According to our numbers, about 63% of you have indicated consulting as a career interest. That’s more people than live in Pittsburgh, so we took a break from finding over 400 awesome new Premium Jobs this week to do some homework.
Let’s be honest: hiring targets at consulting firms are down, but do take a moment to check out the nearly 1,000 consulting jobs on Doostang. Focus on small pockets where hiring is happening, for instance, Energy, Supply Chain and Healthcare consulting.
Then read our interview with Mada. Whether you’re transitioning into or out of consulting, we think you’ll find her story relevant. After completing her Master’s at Stanford, Mada moved onto Deloitte and then a start-up, Yola, and she was kind enough to speak with us about her path.
How did you get into consulting originally? What motivated that choice?
In grad school, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do after I got my degree or what type of business would be the best fit for me. I knew I wanted to try many different things, and consulting seemed like the best choice for that.
What do consulting firms look for in a candidate?
Consulting firms are really looking for just a few basic characteristics. First, they want to be confident that the candidate would represent the company competently in front of a client. You can’t underestimate the importance of people skills. Secondly, they want to know how well the candidate can analyze a problem and whether that person can easily adapt to different projects and environments. And finally, they are looking for someone who fits the culture of the company.
What are the most valuable experiences/skills you gained in consulting?
The best thing about consulting was the diversity of things I was doing at any one time. I got to work on strategy, financial, and pro-bono projects, led activities in recruiting, and got papers published. I most valued the projects that I did for smaller firms. Overall, I feel like I gained very good analytical skills, and I learned a lot about delivering a good presentation. Overall, it was a great experience, and Deloitte was a great place for me.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been very different. I see the same people everyday, I don’t travel, I feel like I get things done rather than simply advise. I must say I have loved every minute of it. Yola is such an amazing environment — I can bring my puppy to work, and although we all work very hard, we always have a really good time together. It’s almost a paradox. It feels a lot more laid back than consulting, but at the same time, my work is a lot more intense. I know everything I do has a direct impact on our goals and that kind of responsibility is great.
What do you think gave you an edge over other candidates when interviewing at Yola?
They were looking for someone with enough technical experience to understand the product, but also the business acumen to manage big projects. I had worked as a developer before Deloitte, so that took care of the technical experience. Consulting really helped me on the business side. Also, it helped that I was really passionate about the product — I put a lot of work into buidling my own website, I followed Web 2.0 trends, and I really did my research.
Why did you decide to go to grad school and how has that choice impacted your career? I decided to go to grad school mainly because I knew I didn’t want to be a developer (http://www.doostang.com/search?search_query=software+developer) in the long term (my undergrad was in electrical and computer engineering). I loved coding, but I felt that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Grad school changed my life. It propelled me into a completely different direction, and I learned I loved business, strategy and design. I use things I learned in school every day at work, whether it’s a marketing framework, a way to approach our users, or a presentation. What role had being an international student/job candidate played in your career?
It has always been harder as an international person. I always felt I had fewer choices, and I had to find jobs earlier. I think as I have gained more experience, things have become easier, but I definetly had a hard time in the beginning. The worse time was when I didn’t get my H1B visa with my first company, Siemens, and I had to leave when my OPT (Optional Practical Training) expired. Fortunately, I was accepted into Stanford, so I just took the summer off and travelled for a month around the country. What advice do you have for international students/employees in the present job market? Start you job search early! Make sure you know your options, talk to your school’s international students office as much as you can. Go to workshops, and tell your employers about your situation early on. Do lots and lots of research and for every form that you are asked to submit, make it your top priority to send it out as soon as you can.
How can we help you out with your career transition? Submit your questions and we’ll answer them.
Graduation is coming and all you keep hearing is that hiring is down by 22% for graduating students. For those of you who are interested in consulting, the good news is the majority of consulting recruiting happens on campus – for graduating seniors and MBAs alike. The bad news? Well, that stat we won’t repeat makes every industry all the more competitive these days.
Whether you’re set on consulting, or looking for an alternative, allow us to step on the soapbox for approximately 30 seconds.
You’ve invested in your education and you deserve the best. Know that, take a deep breath, and please do let us know how we can help.
May your day trend upward and to the right,