Graduate programs to get into Management Consulting

I get many emails from students who attend all types of graduate programs and are looking to enter into consulting roles. Over my years of coaching here is what my data shows regarding the programs that will help you get into MBB

  • Unsurprisingly, an MBA from a top US program is your best bet to get into MBB. This list includes the usual suspects (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton etc.) and also some traditionally strong programs outside of the top 10 such as Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Be careful about solely relying on rankings in making your decision on which school to attend, schools that make it into the top 15 are not always target schools for recruiting (Cornell University (Johnson), USC Marshall, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) being examples of such programs). Feel free to reach out to me to check about a program you are considering.

  • For international programs - in Europe stick to INSEAD and LBS, in India - IIM A,B,C,I and L, and in SE Asia - INSEAD and NUS

  • PhD at a top school (especially in scientific fields) is another strong recruiting channel. This is not a traditional path to get into consulting. No one to my knowledge goes into a PhD program with the intention of joining MBB after, however many change their plans mid way once they realize the academic path is not the right one for them. These recruits are highly sought after, especially as part of the ADP program at McKinsey. Typically the graduates here are from a top PhD program at a top 20 school in the US.

  • Law School (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU etc.) and MDs round up the list - again not degrees you would traditionally pursue for a career in MBB but these are the top graduates in their field and are highly welcomed by the firms

  • MPA or MPH from top 3 Universities in the US (honestly I have only seen Harvard graduates and Stanford graduates from MPA/MPH)

What about the many other programs that are marketed as highly desirable for graduates? For example the MS Applied Analytics from Columbia University?

In my opinion these are much harder to leverage for management consulting. Specialized programs like this are created for specific careers such as those that require advanced analytics. If you are in such a program, I would recommend you consider non traditional roles in consulting (such as being part of the advanced analytics team at McKinsey) vs a more traditional consultant role.

Note that in general - for grad school you want to go to a target program and a target school. Going to a non target program (e.g., International Relations) at a target school is the next best option, however I personally do not think this is a good choice if your end goal is focused on Management Consulting. The absolute last option is going to a non-target school. It is very very difficult to recruit into a top management consulting firm if you go to a school they have no presence in. No matter how good the marketing brochures are from the grad schools, avoid this selection if you can.

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