Management Consulting Jobs: Wanna be a strategy consultant?

Management consulting jobs are very popular among MBA graduates for the intellectual stimulation, the exciting projects and the mouth-watering salaries that the industry offers. You’ll get to work with top-notch professionals and extremely talented colleagues from across the globe. You’ll also rub shoulders with the senior management (often CEO/CFO level professionals) and develop fantastic networks that can propel your career northwards.

Strategy consulting firms are constantly looking for fresh talent to grow their business. But they won’t lower their standards just to fill those positions. It’s an industry that’s extremely tough to break into – if you do not have the right aptitude/skills, the right job-hunting approach and most importantly the right contacts.

Best Management Consulting BooksIf you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy of ‘Business Doctors: Management Consulting Gone Wild‘. It’s a regular masala novel about a management consultanting job that took a bizarre turn.

It’s a fun story around a twisted concept, not a how-to guide to get a consulting job. But it does have insights about various industries that you’ll probably never come in contact with.

Coming back to our main topic, top-tier management consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain and the Boston Consulting Group (and a whole lot of boutique consulting companies) get thousands of applications each year from undergrads & postgrads in all disciplines (not just from MBA graduates). The best management consulting books in the market sell like hot cakes. But theory isn’t enough.

The consulting interview is very different from the regular job interview. Case Study interviews and ‘guesstimation’ questions are the norm for such interviews. Candidates who approach it in a systematic manner and put in a lot of practice are more likely to get in.

At MBA Crystal Ball, we thought we could make a difference to a select few high-potential candidates in their quest for these hard-to-land management consulting jobs. If you are hoping to get into strategy consulting, operations consulting or any other niche domain within the industry (like corporate finance consulting), get in touch with us.

We’ll evaluate your profile and provide you with the knowledge, tools and techniques using our proprietary assessment and training methodology. We’ll help you build a strong foundation which you can build upon, in your quest for that coveted role. Your mentor will be a former McKinsey consultant (and recruiter) who’s been there done that.

Interested? Check this out — Management consulting jobs

Learn more about:

– The broader Consulting industry in India and abroad.
Free evaluation for consulting jobs | Consulting Case Interview Preparation
Top Consulting Firms in the World

Disclaimer: We are not a placement agency and we do not have any formal association or commercial arrangement with these consulting companies. We use our expertise and insights to help you put your best foot forward and avoid the mistakes most candidates make.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

53 thoughts on “Management Consulting Jobs: Wanna be a strategy consultant?”

  1. Hi Sameer,

    I am a graduate from IIT Kharagpur, majored in Chemical Engineering. Now I working as a field engineer in Halliburton. I have a good cgpa and gmat score of 710. I want to apply to ISB this year and my short term goal is to become consultant in a management consulting firm.
    I have handled some of the very complex projects and I have good analytical abilities. Apart from that I use business magazines like HBR and work on sample cases. In short I am really passionate to join a consulting organization. But, I am confused that how would I present a correlation between my career as a field engineer and my post mba goal. Can you please throw some light?

    Thanks and Regards,

    • Sourabh,
      For post-MBA (Associate level) recruiting, management consulting firms take people from various backgrounds. Your undergrad degree and your pre-MBA experience need not be in consulting.
      However it helps if you can highlight aspects about your personality and your profession that have an overlap with what consulting firms are looking for – analytical skills (you already mentioned that), presentable personality, business knowledge, superior communication skills, a structured approach to problem solving etc.
      Ensure you know the industry inside out when you go into interviews and polish the skills required to do well once you are in there.
      Most candidates approach like wide-eyed wannabes who just want to get in, but have no clue about what to expect and what to contribute. Avoid doing that.
      Good luck with your ISB apps, buddy.

      • I am working on my essays for ISB. I’m also doing some research regarding career paths.
        I am confused regarding my post mba goals. People say writing consulting as post mba goal is a safe way. Even though I can write the essay to justify consulting to be my post mba career path, I’m not convinced myself.

        For me, the best career path would be Operations Management/Strategy & Leadership/General Management.
        But I guess, writing that career path would reduce my chances of getting selected. I am enormously confused at the moment.

