Some firms dedicate an incredible amount of time meeting students
prior to interviews. For instance, the top management consulting
firms will provide a catered presentation, several invitation-only
dinners, and even a new consultant as a campus representative with whom
students can meet and answer questions. Firms are looking to get
to know students in order to invite them to interview.
Every top-tier MBA program has the notion of closed and open
The number of closed-list and open-list positions, as well as the
of the two, differ by school. Big-five
management consulting firms interviewing at top-tier schools may
interview as many as 40% of any given class, half of which are invited
and the other half are open-list candidates. Outside of the top
schools, this number drops significantly. As well, many schools
only have a closed lists.
It is important to work to get on as many closed lists as
possible. Why? The more chances you have to interview, the
greater your chances at getting an offer at the end of the day.
Seven consulting firms interviewed on campus during my first
year. The average first-year was invited to interview for
approximately two of these firms. Given historical bidding,
students would only be able to bid on two other firms before running
out of bid points. This gives them four chances to
interview. If you as the student were able to receive a third
closed-list position, you would be able to interview with five
firms. That extra firm gives a tremendous psychological boost
when you begin to interview.
There are many ways to increase your chances of getting invited.
Your position on the closed or open list typically has no bearing on
whether you receive an offer. Most schools and firms strive to
ensure that the interviewer does not know whether their list was
invited or not. Many friends at many consulting firms received
their offers from the open list, and an informal poll for a larger firm
at our school indicated that more offers were given off of the open
list than the closed list during full-time recruiting. Do not
worry, you can prevail.
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