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As a U.S. Army Vet and non-traditional student who will graduate at the age of 34 with a degree in finance, how can I make myself an attractive candidate for hire at competitive firms such as the Big 4 firms, McKinsey, Bain, or BCG.

I am studying at UMD - Smith School of Business.

I have 2 years of school remaining.

I have no relevant work history outside of my current internship at a Big 4 firm.

I am shooting for a Management Consultant position.

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Subject: Career question for you

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7 answers


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Kim’s Answer

Jermaine,

It's good that you are starting now to figure out the next step. I encourage you to take full advantage of all Military Transition services, perhaps something available through your local workforce office. Also, I strongly encourage you to connect with/follow this individual on LinkedIn, and spend some time reading the material he posts. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattscherer/

You didn't say what your military MOS was, but I highly doubt that you have "no" relevant work history. Learning to capitalize on "transferable job skills" is the key to moving forward without having to start at the bottom all over again.

Best of luck!
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Ravi’s Answer

Hello,

Being an IT consultant myself, I can tell that you may not have the relevant skills, but your earlier job profile may help you with the Position of Management Consulting as you are not someone who does not have any practical experience . But also to tell you that Management consulting varies according to which industry you work for. Though your internship terms would help you if you did well during those times. Also it is vital to make impression and connections both, so that someone in the organization can refer you for any relevant open positions.
Also try to get the feedback while you leave your internship, so that at least you get an idea how you performed for those terms.

I hope this helps.
Best wishes..!!
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Tommy’s Answer

Congratulations and thank you for your service. First I'd start to connect with professionals from these companies and learn about what they are looking for. The network is more important than the resume. You will be surprised how willing the civilian population are to helping you. Use them to help get a clear understanding of the roles you are interested in. Another example is look up a job on any company site- then reach out to people with those titles on LinkedIn to gain better insight on skills certification you should be trying to obtain first. These will open up a tone of doors for you.
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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Jermaine, thank you for your question, if you really want to stand out with one of the big four firms the first thing you will need to do is have a professional write your resume for you. The reason you would want to do this is because what you may see as things you have done in your military career aren't related to the work you're looking to do. For example, the time you spent in the military you were paid by DFAS the military pay system, well you have been trained and worked in that system for however many years you were in service. All you need to do is talk to the person who is going to be doing your resume it's important you tell them all your information even if you don't think it's relevant. Best of luck
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Anthony’s Answer

Hi, It is very good to aim high. Your previous service in the military, coupled with the internship you are undertaking are both part of working experience.
Go ahead with your current studies, and your major vision would be greatly achieved.
Best wishes.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Jermaine,

First of all, it is great that you have gone back to school. I think that having lived a life, including military service, is a big competitive advantage for you along with getting a new degree. You will have new knowledge combined with the experience of being in a workplace and handling the challenges that being an adult already. I think that your military service is going to be a great asset in any business situation, since you have probably done several jobs and have work experience that can translate that you might not have considered before. I would say that you should look into questions that you may need to be expected to answer during interviews to get a sense of how you would answer. During your studies, identify areas where you have had a parallel experience to what you are learning about. I would focus on the skills that can transfer - teamwork, leadership, problem solving, communication skills, conflict resolution, and knowledge of some tools that you will be using. Often times, companies will teach you how to do your job including systems. During an interview, they will focus on skills that you already have that they will not have to train.

An additional item, I would say start connecting with individuals in finance. Build your network. Join financial groups, including making connections with people in the classes that you are attending now.

Gloria
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Sean’s Answer

Hi Jermaine,

Like Kim mentioned - I am sure you have some relevant work experience, especially if you are interning now at a Big 4 firm! A few additional thoughts:

1) With 2 years left in school, you still have another year for an internship - so I would encourage you to start the recruiting process early next school year. If the firm you are interested in, does not come on campus to recruit at your school - that's okay, you can still apply there and reach out to folks working there (but it will be on you to be proactive).
2) Look for groups at these firms that are meant to support veterans in their transition. For example, McKinsey has a group for veterans, and they will connect you with other veterans that work at McKinsey to help you in the recruiting process (https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/Veterans-at-McKinsey)
3) In a consulting role, there is always going to be topics or problems you have never seen before that you will need to solve. So I would encourage you think about more than just the skills you might need to succeed in a consulting role (e.g. excel, regression analysis, data visualization, etc.), but also the mindset and structure you will need to be able to solve those problems.

Best of luck with the process and thank you for your service!
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