Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

These B-Schools Are Where Bain, BCG, McKinsey Will Snatch More MBAs In 2016

Prestige-steeped strategy houses hungry for MBA hires

Wed Jan 20 2016

The world’s elite consultancy firms are set to tap into the MBA talent pipeline in raucous fashion in 2016.

McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Co are among the strategy houses that are snapping up increasing numbers of MBA students at top schools.

“Traditionally we hire from the top 25 or 30 schools from around the world,” said Stephen Shih, who leads Bain & Company’s MBA recruiting efforts in Asia Pac.

“MBA graduates often exhibit the qualities we’re looking for,” he said: leadership; entrepreneurialism; and the ability to use data and analysis to solve complex problems, among others.

At London Business School, career data released on Tuesday showed BCG, Bain and McKinsey are among the top four recruiters. The trio hired 72 of 401 MBAs; McKinsey hired 38 alone.

“We have a strong relationship with McKinsey,” said Lara Berkowitz, executive director for the career center at LBS, where the consulting sector hired 33% of 2015’s class — the most of any industry.

She said...

ite firm values a strategic mind-set, creative problem solving skills, global experience, and candidates who can speak multiple languages. “The MBAs hired by McKinsey are going to offices all over the world,” she said.

Meanwhile, McKinsey doubled the number of MBAs it hired at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business last year.

“Hiring has increased,” said Sheryle Dirks, associate dean for Fuqua’s Career Management Center, but competition among b-school students is intense.

McKinsey forms the elite trio of consultancy firms, along with Bain and BCG, which hired 18% of the MBAs at Dartmouth Tuck.


“There is strong demand from students and from [consultancy] recruiters,” said Jonathan Masland, director of Tuck’s Career Development Office. Advisory firms hired 34% of the class overall.

The likes of Accenture, Cognizant and Deloitte, meanwhile, have similarly robust MBA recruitment drives. Such firms are hiring in great numbers at the likes of INSEAD in Europe, Chicago Booth in the US, and CEIBS in Asia.

For Emory’s Goizueta School of Business, 38% of the MBA class was hired by consulting firms in 2015. These include A.T Kearney, KPMG, and PwC. The same prestige companies snapped up 35% of Kellogg School of Management’s MBA class last year.

“There’s a huge need to bring in expertise and, like in any industry that is growing, [consulting] needs every level of talent,” said Mazhar Hussain, from the KPMG Digital, Analytics & Innovation UK leadership team, who believes there remains demand for MBAs at the firm.

Many of the opportunities in consulting are now in fast-growing digital areas such as big data analytics, he added. “The industry is blowing up.”

The strong employment trends of the year before paint a pretty picture for the year ahead.

“Our partners in consulting firms, including the Big Four, remain optimistic [for 2016],” said Tina Lee, director of the MBA Career Management Center at CUHK Business School. The attraction to MBAs remains strong, she said.

Conrad Chua, head of MBA careers at the UK’s Cambridge Judge Business School, said consulting is a solid recruitment sector, among others. “We are cautiously optimistic that the prospects are good.”

The lust advisory firms have for the MBA profile is matched by student interest in the sector. Management consulting has long been a neat fit with MBAs: experience with a prestige firm can accelerate a career; firms also offer fast progression, and fat pay checks.

Sue Kline, at MIT Sloan’s MBA Career Development Office, said: “Consulting firms have been among our top hirers for 30 years and remain of strong interest to our students.”

At Virginia’s Darden School, Berkeley-Haas, Wharton, Stanford and Harvard, MBAs working in consulting earned $140,000 average starting salaries in 2015.

“One cannot ignore the generous base salaries strategic consulting firms offer, especially when a new grad is faced with a high debt load,” said Regina Resnick, at Columbia Business School’s Career Management Center.

Other top sources of consulting talent for elite firms are Michigan’s Ross School, where the sector hired 31% of MBAs; Yale (29%); and NYU Stern (29%).