        Also I heard that there’s a General management club at ISB, but apart from that what kinds of opportunities/facilities one can expect to get once admitted to ISB to hone skills required for operations Management/Strategy & Leadership/General Management role.

        Also what are the placement opportunities available in ISB and what kinds of career path one would expect?

        I want to maximize my chances of selection so please suggest me how to go about it?

        • Sourabh,
          Just to keep this page focused on the topic (getting into Management Consulting), I’ll skip aswering the part about ISB essays.

          For ISB specific advice, you can get in touch offline if you want to continue that discussion or better still sign up for one of our essay editing packages where we address exactly these aspects.

          Coming back to the comment – ‘…writing consulting as post mba goal is a safe way’ – I don’t agree with that. There are no absolute rights and wrongs in MBA applications. That is what makes them complex.
          Most applicants assume a few placeholders can help fill in gaps in the story. After looking at thousands of applications, Adcoms can weed out the superficial ones and retain the genuine ones.
          A better option is to approach the post-MBA goal decision, not just from an MBA perspective, but also from a longer term career planning angle. But it might require ample background work to reach that stage.
          So better start researching the industry and the role ASAP.
          Good luck.

  2. Hi sameer,
    I would be Joining a reputed Mgt.inst.I also found that Top consulting cos (except Mckinsey)in last year placement report.
    I have 4.5 yrs of Exp(1.5 in production mgt.+3yrs in design).
    Could you pls. tell me how to leverage my exp. and build my profile for a Consulting role.

    • Vasi,
      You are lucky to be joining a program where all the top consulting firms recruit. That’s the best way to get a foot in the door within the industry.
      Your background in production management gives you skills and perspectives that your other classmates (from other fields) may not have. You could use that to your advantage, as it always helps to be strong (technically) in a particular area.
      Plus you still need to demonstrate your capabilities in the other generic areas as mentioned in the last reponse and continue building your awareness about the industry, its main (and niche) players and where you’d fit in.
      The last point (‘fit’) is as important for consulting firms as it is for business school admissions.

  3. hi sameer,
    i am a bcom graduate studying for chartered marketer (cim) and hoping to get into a masters in strategic management or strategic marketing. i am also planing to do a mba later. i am interested in getting into a strategic consulting firm. could you tell me if the path that i have chosen is rigth?. if not, any recommendations?

    thanking you,

    • Varun,

      An MBA from the right bschool is the best way to get an entry into the top tier strategy consulting firms. For many of the other firms, the brand of the school may be less relevant, but the right background and experience do count.

      I’m not too familiar with the CIM degree, so can’t comment on it. But I’d recommend focusing on building a strong profile before your MBA rather than get swayed by collecting too many (theoretical) degrees.

  4. Hi Sameer,

    I am BTech in Elec and Comm working as a Test Lead in a reputed Indian Software services company.My total exp is 5 yrs and 2 months.Entire exp is in Telecom domain(IT).
    I am eager to get into Management/Strategy consultancy in a very reputed firm like McKinsey,BCG,Booz,etc.I have very good analytical and communication skills but possess no MBA degree.
    I have entrepreneurial insticts but have done nothing in this regard due to insecurity and risks involved but want to open a Management consultancy firm of my own in future.

    How should i go about it.


    • Hi Imran,

      Check out the responses to the earlier queries. You’ll get some ideas.
      For the top tier firms, it essentially comes down to pedigree, capability, contact, timing, approach and luck.

      • Thanks Sameer.

        There are mentions of ISB and anonymous MBA institutions in the earlier responses wrt Consulting jobs.This made me apprehensive about getting into the top tier Business/Strategic Consulting firms without an MBA.

        Of the above mentioned traits and attributes something well within my ambit is APPROACH.

        I have gone through the case studies and practice cases of McKinsey and BCG.I think I have fared well (as no answer is absolutely correct but approach matters).I feel they are pretty good to start with.

        I would be thankful if you could throw some light on Approach having known my background to some extent (BTech and non-MBA and 5+ yrs in IT) .

        Thanking you again,

        • Imran,

          Alright, buddy. Some more dope on a sample approach. There are others as well, but here’s a simple one to get you thinking.

          If you think you have what it takes to be a good consultant and you are confident (from your mock-interviews, case-studies, etc) get yourself a few shots at the real selection process.

