Since we started the Inside Coach the question most frequently asked by our members has been:
“What kind of CV are the top consulting firms in the Netherlands looking for?”
It is a hard question, because there are so many possible answers and there is not one possible consulting cv.
We have analyzed the LinkedIn profiles of almost 50 consultants working at top firms in the Netherlands to provide a fact based – and surprisingly straightforward – answer to the question.
Recommendations for the consulting cv
Getting high grades is the only must have for a consulting cv
Top consultancy firms do not provide us any specific requirements on grades. As the overall package including the type of degree and extracurricular activities is the deciding factor, it is just impossible to provide straight rules such as “minimum 8.0”.
Using LinkedIn, it was impossible to get a decisive answer on this through our analysis. We did find that 40% of all consultants put “Cum Laude” or “With Distinction” on their LinkedIn profile for at least one degree.
Based on my experience, you could take the below as a starting point (but by no means feel discouraged to apply if you do not meet these criteria):
- High school grades: Typically high average such as 7.5. Mathematics is important and they typically look for an 8 in this subject, especially if you are not pursuing a quantitative degree such as engineering or econometrics.
- MSc grades: Depends strongly on what you study, but generally they are looking for something above 7.5. But grades of 8.0-9.0 are no exception.
- BSc grades: Less important than MSc grades but the higher the better. Grades lower than 7.5 tend to raise some eyebrows and you would have to compensate with other achievements.
Experience abroad is almost a must have for a consulting cv
Going abroad comes close to a second must have. About 70% of all consultants has done at least one academic semester or an internship abroad.
Only 11% of consultants has neither experience abroad nor a full time commission. So if you tend to get homesick, doing a full time commission is not a bad idea.
But most of all be aware that this is your own unique journey
Most CVs could not be summarized in simple terms like full time commission, study abroad and internship. At the top firms, the personal passion tended to shine through their profile whether it is in the form of a company started or a language learnt.
Some examples of unique journeys leading to a consultancy career:
- Someone studying medicine would publish a paper, be part of a related organization and intern in a special group at a certain hospital
- Someone studying applied physics would start her own company, participate in a think tank and win the best graduate competition, taking longer to graduate than average
Other consultants had a very straightforward cv and checked off some obvious boxes such as “difficult degree”, “graduated quickly” and “did some stuff at student organizations”.
The average consulting cv can be differentiated for technical and non-technical degrees
We found that the types of consulting cv can be roughly split into two categories: technical (engineering, physics etc.) and non-technical degrees (social sciences, humanities and everything else).
Interested in more insider knowledge like this?
Read more about consulting cv:
- Consulting CV recommendations for technical students
- Consulting CV recommendations for non-technical students
We hope this analysis about the consulting cv has been useful to you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments, questions or topics you would like us to talk about next. Your feedback will be much appreciated.
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Details about the consulting cv analysis
The analysis above is based upon the profiles of 43 consultants, from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Strategy&, Roland Berger and OC&C (with the % of consultants included in the sample decreasing in that order). Split between technical and non-technical was about 1:2. Most consultants began their degrees in Delft, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht. Consultants who studied in Groningen, Tilburg, Nijmegen, Twente, Eindhoven and Maastricht were also taken into account.