Students here have the opportunity to work with Berkeley Consulting, an independent consulting group on campus that has advised big and small companies for over 20 years. Berkeley Consulting also offers many resources to help members prepare for careers at top consulting firms.
Columbia has a fair amount of representation at the top firms, making up 1.4% of McKinsey recruits, 1% of BCG recruits, and 3% of Bain recruits. The Columbia University Consulting Club gives members real-world consulting experience. The Career Education center also offers students many resources to help them pursue a career in consulting, from interview practice to networking opportunities.
Cornell grads make up 2.1% of McKinsey recruits and 1% of BCG recruits, though fewer of Bain’s recruits. Even though Cornell isn’t located in an urban center, the Cornell Consulting Club gives student members the chance to earn real-life consulting experience with university clients, multinational companies, and Fortune 500s. Members also have the opportunity to network with recruits from top consulting firms. This offers valuable insights and sometimes even career opportunities.
Duke grads are well represented at McKinsey and BCG, making up 2.8 and 3% of those companies’ recruits, respectively. While Duke doesn’t have a devoted consulting club with the same pedigree as some other schools on this lest, the Career Center offers a Consulting 101 course. The Career Center also offers counseling, networking events, and other resources to help students prepare for a consulting career upon graduation.
Georgetown grads were a bit more modestly represented at MBB firms. They made up 1.4% of McKinsey recruits and 1% of Bain recruits. There is a Consulting Club affiliated with the graduate business school. There is also a student-run organization called Georgetown Global Consulting that offers mentorship and networking, but also gives students real-world experience working with NGOs across the world.
Harvard grads are less represented than you might think at McKinsey and Bain. But unsurprisingly, they make up 7% of BCG’s recruits, making it a top target school for consulting. The Harvard College Consulting Club isn’t merely a hobby organization. It’s a fully competitive (though nonprofit) consulting group that works hard to recruit top talent from amongst the student body. Members work with hundreds of businesses and famous brands in virtually every industry, from Microsoft to Pepsi to Snapchat.
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University Of Michigan
UM students were exceedingly well represented at McKinsey and BCG, making up 6.3% of McKinsey hires and 5% of BCG hires. The University of Michigan is host to a number of consulting clubs/groups. The MECC is engineering-focused while APEX Consulting, Nexecon Consulting Group, and BOND Consulting are three ‘generalist’ consulting groups performing work for local and regional businesses and nonprofits.
New York University
NYU students made up 2.1% of McKinsey recruits and 3% of BCG recruits. The NYU Management Consulting Group offers a great deal of consulting experiences to students. While they don’t work with such a wide array of companies as comparable groups listed here, students have access to professional panels, case competitions, workshops, and recruiting events.
NU grads are represented at all three MBB firms, making up 1.4% of McKinsey hires, 2% at BCG, and 1% at Bain. The NU curriculum for prospective consultants is highly developed, with a four-year consulting plan designed to guide students every step of the way. NU’s Career Management Center also offers extensive training, counseling, and interview preparation to students interested in consulting careers.
University Of Notre Dame
Despite its small-town location, Notre Dame is impressively well represented among MBB firms. ND grads make up 2.1% of McKinsey recruits, 1% of BCG recruits, and 3% of Bain recruits. UND offers a Management Consulting undergraduate major. Also, the Consulting Connect initiative, run through ND’s Merulo Family Center for Career Development, works to prepare students for consulting careers. They do this through education in the nature of the field as well as application/interview help and extensive networking opportunities with alumni and corporate partners.
University Of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is another perennially top-ranked consulting feeder program. 6.3% of McKinsey recruits went to Penn, as well as 4% of BCG recruits. The Social Impact Consulting Group at Penn is a non-profit, student-run organization that gives students the chance to accumulate real-world experience working with major companies. The Group has partnered with over 100 corporate clients since its founding in 2007. The SIC Group has a professed value in social responsibility.
Princeton grads are represented at all three MBB firms, making up 2.8% of McKinsey hires, as well as 3% each of BCG and Bain recruits. While still in school, students can apply for the Princeton University Nonprofit Consulting group. PUNC promises students the opportunity to learn to work in teams to develop business and problem solving expertise. The Club also offers members exclusive workshops and events.
Stanford is among the most well represented schools at MBB firms, with Stanford grads making up 3.5% of McKinsey recruits, 2% of Boston recruits, and 8% of Bain recruits. The Stanford Consulting group takes advantage of the university’s proximity to Silicon Valley to offer students the experience to work with premier companies, including Tesla, Disney, Cisco Systems, and many other technology startups. This organization defines its mission not only as helping give undergrads valuable experience, but as cultivating the next generation of elite consultants.
University Of Texas At Austin
UT-Austin grads do very well at Bain, making up 4% of Bain’s recruits. They also make up .7% of McKinsey recruits and 1% of BCG recruits. The Management Consulting Association states directly that part of their mission is to help members successfully navigate the consultant recruiting process. While other campus consulting groups boast about the caliber of companies they partner with, the MCA boasts that 100% of their board members received internship or full-time employment offers upon graduation.
While Yale grads aren’t well represented at BCG overall (perhaps owing to their rivalry with Cambridge-based Harvard), Yale grads do make up 6.3% of McKinsey hires and 3% of Bain hires. The Yale Undergraduate Consulting Group doesn’t work with quite the same array of prestigious clients that their Harvard rivals do. But the YUCG does offer a comprehensive range of consulting services, including Marketing & Branding, Entry and Expansion, Financing, Process Improvement, Product Development, and Data Analysis & Modeling.
If you’re looking to get recruited from an MBB firm, then you’ll want to attend a top undergrad program. A substantial portion of recruits to the MBB firms come from a handful of the top undergraduate programs. These programs serve as target schools for consulting firms.
Firms know that these schools offer students premier educations across a range of business and real-world topics. Further, these schools all have top-notch career counseling services as well as student-run consulting organizations. (Not to mention, almost all of them bring in Management Consulted to teach on consulting!) These resources give students invaluable consulting expertise before they even graduate college. Perhaps most importantly, these organizations help groom students for the recruitment process and host events to help students network with recruiting officials. If you’re serious about bring into an MBB firm, look closely at these target schools for consulting.