          Try your hand at some of the smaller, boutique consulting firms and see how you fare. If you breeze through their process, you know you are ready for the big time. You can take a call whether you want to join one of these smaller firms or defer it till you get a shot at one of the biggies.

          Worst thing to do is convince someone to get your resume in front of a partner from a top firm and fall flat on the face when it comes to showing your prowess.

  5. sameer,
    thanks for the reply. could you please tell me wether doing a masters in strategic management would help me

    thanking you,

    • Varun,

      The MBA degree is generally considered to be the most common way to enter into consulting, as a bulk of Associate level recruting happens for MBA grads.

      But any credible course from a credible institution that allows you to get closer to the industry and develop contacts is good. Do carry out your background research about the track record of placements for the specific institution you have in mind.

  6. Sameer Bhai,

    I have workexperience of 6 years in a very good IT company in management role. I have done excellent work in coding and time management. I got GMAT marks of 630. I know that it is a very decent score but I will improve next time. I want to get into Mckinley or BCG. I am not interested in any other company. I am willing to take up the ‘consulting package’ in your company to train to become consultatnt. More over, I am applying to ISB this year and hope full of getting an admission into the greatest business college. What is your email id? I want to get touch with you. Please spear a few min to reply to my posting. Thank youm, Bhai.

    • Hello Kuri sir,

      I appreciate the focus and the enthusiasm, buddy. Very important when you are aiming for the top schools, the top companies and the top careers.

      However, All three are tough nuts to crack even for the strongest profiles. So it might be a pretty risky option if you have ONLY 2 companies on your target list.

      It’ll be premature for you to consider our Management Consulting pacakge as we are currently focussing (as the page mentions) on hearing from candidates who have got calls from the top firms. We are a very small team managing bschool admissions (our primary focus) and consulting services. Due to the volume of requests we get for this specialised consulting, we’ve had to drawn the lines for our secondary focus.

      For now, work towards getting into a good school and get good grades. And yes, bumping up the GMAT score will help impress McK, BCG, Bain et al.

      You’ll find our email ID at the bottom right of this page.

      Good luck.

  7. Dear sir,
    i have done my pgdbm and currently working in sales.I want to take up job in consulting.For this i had forwarded my cv to all but 1 response came but they are hiring into business development for their consulting business.Should i take it up?Will it help me in long run to get into consulting jobs?

    • Rupesh,

      The skills required to be successful in a Business Development role are very different from mainstream consulting.

      Take up the BD role you enjoy what it entails. But don’t consider it as a stepping stone into consulting.

  8. Hi Sameer

    This initiative of yours is undoubtebly very beneficial to the Job Hunters. Can CA’s also apply for this job or is this limited only to MBA’s ?

    • Karan,

      Though it’s unusual for Chartered Accountants to target management consulting roles, I do know of a few who’ve managed to break in and have done pretty well. Not all of them are in McKinsey, Bain, BCG though. The Big-4 audit forms(Pricewaterhousecoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte) also have their own advisory services. But they also usually take in MBAs from the top tier schools in India.

      The bulk of the opportunities are filled up by MBAs. Incidentally, we are getting approached by an increasing number of a CA’s who want to target the top MBA programs, so they can get a crack at the prestigious strategy consulting firms.

  9. Hi Sameer,

    Does age play a factor in getting into a Consulting firm after an MBA (in India). I am currently 30 years old with 6 years of work experience (in US tech industry), and a Masters Degree from Top university with 4.0 GPA. I will be starting ISB in 2012.

    Would i be at a disadvantage vis-a-vis getting into a Top 3 Consulting firm in India, due to my age? (my acads will certainly be better than most ISB students).


    • Hi A I,

      Age can play a role in the selection process. Like in an MBA program, it is also very important to fit into a strategy consulting firm, as the project teams are generally very small and a whole lot depends on your equation with your peers and superiors.

      But there are folks who are 30+ who’ve got into the top tier consulting firms because they had something substantial to offer in terms of capability, skills and domain knowledge.

  10. Hi Sameer,
    I’m a BMS graduate (2011, Mumbai University). Will it be utter foolishness to hunt for an entry level job in a top 5 management consulting firm with only 70% marks ?
    If not, how should I proceed further ?
    is there ay necessary courses that i should attend inorder to master any interview/specific consulting skills ?

