In this series, SuccessGoGo interviews successful professionals from banking, consulting and law to provide helpful insights into climbing the corporate ladder. In this interview, SuccessGoGo sits down with Rachel, a management consultant who has worked in consulting firms in both London and Singapore.
What's the best part about being a consultant?
The best part is working on a variety of cases across industries and functions, and having wide exposure and experience in a variety of sectors. It is very empowering not to be pigeonholed into any single sector, and fuels my excitement to learn more and experience more.
I am also very grateful that in this field, I am able to deal with senior management from client companies from the start, whereas in other careers, you typically would not be able to interact with senior management at a junior position.
I also enjoy traveling for work and the excellent networking opportunities that I get from the constant exposure to new people on the job.
Did anything at school help prepare you for the job?
Yes, I joined a lot of case competitions organized by companies and my university. This helps with the fundamentals and also the interview process. I also joined consulting societies and did pro-bono student consulting work which helped get an actual feel of the work I was going to do in the future.
What advice would you give to an undergraduate to help maximize internships?
Network, network and network with everyone in the company. Go in with a genuine intent to learn from people and make friends and mentors. Having friends and mentors who can guide you will make all the difference. These connections may even come into handy again later in your career.
Ask for honest criticism and feedback from those you work with. It is a great time to accept constructive criticism. As an intern, you have low stakes. It also demonstrates your willingness to improve and any advice you get can really make a difference in how you start your career.
What are 3 things during your interview preparation process that made a difference?
Practicing many case interviews with a partner. Find a friend also applying to consulting and partner up to practice. They will be in the same boat as you and practice makes perfect.
Going for interviews at 2nd/3rd tier consulting companies before interviewing with my top choices was also super helpful. It helped build my confidence and ability to think on my feet. Also, memorizing basic frameworks used to breakdown/analyze/structure a case interview.
How do you approach CV writing? Do you have any tips?
I would suggest starting from the standard template that all management consulting applicants use. Send your CV to people you trust for critique (even better if they are in the consulting industry). Take time to improve your CV, digest feedback and really work on it. Proofread again and again. Absolutely no formatting/spelling/grammar errors. I would also recommend only including standout achievements and to keep your CV to a single page. You only have one shot to impress.
What do you feel made you stand out as a candidate in the hiring process?
A combination of outstanding academic achievements (faculty dean's list), leadership experience and work experience. I made it a point to beef up my resume with leadership and work experience. I was president of a large society at university and tried to do as many internships as possible to gain work experience. To me, any work experience in a consulting firm will help, doesn't need to be top tier, boutique firms are good enough, and the more experience the better.
Check out other installments in this series: Interview with a Litigation Lawyer, Corporate Lawyer, Private Banker, Portfolio Manager and Management Consultant.
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