Part 1 is actually not related to consulting. When I was interviewing for full-time positions, I knew who the other serious students were: they were the ones at every. single. information session. Period. From consulting to banking to sales to everything in between - we were there because we wanted to make sure we made the right career choice.
One of those information sessions was for National Bank Financial, for a number of different positions. At one point, I considered Sales & Trading, and so I registered for the event. I was absolutely exhausted, had been to 3 info sessions already that day, and just wanted to go home. Rather than stick around and 'network' (which, let's face it, is not always the most exciting activity) at the end of the talk, I got up, grabbed my stuff, and walked to the elevators - I was not alone. On the way down, I thought about what I was doing (leaving an info session for a job I was potentially interested in), groaned to myself, and stayed in the elevator as everyone filed out.
I went right back up, and walked purposefully to the lady who had presented about Sales & Trading - as fortune would have it, she was free, and we got to chatting. After confessing that I knew little about S&T (but was eager to learn more), she invited me for a tour of the NBF Sales & Trading floor the following day. Great! I got her card, left the room, and reached out to her the next day by e-mail. I ended up going on the tour with her (after reading up about NBF and S&T, of course) and we had a great conversation about the profession. Despite having almost no finance background, I secured a first-round interview, and ended up making it to the final round. I ultimately realized S&T was not for me but it was an experience that I learned a lot from, and one that I would not have had if I had not forced myself to stick in there and go back in there. I absolutely would not have gotten an interview without that conversation.
So really, part 1 is about perseverance; networking is tiring, arduous, and can feel very contrived (because, well, it is). Ultimately, however, it is what differentiates students who get interviews from those who don't. If you're a student with a strong but not stellar CV, then a personal recommendation is the single most powerful influencer of whether you will get an interview.