  11. Adithya,

    The top firms do look at a superlative performance in all spheres – academics, profession and extra-curriculars. But if it’s a career that you are really serious about, you’ve got nothing to lose from trying.

    There are no quick fix solutions (like short term courses) to make the profile better. But if you are keen on brushing up consulting skills, try to learn more about business.

    From an interview angle, try to work on cracking business case interviews. If someone gets your CV in front of the right folks and they call you for an interview, you’ll need to be prepared.

  12. Hi Sameer,
    Currently i’m pursuing MBA and i’m getting a chance as business analyst by a management consultancy firm, started by IIM-A professor in 2008. Is it a good idea to enter in consulting industry by initially working for small firms?

  13. Virtual:

    If you have the biggies on your target list, your best bet would be to get a foot in the door at the time of graduation. It gets increasingly difficult if you want to manage the transition at a later stage. For the tier-2, tier-3 consulting firms, it’s not such big hurdle.

    If the professor’s company you want to join has been doing well i.e. has a steady flow of work, a decent roster of clients, good fellow consultants and you can gain excellent exposure to multiple industries, then it would be worth accepting the offer.

  14. Hi Sameer,

    I came across this website when I was looking for consulting jobs of the top-tier firms in the telecom industry and look forward to your guidance. I have done my MBA from a tier-2 bschool and have been working as a Business Analyst for Pre Sales team of telecom domain in one of the top IT firms. Prior to my MBA, I did software development in mobile phones. Needless to say, my interest lies in telecom industry and I aspire to become a consultant in the same industry in the long-term. Please throw some light on as to how can I enhance my skills to become a qualified candidate for the top-notch consulting firms. Does an MBA from a top tier school is a very important criterion? Can this not be substituted by an excellent academic background backed with a good experience ?

    Look forward to your response.

  15. HVR,

    For those targetting niche sectors (like telecom), an MBA may not always be required if you can do the following:

    – Demonstrate your grasp on how the industry works (not just from a technical angle)
    – Highlight skills that you already have that can be used in the consulting job
    – Clearly show how you are willing to bridge the gap between your current and desired role
    – Identify employers in the industry who’d be recruiting for those roles.

  16. Hello Sameer,

    first of all, I read almost all of the comments + article and with the jest you have answered all queries. Appreciate the effort.

    My scenario.
    I am second year student at NITIE (it is one of top 10 MBA schools in India including IIMs, just not popular in general public). I have 3 years of work experience with Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan (both for Application Support). Organizations are banks but my work was IT related.

    My Request
    I am interested in IT Consulting profile only.
    1. Could you please tell which domain would be best suitable for me in IT Consulting (like finance, strategy, Operations etc). My interest is in Strategy and finance.
    2. And what could I do to prepare for it in that particular domain, other than general trends, in which I stand fairly and getting better?
    3. Which are the best organizations in that particular domains?

    Thanks in Advance,

  17. Hi,
    I am a Computer Engineer and working as a consultant in IT(CRM Domain) for 3 years,seeking a career as a Strategy consultant(likes of monitor group, BCG etc) and to fulfill it through MBA but do not know how to map the dots to the desired profile.
    I am in need to get the guidance for the majors for MBA to match up my needs so that my present working experience could be leveraged.
    Any insight on this to map my present skill and experience to get into a MBA program through GMAT would be highly appreciated.

  18. Hi

    am a IT consultant with 5+ exp. have executed recent roles as Engmt mgr & looking fwd to join executive pgms from IIMs. just wanted to know If Prgrams such as EEPSM(strategic mgmt) & EEPITM(information technology), which are not residential programs, have any value in industry??

  19. @Kushal: For IT Consulting, there are many more players that you look at. Here’s a list of <"">best IT / technology consulting firms

    @Sachin: Can you please post this on our forum where we are addressing GMAT and application related queries?

  20. Hello sir….

    I am currently studying in 2nd year of BS nautical technology(merchant navy) from Bits pilni and want to apply for hbs 2+2/isb ylp/yale silver scholars program….

