Consulting Bootcamp Prepares MiM Students for Career Success
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Even before their Master’s in Management (MiM) program began this fall at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, the Class of 2021 was hard at work planning for their future careers. One of the many programs offered by MiM Career Services was a summer Consulting Bootcamp that highlighted the management consulting industry and helped students prepare for case-style interviews.
“Our MiM program enables students to actively learn about career options, and consulting is a popular area of interest,” said Karen Kouagou, interim director, MiM Career Services. “While the Consulting Bootcamp offers essential content for students who choose to pursue consulting, understanding the case interview process is a life skill that helps anyone develop a framework for problem solving.”
Led by Brendan Boler (C’94), an assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the eight-session Management Consulting 101 bootcamp provided an introduction to consulting and case-style interviewing. Specifically, the course taught: 1) structured problem solving, including breaking down a complex issue into smaller parts; 2) business judgement, which introduced students the acronyms, vernacular, and jargon from the business world; 3) quantitative skills; 4) creativity and brainstorming; and 5) synthesis in being able to talk through the problem and provide a recommendation.
Boler said that while the case method is traditionally associated with consulting interviews, it is gaining popularity in other industries.
“There are core skills that management consulting firms look for in terms of complex problem solving,” he said. “Many other organizations are incorporating a business case you have to dissect and walk through with the interviewer.”
Robyn Crowley (MiM’21), who was among the students attending the course, said she appreciated participating during her summer free time before the pace of the first semester picked up. She is hoping to enter social impact or international development consulting after graduation and found the bootcamp helpful in her exploration of options for her future.
“Something that was highlighted during the bootcamp was what a great learning experience consulting roles can be — with opportunities to touch many different industries,” she said. “The critical thinking and interview skills I practiced over the summer in the bootcamp will definitely help in interviews in the spring.”
Even beyond interviewing, Boler said the problem-solving skills taught through the case method can apply to many more situations in work and life, including the job search process itself.
“In any good job search, you have to be self aware of your strengths and weaknesses and potential opportunities for improvement, and you also have to be cognizant of the marketplace and how competitive it is to get your foot in the door,” he said. “It really is breaking down the problem in smaller parts.”
Overall, Crowley found the experience to be a beneficial start to her time at Georgetown McDonough.
“Some of the most valuable takeaways from this bootcamp had to do with general interview and networking conduct,” she said. “We had a whole session dedicated to working on an elevator pitch and how to structure informational interviews, as we were all beginning the information-collection part of our job searches. Mr. Boler gave us tips on how to lead the conversation effectively and also how to make asks for assistance without sounding too ‘transactional.’”
The bootcamp was one of several paths students had to connect in the summer. They also joined in a one-day workshop with Management Consulted. Career coaching conversations with the MiM Career Services team touched on prioritizing their job search, company and industry exploration (including library research tools), interviewing, and using LinkedIn in the job search process. All McDonough students were invited to the Virtual Recruiting Summit that explored stage presence in a virtual space, as well as virtual networking, interviewing, and career fairs.