|Introduction||Resources at Career Services||University-Wide Resources|
|General Resources||Firms Known for Hiring Advanced Degree Recipients||Firms that Consult in Biotech/Pharmaceuticals/Healthcare ||Case Interview Help |
With the continuing stagnation of the job market in academia and elsewhere, a career in consulting has become a more attractive option for many University of Pennsylvania graduate students. But consulting jobs come in many shapes and sizes, and may not be the best "fit" for everyone.
Basically, being a consultant means that you are being paid by clients to solve a problem that they can't solve on their own. You may be expected to do that in many ways: by using your own expertise in IT, engineering, financial analysis or research to resolve a specific problem, or by employing broad-based decision-making processes to help a client evaluate its overall business strategy, conduct a merger or acquisition or revamp its entire organizational structure. In fact, there are probably as many kinds of consultants as there are problems that any organization, large or small, is likely to experience at some time in its growth.
Succeeding as a consultant requires three basic strengths:
- First, you must have well-developed intellectual skills, built on a foundation of curiosity and drive for self-development. You must be able to think both creatively and logically, and perhaps even more importantly, be able to "tolerate ambiguity" that is, move issues forward and seek solutions to problems even when the situation or outcome may not be clear.
- Second, you must have a considerable amount of emotional resilience. This includes such qualities as patience, perseverance and the ability to maintain focus in the midst of work demands that can be highly stressful and physically demanding. At the beginning stages of their careers, for instance, many consultants will be expected to put in 10 to 12-hour days on a given assignment and may also have to travel at least 50% of the time.
- Third, a successful consultant needs to be able to "influence" others. This requires the ability to persuade, the skills needed to negotiate successfully, and above all, the capacity to create and sustain strong working relationships with others--clients as well as colleagues. Without this capacity, even the most insightful, knowledgeable person will have difficulty working with a team or building a consulting practice.
Consulting firms come in many shapes and sizes. There are large, diversified organizations that offer a wide range of services, like Accenture, Capgemini and Deloitte. There are a number of mid-size firms that are more specialized and may focus on IT or Strategy Consulting, like Bain and Co., McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group. And last, but certainly not least, there are many boutique firms that focus on specific industries, technologies or markets, like USA-based Insight CP, iProCon Ltd in the UK, and CFAR here in Philadelphia. These firms often operate according to a specific theory or have developed a particular methodology that puts them in a "niche" of their own.
- VAULT Online Career Library: Profiles companies and industries, advice on job search and interviewing. You will need a PennKey to access this resource
- On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) Guide for Graduate Students
- Advice from Your Peers
- Resources for PhD students and postdocs exploring careers: myIDP and Versatile PhD
- Lippincott Library @ Wharton: located in Van Pelt, Lippincott is an excellent place to do research on both specific companies and industry trends
- Penn Biotech Group: programs and consulting opportunities
- Wharton MBA Consulting Club: features an excellent page of resources, industry profiles and a firm directory
- Consulting Magazine: features the latest information on consulting careers, thought leadership, and corporate strategies
- Institute of Management Consultants USA
- McKinsey Quarterly: a print and online business journal produced by the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company
- U.S. Department of Labor: outlook on consulting as a profession
- Arthur D. Little
- A.T. Kearney
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- The Boston Consulting Group
- Clearview Healthcare Partners
- ICF International
- Leerink Swann
- L.E.K. Consulting
- M Squared
- McKinsey and Company
- Simon-Kucher and Partners
This is not an exhaustive list, but represents some of the companies that have come to campus for OCR, career fairs, to give information sessions, or to participate in panel discussions. Make use of your Penn networks (e.g., LinkedIn, QuakerNet) to make contact with Penn alumni working at these organizations.
PhD students have a variety of consulting opportunities, and career path and lifestyle are both important factors in choosing a firm. Depending on the firm, some consultants may specialize in certain industries while others work on projects from a broad range of industries. Those who work at boutique consultancies may find that their exit options are narrower compared to consultants who worked broadly across different industries. In terms of lifestyle, some consultants may travel up to 80% of the time to work at client sites, while others may work primarily with local clients and therefore travel much less.
- BioPlan Associates, Inc
- Center for Applied Research
- Clearview Healthcare Partners
- DNA Bridges
- ERA Consulting Ltd
- Huron Consulting
- Kantar Health
- LEK Consulting
- MEDACorp Consulting
- Navigant Consulting
- ZS Associates
There are different types of consulting companies within the life sciences and healthcare field, and the information presented here represents some of the feedback we have received from Penn alumni who have had experience working in different types of companies. Each person will have different perspectives about what is a good fit for them, and you should take every opportunity to explore the different types of companies for yourself.
- Case Interview Resources
- Interview Prep from The Boston Consulting Group
- Online Case Studies and Interviewing Help from McKinsey
- Interview Preparation from Oliver Wyman
- Information on Interviewing from Monitor Deloitte