Pair a career in consulting with Asia, one of the most dynamic regions in the world, and you’re looking at a career that’ll be bursting with new challenges every day.
Jobs in the consulting sector are competitive and highly sought after—partly due to the high MBA consulting salaries on offer. This means you’ll need more than just a generalist understanding of business and strategic insight to succeed in this popular MBA industry.
Here’s how to land an MBA consulting career in Asia.
1. Practice MBA consulting skills in the classroom
The best way to make a head start in your MBA consulting career is to hone those all-important skills that will be an essential part of your consulting role.
This is exactly what Xinyi Qin, Peking University (PKU) Guanghua School of Management Global MBA alumna and consultant at Arthur D. Little, did during her time at business school. Xinyi chose to pursue an MBA after deciding on a career switch from auditing to consulting.
“It's difficult to switch to consulting from auditing. So that's when I thought doing an MBA will be a good way for me to complete a career switch,” she says.
The PKU Guanghua MBA offers courses, such as ‘Critical Thinking’ and ‘Strategy Management’, that are geared towards helping students build valuable communication and leadership skills.
It also offers a dual degree route, with opportunities to spend the second year of the two-year MBA with one of PKU’s partner schools. Being from Singapore, Xinyi studied the second half of her MBA at National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.
In the ‘MBA Survival Kit’ course at NUS, Xinyi delved further into consultancy knowledge areas through experiential learning projects based around managing challenging situations and developing a growth mindset.
2. Choose a business school with connections to MBA consulting firms
To find out everything you need to know about the consulting career path, it’s a good idea to speak directly with consultants who’ve been through the process.
The PKU Guanghua MBA offers a ‘Career Development Strategy’ course, where guest speakers from top consulting firms like EY, Deloitte, and Roland Berger are invited to speak with MBA students.
“It gave me a really good chance to learn more about the industry,” Xinyi says.
Xinyi was not only able to find out what a consulting career is really like, but she gained resume tips and advice on job interviews from the guest lecturers.
While studying for the PKU Guanghua MBA, Xinyi was accepted into an internship at the Singapore office of global consulting firm Arthur D. Little, which she eventually turned into a full-time role after graduating.
“Working in consulting involves dealing with a lot of uncertainties, so learning how to be resourceful during my internship was really helpful.”
3. Join clubs and societies to strengthen MBA consulting skills
Business school offers a great opportunity to get involved in socializing activities that can help to further your career.
For Xinyi, the PKU Guanghua MBA PitchClub, a club formed by two students, offered exactly that. The group creates a supportive space where MBAs can build negotiation, communication, and presentation skills outside the classroom.
“Every week [the PitchClub] invited guest speakers to talk to us about how to present ourselves and become more confident,” she says.
In Xinyi’s role as a business analyst, she regularly advises clients about complex business problems and presents her research findings to clients. She says that her experiences from the PitchClub have readily prepared her for a rigorous consulting career in Asia.
“There's never a dull moment in my role because I'm constantly learning new things,” she adds.
4. Leverage your MBA network to boost your consulting career
Networking is something that you’ll be encouraged to do from day one of your MBA journey. It’s especially crucial to network with a diverse array of people if you hope to forge an MBA consulting career at a global firm.
More than 30 different countries are represented in the Peking Guanghua MBA in China, bringing backgrounds across consulting, project management, business strategy, and more.
Building an MBA network in Asia will be invaluable when applying for MBA jobs in China and the rest of the fast-paced region.
“The cultural exposure and range of experiences you gain throughout the MBA really help you to feel prepared for working at consulting firms in this part of the world,” Xinyi says, adding that her MBA in China enabled her to gain different work experiences across telecommunications and food business in the region.
If you've got hopes of building a career in a certain location, it's a good idea to join an MBA program within the region you’d like to work within so you can take full advantage of the business school’s links to employers in the area.