MBA Candidate Persona: The Consultant


Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by MBA Gateway Team

This post is part of our MBA Candidate Persona series

Consultants come with different types of experience, with strategy consulting as one of the more popular areas. Also, some consultants specialize in industry (financial, retail, or information technology [IT] consulting, for example). Some examples of firms from which candidates with a consulting background apply are: McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, and Cap Gemini. There are also consultants who have worked for financial services companies as well as Fortune 500 companies (such as American Express and GE) in an internal consulting role.

Valuable Consultant Skill Set
Consultants are credited for having the following skillset:
• Business savvy
• Strategic thinking
• Analytical thinking
• Excellent communication skills
• Problem-solving skills
• Emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills
• Project management skills

Consultant Detractors
A large number of consultants in the pool increases the competition because they are, in a way, competing against each other. Here are the detractors associated with candidates from consulting backgrounds:
• Talkative and can be seen as arrogant
• Viewed as idea people but sometimes lack operational and implementation skills
• Question whether they are the ones driving their career vision instead of simply following a well-laid plan

• Skepticism as to whether they need an MBA. (If you are planning to remain in consulting, the MBA Board may question why you want the MBA. Are you simply getting your ticket punched?)

What to Do
• Demonstrate your comfort level taking a path less traveled. It could be a decision you made professionally that wasn’t popular or something you did in your community or in college. The important thing is to show the breadth and “richness” of who you are beyond being a smart, savvy professional who is great at analyzing and creating business solutions for clients.

• Show that you can go beyond developing great ideas; speak to experiences you’ve had in which you were able to manage people to implement an idea.
• Show that you are the one driving your future and decisions rather than sitting back on your laurels.

• Similar to the previous point, consultants need to show that they have a clear rationale for why they want an MBA and not because all their partners have one or because everyone around them gets one after a few years of experience.


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