Best degree for management consulting?

<p>There is no such thing as management consulting per se, as strange as this may sound to you. There is consulting to companies in different areas such as setting up internal controls, sales consulting, human resource and hiring consultants, mergers and acquisitions specialists, turn around specialists and many more. If this isn't complex enough for you, consultants tend to specialize in different industries. For example, there are consultants for colleges on recruiting better students. There are consultants for tax exempts. There are consultants for computer information systems and for tailoring software to specific industries or for specific purposes. There are consultants for media purchases and advertising and for setting up telephone systems.I can go on and on,but I think you get the message.</p>

<p>Frankly the only way to become a consultant is to become a specialist in some field of endeavor. It could be as narrow as specializing in specific software applications. It can be more broad based such as consulting for health care and fringe benefits. </p>

<p>Bottom line: I don't think that there is any one major that will prepare you unless you have a specific idea of what area you want to consult in. For what it's worth, most consultants that I have met usually work for a company in some specific area and develop a strong expertise. They then move on to working with firms that need those areas of expertise.</p>

<p>Taxguy may be unaware, but there is indeed such a thing as management consulting, also classified as "strategic consulting". Top management consulting firms specifically hire newly minted undergrads, as well as newly minted MBA's, as "generalists" without specific industry expertise. Comments from momof5, banjo, and 3togo above are accurate and provide helpful info.</p>

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There is no such thing as management consulting per se, as strange as this may sound to you... Frankly the only way to become a consultant is to become a specialist in some field of endeavor.

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<p>There is such a thing as management consulting. Google McKinsey, Bain and/or Boston Consulting Group (BCG) (collectively known as MBB). The one sure way to not get hired by these firms is to spend 10 years specializing in a field then applying. Unless you're a CEO or VP at a major firm (and can bring in clients), they won't interview you. </p>

<p>When GE calls in one of MBB, GE has already had their engineers and managers spend years looking at the issue trying to solve it. If MBB hired someone with 20 years of experience as a GE engineer or manager, you're going to get the same answers that GE found internally. The entire purpose of management consulting is to bringing be unbiased problem solvers who look at issues from a new perspective and find new answers. </p>

<p>It might seem crazy or outlandish to you that an industry like this would exist, but it's a $50 to $100 billion industry, so evidently someone finds management consultants useful. Management consulting firms are also usually among the top employers of HBS, Wharton, Darden, Stanford GSB, MIT-Sloan, etc and is one of the most admired (and highest paying) professions by those graduates. Harvard puts out a 300 page book on how to interview with MBB and you can find volumes of books on "Case Interviews" at your local bookstore. </p>

<p>I'm not saying all of that to make it sound like management consulting is better than any other field - just that it does exist, it's highly valued by employees and clients, and it's serious business for only the most serious students.</p>

<p>Maybe we are saying the same thing. Yes, I know that many folks call themselves management consultants. However, under the umbrella of "Management Consulting" lies the varies specialities that consultants render. I personally never met any one person who can be an expert in all areas demanded by corporations. Usually, there are specific experts for each area of consultation, which is my only point.</p>

<p>Even though two people work for McKinsey, would you blanket them both management consultants if one worked in operations and the other in sustainability? What's wierd is that most people consider management consultants as simply all the same and they just need a business degree. That's insane, and completely not the case. Management consulting is broken down into several areas, therefore your career goals and preparation CANNOT be general. They should be guided towards which ever specialization you desire. When I said Small Business consulting, that is a niche and specialization so I am narrowing my education and internship based on that. To the OP, a general business degree goes against everything I just said which is why people consider it bogus and not capable of advancing towards "management consulting."</p>

<p>So does USC count as one of these top schools or not? I know it is known for it's business school so I'd like to think so. </p>

<p>Also, should I or should I not go for a business administration degree? If I should, which one of the concentrations should I go with? If not, which kind of degree should I aim towards?</p>

<p>Also, I was considering double majoring. Would business admin + psych be a good combo (to stand out and have other applied analytical skills)? And what about business admin + econ (probably the better choice but not as interesting to me at the moment)</p>

<p>Man, you must be a freshmen. Lol...everything just has to be black and white.</p>

<p>There is NO single major that will prepare you for every department or industry that a major consulting firm has or deals with. How about you do some homework/research about what aspect of a consulting firm you want to garner expertise in, then pick a major accordingly. FYI, the consensus is that Psyc is worthless and Econ CAN be too liberal artsy. I agree in regards to Psyc, but I like Econ because I consider it flexible not vague.</p>

