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1. What kind of background and skills do you like to see in applicants expressing interest in a career in management consulting?
The Berkeley MBA Program is delivered from a general management perspective, and thus attracts applicants with a diverse range of backgrounds and interests. We seek candidates who have solid professional experience and leadership potential, and who possess the Berkeley values of confidence without attitude and a willingness to look beyond the status quo.
Candidates who wish to pursue a post-MBA career in management consulting should demonstrate a breadth of experience, preferably with strong leadership, progression and impact. Direct experience in consulting or strategy is a plus, but not required. Candidates who are making a career-switch into management consulting should be able to clearly articulate how they intend to leverage their skill set and work experience to successfully make this transition, why they want to pursue consulting and which firms they plan to target for full-time employment.
Learn more about general admissions criteria.
2. What aspects of your curriculum do you feel are best suited to students who want to eventually pursue a career in management consulting?
Students pursuing a career in management or strategy consulting will typically begin as an Associate, gathering data and performing analytical work. Essential skills include: evaluating financial statements, interpreting marketing plans, understanding internal financial reports and producing succinct and coherent analyses. Courses that help students develop a clear thought process and logical analysis, including strategic thinking, structure and prioritization, and numerical agility are good foundations for consulting. Strong communication skills are also critical for success as a consultant.
Many of these skills will be developed through Haas’ general management curriculum which teaches students fundamental business concepts – from accounting and finance to strategy and marketing. Through additional elective courses students can customize their coursework towards management consulting. Elective courses comprise over 60% of the Haas curriculum and most students start taking electives in the spring of their first year.
Some suggested elective courses towards a career in management consulting include:
- Financial Information Analysis
- Designing Financial Models that Work
- Power and Politics
- Game Theory
- Global Strategy and Multinational Enterprise,
- Strategic Leadership
- Structure and Incentives
- Marketing Research
In addition, student-initiated courses, such as Careers in Consulting and General Management and Strategy Speaker Series, bring real-life practitioners from top firms to the classroom and deliver first hand insights on critical issues in the management consulting field. Students frequently will have an opportunity to meet with the speaker in a small group setting or over dinner.
3. Which school clubs and extra-curricular events are most relevant to people interested in management consulting?
Providing students with hands-on exposure to real-world business situations is a key strength of the Berkeley MBA Program. Experiential activities are required for graduation, and numerous out-of-the-classroom initiatives give students the opportunity to build on their general management skill set. A snapshot of these experiential opportunities is highlighted below:
- Clubs: Most students take a leadership role in the club that aligns with their career interests, such as the Haas Consulting Club (HCS) and the Berkeley Solutions Group. The clubs aim to educate students on career paths in management consulting, provide avenues for networking and prepare them for job interviews. HCS facilitates a Consulting Firm Night, Case Interview Groups and a Consulting Boot Camp.
- Haas@Work: Haas@Work sends teams of Berkeley MBA students to work with top executives at major firms, such as Visa, Virgin America, Cisco, Disney, Panasonic, Clorox, and Wells Fargo. Students research and develop solutions for a competitive challenge posed by the firm. The best ideas are then selected for student implementation by the firm’s executives.
- Social Sector Solutions: Social Sector Solutions partners with the international consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to engage in major consulting projects for nonprofit organizations, such as the David Brower Center, the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and the Opportunity Fund. Students work with senior leaders of the organizations and McKinsey consultants in offering plans, creative ideas, and solutions.
- Business Competitions: Case competitions challenge students to apply classroom learning to real-life business problems, often simulating the tasks that a management consultant would face in his or her job. In recent years, students have participated in case competitions with Apple, Facebook, Hewlett Packard and Intel – among others. In 2010, Berkeley-Haas students took first place in the 8th Annual Innovation Challenge, earning them the title of “America’s Most Innovative MBA Team” from over 100 competing teams.
- Conferences: Berkeley-Haas students host and facilitate several industry competitions annually. Conference leadership is an excellent opportunity for students to employ their leadership, communication and project management skills. Our largest conferences include the >play Digital Media Conference, Women in Leadership Conference and the Haas Business of Health Care Conference.
- Career Management: The Berkeley-Haas Career Management Group was ranked #4 nationwide by recruiters in a 2008 BusinessWeek survey and received an “A+” in 2010. Career Management plans workshops, panels, networking events, job fairs and receptions specific to all phases of the job search. Specifically for management consulting students, Career Management helps facilitate Haas Consulting Days, mock case interviews and case prep workshops with industry experts.
Hear more about experiential learning directly from Haas students on the Berkeley MBA Student Blog.
4. Since “management consulting” is a very broad term, can you break down some of the some of the sub-categories in the field that Haas excels in?
Most Berkeley-Haas students interested in consulting pursue management and strategic consulting positions with firms that primarily offer strategy consulting and business intelligence models across industries, such as McKinsey, The Boston Consulting Group and Bain.
To a lesser degree, students pursue boutique firms which have expertise in specific industries (such as healthcare, technology or brand management).
5. Which five management consulting firms recruit the most Haas graduates? What kinds of positions did they go into?
Approximately 20-25% of Berkeley-Haas students gain full-time employment in management consulting after graduation. Recently, the top management consulting employers at Haas included McKinsey, The Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte and Bain.
Learn more about the management consulting career paths from Class of 2011 graduates:
- MBA ’11 Justin di Trolio, Associate, Bain & Co
- MBA ’11 John Frerichs, Associate, McKinsey & Company
- MBA ’11 Liora Gelblum, Consultant, Deloitte
- MBA ’11 Jaejoong Kang, Consultant, The Boston Consulting Group
- MBA ’11 Patrick Nava, Fellow Senior Associate, McKinsey & Company
- MBA ’11 Long Lam, Technology Group Consultant, Deloitte
By Morgan Eckles, Assistant Director, Haas Full-Time MBA Admissions.
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