MBB firms all require a consulting cover letter. It will be read immediately after your CV, provided your CV has gotten the recruiters attention. Whether you are writing a BCG, Bain or McKinsey cover letter, these tips all apply!
One page, font 11 minimum, 3-5 paragraphes.
Cover letters require some works and here is the single question that they should answer: what makes you good candidate for management consulting? Therefore, your job is to link your experience, passions and drive with what consulting firms are looking for in a candidate. Here is what they look for, depending on your profile.
The fresh-out-of-school candidate (undergrad and grad)
If you just graduated and never worked for more than 6 months, you won’t have very much business experience to share. Still, there are a few things you can do to make your cover letter attractive to management consulting HR:
- Show you are a team player: talk about projects, especially those where you had a leadership role, give a quick context, challenges, actions and impact of the 1-2 most impressive projects.
Tip: Learn about the STAR framework here
- Show you are passionate and driven: demonstrate your ability to start and see personal projects through. Talk about your motivations, the challenges you faced and how you have overcome them. Nobody wants to work with a boring person so this is the place to really talk about what excites you!
- Show you are a problem solver: take examples of technical or team-related challenges that you faced and describe the strategies you put in place to solve them.
- Show you are willing to learn and flexible: management consultants can work for very diverse industries and functional sectors, they work hard and they are always on the road. If you have specialized in a technical topic, talk about your learning journey and mention any awards and recognitions. Give examples of your ability to handle a high workload.
- Why move to consulting: if you don’t come from business school, it might less obvious why you want to switch to consulting. Typical reasons include: broadening your horizon, working with different people, exploring the world of business. Search online for the industries that the office you are applying to is mostly serving and see whether there is a link with your experience.
The 5-years-of-experience and/or MBA candidate
If you have some work experience and want to move to consulting, or are graduating from your MBA, the bar for the cover letter is high. Here are some of the topics to cover:
- Show you are a leader: show a track record of leadership positions, with high impact projects and large teams.
- Show you have expertise in a business topic: management consulting firms are craving for people with strong industry or functional knowledge. This is your time to tell what you know from your previous work and link it to how this will be useful as a consultant. Look at what industries your office is focused on, and if there is no match, broaden your search to a regional level.
- Show your business acumen: managing clients, working internationally, building financial models, managing budgets, having a track record of business impact, all these examples show that you are an experienced professional that could be put in front of a client with confidence.
- Show are passionate and driven: demonstrate your ability to start and see personal projects through. Talk about your motivations, the challenges you faced and how you have overcome them. Nobody wants to work with a boring person so this is the place to really talk about what excites you!
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