Executive MBA & Consulting


I've worked in the telecom industry for 11 years. I don't have a MBA. Would getting an Executive MBA help in getting a case interview?

My Reply:

I can't speak for all firms, but I have never met anyone in consulting at any firm that had an Executive MBA. Amongst the top firms, there's a perception that the Executive MBA programs at top schools are not as competitive as the regular MBA program - so most don't recruit from those programs.

If you were a great candidate and happened to have an Executive MBA, I don't think it would hurt you. However, I think if you really were a great candidate to  begin with I think you'd be able to get the interview without the Executive MBA.

Given your background, I recommend networking extensively to get an interview. This is the best bet for people with backgrounds that don't fit into those pre-defined profiles that the firms usually go after.

Then once you get an interview, you have to do amazing to make any progress.

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4 comments… add one
  • Rachid Jul 12, 2012, 9:40 am

    Hi Victor,

    Thanks for your answers and useful articles.

    I’m currently working as sales manager coming from a Telco background. (31 years old, GMAT 710)
    I was thinking of an EMBA (LBS) for financial reason i can not be 1 or 2 years away from work.
    I wanted to move into consulting after the EMBA.
    Do you think it is a possible change of carreer for me?

  • Victor Cheng Jun 27, 2012, 2:27 pm

    Reem – Of the top firms, McKinsey is probably your best bet. Look for into on their “APD” program and “experienced hires”. One of my colleagues at McKinsey was a fully tenured professor of astrophysics at Princeton.

    Other firms dont have as much of an infrastructure to teach business concepts to talented new hires without business experience, so McKinsey should be your first choice.

    Second to that, you might look at boutique consulting firms that say do some kind of financial consulting. They too might value your specific background and might enjoy being able to say they have former professors on staff as consultants. For the right kind of firm, that could be very attractive to them.

    Abhik – Amongst the top firms, the executive MBA is not valued nearly as much as the full time one. The perception is that the full time mba is a much more selective program. The firms don’t really value what you learn at b-school all that much, they value that you made it through a difficult selection process to get in.

    In addition, IT services backgrounds also aren’t valued that highly mostly because there are so many people who come out of that sector.

    That being said, here are some things to focus on. To separate yourself from the crowd, consider doing some extensive networking. You can see my articles on this topic by going to http://www.caseinterview.com/search

    In addition, I would suggest targeting top 6 – 100 firms. You will have much greater traction there than in the top 5 or even top 10 firms.

    The exceptions to this advice would be if your undergraduate university was an elite one and you had very strong undergrad grades or GRE/GMAT scores. That might help you aim slightly higher in your targeting.


  • ABHIK DALAL Jun 27, 2012, 11:15 am


    I have currently working in an IT services company and have been working in Banking and Finance domain for 5 yrs . I am already an Engineering Graduate and soon I would be pursuing for the Executive MBA. I wanted to move into some consulting jobs , so can you please suggest what would be the probable option for me in the Consulting , after working at an IT firm for 5 yrs and post MBA. Which firms can I look for and in what way I should prepare.

  • Reem Mar 4, 2011, 11:45 am

    I am a professor of Finance in a Business School (6 years of work experience) and I am a PhD in Corporate Finance. I am actually very interested in a carrer in consulting, but I don’t have any experiene of work outside academia. Would the consulting firms be interested in my background in applied research and teaching in finance?

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