Making The Most Out Of A Networking Event at University

If you are going to university, it is likely that you will attend a corporate networking event at some point. Whether you want to form connections with your dream employer, find out about a specific company or industry, or simply go because that’s what all of your friends seem to be doing, these events can be useful, but also somewhat overwhelming. What do people actually do at these events? Who should I talk to and what should I talk about? In this article, I will provide you with some practical advice based on my personal experience attending and organising countless corporate recruitment events at Oxford University.

There are different types of corporate events that involve networking, such as company presentations, workshops, and dinner or drinks events. While some events may have a formal part in the beginning or in between, the networking more or less always looks the same – you grab a drink or a bite to eat, gather around some employees, and try to engage in a conversation. After a while you move on and try to get to know another person. Some people despise this sort of event – after all, it’s only meaningless small talk, isn’t it? Actually, it doesn’t have to be. If you know what you are doing, you can benefit from attending such events and may even find them enjoyable.

First of all, you need to decide what you want to get out of the event. For specific questions concerning your application, it is often useful to talk to the recruitment team. They will not only answer your questions, but may even give you exclusive tips on how to stand out as an applicant. However, often the answers you receive may not be any different from the material presented on the company’s website – so why waste your time at the networking event if you can read through the FAQ much faster?

If you have already browsed the careers website and think that you know most basic facts about the firm as well as the recruitment process, I would advise you to talk to some of the employees in the area you are interested in. They can give you what no amount of research can: a personal narrative. Find out what they personally value about the company’s culture. That way, you can understand the work atmosphere better and simultaneously get a perfect guideline for your cover letter – after all, identifying with the corporate culture as presented by employees is a great reason to choose this firm over any other. Ask company representatives about their day-to-day work and their favourite (or least favourite) projects. Getting an impression of what the work at this firm is like will help you decide whether you want to work there, but it also makes for a good conversation starter if you would like to dig deeper. The more in-depth the conversation becomes, the more memorable it will be for the employee – which only has advantages for you. Sending a follow-up email asking another question about your conversation is also a good idea to make yourself noticed.

You have to keep in mind though: quality is better than quantity. Contrary to popular belief, a networking event is not a competition to see who can collect the most business cards. Having an interesting conversation with one employee followed by an email or LinkedIn exchange is worth much more than a brief chat with ten employees, consisting only of standard questions. Personally, I have stayed in touch with several people I met at university networking events and received useful advice on my applications as well as personal recommendations that got me to the interview stage.

Likewise, networking events can also help you meet fellow students with similar interests. Don’t forget about this aspect – these people may well help you prepare for interviews or tell you about their experience with recruitment processes that you have not gone through yet. After all, a networking event is supposed to be useful for everyone attending. So don’t be nervous – as long as you know what you want to get out of it, it will definitely help you progress your career in one way or another.

Max Kulaga is a finalist reading Economics and Management at the University of Oxford. As a former intern at L.E.K. Consulting in London and President of one of Oxford’s largest business societies, the German-born is keen on sharing his experiences and knowledge about the consulting industry.

Image: Pexels

How to strengthen a non-business background

Strengthen a non-business background

(Source: Flickr)

It will help your consulting application if you have prior business experience, however if you come from a non-business background all hope is not lost.

You can strengthen your consulting application by showing how your experience demonstrates team work, leadership, and an ability to achieve positive outcomes.

Use ‘action-outcome’ language in your résumé. That is, use action verbs to describe what you did and strong adjectives to describe the outcome.

[For more information on consulting interviews, please download “The HUB’s Guide to Consulting Interviews“.]

How to compensate for poor grades

Compensating for Poor Grades

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Are you keen on management consulting but have poor grades?

If you have poor university grades, you may face an uphill battle getting an interview at a top consulting firm.

But don’t despair just yet. There are two steps you can take to combat this hurdle.

You can highlight your most impressive work experience in your cover letter.

Additionally, or alternatively, you can selectively highlight a specific subject or year of studies in which you happened to excel.

[For more information on consulting interviews, please download “The HUB’s Guide to Consulting Interviews“.]

