In consulting, the MBA is a must-have degree for young analysts who want to move up the ladder to partner status. Many of those analysts come to the industry with undergradate degrees in business or economics. They’re often wanting to get their ticket punched and to do so as quickly as possible. INSEAD’s advantage here is both its prestige as one of the best business schools in Europe along with a program that allows a student to get an MBA in a mere ten months.
An extraordinarily high percentage of INSEAD students come from consulting, get their MBAs and then return to their consulting firms who pay for their degrees. In fact, INSEAD says that four of every ten grads who go into consulting are returning to their pre-MBA employers.
WHICH SCHOOLS CONVERT NON-CONSULTANTS TO BECOME CONSULTANTS?
Of course, delivering the highest percentage of graduating MBAs into consulting is one story. Another perhaps more fascinating story is which schools most successfully convert their students into consultants.
In most cases, it is difficult to track the percentage of consultants brought into a specific MBA program versus the percentage who graduate and go into the profession. That’s largely because schools typically publish data for the latest incoming and and the latest graduating class–not before and after-data for the same class.
Using available, albeit imperfect, numbers, we calculated what you might call “the converstion rate”–the percentage of graduating MBAs who enter the consulting industry versus the percentage who had left consulting to become MBA students–varies from school to school. Not surprisingly perhaps, the highest “conversion rate” occurs at Kellogg where 23% of the incoming class comes from the consulting industry but 39% of the graduates become consultants–a conversion rate of 16 percentage points. In other words, Kellogg is producing 70% more consultants than it admits.
INSEAD TURNS OUT 50% MORE CONSULTANTS THAN THE SCHOOL ENROLLS
At INSEAD, the conversion rate is 13 percentage points and the school is turning out 50% more consultants than it admits. That’s somewhat less than Oxford’s Said School at 63%, or the University of Chicago’s Booth School at 62%, or Stanford at 59%.
Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business is also on the high end. Some 21% of the incoming class came out of consulting, but 33% of the graduates enter consulting–a conversion rate of 12 percentage points. That’s a function of the superb quality of the raw material going into Tuck, but also of its general management curriculum taught largely by the case study method. And like Kellogg, Tuck is known for its deeply collaborative and highly engaged student culture.
One of the biggest surprises might well be Emory’s Goizueta School of Business. Only 10% of the school’s Class of 2011 had pre-MBA consulting experience, but 31% of the graduates in the class ended up in consulting. The conversion rate? A whopping 68%, just two points shy of Kellogg’s conversion rates.
COLUMBIA IS THE ONLY PRESTIGE SCHOOL TO CHANNEL CONSULTANTS ELSEWHERE
On the other hand, Columbia Business School is one of the few schools–and perhaps the only prominent school–to turn consultants away from the industry in which they once worked. Some 22.3% of the Class of 2011 ventured into the consulting industry after graduation, but 28% of the same entering class hailed from consulting. So Columbia graduated 20% fewer MBAs in consulting than it admitted and enrolled. How come? Partly it’s because of the school’s renown for finance which tends to overwhelm all other industries, including consulting, leading consultant career switchers to sign up for finance jobs.
At Harvard Business School, some 24% of the Class of 2011 went into the consulting industry, versus 20% of the Class of 2014 left the industry to pursue an MBA from Harvard–a conversion rate of just four percentage points.
(See following page for table of leading schools for applicants who want to go into consulting)