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Major Changes: School-blind Assessments, Financial Aid & Minorities

Hi everyone –

We are announcing three major changes at Firmsconsulting, effective immediately. We must apologize for the slightly legalize sounding tone of the update, but we felt it was important everyone understands the changes given their wide impact.

1 – School-Blind Assessments

Firmsconsulting will now be applying a school-blind format when assessing applicants for our highly successful case-coaching program. We are the first professional firm in the world to do so.

What does this mean for you? We will no longer know the identities of your high school, undergraduate and/or graduate schools when assessing your candidacy for our program. Candidates who apply to our programs should remove the school names, other identifying school features and use generic email addresses when applying.

A sample resume in this format has been be posted on the website. You may download and use sample as a template when applying to our program.

We will only request the name of the school after extending an offer to join our program.

Our private case coaching maintains a 72% success rate when placing candidates at BCG, Bain & Co. and McKinsey & Co. This rate rises to 93% when the top-10 firms like Deloitte, ATK, Strategy& etc., are included. Note: The infographic on our site reflects older data accurate until Feb. 2013.

We only report the 72% rate since we specialize in McKinsey, BCG, and to some degree, Bain.

This rate is over 40% higher than other programs and we achieve this high rate since we screen all candidates and only use the most prominent ex-McKinsey and BCG partners to mentor our candidates. This is our unique point of differentiation we will never change this approach to grooming clients.

Why have we made this change? Of our clients, Ivy League and equivalent graduates do not have a higher placement rate versus graduates of state universities. In fact, the top-5 alums of our program are all from state universities

  1. Irina – Ukraine Technical College, joined McKinsey – read Irina’s detailed story
  2. Sveta – Russian public university, joined McKinsey – listen to Sveta’s story
  3. Sanda – SE Asia unranked public university, joined BCG – listen to Sanda
  4. Peter – Arizona state university, joined McKinsey – read Peter’s story
  5. Alexei –State university part-time MBA program, joined BCG

We find that the foundational skills of the applicants, their commitment to learning and their values play a far more important role in determining whether or not they obtain McKinsey, BCG offers etc., versus the schools attended.

Considering that even HBS places no more than 7% of its graduates in McKinsey in even the most optimistic scenario, it is important you realize that attending an Ivy League school only increases your chances of getting an interview. It does not increase your chances of getting the final offer.

Moreover, our change comes back to the principle of demonstrated competency. If you can demonstrate your skills in the interview, it should not matter where you studied. You should be rewarded for your abilities and not a decision you made 2 to 4 years ago in selecting a school. In other words, you should not be repeatedly punished for selecting a weaker school, should you have outstanding reasoning skills.

  1. Ivy League applicants, and their equivalent, will have to work slightly harder to present resumes in the screening process that are able to show their strong grades, leadership and commitment, without the halo effect of the school name.
  2. State university candidates now need not worry about the impact of their school’s perceived prestige, or lack thereof, on our decision. They will be assessed purely on their ability in the screening call. This eliminates any anxiety they may have due to their background.

It further means that a good resume, grades and leadership will matter far more since that is the sole criteria to secure an interview, and hopefully a place in our program.

School-blind assessments will be a broad global theme in the future. Applicants should always be rewarded for their abilities and not their Alma maters. Rewarding applicants for the schools they attended is an outdated and discriminatory practice which we do not condone and should have changed earlier.

2 – Financial Aid

Financial aid changes: Applicants admitted to our program will qualify for a 100% waiver of fees for our coaching program should they meet 4 criteria:

  1. Must be enrolled at an accredited state university or private college in the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska.
  2. Their immediate family is earning a combined income of US$30,000 or less in 2014 dollars. Research shows this group, earning $30K/annum or less, has been most affected with tuition price hikes.
  3. They have grown up in impoverished and/or trying social circumstances such as low-income neighborhoods, single parent families etc., which has materially adversely impacted their progression.
  4. At least 50% of their annual tuition is not paid by scholarships.

The criteria are non-negotiable.

Please do not state your financial position when applying to our program. We conduct a needs-blind assessment and will only review your financial status upon an offer being extended to you.

This is the same as the Firmsconsulting Emerging Fellows program, of which Sveta and Sanda, above, are graduates. The difference is that only alums of Firmsconsulting could refer applicants to the Fellows program, and now we are opening this to everyone.

Every month, we will offer 1 such position and the position will be given to the first qualified applicant who passes the screening interview. Therefore, we will announce the new cycle each month so that applicants who qualify can apply at the same time.

To qualify for this program, we will require proof of financial status, including, but not limited to, certified tax returns and other financial supporting documents. Candidates may also be required to write motivational essays, join mentorship programs we recommend and provide other documentation to validate their social and/or financial status. Firmsconsulting reserves the  right, at our sole discretion, to withdraw this offer to an applicant should we believe the supporting documents do not meet our standards.

This program is currently open only to US and Canadian citizens.

3 – Minorities

Three years ago we made the difficult decision to admit no less than 50% of all clients as female. It was difficult because it meant a radical overhaul of our program to focus on soft-skills. Yet, the results have paid off. We had to invest more time and effort into coaching on communication, image, speech, dressing etc. Those investments have helped both male and female applicants. Today, the placement rates for males and females in our program are equal.

Going forward, we are making a similar shift to bring in no less than 50% of clients per an intake per month who are minority as defined by the US Statistics Bureau and Statistics Canada and/or LGBT. We will apply our best judgment when working with minorities from outside these two countries.

We encourage you to post your comments below as we implement these exciting changes. Our website will soon reflect these decisions, and we may make adjustments based on the comments received.

We are proud to roll out these changes.


Image from Brian Indrelunas under cc

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