I am a loyal subscriber of your emails and a big fan who also benefited a lot from your case interview materials. I have aimed to enter the consulting industry as my career goal, and I have tried it once with a emerging consultancy, I got the chance to do my second case, but due to my lack of practice and the time limit of my preparation (I am now in my military service), I didn’t get to the next round. However, the interview experiences have solidified my determination to become a consultant. Therefore, I decided to apply to MBA in the future and start to pave my way to the goal step-by-step under your guidance now.

You mentioned in your emails that MBA and brand employers are the key factors that get us to the interview. I am now only a Bachelor and plan to work for a few years and then apply to MBA and seek a job in consulting. Here is my question: Recently while I was rejected by the consulting firm that I applied to, I also received offers from [major international consumer bank] – management associate; [major consumer products company] – financial analyst; and another management associate of our local leader bank.  Besides, I am now running interviews with [another major international consumer bank], but won’t get the results until next month.

The first two companies I got offers from are undoubtedly the international prestigious enterprises, but their industries and jobs are quite different. I beg to ask your opinion: from a recruiter’s side, which job (of these four, hypothetically) would you think is the best choice for those who aim to join consulting in the future as their first job? Could you prioritize them (given that other things being equal since now I only care about the value that it could contribute to my future consulting resume)? And what would be your rationale for deciding this?

My Reply:

In terms of brand recognition, [both international consumer banks] and [the consumer products company] are pretty comparable. The brand value should no longer be the determining factor, as they truly are equal enough to get someone to actually read your resume.  The next factor in the hierarchy will be what role you had in that company and also how well you did in that role.

Roles that involve senior-level contact — people skills interacting with demanding people who are very smart / people skills type challenges — and computational analysis would be ideal. It is important that the role do both.  If you only do math, that is less ideal. If you only have people interaction (think: customer service agent), that is not ideal. You ideally need both skills.

Finally, it is useful to pick a role you will actually enjoy doing… because you will be more likely to both work hard at it and do well in it.

Good luck!

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