From sourcing manager to senior consultant, learn about this quarter's featured consultant and his journey!
Pedro is a recent MBA graduate from the Jones School of Business at Rice University. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he moved to the US in 2010. Prior to joining Rice, he was a Strategic Sourcing Manager for the Hertz corporation – where he worked for 3 years. He is an accountant by trade and also has a masters of Business Analytics. After completing his MBA, Pedro will join Deloitte in their Strategy Practice at Houston.
1. Why did you choose consulting as a career option?
Let me first introduce myself to better answer the question. I just finished my MBA at Rice. Prior to Rice, I was a sourcing manager, where I handled contracts and relationships. So, I always knew that I really liked building relationships and working on different kinds of projects. I am an accountant by trade and have a Master’s in Business Analytics. So, consulting seemed like the next step to my career as you can get a varied experiences with high rewards and challenges. For me consulting was a natural progression.
When I joined Rice, I was certain that I wanted to do banking but after getting a couple of interviews with some boutique firms, I decided that it wasn’t for me. So, I recruited for tech and joined a start-up in fintech. They gave me a return offer but at that stage, I decided that I want to work for a larger firm where I could learn more in the industry and build my credibility.
2. Do you think there were some complementarities or challenges that your prior work experience brought in when you applied for consulting?
Since consulting is so broad, they always have a need for anything you have done in the past be it strategy, M&A etc. In my case, I had strategy, supply chain, and experience with the start-up. I was promoted to manager at a young age (24). So, I had certain small but useful skills that consulting firms really liked. Apart from that my experience with the startup was quite valuable as that showed the breadth in my skill set. That is how I packaged myself when I applied to consulting firms. But everyone is different, and I have friends with all kinds of experiences. The experiences matter but it is also about how you package them.
3. As you know CCTMC has a good composition of grad students who are quite different from the typical MBA student. Do you think career progressions are different here?
Just being a Ph.D. Student doesn’t change your career progression. The firms value the effort that one puts into their dissertation. Sometimes firms do not consider a candidate at a later stage in the career because they think it would be difficult for them to be humble which hinders learning.
4. How did you decide on your track and the firm? Could you walk us over the application and decision process?
Rice is a target school for most of firms. For the grad level, Rice is targeted by some top firms. Hence, there are relationships in the firms already through alumni. In my personal experience, you go for all the info sessions and coffee chats and build all the relationships. Attend the info sessions, and then start sending thank you notes and setting up coffee chats. I had multiple offers and the way I narrowed it down was by looking at the culture, work-life balance, and size of the firm. Deloitte did give me strategy and it does allow for projects across industries which I really liked.
5. How was the interview experience and what resources did you use for preparing?
Consulting recruiting is two parts. The first is getting an interview and then getting through the interview. The process is also quite different from the firm for example, in consulting you get the opportunity to interview before you apply. This happens through info sessions and chats. The book I referred to was Victor Cheng’s case book. It was helpful for me as I did not have experience with casing.
6. What were some of the factors behind your decision to do an MBA?
I knew that I wanted to join consulting and/or banking. I started with banking and later realized that consulting was a better match for my personality. I liked what consulting offered. Rice MBA is well known and that made my decision much easier.
7. Would an MBA be worth it for grad students?
I think both MBA and Ph.D. open lots of doors. They also have different skills. MBAs are more likely to build more soft skills. PhD. has a great shot if they complement their skills with soft skills.
8. What is one thing that you wish you knew before you started the process?
You have to be likable. This may seem small but is quite important. You are going to spend a lot of time with other people. Hence, you need to be able to interact well. I mentor a couple of students and one of the things that I mentioned is that communication is very important.
9. How much does having or not having life sciences experience help or hinder your role?
I am a firm believer that you can learn quite a lot of stuff from the web by spending some quality time. Apart from that as a consultant, you start as a generalist. So, you will be jumping between cases from multiple fields and it’s not until the third-year mark that you start to specialize and it’s not until you are further along the corporate ladder that you become a specialist. However, having said that, you still need to know some details. Suppose you might consult in education mergers between colleges. Then you must know some M&A. In short, you have to have adaptability.
10. Could you give us a timeline of your journey?
For me, it was very quick. I finished my internship at the end of August. Then I went into the career services office and registered for info sessions. I asked all my friends in consulting about their internship experience in the summer and got some names of people who I could potentially talk to. Info sessions happen in September with interviews in early October and you get the offer later in late October. A more traditional approach is doing an internship by registering for info sessions, and reviewing casing or online materials. Interview offers come in December and internship interviews/offers come in January. So the timeline is to register for info sessions in August, attend info sessions in September-October, have coffee chats in October-November, finalize your applications in December, interview in January, and get offers in a week. Note that during all of this time, you keep on reviewing casing.
11. Any tips for CCTMC members?
Talk to alumni from the school. It is helpful. Make sure that you don’t send LinkedIn requests but send emails and set up calendar invites. Outlook is very powerful. You have a template mail where you introduce yourself and give them three tentative options and keep track of all of that through outlook.