For my first post, I would like to walk you through my story and how my management consulting journey began.
For most of my academic career, I aspired to work in the financial sector. I have a 2 month vacation offer to work in a Bulge Bracket Investment Bank at the end of this year. (Most likely in the M&A team)
By reading research reports on the leading companies in each industry, you could learn much about the different drivers and intricacies of each industry.
As a Finance major, one of the things that would be relevant to you aspiring management consultants out there is that equity research reports might actually be quite relevant to case training. For those of you that have access to Bloomberg terminal at your university, you can download JP Morgan research reports on most large listed companies. By reading research reports on the leading companies in each industry, you could learn much about the different drivers and intricacies of each industry.
For example, for an online job advertising company, the main volume is driven by recruitment agencies buying job ads in bulk. These companies have a discount curve where the more volume a recruitment agency places, the cheaper the ads are. In an economic downturn, as the labour market tightens, the job ad volume drops. However, the average prices of job ads go up as the recruiters can no longer have access to the same discounts. This creates a protection for the company’s bottom line. Or another example would be retail companies that focus much on operating efficiency, might focus on metrics such as sales to floor space ratio to work out how efficiently they are generating sales.
I imagine all this knowledge would be very beneficial in a case interview.
How did I become interested in consulting?
My interest grew this year when my friend was going through case interviews to break into management consulting. He had interviews with BBM and a mid-tier consulting firm. He got rejected after 2nd round with BBM. He was offered a graduate position in the mid-tier firm in the end.
I was his case interview partner. It was the first time I was introduced to the world of case interviews.
I was never intellectually stimulated by investment banking work or building models, I was attracted to Investment Banking for the money.
I was blown away by the pyramid communication style and systematic problem solving approach that my friend employed in cracking the case interviews. Upon further research, I learned more about the diverse and challenging nature of management consulting. Two things became clear to me
• Management consulting was exactly what wanted to do.
• I was never intellectually stimulated by investment banking work or building models, I was attracted to Investment Banking for the money.
From that point, I began my journey in pursuing a career in management consulting. I went through case interview training with my friend and got accepted into a consulting club which provides pro-bono management consulting for non-profits. I work under 2nd-year and 3rd-year professional management consultants from leading consulting firms.
The more I learnt about consulting, the more I realised just how interesting and intellectually stimulating career in management consulting could be. The opportunity to solve complex problems using my creativity and analytical skills would force me to push myself and provide constant learning opportunities throughout my career. Working closely in teams with some of the brightest people and having the opportunity to work with some of the world’s largest companies was also something which drew me. Travelling is something that I also enjoy, so naturally that aspect of consulting attracts me too.
I am preparing for the graduate intake next April.(BBM does not have an internship program here in Australia as the industry is so small).Over the next few months, I will begin building all the necessary attributes. I will start case training, building business acumen as well as taking on consulting projects in the consulting club to get a taste of management consulting.
I aim to share my experience and journey with you and hopefully you can learn a thing or two from my mistakes and successes.
My Michael Moment happened after my first try at MBB. I applied to all three firms and secured interviews at all three, but did not make it past the final round.
I was obviously tired and frustrated. Bitter would be a better word since my class mates got in and they were poorly prepared relative to myself – my opinion but I think it is true. Michael’s first response was to brush off the failure and say we needed to regroup for the full-time hiring. I liked that he did not quit and pushed me to fix my development areas over the summer.
I am pretty sure if Michael showed any hesitation about my skills, I would have quit at that point. This story does not end with me getting into MBB in September. It is not that kind of happy ending, but it is very happy. Michael taught me not to quit and to think very carefully about what I wanted to achieve.
I still worked with Michael but we focused on investment banking and I ended up getting a coveted offer from one of the leading bulge-bracket M&A firms. In the economic environment at the time, that was more prestigious than securing an MBB role and Michael’s knowledge about corporate finance strategy was a big reason I secured the role. In one call we spent the entire session discussing the mechanics of a LBO model and a real world example which he knew very well. So I became adept, by mimicking Michael, at discussing financial arcana with practical examples. I just copied his style.
I am happier in Ibanking since I feel my technical financial skills coupled with the strategy skills Michael taught me has made me indispensable to my Managing Director. I don’t build models all day long but join dinners to discuss the actions the client should take. I have a very indispensable skill set of complex financial analyses, excellent strategy skills and good communication from the training.
That points me well above my peers. Thanks Michael.
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