Many students of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) plan a career in consulting after graduation, preferably in one of the Big Three — the most prominent international companies: BCG, McKinsey, or Bain. Today we will talk about the opportunities provided by the first of the mentioned giants of consulting. Over the past five years, BCG has hired 17 GSOM SPbU graduates on a permanent basis.
You can get into your dream company- and not only after graduation. BCG has many career opportunities — programs that will allow you to try your hand at the profession.
So, just to mention some of them: for first and second-year students, there is the Case Support option. This beginner's program allows you to immerse yourself in the world of consulting and get your first work experience. Anyone can send an application to the company, informing them what tasks they would be interested in performing and indicating their preferences according to the schedule. Specialists in the company’s recruitment department then review the applications they have received. Selected applications are uploaded to the corporate system through which students then receive assignments from consultants within the framework of their projects. Making models in Excel, working with data, conducting interviews, and surveying the local populace are short-term and straightforward tasks that allow beginners to get acquainted with the profession.
The company also has two types of internships for the summer and winter holidays so that students are not distracted from their studies. The summer internship lasts ten weeks. During this period, you can fully complete the entire round of a short-term project from start to finish. They have organized a complete immersion program, allowing students to work with clients while the company team supports the interns, and works with them through the mentoring system.
"If we talk about numbers: 766 applications were submitted for the last summer internship from all over Russia. 78 — from GSOM SPbU students. Six candidates received offers, one of them from GSOM," says Anna Minich, Senior Employer Branding Coordinator at BCG.
In addition to the internship programs, the company has several events through which students can prove themselves, and, as a result, be invited to an internship or a job.
For example, the BCG IDEA CHALLENGE (BIC), the company's flagship case championship, is social in nature. All of its partners are non-profit organizations. Based on the results of the project presentation, the best solution is implemented in practice. Last year, the case championship was done with Greenpeace, previously with the Tretyakov Gallery, and the VDNH, charitable foundations.
"Consultants who work at BCG allocate 5-10% of their time to pro bono projects. And participation in BIC allows students to work in a team together with consultants, mentors from BCG, real clients on solving an urgent socially significant business problem," said Anna Minich. She explains that the strongest and brightest participants receive an invitation to undergo selection in shortening timelines in the company and ultimately becoming part of BCG.
In 2016 and 2019, GSOM SPbU students won the championships.
In 2021, the company launched a new event — BCG GAMMA Digital Healthcare Hackathon. The project is for those who want to work in IT and Data Science. The jury members were experts from the BCG GAMMA unit, working at the intersection of business and Data Science.
A student of the Master's program "Business Analytics and Big Data" (MiBA, GSOM SpbU), Sergey Timakov, trained at BCG GAMMA: "When preparing for selection to the unit, I tried, first of all, to focus on the information that was available on BCG's social networks, as well as on the materials that the company shared before each stage of the interview. Starting with programming skills testing, BCG sent a rough list of topics, examples of tasks. Of course, we need to strive to go beyond these lists, but in general, it seemed to me that they were comprehensive," he said. Now Sergey is working on improving the machine learning model underlying the product, which his entire team is developing. He looks for weaknesses of the model, tries to identify the causes of their occurrence and eliminate shortcomings, and helps the team check business hypotheses.
GSOM SPbU students have proven themselves in all BCG programs and activities. "We are delighted that GSOM SPbU students have an interest in consulting. We always notice those who come from Business School - because of their training, knowledge, and values important to BCG, such as curiosity, openness and desire to improve the world by developing solutions and implementing them. It is very nice to notice students while they are still studying, to communicate with them and prepare them for consulting, and then, later on — see them as part of our company," Anna Minich emphasizes.
The company's employees note that essential requirements for selecting internships are the structure of thinking, its strategic nature, communication skills, and a flair for mathematics. The company checks all this at various stages of selection.
Vasily Taran, a graduate of the Master in Management (MiM) CEMS GSOM SPbU, who completed a summer internship at BCG this year and received an offer for the position of junior consultant, told about his experience during the selection process: "The selection process consists of several stages, and of course, I was well-prepared for each of them. Being a GSOM SPbU student makes life easier in part — GSOM students can skip the so-called initial screening. This is followed by an online GMAT-type test, similar, by the way, to the entrance test at GSOM SPbU; then - an online case (simulation of a case interview in an online format - ed.) and a case interview (solving a business problem simulating a possible situation on the project). I had three rounds of just the case interview, and I spent the most time preparing for this stage. To prepare for solving cases, I looked for partners among classmates and then in special groups in Telegram. As a result, I prepared for about a year in total and solved about 100 cases - however, active preparation was only a couple of months." Details concerning the interview:
The requirements for students who are accepted for an internship are precisely the same as those who apply for the position of junior associate (junior consultant). 70-80% of interns become members of the BCG team. For those who continue their studies at the university, BCG offers a "deferred offer" - the opportunity to go to work immediately after graduation.
For students who are interested in international experience, BCG conducts international seminars. They allow participants to immerse themselves in the world of consulting. The company selects 2-4 people and sends them to Europe (during the pandemic, the event was in an online format), where about a hundred of the best students from the continent's top universities are gathered. The goal is to communicate with each other and with BCG consultants and solve cases.
BCG was the first strategic consultant in history, and is one of the " Big Three in Management Consulting". It has a global network of more than 90 offices in 50 countries around the world. BCG, a long-time partner of GSOM SPbU, is actively involved in developing and implementing the Business School strategy.