‘THEY’RE ON OUR RADAR, AND WE’RE ON THEIRS, HOPEFULLY’
Former members of the military are at a premium, as well. Google holds a Student Veteran Summit, and financial services giant Credit Suisse host a MBA Military Boot Camp. Investment banking and wealth management firm William Blair combines its diversity/military aspirations into one event, the William Blair LIFT MBA Program, a two-day immersion program that “gives incoming MBA students from diverse backgrounds a unique opportunity to learn about career opportunities in investment banking and build valuable relationships.”
A.T. Kearney has been in the pre-MBA business since 2010, Leslie Parker says. The consulting giant’s event, scheduled for June 15-16 this year, has grown and evolved over the years, she says, changing from a small program that routed students into a boot camp later in the calendar year to its own entity, with its own process.
“It has grown over the years,” Parker tells Poets&Quants. “It’s a selective process, not an open one. How it’s changed over time is that we have basically initiated our own process of selecting people to come to the boot camp, and we’ve made it earlier in the cycle. And what that’s helped with is, even if you go through the couple days of the boot camp, and you’re not among the selected people who are asked to come back to interview for our summer associate process, we’ve met you, we’ll see you on campus. Then when we come back around as the recruiting season progresses, then we’ve already met each other and we’ve started to have a relationship.
“They’re on our radar, and we’re on theirs, hopefully.”
TWO DAYS IN THE LIFE
No two boot camps are identical, certainly, but A.T. Kearney’s format is unlikely to be greatly deviated from. It basically serves as an introduction to the firm in the form of a mini-business school experience. Harris, in A.T. Kearney’s Chicago office, says the two-day event is intense, packed with information, and brimming with networking opportunities. It even involves a case study, compete with guidance from company executives.
“The participants come in on an afternoon on the first day and right away we introduce them to the firm,” Harris tells Poets&Quants. “They will go through a series of sessions led by our senior leaders at the firm, whether it’s our head of the Americas or the head of our diversity network, etc. — we have engagement throughout the firm on the bootcamps.”
After an introductory session about the firm and its services, participants go into a case workshop, Harris says. “For many of these students, it’s their first time actually practicing case interviews or learning about the frameworks that you would use in a case interview,” she says. “And so we spend a good amount of time going through what a case interview is, the frameworks, examples.”
The day ends with an informal cocktail event in the city, where the students are able to come together and get to know each other — and also meet with everyone from partners to analysts.
“That’s day one,” Harris says with a laugh, adding that day two involves information-heavy morning and afternoon workshops, including more case work.
WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR: GENUINE INTEREST
The A.T. Kearney Diversity Consulting Boot Camp covers not only the firm’s management consulting services, Parker says, but also its specialist practice in procurement and analytic solutions. It’s open, as its name implies, to newly admitted pre-MBA students of black, Hispanic, and Native-American backgrounds. But there are other qualifications would-be participants must meet, Parker says.
“I think what we’re looking for is interest,” she says. “We want people who think they may have an interest in management consulting. It’s obviously a win-win for us because we get to meet people early who have clearly demonstrated an ability to get into business school, but they also get chance to test out whether this is really for them. So in terms of the personal qualities that we’re looking for: genuine interest, demonstrated leadership and problem-solving skills, and obviously a degree of academic achievement. If you’re a person who is going into school in the fall of 2017, and you meet those eligibility requirements, then we’re going to be interested.”
And yes, A.T. Kearney has hired people through its pre-MBA events, Parker says, though she couldn’t say just how many employees owed their jobs to that channel.
“For us, when people join our firm, the number-one thing they say is that the culture is what made the difference,” Parker says. “And so we find that if we can introduce them to A.T. Kearney and the way we work and the culture of the firm, that we have a better chance of converting that person later on.”