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Networking success stories - Part 3

Posted by Khaled Kteily on in Networking & Reputation
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Part 3 is meant to give you a little bit more insight into how the information session process works. As a student, you eagerly scan the postings, rush to register for each firm that pops up, half-listen to the presentations, and then make the perfunctory small-talk with the consultants. It's a part of the game that everyone has to play, but you generally only focus on your side of things. The key is think about why the consulting firms are there to begin with. The answer is to find the 2 following types of students:

1. High potential students

These can fall in the following:

-Students who are articulate, easy to talk to, and fit the 'communication' characteristics bill nicely. ("I'd trust them in front of a client")

-Students who have solid work experience and come across positively in conversations.

-Students who convey passion about and interest in the consulting field

These are students who you will make special note of for resume review time.

2. Avoid at all costs students

For those of you who've read "The 6 steps to success" (Available for free to all registered students and consultants), you know that consultants look to answer a few unspoken questions during the interview. Two of these are "Would I trust this person in front of a client?" and "Would I be willing to spend 12 hours a day in a tiny room with them?" and some students make the unfortunate mistake of answering this question for consultants without ever getting an interview.

I'll give you 2 examples - at one information session last year, a student asked a senior consultant "sooo... would you say that your problem solving approach is...like.... CHAOS?!". 2 other students and I slowly backed away at that point.

At another information session, a student interrupted the presentation to ask the presenter the most bizarrely complex question about the insurance industry I've ever heard of (I spent 4 months interning at an insurance company and had absolutely no idea what he was talking about). The presenter glared at him and said "Why don't we take this offline?". I ended up chatting with the presenter at a later date, and I brought this comment up. She said that one of the first things she did was to ask for that person's name so that "we'd make sure we didn't interview him"

To a lesser extent, students who know absolutely nothing about consulting or the firm will also be looked at critically. For internships, this is less the case, but if you're applying for full-time and the application deadline is a few days away, then you should  have at least SOME idea of what consulting is like.

From my conversations with consultants (as a student), I know that they will track these 2 types of students at any event possible. If you were in their shoes, wouldn't you? It allows firms to focus their energies on students with potential and to prevent "wasting" an interview on a candidate who would not be a good fit for consulting.

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Guest Oct 16, 2018