    Academics- current gpa 9/10,placed in one of largest shipping company (maersk lines),hope to get something around 750 in GMAT

    Work experience- will be undergoing a year long internship(2 semesters of 4th year) on merchant naval ships as trainee navigating officer ( will be gaining international exposure,inter-person skills from working with multinational crew)

    Lack of growth in merchant navy despite of handsome salary and interest in management consulting (short term goal)prompted me to go for a world class MBA..

    Given that I score decent in GMAT and being from non traditional background,merchant navy (diversity advantage ),what are my chances of acceptance at above programs…..Should I go for it or not??

    Thank you

    • Hi I’m a third officer and even I want the same career shift can you please suggest if something you have found out.

  21. Hi,

    I have over 4 years of professional experience (2 years in the a small financial services firm and 2 years as a business development associate at a small diversified group with interests in textile, hyrdro power and education)

    Educationally, i went to mid tier business school in UK for my bsc in accounting and finance.

    I wanted to shift careers now and enter the world of management consulting. What is the best way for me to enter the field? I dont mind entering at the lowest level.

  22. Hi
    I have done BE(Civil) & MS in Management Engineering from Italy. I have 3 years of experience after my bachelors

    .After returning to India I am finding difficult to get a job.I tried looking for opportunities.But I feel my international masters is not recognised in India.I tried going back to construction sector ,but the answer is most of the interviewers consider the 2years of study as a break in career.

    I would like to know what additionally should I do to get hired.Could you suggest me any courses that I have to do.My area of interest is strategin consulting.

  23. Hi Sameer,

    I have a total work experience of 5.5 years of consulting experience in Enterprise Risk Management domain predominantly in areas like Business Continuity, Information Security,IT Risk/Advisory and have worked with a large US IT consulting firm for more than 2 years, 1 year with a niche information security startup that provided me a global consulting exposure and close to one year of workex in a BIG 4.

    I am interested in further pursuing a career in management consulting and request your guidance on the same.

  24. @Suvesh: This would be off-topic here. Please post this on our GMAT / MBA forum.

    @Rajal & Mageshwari & Vineet: For strategy consulting jobs, get an MBA from one of the ‘feeder’ colleges i.e. those programs that feed into the consulting industry.

  25. Hello sir.
    I am a BTech student 2nd year..After my btech I wish to get a job in the consultancy firm.. and later after gaining job experience I would give GMAT.. there are a lot of certification courses from microsoft on software development fundamentals and networking.There are others like SAP course… So as I told u my aim before, according to that, do i need to apply for these courses?? Will they help in any way??

  26. Sameer,

    Hi. I am a recent graduate from a Top 15 Master’s program in Industrial Engineering in the USA. I have just started working as an Industrial Engineer for a Tier 1 Automotive Supplier. My long term goal is to get into Operational or Corporate Strategy. I plan to do my MBA 3-4 years later from a good B-School in the US. It would be of great help to me if you could guide me a little regarding how I can shape my career in order to be a good candidate for a top consulting firm eventually.

  27. Hi Sameer,

    Thanks for sharing valuable information about management consultancy.

    I am working in investment research and planning to apply for ISB 2015. By the time i will get through from ISB my age would be 36. Is it possible to get in strategy verticle of top tier consultancy firm? I have over 8 years of experience in financial research and CFA certification.

    Please Suggest.

    Thank You,

  28. Hi sameer,
    first of all i would like to appreciate your efforts for providing the students as well as professionals with such valuable information.
    i have completed my bachelors in commerce with specialization in costing from symbiosis this year and i have also received an offer letter from one of the top 70 business schools in the world for a Msc in strategic management and planning. My query is should i opt for this course as a substitute to mba for entering into the field of strategic consultancy and do the big companies consider this course. i have no work experience.

    will e really grateful if you send me a quck reply

    Thank you

  29. Sharmili, an MSc is not a substitute for an MBA. Consulting firms recruit at the associate level from the top MBA programs and those MBA programs accept students with 4-5 years experience.

    Check the website of the MSc program and talk to current students & alumni about where graduates are going. Unless it’s a really good university, chances of getting into any good consulting firm will be limited.