<p>Check the 3 websites to see if they recruit at Marshall.</p>

<p>I've been a management consultant for an 18 month period and worked on major buiness transformation projects with major management consuting firms as partners at two Fortune 100 companies and I believe this is true ... I have not met one consultant who was an undergraduate business/management major. A couple big caveats .... some of this was a while ago and business/management degrees are much more prevelant now than they were then ... and, I believe the bigger one, given the schools from which they were hiring business/management degreees were not an option ... the consultant were either liberal arts or engineering (or CS) majors from top 10-15 type research universities or LACs ... there was no pattern to their majors (e.g., there is no special major that will impress them) ... however there was a pattern that they all were wicked smart, wicked quick, and worked their butts off. They hire the person not the major.</p>

<p>Well said, 3togo and Derekallen. This is what I have been trying to communicate.</p>

<p>Well I know that not everything is black and white but some of the people on this thread are making it seem that way talking about business administration being "too easy" or it being a better idea to get an engineering degree. </p>

<p>So @derekallen @3togo @taxguy: so then a business admin degree won't hurt me then? or better yet, is there a degree that's preferred by those who hire from the top firms?</p>

<p>If you want a BS in Business, choose Finance or Acctg. All the other business degrees focus on soft skills. For example, I think entrepreneurs are born, not nurtured. Taking 2 years of upper division entrepreneur courses will not make you one. On the other hand, if you were not born an accountant, you could be a very good one if you put your mind to it.</p>

<p>agree you can take business admin but focus on either finance/acct.</p>

<p>@3togo. If you haven't met an undergrad business major in mgt consulting, you must not be looking very hard. I'd say that they make up 50% or more of the field.</p>

<p>As far as the other comments on here, all I can say is that you shouldn't comment if you have no idea what you're talking about. Apparently that's the case for most of you.</p>

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@3togo. If you haven't met an undergrad business major in mgt consulting, you must not be looking very hard. I'd say that they make up 50% or more of the field.</p>

<p>As far as the other comments on here, all I can say is that you shouldn't comment if you have no idea what you're talking about. Apparently that's the case for most of you.

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Hmm ... in my post I said it's been while (5+ years) since I worked with management consulting firms ... however most of that experience was in the 5-15 years ago range so it is not that long ago ... and I still stand by my statement. The top firms focus at the top schools to hire their non-graduate degree associates ... exactly how many business degree folks are they going to hire from Yale, Harvard, Amherst, and Williams? There certainly are folks they may hire from Wharton (Penn) or Sloan (MIT) or Marshall (USC) however the vast majority of candidates at the top schools are not business majors because they can't be business candidates ... the 50% number can't be right for those firms overall ... I certainly would buy it might be in particular offices (for example, the Philly office with a ton of Wharton grads).</p>

<p>one example ... here is a link for getting recruited for Bain ... Join</a> Bain & Company: Bain on your campus > Apply to Bain. Trying plugging in schools to see where they recruit ... it certainly includes schools with B-school (USC, Penn, and Indiana, for example) ... and includes lots of schools without undernraduate B-schools (Harvard, Yale, Amherst, Williams) ... can't tell from this where they recruit undergrads or grads. I have about 10 years experience working with these firms and stand by the statement for recent undergrads they hire the person not the major ... although having a major in which they are interested probably can help while not being a requirement.</p>

<p>another pierce of data ... OCS-Students:</a> Jobs / Senior Survey 2009</p>

<p>18% of Harvard graduating seniors who got a job went into consulting (and 31% went into financial services). That's half of Harvard grads who go directly to work going into consulting or financial services ... and not one business or finance major among them. It seems to me they are hiring the person.</p>

<p>I also have met a few consultants in my life as a tax lawyer and writer. My experience echoes much of what 3togo has said. I have seen some top consultants,such as my sister-in-law, who didn't go to a top named school. However, she was not only a national merit scholar but is one of the smartest people that I know. I think for for anything related to computer consulting or software consulting, you knowledge base and who you are matters much more than the school that you attend.</p>

<p>Based on your comments, neither of you know what you are talking about. My best guess is that you confusing a non management fiirm (like Accenture) with the actual firms.</p>

<p>"Accenture is a non-management firm."</p>

<p>I think I know who is the more knowledgeable side in this argument.</p>

<p>Going back to the original question, having a business major is relatively insignificant as opposed to school caliber and leadership/intern experiences. The 50% figure that Banjo claimed needs to be substantiated with some statistics in order for it to hold any worth.</p>

<p>BanjoHitter ... Accenture, Deloitte, Ernest & Young, McKinsey, and AT Kearny ... I've been pretty open about my experience and have not claimed it is all encompassing ... so far you've said you're right because you say so ... how about sharing the basis of your position ... alternative experiences would be very helpful to anyone reading this.</p>