A stellar cover letter is going to be a basic pre-requisite if you want to land a top-tier consulting job at the likes of the MBB’s, Kearney, LEK, Deloitte etc.
More than half of consulting candidates are rejected based on their applications alone, before they ever make it to interview. This means that, for all the emphasis on case interview prep, your resume and cover letter between them are the single greatest determinant as to whether you land your dream MBB job or not.
Candidates typically have some realisation of the importance of applications, but make the mistake of devoting all their time to the resume alone as they assume it is the "important one". They assume that the accompanying cover letters are always fairly generic and/or are merely a formality that don't actually get read.
However, the idea that your cover letter is any less important than your resume is a hugely damaging misconception.
In fact, speaking to consultants currently involved with recruitment at MBB firms, we are told that cover letters have been becoming more and more important recently. This is for a couple of reasons:
- More and more resumes are coming in basically perfect (the proliferation of material like our excellent free resume guide has a part to play here). This means that cover letters are increasingly being focussed on as a way to differentiate top candidates.
- Cover letters are more indicative of your soft skills and personal fit with the office culture than a resume. Since firms are having particular difficulty finding candidates with the right social skills (especially post-Covid), cover letters become more and more salient in the filtering process.
To up the ante even more, add to this the fact that applications are increasingly read by AI tools as well. Whilst a human reader working in a hurry and skimming a document in a hurry might have simply missed an error, you can be sure the computer will pick up on any mistakes you make.
So, how do you get things right?
Putting together a decent consulting cover letter can be tricky and will probably take longer than you think. The demands are different and quite a bit more rigorous than for cover letters you might have written for other industries.
Luckily though, the strict demands on consulting cover letters mean that there is an equally strict set of rules to follow when writing them - as long as you follow these and put the time in to do things properly, you can reliably turn out an excellent document.
This guide will help you understand what it is recruiters want to see in a good cover letter and take you through the steps to draft your best possible offering. To make things as clear as possible, we discuss a template cover letter section-by-section.
Help is at hand!
Writing applications can be pretty daunting, especially with a dream job on the line.
Before we dive into all the complex nitty-gritty of how to turn out your cover letter, we should let you know that we have an editing service where a 5+ year experienced MBB consultant helps you draft your best possible resume and/or cover letter. You can read more here:
This isn't obligatory, but is a great option for those who feel overwhelmed and want some help to get things right, as well as for those who want the inside track in terms of optimising something that is already close to the mark.
This application editing can also be done as part of a broader mentoring package, where that same experienced mentor helps you through the whole consulting selection process, from networking, through to case interview prep. You can find out more here:
1. Understanding Consulting Cover Letters
To write a good one we will first need to understand the demands it must meet. That is to say, we need to understand the function of the cover letter and precisely how it will be assessed.
Let's start by going through some important points:
1.1. Function of a Consulting Cover Letter
The basic function of a consulting cover letter is to tell recruiters three things:
- Why you are worth employing
- Why consulting is a perfect fit for you
- Why you are interested in the target firm in particular
As we will see later, a standard management consulting cover letter is broken down into three paragraphs, addressing each of these issues more-or-less separately.
A consulting cover letter helps demonstrate the same skillset as your resume and you will effectively be selecting a few of the key points from your resume to amplify in the cover letter.
However, the objective of this document is not simply restating the facts on your resume, but rather creating a persuasive link between your personal story and the job you are applying for. In effect, the main purpose of your cover letter is to show that you are a great fit for the job you are applying for across the board. As such, you need to convey your personality and your motivation to do the job - things that are not readily assessed via your resume alone.
These are exactly the qualities that are also assessed in your fit interview. Indeed, just as with the Additional Information section of your resume, the information in your cover letter is very likely to form the basis of questions in your fit interview - where your personality and motivation are assessed again. Thus, just as with the Additional Information section of your resume, when you are drafting your cover letter you should be keeping half an eye on how you would be able to work the items you select into compelling fit interview answers.
All this means that our article on the fit interview is especially worth a read as you get started on cover letter writing!
Consulting is a tough life and the average consulting recruit only stays in the industry for around two years - which means that many of those applicants who are lucky enough to land jobs will have left within 12 months.
Beyond this, many of those entering consulting only ever intend to stay for a couple of years before bailing out into roles in private equity or internal strategy, becoming a start-up founder, or any of the other typical roles where consulting experience will enhance their career chances.