  30. Hello sameer,
    I am in dire need for help.I wish to build a career in management consulting (operations/­strategy/scm).
    I am a (manufacturing) from nifft Ranchi in may 2014.I have two job opportunities-
    1. as design/product engineer at Cummins India ltd,Pune
    2. As production /maintenance engineer at SAIL IISCO,burnpur.
    which job experience well help me most in future career aim.

    And yes I am planning yo do pgdie from nitie and then try me luck in campus placements for management consultancies.

    After 2 years of job ex do what job out of two would be most helpful.

    Please do help.

  31. @Akshay: As a consultant, you’d be expected to be proactive in evaluating options and making recommendations.

    I’d go with the first option, as it sounds (at least by the designations) as being more proactive compared to the maintenance job which is generally more reactive.

  32. Hi Sameer

    I have 11 years experience which includes:
    2.5 years as Mainframe programmer in India +
    4.5 Years as IT Project lead in USA +
    2 years as Learning and Development manager in India +
    2+ years as Lean Six sigma consultant in India

    My Qualifications:
    SSC (88%) + Inter (86.8%) + computers (75% = GPA Equivalent of 3.6) + Master of Computer Applications (74% ) + PMP Certification + Six sigma black belt certification

    My Aim: I want to join one of the top consultancy firms and work as strategy consultant.

    I believe I have the following skills required to become strategy consultant :
    1) Analytical Skills/ Structured problem solving skills/ Change management skills : From my Lean Six sigma consultant Experience
    2) Project Management skills : From my experience in lead roles in US,India + PMP certification
    3) Client facing skills : From my experience with clients in USA
    4) Presentation and Communication skills : From lean consultant and other roles that required regular presentations to various levels of stakeholders.

    I wrote Veritas GMAT prep tests and scored 590 (Test1), 680 (Test2)
    I am preparing to score >730 in GMAT and will write the exam in April’15 and in June’15 also if required.

    From my research on internet, I find that I need to get into colleges such as Kellogg,Tuck,Insead,Said to be able to get into top consultancy firms and become a strategy consultant.

    Could you please let me know what part of my understanding is correct and what is wrong..
    How likely are my chances..and what else can I do to improve it.

    Thank you so much for your time

  33. I’m a merchant navy officer , I want a career shift to consulting firm. Can you please suggest me the best possible ways.

  34. There is a strong numerical element to consulting, so it can be an advantage to have a degree in business, economics, science or technology, but it isn’t essential. The consulting profession also offers exciting career prospects for those with a relevant postgraduate degree, MBA or industry experience.

  35. Hi Sameer,
    I am Rahul Audichya. I have done MBA in Agribusiness Management from Premier Institute in this field and got campus placement in consulting firm. Before MBA i worked in Manufacturing side in food industry for 4 years. Sir i want to shift in consulting firm from Agri side to management consulting, will it be possible. Also what are the options ahead if i want to join new industry and leave Agribusiness industry. Please provide your email id so that i can get proper counselling.

  36. Hi Sameer,

    First of all, really good article. Though written in 2011 is still valid now. I am in the cross roads of deciding a date to take my GMAT exam. Though a few icky factors are keeping me at bay and helping me to procastrinate the date of exam (to put it on a lighter tone). Let me briefly outline my profile so that it helps you in advising me better. I am a BTech : NIT / MTech : IIT with high CGPA’s in both the colleges. In college I was part of a lot of extra curricular activities starting from debate/quizzing with many accolades. I have done 2 internships in US Companies and have a glowing recommendation letter from them. I joined the manufacturing sector (in a reputable company) as a techno management consultant and has been working closely for the last 5 years in taking up challenges and working on projects. Have elaborate experience in Statistical Data analysis and TQM Principles. It was a long time dream to have a MBA degree in my basket. After days of researching I have decided on choosing a career in consulting after my MBA. However I am stuck on the following issues

    1. I will have to get a scholarship to do my MBA in USA/Abroad. It is not possible of me to take any Loan or self fund my MBA. With the above background how suited am I to land into an scholarship (of course assuming a decent GMAT Score)
    2. I am a married person and will like to take my wife (who is dependent on me) with me when I go for higher studies. Is it possible to sustain my wife on the scholarship amount (assuming I get a free ride and a good amount of scholarship)
    3. In which there is a greater chance of getting a scholarship : EMBA or Regular MBA


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