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Best bschools for consultant jobs

Written by Sameer Kamat

You already know about the top consulting recruiters in the industry. If not, read these posts on the best strategy consulting firms and the top technology, HR, finance consulting firms first.

You also know that the best consulting jobs on the campus go to MBA graduates from the top ranked bschools. But if you haven’t worked in the consulting industry before your MBA, a career change can be a big challenge.

But there’s good news. There are a few bschools that can increase your chances of becoming a consultant, even if you weren’t already one before the MBA. These are the hot-spots for getting consulting jobs that pay high post MBA salaries to compensate for the monies you pumped into the bschool coffers. McKinsey, Bain, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Deloitte Consulting and several others from the industry come over each year to recruit the best MBA talent.

Interestingly the usual suspects (like Harvard and Stanford) don’t figure at the very top of the list.

Top Bschools for management consultant jobs

While the other columns in the table below are self-explnatory, the third one needs some background as it might be the most important one for you if you are using this table to shortlist the best consulting schools. The percentages listed under ‘Career Change to Consulting’ indicate the non-consultant to consultant conversion ratio i.e. how successful the bschool was in getting more MBA students placed in the consulting industry.

For instance, 20% of the Harvard class had prior consulting experience before starting the MBA. So the fact that 24% of the graduating class ended up in consulting in not very impressive, as it means only 4% of those without consulting backgrounds were able to get consultant jobs upon graduation.

Bschool Name %age of 2011 Class In Consulting Career Change to Consulting Average Starting Salary Average Sign-On Bonus
1. Northwestern (Kellogg)

39%

70%

$124K

$24K

1. INSEAD

39%

50%

$115K

$22K

3. London Business School

36%

33%

$121K

$26K

4. MIT (Sloan)

34%

47%

$125K

$22K

5. Dartmouth (Tuck)

33%

50%

$126K

$27K

6. Emory (Goizueta)

31%

68%

$115K

$23K

6. Oxford (Said)

31%

63%

$109K

NA

8. Duke (Fuqua)

30%

NA

$124K

$24K

9. Pennsylvania (Wharton)

29%

53%

$125K

$20K

10. Cornell (Johnson)

28%

NA

$115K

$22K

11. Chicago (Booth)

28%

62%

$125K

$20K

12. Michigan (Ross)

28%

NA

$124K

$20K

13. UC-Berkeley (Haas)

27%

4%

$127K

$26K

14. Stanford GSB

27%

59%

$123K

$24K

15. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

25%

NA

$112K

$21K

16. Harvard Business School

24%

20%

$125K

$20K

17. Yale School of Management

23%

NA

$121K

NA

18. Columbia Business School

22%

-20%

$125K

$24K

19. Virginia (Darden)

20%

25%

$124K

$25K

19. Texas-Austin (McCombs)

20%

NA

$119K

$23K

21. New York (Stern)

19%

58%

$123K

$26K

22. Indiana (Kelley)

16%

NA

$103K

NA

23. UCLA (Anderson)

15%

18%

NA

NA

24. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)

14%

NA

$117K

$27K

Source: Poets & Quants

Average Management Consulting salaries post MBA

Excluding outliers in that table (like Kelley), the average post-MBA consultant salaries are in the $110,000 to $125,000 range with a $20,000 – $25,000 sign-on bonus. An annual compensation package of $130,000 – $150,000 for a newly minted MBA isn’t too shabby, right?

What attracts consulting firms to these bschools and prompt them to pay such high salaries to ‘Associate’ level positions (the starting designation for post-MBA consulting roles)? Is it the university brand, the locational proximity…or maybe, er, their average GMAT scores. Not really.

What’s most important to recruiters from the consulting industry are the skills that applicants bring with them that will be put to the test immediately – problem solving, communications skills, emotional quotient, working in teams, dealing with people from diverse backgrounds, and of course all the other technical skills and frameworks they pick up during the MBA course.

For many of these bschools, the MBA admissions process involves a rigorous selection methodology that covers written, verbal and professional expertise. Effectively, bschools gave filtered out many of the candidates that may have the aptitude for consultant jobs.

So if you are keen on entering the management consulting industry for reasons ranging from the high consultant salaries to the glamorous jet-setting lifestyle, your first stopover would have to be at one of these bschools. Seleect the right launchpad and get closer to your first consulting job.

Think you could be a good management consultant? Get a free profile evaluation on the MBA Crystal Ball forum. Post your profile here –> Management Consulting jobs forum

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Sameer Kamat

About Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball | Author of 'Beyond The MBA Hype' | Cambridge MBA Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter @mba_cb


2 Comments

  1. nitin   |  Saturday, 10 November 2012 at 4:23 pm

    HI Sameer,
    this data looks a bit skewed. First of all it assumes that everyone in the school wants to get into consulting. From what little I know, at most of the top B-schools in the US, people already have consulting backgrounds but most of them get lured into taking jobs with a better work-life balance. For instance, companies like Bain is present at Kellogg for most of the year to lure candidates.
    A lot of people are moving towards a career with ‘innovative’ companies like amazon, microsoft and the googles of the world.
    So, if we could combine the data in the article with the data on how many students really wanted to pursue consulting as a career option, I guess it would be more useful to prospective candidates.

    nitin vig

  2. Sameer Kamat   |  Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Good point, Nitin. Unfortunately, we don’t have the original data (that we sourced from Poets & Quants) to slice and dice across various dimensions.

    More than getting too lost in the accuracy of such third party surveys and statistics, I generally try to see if there are any higher level insights to be gained from whatever little we do have access to and see how that can help in (say) choosing schools.

    It’s pretty much like the general MBA rankings game. The granular details might change from year to year. But the general perception in the eyes of the recruiter doesn’t get a body blow if their favourite bschool dropped a few ranks that year.

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