Going into the M.S. in Global Commerce Program, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in consulting. I knew this Program would not only teach me hard skills needed for the job, but also the soft skills that come with being in such an international program would give me a leg up on the competition when recruiting for consulting positions at multinational organizations. With that said, I want to share my job process with you that ultimately ended with me securing my dream job working for Bain & Co. in Washington, D.C.
The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to network early and often. Trust me, I know how uncomfortable it can feel asking strangers to talk to you. However, I found UVA and McIntire’s alumni network incredibly receptive to helping me. The younger alumni have been in our shoes, and they are very willing to pay forward the advice they were once given. Don’t see networking as a way to get recommendations for jobs. If you have a genuine interest in what someone does, it will come through on your networking calls. I spent a few hours each week over the summer on LinkedIn connecting with as many people as I could reach in the consulting world.
Before classes even started, McIntire was holding networking events for consulting companies. My summer phone calls really helped me at these events. I had already learned the basics of each company, so my face-to-face interactions were much more in-depth and meaningful. Having learned as much as I could about each company, it also showed recruiters that I had been “doing my homework.” Beyond that, I met a lot of the people I had talked to over the summer, which made the in-person networking feel comfortable.
My next piece of advice, especially for students interested in working in the U.S., is to start interview prep during the summer. For a lot of jobs, you will probably find that the interviews have some sort of case to work through. For consulting, I read all of Case in Point and worked through cases throughout the summer. You will find that McIntire has a lot of resources for case interviewing online. Even if I did not have a case to do, I would watch case interviews online. I know that sounds super boring, but it definitely helps you learn the process and structure to use.
I say this is especially important for those interested in working in the U.S. because the recruitment timeline for consulting is so early. You may find that you do not have downtime while trying to get settled into the Program and working on job applications concurrently. Practicing early gives you some breathing room, and can keep you from panicking.
My last piece of advice is to take everything in stride, and just know that recruitment can seem completely random. My initial application was denied by more companies than I care to count, but at the end of the day, I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I remember in our “Strategic Leadership” course, Professor Paul Seaborne had us work through a stack of resumes and select three candidates. Naturally, everyone picked different people. An interesting conversation with someone can go a long way in this regard, so you have the connection that allows them to put a face to a name.
I know recruiting can sound incredibly stressful, and you may dislike how early the American companies begin this process. Trust me, though, it will all be worth it when you are traveling the world the following semester with recruiting completed!
View detailed Career Destinations to see a sampling of recruiting organizations.