Anonymous User wrote:Anyone know if management consulting is a viable alternative for no offers? Is a no offer as much of a black mark for consulting?
That said, does anyone know the recruiting timeline, I haven't looked at a consulting case in years so I'd need to study before attempting one...
Former MBB here. I wanted to answer these questions but if that's inappropriate for this thread I can remove.
tl;dr: Management consulting is a viable alternative; no offer definitely not as much of a black mark; they will care more about the reasons behind the industry switch than anything specific about your SA.1. Viable alternative in general, and MBB specifically has been rumored to have recently stepped up recruiting for non-MBAs (focused on JDs, MDs, PhDs)
From general commentary (recruiting, consultants in different firms), the industry has started trying to more aggressively recruit non-MBAs. JDs are typically underrepresented but numbers-wise that stems more from a smaller % of JDs applying. Typically because of recruiting timelines and OCI usually happening way earlier than consulting recruiting.
M has always hired the highest number of non-MBAs, but the other firms have started trying to close that gap in the last few years. So a JD trying to get into management consulting right now has a slightly better chance / is slightly more attractive than it might have been a few years ago.2. No offers aren't as much of a black mark for consulting.a. As a general industry phenomenon there is less stigma.
This is a personal opinion so there may be disagreement. But in management consulting there tends to be far less stigma around getting no-offered as a summer than it appears to be in law. Partially because business students that intern at MBB are also trying to figure out whether they want consulting, finance, tech, start-ups, etc. There's more industry flexibility for a traditional MBA intern so there's more of a chance that a MBA student simply hates consulting. So no-offers for summers easily stem from the MBA intern hating it. Recruiting stats are based on % of offers accepted more than % of offers extended. Firms hate giving an offer and having it rejected, so they will often not offer someone if it is clear that they hate consulting during the summer or make it apparent that they would reject the offer. It leads to the common outcome that if a summer hates it, they won't get an offer. Because there's no stigma attached to hating consulting or a particular firm's culture, there's not as much stigma attached to getting a no-offer. (Example: A few years ago I knew a summer who interned at a tier 2 consulting firm, got no-offered because people didn't like him, and then got a MBB offer)
There is also a stark difference in cultures at different consulting firms, especially MBB. It is pretty common for someone to intern at one MBB and absolutely hate it and then go through recruiting at other firms and transfer. The attitude from the other firms doing the recruiting seems to focus on why they hated it and not whether they got an offer or not. Generally if you interned at a consulting firm in the summer and are now recruiting with other consulting firms in the fall they are more concerned about making sure you won't just ditch them after a year too. They know something didn't work during the summer, and they know that if the culture wasn't a good fit then whether you got an offer or not doesn't matter.b. For a former law SA doing full time recruitment with a management consulting firm, they care more about the reasons for the switch into consulting.
From what I've seen this extends into law. I have seen interviews with law SAs with an offer in hand, and law SAs who got no-offered. The interviews were basically identical and they were never asked about whether they got a return offer. Again the interviews were more concerned about why they were switching into consulting instead of continuing into law and wanting to make sure that the candidate was absolutely sure that they wanted to do consulting. Any black mark is more around "you tried one thing and didn't like it, how do we know you won't try this and not like it" instead of "did you get no-offered."
That's why if you apply to consulting firms you'll want to focus more on the story of why law wasn't for you. You should talk up why the firm SA experience really helped you grow (because consulting still values firm experience just the same), but emphasize the specific pieces about being a lawyer that didn't appeal to you while emphasizing how a consulting firm will be different from that. You won't really need to worry about discussing getting no-offered.
Examples of lines that might work, eg "I liked working in a professional firm environment and my SA experience really helped me grow those skills, but ...
- Law tends to be helping client fix problems in a vacuum, but with consulting you can actually try to change something in the client company
- Law is a lot of different projects with long spaced out deadlines, but I prefer consulting because it's one project where you're focused on nothing but that project for a few months
- In law I only worked with other lawyers who specialized in the same practice area as me, but it would be much more exciting to be working in teams with people from completely different educational backgrounds
Not bashing law and not saying those responses are perfect. But they might give an idea of the type of conversation the interview would be about. Nothing as much to do with your specific firm but more general questions about law versus consulting.
Even if you get asked why you're not returning to your summer law firm you can honestly say something like "I was more interested in exploring business opportunities." Even if you get asked directly if you got an offer, you can probably say the reason you would normally say (eg budgetary reasons) and add "but I was already in the process of researching consulting opportunities" or something.c. For law -> consulting in general, they care about you being sure that you want to do management consulting.
There are many ex-lawyers working as consultants. Especially in MBB. Same as above, the consulting firms are more concerned about making sure you won't realize you hate consulting after you join, so the pressure in interviews is more about that than any other law-related reason. Also if you apply to MBB there's a good chance that the office you're applying to has an ex-lawyer consultant, they will probably be happy to meet with you.3. Recruiting schedule
Unless you started networking during the summer (you can reach out to big consulting firms during your SA if you feel uneasy about getting no-offered, and ask for an accelerated recruiting schedule), you will have to go through the normal fall recruiting schedule which typically takes place around Sep/Oct.
One side benefit of this is that it is probably past the deadline of any SA offers so they will know that regardless of whether you got no-offered, there is no chance you will go back to your summer firm.
If you have no contacts (see above re ex-lawyer consultants in your city) you will probably have to do the online application.
Typical consulting recruiting goes apply > first round interview > second round interview > offer. A no-offer may not affect you as much in consulting recruiting because the case-interview format of consulting really intensely evaluates merit. Either you pass the case or you don't. If you don't pass the case, not a lot you can do can save your application. If you pass the case, not a lot can tank your application.
Getting the first round interview may be easier for a JD than an MBA. One, your resume will just have the SA position so it will look impressive. Two, as above, a JD application stands out more than an MBA application because of fewer applications and because of the recent recruitment drives. Basically nothing about the actual application, to a consulting firm, will imply anything about getting no-offered.
Getting past the first round interview is almost entirely about passing the cases and nothing to do with the SA no-offer.
Getting past the second round interview is a combination of passing the cases and doing OCI-style interviewing well. This is where the law > consulting transition will come up more often but as above it will be less about the no-offer and more general about the industry switch.
You should do case prep obviously (the classic starting book is Case in Point by Marc Cosentino, the classic online resource is Victor Cheng). On your campus there sometimes might be a student group that was organized for non-MBA students who want to get into consulting, joining that will be helpful because being able to practice cases with someone else is huge.
Hope that helps. Getting consulting might be a long shot depending on other factors and which city you live in etc but it might not hurt to add it to your search list.