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MBA for consulting: A qualification that launches successful careers

MBA for consulting
Qualified consultants are hired to discover the root causes of whatever issues a client faces and use that information to come up with a fix. Source: Alain Jocard / AFP

Both students and professionals embark on postgraduate journeys for several reasons. Some wish to expand their network. Some are eager to learn more about business. Others are gearing up for a career transition. A unifying factor? The chance to land a successful consulting career. The best route an aspirant could take often includes specifically looking into an MBA for consulting.  

Why an MBA for consulting is so popular

Consultants remain in-demand despite the ups and downs of economic climates. When organisations, big or small, confront difficult challenges, they seek guidance from these individuals – who are often perceived to be insightful and trustworthy. In most cases, they hire a team that specialises in consulting. Once called upon, this team will come in to analyse the business’s problems and identify potential solutions.

To cater to the demand, MBAs are turning toward the consulting road in higher numbers than ever before. For starters, it’s a golden ticket that unlocks doors to a variety of industries. Secondly, it’s a high-earning career path. According to US News, the average consulting salary among MBA graduates in the class of 2018 who earned their degrees from ranked full-time MBA programmes was US$130,656.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s findings were just as outstanding. Recently, they reported that MBA graduates who went into consulting right after graduating from Dartmouth’s Tuck school, Harvard, Northwestern’s Kellogg school, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton, and Stanford earned a median salary of US$165,000, highest of all schools that participated in the 2020-21 Best B-Schools Covid-19 Online Learning Survey.

MBA for consulting

Not only can acquiring an MBA for consulting open doors to some of the biggest consulting firms in the world, it also gives graduates the chance to launch successful careers in the industries of their choosing. Source: Paul J. Richards / AFP

You’re probably sold by now. The next step is how do you go about it. First and foremost, it’s important to take note that business schools rarely offer MBA specialisations in consulting — or even specialised MBAs in consulting. However, some offer specialisations in strategy or strategic management. Most MBA programmes also feature relevant classes in their core offerings. Some of these offer students the opportunity to do a consulting project as a part of their module. 

There are many business schools around the world that have a stellar track record in graduating students equipped to excel in a range of sectors, but when it comes to consulting – some are more well-reputed than others. Here are some top picks to consider: 

London Business School 

Looking at the school’s employment statistics, London Business School (LBS) is truly one of the best MBAs for consulting with 40% of LBS’s 2019 MBA graduates securing jobs in the consulting sector. Many of them land jobs with large firms like Boston Consulting, McKinsey, Bain, as well as Strategy&. The school’s MBA offers various options for students to improve their consulting chops, such as a summer project.

Columbia Business School

The Big Three love Columbia MBAs. In fact, each of the ‘MBB’ firms — McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting — typically hire dozens of Columbia graduates every year. Overall, about a third of Columbia’s 2019 cohort entered the strategy consulting industry after acquiring their MBA.

INSEAD

The percentage of INSEAD MBAs going into the consulting sector generally ranges between 30 to 40%. In 2019, it was whopping 52% — the highest rate of all schools surveyed by FindMBA.com. INSEAD remains a major feeder school for large consulting firms in Europe, with hundreds of the class of 2019 acquiring roles in firms such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting, and Bain – amongst many others.

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Much like most, the school does not offer an MBA concentration in consulting, but it does offer a major in managing organisations. Generally, over 30% of Kellogg MBAs go into the consulting industry. In 2019, the top three hiring companies of Kellogg MBAs were consulting firms McKinsey, Bain, and the Boston Consulting Group – who recruited over 100 Kellogg MBA graduates. 

Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario University 

In 2019, 42% of Richard Ivey MBA grads went into the consulting industry – the highest rate of all Canadian business schools surveyed by FindMBA.com. Many of the school’s graduates end up in the Toronto area, where there are headquarters for several management consulting firms. The school’s MBA offers a range of consulting-oriented electives in the areas of corporate strategy and leadership.