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Journey to my MBA

Monday, April 03, 2006

MBA App advice-Consulting/Management

Thought I'd post this response of a question I was asked about MBA Applications. Not that I'm an expert, but here's my advice.

I received a 720 on my GMAT a few weeks back and am planning on applying this fall. By that time, I'll have 3 years of work experience IT domain. I am interested in General Management/Consultin and would like to pursue it as a long term goal. Which B-schools should I target in the top 20 based on my profile? (Some additional info was removed for the purpose of privacy)

My response:
I fully agree with the US News and World Report top 10 list of schools that are good for Management. Moreover, most of these schools only allow one to graduate with a general management MBA vs an MBA with a specialty slant that some schools have. So Harvard, Darden, Tuck, Stanford, Ross only offer the General Management only slants. Rever to my posting a few days ago for the list.

For consulting, you should FIRST find the consulting firms that you are interested at going to and find the schools that these firms hire from. You can find out the consulting firm hiring numbers by going to the career/hiring section of each schools web site. Some consulting firms will also post this info on their own web sites. It's a good idea to call the career services of each consulting firm and ask for internship and general hiring packet information about the company to be sent to you. That's my advice. I haven't seen what I just described documented anywhere.

I hope you'll see that this approach educates you from the source versus opinion. Collect the info before the opinion because you'll do better if the people you talk to can see that you did your homework. When looking at B-School hiring company web sites, pay close attention to non-consulting firm hiring because it could be a direct positional hire or it could be a hire into a rotational leadership program. These are programs where you are placed for 3-6 months into a different part of the company for 2-3 years. You'd go into marketing, sales, operations, finance, R&D and manage a team in each division you go to. Home Depot, GE, any auto company are famous for doing this. Each step of the way, the senior managers rate you and recommend you for specific areas or for core leadership in the company itself. Generally, this is true of Fortune 100 companies.

You still haven't told me your likes, personality type, strengths and weaknesses about yourself. Without those, it's difficult to say whether you would be good for certain areas of consulting.

Choose the school by considering it's location and size of the entering class as well. Schools don't travel very much to get their students hired. Companies have to flip the bill so they have to have a damn good reason to go to a school to do hiring. That's why it's important to look at the career hiring numbers on each school web site. Consulting web sites may or may not show where they hire. Some do, so it's worth a look. It also shows you what companies hire. If you're new to the B-world, then this is a good place to get company names that will be starting points to research the possibilties of your career choices.

The class size is important too. Big schools result in a poor to moderate relationship amongst classmates. From these big schools, you'll graduate having never met all the students in your class which is a weird thing. This is true of Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia and Chicago or any other school with more than 350 in an entry class. Whereas Stanford, Tuck, Darden, Haas, Darden, Cornell tend to have close knit groups where more people are known if not all. One key characteristic of smaller schools, even schools not in top 20 is that they loved their classmates. Either the limitation of the school to go big or a vision of the school to stay small result in this characteristic. People generally disagree on this point, but I can assure you that if you asked each and every graduate about their "close-knit" experience with regard to the body of the School rather than just a handful of people, then I'm confident that my statements about size and close-knit communities of classmates will be true whether graduates of these schools care to admit it or not. However, if you'll just be going for name of the school ... well then who cares about the size right? It's really up to you. Personally, I care more about the school as a whole that just the name.

Lastly, every B-School administrative staff member is highly interested in helping you find the information you need to get info you pro-actively seek. Be passive and generally, you'll get the same response. So here's what you can do. Call or e-mail the school of interest, and ask to talk to an Alumn or student with the area of interest like strategic consulting. They'll get you a number or e-mail of someone by you. Call them up and talk to them. In many cirumstances, they'll accept your offer for a coffee to hang out and talk. This too is something that B-Schools do that is hardly mentioned anywhere.

Be specific though. If you say, "I would like to speak to somone who is in consulting", then I'd throw you out myself. You have to be more specific about what type of consulting and in what industry. Same with management. You have to descibe the industry of interest.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

you got this huge website
but what exactly are you doing?
are still preparing for GMAT or have admits somewhere else.

Must appreciate the one stop pit stop for MBA news worldwide

again.. where r u right now with ur B school apps?

6:16 PM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

Word of what I'm doing will come. Thanks for the inquiry.

10:18 PM  
Blogger MBA Pundit said...

Hey dave,

Any idea on the list of schools that have a good stratergic consultation Course?

I beleive that McKinsey and BCG hire majorly in this area.

Most of them hire on the east cost.
Any idea on the west cost at HAAS and other places?

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have any take on US B-Schools vs UK B-Schools, referring to none in particular...?

5:53 AM  

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