A few points re: elite consulting firms

Do you select, work with, or want to join the ranks of elite management consultants?Jim Manzi’s post on elite business recruiting at the American Scene gives first-hand insight on how those folks got there.  Three quick points of my own:

  1. Gut courses can come back to haunt you.  Ever tempted to dial back on your effort… say, take a B.A. in Economics rather than a B.S.?  After all, who would notice one little letter?  Well, recruiters do, and they’ll know that a B.A. Econ avoided econometrics and modeling classes, the “hard” stuff Jim highlights.
  2. There is no “tail” at elite universities.  Did you ever look around in class and wonder how some of your classmates ever got into college, B-school, etc.?  From my experience — recruiting, not attending — there aren’t obvious weak reeds at elite schools.  Top firms can’t risk a hire who stood out simply because he/she was the pick of a litter of runts.
  3. It really is a competitive marketplace.  As Manzi notes, “it is very rare that the COO of a Fortune 500 company hires your case team to do a six month project at $375K per month so that you can sit around and reminisce….”  

Of course, the competition isn’t always about the “best” answers.  Sometimes it is about “selling” that your firm has the best answers.  But that delves into territory Steve Hsu covers more deeply in his post on credentials and elite performance.

Mentorship Start-up “Crash Course”

I very much liked this BNET article by Jennifer Alsever on starting a mentorship drive (here).  The article is rich with sources and tips, so check it out.  The four basic steps are listed below:

Decide Why You Want a Mentor Program — Set your program up to succeed by defining goals and involving top execs.
Pair Up Proteges and Mentors — Create profiles and match people according to your goals.
Set the Rules for Engagement — Make sure people meet regularly — and know what to talk about when they do.
Keep Tabs on the Program — Make sure mentoring is providing the results you want.

Not that I’m looking to integrate mentorship into my group’s social media strategy, I appreciated the explicit decision and goal-setting advice.  I’ve seen many explicit promotions of mentorship in people development efforts, but I’ve never had any real idea of what that mentorship was supposed to accomplish.  Now that I have a chance to drive this topic, perhaps I can learn from those mistakes!

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