This constant loss of talent is a big problem for consulting firms, who don't want employees to disappear as soon as they have accrued the training and experience required to be genuinely useful to the company. In effect, firms want to ensure they get a positive return on investment on training you.
As such, recruiters will be trying to identify candidates who are genuinely in it for the long haul - who want to make partner someday and who have the necessary motivation to push them through the years of long hours and tight deadlines en route.
Of course, we realise that you the reader might well be one of the candidates who only really plan to stick with consulting for two years before parachuting out into another industry. Realistically, this is a perfectly sensible career trajectory and we're certainly not going to tell you not to do so.
However, if this is the case, your application and subsequent interview are really not the time to discuss it. If you have ever had any inkling that you might consider sticking around and making a long-term career in consulting, then this is the inclination to channel during the selection process.
We return to discuss your rationale for entering consulting in our section-by-section breakdown of the letter itself.
1.3. A Test in Itself
Your target firm uses your cover letter to learn more about you in a couple of ways. Obviously, they receive all the information you communicate explicitly - all the achievements and experience and positive character traits you tell them about. However, your cover letter is also used by the target firm as an implicit (but very real) test of your writing skills and other qualities. It is important to realise this dual function and keep it in mind during drafting.
At a basic level, using correct, industry standard formatting etc shows that you have the professionalism and diligence to find out and follow the rules. As we will discuss later, writing a letter specific to the firm you are applying to also demonstrates your commitment to that employer.
More directly, though, your cover letter is used by consulting firms as a test of your writing skills. Writing consulting cover letters is not an easy business - if it were, you wouldn't be reading this guide! Composing a good cover letter requires you to assemble a body of information, synthesise it and present it in a compelling form.
Importantly, this is a set of skills - summarising complex information into compelling prose and extracting key points in data - that consultants use every day. Your cover letter is one of the main ways firms check for your competence here.
Similarly, readers will be very interested in your ability to use your cover letter to market yourself. In effect, consultants must constantly sell themselves, their firm, and their recommendations to clients. Indeed, this is becoming a larger and larger part of the job as more of the analytic side of consulting work is automated. As such, the ability to communicate persuasively is a key management consulting skill.
1.4. The Reader
With any piece of writing, the first thing you need to consider is who the intended reader is. This is especially important for consulting cover letters.
During the application screen, as well as filtering by AI tools and HR staff, your cover letter will be placed with one or two hundred others and passed to a junior consultant (often a recent alum from your university) to assess. Generally, this will be piled on top of that consultant's normal workload and often they will end up with very little time to get through this mound of applications. As such, your reader will be tired, possibly slightly grumpy and in a hurry - probably only skimming what you have written.
Keep this reader in mind at all times and write in a way that makes their life easier. This means making everything as clear, easy to read and precise as possible!
2. PRACTICALITIES OF WRITING A CONSULTING COVER LETTER
So, we have a good idea of the basic job of a cover letter needs to do, what ground it needs to cover, and how it will be assessed. Now it's time to get down to business and actually get the thing written!
To this end, we'll look at a few practical points about how to meet the requirements mentioned above, before focusing one-by-one on the five main segments of a management consulting cover letter.
2.1. FORMAT - DOING THE SAME AS EVERYONE ELSE
Just as with your resume, formatting a consulting cover letter is really not the time to embrace your creative side. Failing to stick to the standard rules of formatting risks being rejected immediately, without your letter even being read.
The tired junior consultant tasked with plowing through a pile of cover letters is unlikely to be in the mood for a strange font or weird layout and will simply send your application directly to the bin.
As noted above, standard formatting shows that you are professional enough to take the application seriously and that you have bothered to find out what is expected from your cover letter. The best way to understand how you should format this document is simply to take a look at our examples below, which are formatted in a standard "safe" manner.
In particular, though, you should make sure your letter conforms to the following basic standard:
- Standard typeface at a normal size
- No longer than one printable page
- Normal size margins etc - no extreme formatting to pack more words on the page!
- Name, contact information, and date at the top, in the manner of a traditional letter - you can include a postal address if you like, but an email address is perfectly sufficient nowadays - and will save space
- Standard structure explained below - opening, three main paragraphs, closing
2.2. Content - Being Unique!
You might have to keep the format strictly in line with everyone else, but it is absolutely crucial that the actual content of your letter is unique!
