Very early into your first year, you will see notices about company
presentations. In the early fall (August to October), these
presentations are typically geared towards full-time positions.
Later (November to March) the presentations are geared towards
internships. Some companies will only visit campus once, and
their presentation will be for both first and second years. Most
internship presentations are almost identical to the full-time
presentations, so attending both is typically not necessary.
Focused on consulting, there are probably between 5 and 20
consulting firms that come to present, based on your school. Most
presentations will be extremely similar. The presentation format
is similar across firms:
Notice the amount of time one full presentation requires. Now
multiply this by the 5 to 20 firms whose presentations you may
attend. You then begin to see how much time these really take.
Many people go to presentations focused on getting a free meal and
drinks while catching up with their friends. They do not talk to
anyone at the firm. It is very easy and comfortable to do
this. Some of these same people end up receiving offers at
several consulting firms as well. The majority of those who do
succeed, however, do more than sit, listen and eat.
You should use the presentation itself to begin to really understand what the company believes separates itself from its competitors. For example, if one firm expands on its "results-based approach" and shows a graph of stock price, where another firm discusses "thought leadership" and portrays books written by its partners, you should be able to make inferences as to how the firms' work product and culture differ. Take notes on these differences – they will be tremendously useful when you are building stories to answer the question "why do you want to work for our company?"
A great conversation at a presentation will not get you a job, but it may get you invited to a dinner or placed on the closed list.
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