CV and Cover Letter Basics

CV and Cover Letter

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Top consulting firms receive thousands of applications per year, and so your cover letter and CV form a crucial first step in your application that will determine whether you secure a first round interview.

You need to tailor your cover letter and CV for each application and highlight your most impressive and relevant credentials and experience to demonstrate that you are the right person for the job.

The recruiter will be looking for evidence of:

  1. Strong academic performance
  2. Ability to work in teams
  3. Leadership experience
  4. Noteworthy achievements
  5. Differentiating factors – academic or extra-curricular achievements
  6. Relevant technical skills, e.g. software, finance, economics

For more information on preparing your cover letter and CV, please download our dedicated guidebooks:

  1. How to Create a Winning Résumé
  2. How to Create a Killer Cover Letter

[For more information on consulting interviews, please download “The HUB’s Guide to Consulting Interviews“.]

Consulting Applications

ARE you an aspiring consultant with an interest in pursuing a career in the management consulting industry?

Breaking into the management consulting industry is extremely difficult, and so with this in mind we have produced a number of free consulting resources to improve your chances of success.

Where To Apply?

The first problem that applicants face is knowing where to apply.

University careers services and consulting clubs are often an invaluable source of information about consulting firms and application deadlines. However, this will not always be the case. Some university careers services are under funded, some consulting clubs have different priorities, and most consulting firms will only target applicants from a select group of universities.

To get you pointed in the right direction, we have produced nine excellent guidebooks which provide an outline of the most prominent consulting firms in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Africa.

Please click the links below to access these free consulting resources:

  1. Consulting Firms in America,
  2. Consulting Firms in Canada,
  3. Consulting Firms in Australia,
  4. Consulting Firms in New Zealand,
  5. Consulting Firms in the United Kingdom,
  6. Consulting Firms in India,
  7. Consulting Firms in Singapore,
  8. Consulting Firms in Hong Kong, and
  9. Consulting Firms in South Africa.

How To Apply?

The second problem that applicants face is knowing how to apply.

Students often ask questions like:

  1. How do I prepare a cover letter?
  2. How do I structure my CV?
  3. How do I highlight my experience in a way that will resonate with recruiters?

When it comes to consulting applications the stakes are extremely high, and so to help you prepare a successful application we have developed some indispensable consulting application resources, which you can access by clicking the links below:

  1. How to Create a Winning Résumé
  2. Template Résumé
  3. How to Create a Killer Cover Letter
  4. Template Cover Letter

Need Application Help?

The free consulting resources described above will help you prepare a strong application. However, if you want to get an edge on the competition, then we are pleased to let you know that we are now running a professional careers service that can arrange for a consulting careers expert to review your application.

Why get help from an expert?

Three reasons.

Firstly, the cost of an undergraduate degree is significant, typically 3 years plus tens of thousands of dollars in expenses and foregone earnings. Applying for consulting jobs without getting help from an expert places your entire investment at risk.

Secondly, top consulting firms receive thousands of applications each year, and recruiters spend only a few minutes reviewing each application. Our consulting careers experts know what recruiters are looking for, and so can help your application stand out in the crowd.

Thirdly, you can access the careers service for as little as $30 (that is, just 5 beers) and we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Exceptional value for money at no risk to you. Seeking support from a consulting careers expert is a prudent step to help you de-risk your application.

To access the careers service, please click here.

Consulting Firms in Old Blighty

Another week, another guidebook for you, dear reader.

This week’s guidebook profiles the most prominent consulting firms operating in Old Blighty.

Where is Old Blighty you ask?

Well, if you need to ask, then this week’s guidebook is probably not for you.

“Blighty” is a slang term for Britain, popularised during World War I and still used (or so we understand) by the people who weren’t lucky enough to have one of their ancestors steal a loaf of bread and get sent to Australia.

You can download the guidebook here.

In the same vein as last week, we are distributing this guidebook under a creative commons license, which means you are free to read, edit, share, print or trash the guidebook – which ever takes your fancy.

If you have any suggested amendments, please feel free to let us know and we will update the primary version. Together we win.