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Choosing the Best Business School for Consulting

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With Round 1 decisions released for dozens of leading business schools, some applicants find themselves in the enviable position of having secured multiple acceptances. As successful applicant Preston Landers put it in our Fridays from the Frontline post last week, “It’s my turn to do the rejecting.”

Indeed, with the hard work of applying behind them, Round 1 applicants now face the equally important task of deciding which business school will best meet their needs. Others are still gunning for Round 2 deadlines—no doubt trying to craft essays that reflect deep knowledge of individual school programs and how they dovetail with their personal career goals.

To help in either endeavor, Clear Admit is launching a new series designed to drill down into the career placement statistics and other resources at individual schools on an industry-by-industry basis. We’re kicking things off with a look first at some of the best business schools for consulting.

Consulting Continues to Be a Top Draw for MBAs
Unlike investment banking, which lost some of its allure for MBA grads in the wake of the financial crisis, consulting has held its own as one of the most sought-after industries to work in after business school. The 2015 Prospective Student Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) reveals that consulting topped the list of intended industries for both millennial and Gen X respondents, with 41 and 27 percent respectively seeking jobs in either consulting services or management consulting upon graduation.

Part of the allure of consulting is the diverse work. Consultants get to think creatively and solve problems, analyze both the big picture and the details and work on teams juggling multiple assignments. Top salaries don’t hurt either. Recent MBA graduates taking jobs at firms like Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company and other consulting powerhouses reported starting base salaries of between $140,000 to $147,000, with additional signing bonuses of $25,000, according to, an online resource for the consulting industry.

Choosing the Best Business School for Consulting
Determining which leading business school will best prepare you for a career in consulting requires looking at a range of factors, including career outcomes at individual schools, both in terms of summer internships and full-time jobs. If possible with the available data, you also want to get a sense of how well a school has done placing career-switchers, namely those without prior consulting experience, in coveted consulting roles, since presumably barriers for entry are higher here than for counterparts who have already worked in the field.

It can also be instructive to see which of the powerhouse consulting firms donate to which leading business schools. Finally, it helps to understand how a given school goes about teaching its students to be consultants, what role experiential learning places, whether you can hope to learn directly from superstar professors in the field and what extracurricular resources are in place to help you land your dream consulting gig.