Mensa, Fulbright Scholarships, Olympic Medals on Resumes

Question:

I've been following your emails with interest since October. I want to apply for Strategy firms later this year, so it is likely that I will be purchasing LOMS soon and gearing up for some serious case-study practice.

Today I looked at your consulting cover letter and consulting resume advice. You advise applicants to "1) Get your brand names into the first sentence or paragraph (You know… Harvard, your Olympic Medals, etc…:)".

I studied at Oxford University and have been working in consulting for PricewaterhouseCoopers for over a year. So I'll obviously be putting both those brands into my application.

But I was recently accepted as a member of Mensa and I want to know whether it would be worth highlighting this brand in a Consulting application, or if it would just come across as stuck-up, irrelevant, self-important, etc.

What do you think? How would an MBB resume screener react to this?

My Reply:

Definitely include Mensa on the resume/cv.  Anything selective, exclusive, very hard to get, etc... is very appealing to MBB.  This includes Rhodes Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships, Olympic Medals, etc...

I would put these accomplishments in the category of impressive but only tangentially relevant.

The reason to include it is most clients do not have these accomplishments, so it gives them bragging rights that they have someone from Mensa working on their XYZ business problem.

On the cover letter, you want to mention Mensa but not over-emphasize it.

If you over-emphasize it, it suggests you think it is more important than it is (which can come across as self important).

The best way to do this is to including it, but only in passing reference.

One way to do this in a cover letter is to put it in parentheses.  "I'm a graduate of XYZ University (2010, BA (your major) GPA: ___, Rank: ____, Graduated Cum Laude, Member of Mensa)"

Additional Resources

If you found this post useful, I suggest becoming a registered member (it's free) to get access to the materials I used to pass 60 out of 61 case interviews, land 7 job offers, and end up working at McKinsey.

Members get access to 6 hours of video tutorials on case interviews, the actual frameworks I used to pass my interviews, and over 500 articles on case interviews.

To get access to these free resources, just fill out the form below:

First Name *
Email *

Note: All registrations require you to confirm your email address.
Please type your email address carefully, entering your email also subscribes you to my Case Secrets Email Newsletter.

mail
Facebookgoogle_pluslinkedin

Comments on this entry are closed.