Pre-MBA Employment: Legislative Assistant, US House of Representatives, Washington DC, USA
Post-MBA Employment: Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean (Washington DC), USA
I studied business at the University of Austin in Texas and then worked for Congresswoman Kay Granger in the United States House of Representatives for three years. As a permanent staffer focusing on legislation, policy and appropriations committee work, I attended committee meetings and congressional hearings. I also met with representatives from local businesses, interest groups and associations, and wrote briefings, official letters and press releases. On graduation from the Oxford MBA programme I secured a job with Booz Allen Hamilton in their North American Organization and Strategy team based out of McLean, Virginia.
I knew very little about the consulting industry, prior to the MBA, so the careers services at Saïd Business School were very useful. I was able to speak with several different sector consultants to understand the industry, review my CV and cover letters, and practice case studies. The careers office provided me several leads through specific consulting contacts in London and access to guides and interviewing manuals. The summer Strategic Consulting Project was a wonderful opportunity to gain real world experience with a consulting firm, IBM Global Solutions. I believe this experience was particularly critical while I was interviewing with consulting firms because it gave me insight into “consultant” work and opportunity to demonstrate the results I achieved on a relevant project. Additionally, I took advantage of contacts through the alumni network (OBA), which lead to several great job leads. I learned about the specific opportunity at Booz Allen Hamilton through a recruiter, and after an in-depth interview process consisting of eight interviews, I was offered the job.
As an Associate at Booz Allen, I am a project manager/leader of a team focused on public sector clients. While Booz Allen has clients across the federal government, my work has been concentrated within the Department of Defense. I ensure the project work and deliverables are high quality by performing analysis, providing recommendations, and developing courses of action. I work to solve tough problems that enable government do its job better – and thus (hopefully) positively impact the quality of public services. I enjoy working with smart people on interesting work. I love that I am always learning and growing. Whether I am working for a client, developing intellectual capital, participating in a recruiting event, or taking training classes – I am never bored and always challenged.
If you are looking to make a similar career transition my advice would be to ask for advice. Asking for advice is a great icebreaker and networking tool. Don’t be afraid to contact people you don’t know or barely know. You never know who might have a relevant contact, lead or tip. The more people you can speak with about consulting and practice and case studies, the better prepared you will be in the interviews. It is important to frame your experience in a way that is relevant and highlights your transferable skills. You want to make the case that your particular background, combined with your newly minted MBA, create a unique value proposition for the firm or company.