What degree do you need for management consulting

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We often get asked what degree is needed or what is the best degree for management consulting firms such as McKinsey, BCG, and Bain.

You don’t need to be a business major

A common misconception is that management consultants need to have a business background. Yet, the truth is simple. The type of degree does not matter much for reputable management consulting firms when hiring generalist consultants.

In fact, firms such as McKinsey pride themselves in that 50% of their consulting workforce have a non-business background. Previously, advertising this fact has even been part of the Firm’s recruiting strategy.

In practice, there is a natural bias towards business graduates as well as left-brain, analytical disciplines such as math or physics. However, this is more a personal preference of applicants rather than reflective of the actual recruiting strategy. In the top firms, you will find a lot of talent with – at first sight – surprising backgrounds such as theology, political science, etc.

You need to be top-of-class

In the end, it all comes down to the type of skills that top tier consulting firms look for in applicants. You can demonstrate these to potential employers, regardless of the type of degree, by

  • Attending a reputable university or target school in your geography of choice, from which the consultancies actively recruit from
  • Graduate among the best of your peer group
  • Polish your resume/ CV in other areas such as professional experience, international exposure, and extracurricular activities

Depending on the office or geography you are applying in, there might be differences regarding the minimum duration of studies. While some accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree, others require a master-level degree.

The consulting landscape is changing

Lastly, with more diverse projects and digitization, there are more and more positions that require specific skills or backgrounds such as data scientists or designers. For the generalist consultants, which still make up 90% of the hiring base, this is not relevant.

How we can help you to break into consulting, regardless of your background or degree

If you want professional help to tailor your application and pass the screening stage, check out our cover letter and resume services. As former McKinsey consultants, we have screened 100s of resumes and cover letters and know exactly what you need to include to move to the interviews.

If you want to improve your case interview and problem-solving skills and learn the key habits and tricks that make you succeed in any McKinsey, BCG, and Bain interview, try our case practice.

Together, we spent 9 years with McKinsey and coached 100s of candidates to receive their desired offers. Our mock interviews have a 100% satisfaction rate and 9 out of 10 candidates that go through our Consulting interview coaching program receive the offer. If you want to get the same knowledge in an extensive 40-part video series, check out our Ready-for-McKinsey video academy.


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