Always remember that your cover letter will be part of a stack of 1-200 deep. The content needs to really impress the reader if you are going to stand out from the pack and earn yourself an invitation to interview.
To achieve this, you are going to have to draw on your most impressive achievements and experiences and then portray them in the best possible fashion, to really make your reader pause and take note, rather than toss your letter towards the bin with the others.
Content that is unusual is also helpful in making your application memorable and might prompt interview questions where you can be well prepared to shine. During an application process with so many competitors, it pays to have something unique to you - a USP - to differentiate you from your peers.
However, this will only add value if it is relevant to management consulting!
In our discussion below on how to introduce yourself and your abilities, we'll discuss how you can emphasize your personal "spikes" - which help make your cover letter more unique.
2.3. Be Specific!
Your letter needs not only to be unique, but also highly specific.
Many candidates think that they can save a bit of time by just writing a one really "good" cover letter and using that for all their applications without any modifications. This might be true (or almost true) of a good resume. However, if you think that the cover letter you wrote for McKinsey will be able to be used without any changes to for Bain and BCG as well, we can tell you now that that letter wasn't good enough to get you a job with any of those firms!
As noted previously, a major function of your cover letter is to gauge your motivation to stick with the company if you are lucky enough to be hired. Your recruiter wants to make sure that you are genuinely keen to work for their specific firm for the foreseeable future. Any suggestion that your cover letter is just a generic chunk of text sent out to everyone in scattergun fashion obviously makes this idea pretty difficult to maintain - and will see your application heading towards that bin in short order.
To avoid this, then, take the time to write a separate letter for each firm you apply to. In these letters, you should include content that is specific to your particular target firm. What is more, this specific content should not be something generic or some kind of empty platitude.
If the best you can come up with is an obvious truth - or even worse, a common misconception - you will betray only a very shallow level of engagement, and will only succeed in vexing your reader.
Instead, you should be able to make specific remarks which show genuine insight. This will clearly demonstrate both your commitment to and knowledge of the firm.
These points will be particularly relevant to the section of the cover letter where you explain your decision to apply to your target firm, and we will pick up this discussion again later in this guide. However, there is room for material specific to your target firm in all sections of your cover letter.
3. Section-by-Section Breakdown
Let's go through the different sections of a standard management consulting cover letter one-by-one.
We will give examples as to how you might approach each section - however, it is imperative that you don't simply copy from specimens that we or anyone else have written. The examples here are only a guide as to how you should approach the different elements of a cover letter, not components to be lifted as-is.
Your own cover letter needs to stand out from a very strong field. Think about it - how can you possibly stand out by copying others? Beyond this, though, any hint that you are just copying from another source will see your whole application rejected immediately.
On a similar note here, we strongly advise against using an AI chatbot like ChatGPT to write your cover letter. Aside from that tool not knowing enough about your own life experiences, interests etc to say something with the correct degree of specificity, you run the risk of sending in a cover with the same writing style - or possibly even the same turns of phrase - as everyone else who did the same thing. Indeed, recruiters across many industries are already getting used to spotting AI-generated applications.
As we noted earlier, there are three main questions your cover letter must answer - why you, why consulting and why that firm in particular. The three main paragraphs of your cover letter will answer these three questions in sequence.
Provided you are careful to link everything together properly, there is actually some flexibility to vary the ordering of these paragraphs. You will always introduce yourself first, of course, but you can then state why you are interested in the specific firm before you explain what drew you to consulting, or deal with these in the reverse order.
In the interests of simplicity here, though, we will just deal with why-consulting-in-general first, followed by why-that-firm-in-particular.
The following examples are taken from an entry-level cover letter from an applicant to Bain London - and the detailed content is obviously tailored to that office.
In contrast to the relative ease with which a resume can be repurposed, you will have to significantly change the specifics of your cover letter as you apply for different offices and firms. Obviously, our candidate below can't just send this off to Bain New York without changing quite a lot of content. Similarly, this won't work as a cover letter for the London offices of McKinsey, BCG or Deloitte a wholesale rewrite.
With all this said, what is crucial is that the overall structure and format is maintained. This will be the case whether you are a recent graduate, Ph.D. or MBA. Even experienced hire cover letters will maintain the same fundamental format - though there will be (even) more expectation on the quality of the content.
