What is Consulting? Consultants are in the business of helping professional organizations improve their operations and practices, typically by analyzing existing organizational problems and providing expert solutions.
Consulting can be an ideal career choice for a Bowdoin graduate. The field leverages many core skills developed by a liberal arts degree, including critical analysis, problem solving, strong written communication, and the ability to work effectively in teams. Although consulting in all areas hinges on these essential skills, the consulting field is extremely broad in scope with professionals offering a wide range of services in many different sectors.
A strong GPA and transferable summer work experience are often differentiators in the hiring process. Consulting firms frequently use a “case interview” to gauge your natural affinity for the work. The case interview format is new to most Bowdoin students but can be mastered with research and practice. Many consulting firms, including McKinsey and Deloitte, offer advice for preparing for the case interview and sample cases on their company websites.
General Advice for Getting Started
Join the Bowdoin College Consulting Group, a student-run club to explore your interest in consulting, practice case interviewing and to hear from alumni in the field during special career talks.
Define Your Search
If you are uncertain about the specific job function that might be well-suited to your interests and ability, you may want to spend 15 minutes with Pymetrics. Pymetrics is a free career exploration tool that leverages neuroscience-based games to suggest career options that may be well-suited to your abilities. The exercises are fun and the career report highlights what qualities large corporate employers have indicated are predictors of success in various job functions (including consulting and finance.) The report may also provide insight into other career options that leverage similar skills.
Finance and consulting positions have deadlines beginning early in the academic year for full-time and late in the fall term/early in the spring term for summer internships. The earlier you engage, the more opportunities you have to land a position. Check Handshake and other job and company specific websites regularly to ensure you do not miss any deadlines.
Reach out to Bowdoin alumni contacts and beyond to get on the radar screen early. Often the people chosen for interviews are those that have made positive impressions via pre-deadline conversations/exchanges. Remember that networking is about information gathering and not about asking for a job or internship. Build your base of allies at your target firms and they will help you open doors for interviews.
Screen In Opportunities
The current economy has reduced the number of traditional summer analyst positions and consulting internships. Be sure to include fields and positions that leverage your core interests into other areas. Actuarial and market research positions are two areas that use many of the core skills required in finance positions.
Prepare & Practice
There is little room for error in the competitive consulting and finance hiring process. Every cover letter must be targeted to the employer. Every interview must demonstrate your passion and qualifications for the position. Practice interviewing by scheduling a mock interview and master the technique of the case interview.
Organizations and Alumni
Companies where Bowdoin alums are currently working:
- Analysis Group
- Bain & Company
- The Beacon Group
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Boston Consulting Group
- The Bowdoin Group
- Charles River Associates
- The Chartis Group
- Chatham Partners
- Choice Hotels
- The Concord Group
- Competitive Energy Services
- Cornerstone Research
- Deloitte Consulting
- Enel Green Power North America
- Eze Software Group
- Isaacson, Miller
- Kaiser Associates
- Korn Ferry
- McKinsey & Company
- Putnam Associates
- RetailNet Group
- St.Germain Collins
- Triumvirate Environmental, Inc.
- WEX, Inc.
- Getting Started in Finance & Consulting
- Interviews with Alumni in the Consulting Field (Compiled by the Consulting Club)
- Case Interviews
- Business Skills Programs
- WATCH: What is Consulting?
- WATCH: Case Interview Tips from the Class of 2016
- WATCH: Case Interviewing Experiences & Tips
- Vault Guides to Consulting and Top 50 Management Consulting Firms
- Vault Career Guide to Consulting, Second Edition
- Vault Guide to the Case Interview, 8th Edition
- Vault Case Interview Practice Guide 2: More Case Interviews
- Vault Guide to Consulting Jobs
- Career Exploration and Development Library
- Case in Point
- The Surefire Case Method
- Crack the Case System