Reflections and Takeaways from Consulting Industry Day

Nick Zhang
Nick Zhang

Nick Zhang received his BA in Mathematics from Boston University in 2018. After graduation, he worked as an investment manager at Taiyou Fund, and a venture partner at Skylight Investment primarily focused on early-stage VC investments in frontier technologies, including blockchain and virtual reality. Before he graduated from Boston University, Nick had several internships in sales, marketing, and consulting, including his Bain & Company PTA program focused on the PE industry. Nick enjoys networking and is continuously expanding his network by attending events.

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On October 4, I had the opportunity to participate in the Consulting Industry Day 2019 hosted by Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and sponsored by our  Career Development Office. During the most heated recruiting period for the consulting industry, Career Development invited 13 consulting professionals from Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Virginia to Carey Business School for roundtable discussions with our students who are actively seeking consulting career opportunities.

The Consulting Industry Day started with a welcome remark by Kevin Frick, our vice-dean and professor, which was then followed by the guest introductions. We are honored to have 13 Carey alumni from various consulting firms, including Deloitte, Guidehouse (Navigant), Gartner, Sia Partners, Tuscany, and Herspiegel. These guests briefly introduced their firms and their annual recruiting procedures, which then catalyzed their discussions with our students in the roundtable part.

As a mixture of networking and information session, the roundtable discussions were relatively time-efficient in the way that most of the questions raised by students were well-structured, and we could ask more follow-up questions according to the guests’ answers. I was impressed by the frankness of some guests, who directly shared their experiences of getting jobs in the consulting industry. Besides, three out of those thirteen alumni guests are recruiters, sharing us their unique insights and tips from HR’s perspective.

After five roundtable discussions, my notes presented some similarities among these consulting firms, while illustrating their differentiated demands of candidates. For consulting firms that have a strong focus on data and hypothesis testing, proficiency in data analysis software, including R, Excel, and Tableau, is preferred, while other healthcare consulting companies hope their applicants to show some industry-related knowledge, or at least, interests.

Our event ended with the joint networking lunch with our Health Care Industry Day. I found this networking lunch valuable because I reached out to some guests I did not talk to during the morning session and had some pleasant conversations with them. It is always useful to build personal connections with people by talking about something interesting, instead of work-related topics. The lunch not only filled my stomach but also enriched my local consulting network.

As our Career Development Office is highly devoted to providing as many career-related networking opportunities for most Carey students as possible, I would love to share my takeaways of how to succeed in such events.

  • “Do your homework”

The guest lists are sometimes posted on Handshake before the events. It’s always useful to read their LinkedIn profiles and do some research on their current companies. Questions like “what does your company do” are not a good representation of your preparation and professionalism.

  • “Be a tailor”

Try to ask as many firm-specific questions as possible to show your interests. As I observed, guests are more willing to answer those questions, which significantly dig into their companies. Asking interesting questions is one of the ways we can impress the guests.

  • “Pull the trigger”

As we have already cultivated relationships with those professionals, sending follow-up emails and LinkedIn invitations enable us to realize the values we built up during those networking events. Imagining myself as them usually helps me remove my fear and hesitation to ask them for informational interviews by phone, or possibly referrals.

The Consulting Industry Day provided me a great experience to know more about the consulting industry and some local consulting firms. And I cannot express how honored I am to share my takeaways on Carey The Torch. Last but not least, I hope everyone at the Carey Business School can get their dream offer!

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