Consulting Application Deadlines For 2024-2025

Up or out.

It’s the unwritten – but consistently enforced – rule of management consulting. Associate or partner, you’re expected to learn and grow. Over time, you fill your gaps and perfect your role as a well-rounded leader, expert, and difference-maker. To some, up or out comes across as callous – a dog-eat-dogma mindset that harkens back to Darwin and Nietzsche. In reality, it is for everyone’s own good.

On the surface, it can be intimidating to be constantly coached and evaluated. In consulting, this practice is really support – giving everyone the same chance to follow their passions, hone their abilities, and reach their potential. The industry boasts many carrots – pay, exposure, travel, and know-how among them. However, the catch is you have to hit your benchmarks on the firm’s schedule. You can’t just flatline in an industry where you’re expected to the brightest, hungriest, and most imaginative problem-solvers. Many times, that means you’re assessed every engagement on whether you’re still the right person in the right spot with the right skills who can still dazzle clients and hold teams together.


Fact is, the weight and pace are expected to take their toll. When it happens, you just leverage your network and take the exit ramp to bigger-and-better things. There’s no shame when you’re out. Only the select few make it to partner. Consulting firms are masters at helping clients adapt to change without sight of their mission, culture, and differentiators. The up or out philosophy is simply a way to refresh firms by continuously adding new ideas and energy.

Of course, up and out has been taking a new form over the past year. Take McKinsey & Company. The nudge has been replaced with the bullhorn, with the firm doling out poor performance reviews, speeding up promotion timelines, and incentivizing departures. These actions have hardly been taken in isolation. Last November, The Financial Times reported that McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group were freezing starting pay. Months earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that MBB firms were pushing back onboarding for Class of 2023 hires – with Bain even offering to pay candidates to pursue other avenues during the interim. For existing hires, the demands were sometimes slowed, giving them the time – as the joke goes – to catch up on Netflix.

What does that mean for ambitious MBAs and business majors looking to break into the field? In the 2024 Consulting Salaries Report produced by Management Consulted, the message was mixed. Employment demand remained high, which enabled firms to hold the line on pay. Over the horizon, the industry is poised for a comeback.

“It’s a great time to break into the industry,” the report adds. “Comp should be on the rise in 2025, and the lifestyle is actually better than it was 5-10 years ago. How? Travel is down, utilization is coming down from pre-pandemic highs, and salaries are still significantly higher than 2019. Put it all together, on top of the professional development and exit opportunities, and that’s a pretty great value proposition for consulting.”


That translates to opportunity in an industry that’s always on the lookout for talent. Question is, when do these opportunities – be it training or interning – become available? More important, where can prospective consultants access information in these areas?

Well, you can thank Management Consulted for putting everything you need in one spot. In its regularly-updated Management Application Deadlines page, Management Consulted provides deadlines and information links for all the recruiting programs supplied by top firms, even breaking it down by applicable audience (i.e. undergraduate, MBA, etc.).

Wondering when to apply to Bain & Company, for example? Last week, Management Consulted posted that the application deadline for undergraduates and MBAs to apply for associate consultant jobs was July 7 and September 8. Those deadlines applied to internships with the firm too. In contrast, the deadline for applying to ExperienceBain – a summer exposure program targeted to pre-MBAs – is May 1 – less than a month away. McKinsey & Company offers a similar summer program – McKinsey Early Access – with a May 13 deadline. The program’s diversity program – Inspire – also follows a May 13 deadline. The Boston Consulting Group brands its pre-MBA program as BCG Unlock. To get in, you need to apply by April 28.

The MBA Applications page doesn’t just spotlight the MBB. You’ll also find deadlines and information for programming involving firms ranging from Accenture to Kearney to Charles River Associates. It also separates domestic from international consulting programs. Looking to get started? Click on the link below to access Management Consulted’s page.






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