3.1. OPENING YOUR CONSULTING COVER LETTER
The opening to your cover letter is very straightforward and is pretty much impossible to mess up if you follow basic rules.
First, you should record your name, email address, and the date of sending. You can include a postal address if you like, though this is no longer a strict requirement and takes up a lot of space. Your first sentence should state the specific position to which you are applying at the relevant office and firm.
The only issue that should give you any cause for concern here is to Whom the letter is addressed. Where possible, you should be addressing the letter to a named person - usually the recruiting manager of the office to which you are applying. However, where you cannot find a name to address your cover letter to, it is perfectly acceptable to begin "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam".
Dear Ms Douglas,
I am writing to apply for the Associate Consultant position at Bain and Company's London office.
3.2. Introducing Yourself
After this brief opening, proceed straight to introducing yourself. Don't be shy - this is not the time for understatement or modesty! Top consulting firms are looking for exceptional individuals. Here, you need to leave the reader in no doubt that you are just such an exceptional individual!
To do this, looking at all the information you assembled for your resume, ideally, you should recount the three most impressive achievements in your life so far.
Of course, do this with an eye to achievements that are particularly relevant to consulting (your golf handicap might be good, but nobody in the workplace cares). Also, realise that the things we are most proud of personally might not actually be the ones that are most impressive to others (your golfing probably isn't great anyway). Try to look at your resume as if you are reading one from someone else. Alternatively, ask a friend what stands out to them.
It's your resume's job to paint a balanced picture of you as a well-rounded candidate with all the skills required to excel in consulting. However, in your cover letter, it can be beneficial to emphasise one or two particular strong suits, where you are exceptionally gifted. These are what consultants call "spikes". What recruiters are really looking for is well-rounded, generally capable candidates with a few "spikes" that might be especially useful.
I have recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with a first-class BA/MSci in Physics. At Cambridge, I was consistently near the top of my year academically and won a number of competitive scholarships and prizes; including the award for the best final year research project. During my third year, I was selected as the best of a very large field of applicants to take part in a prestigious summer research project at MIT. I was also elected as a Student Representative for two consecutive years.
3.3. Why Consulting is a Good Fit
Your job here is to provide a strong narrative demonstrating why consulting is a good fit for you and why it makes sense at this point in your career as a natural progression from what you have done before.
This is much the same as what is required from your answers in any subsequent fit interviews you receive. As such, our article on the fit interview, as well as our more comprehensive fit interview course and/or lessons in the MCC Academy, are highly relevant here.
Now, as we noted above, it is important to remember that there are some reasons to get into consulting that your target firm will be happy to hear about and others that will very definitely not impress.
We're not here to judge your reasons, whatever they are, for wanting a consulting job. However, there are certain reasons that you should probably not highlight if you would like to actually get that job.
Some candidates are not sure what career they actually want yet and think consulting would make a good first step, exposing them to different industries and keeping their options open for the future. The worry, from a firm's point of view, is that these individuals will not be sufficiently motivated to actually stick with consulting when they come up against the stress and high workload that come with the job.
Alternatively, some applicants are fully intent, right from the start, on bailing out into another industry after two years - when a sufficiently long stint in consulting has given them transferable skills and boosted their opportunities elsewhere.
Many candidates actually state these kinds of intentions - though they will certainly not be hired! As we noted above, firms want to retain staff and are looking for candidates who are committed to consulting for the long term.
3.3.1. Proving You Know What You are Getting Into
Given how many recruits drop out, firms want to be sure that you know exactly what you are getting into when you apply. When you explain why you have decided that consulting is a great fit for you, you obviously need it to be clear that you are doing so with a real understanding of what the job entails.
Ideally, you will have done an internship in consulting or a closely related industry. Alternatively, you might be moving sideways from a parallel sector, such as finance or tech, having worked alongside consultants in past roles and observed what they do first hand. In either such case, it is clear that you understand the demands of the job.
However, many of you will fall into neither of these camps and won't yet have any first hand experience of the consulting world. If this describes you, be aware that there is a particular onus on you to demonstrate that you know what is required of a working consultant - and that you have what it takes to meet those requirements.
Don't dismay, though, as this is definitely possible - it just requires a bit more thought from you. Really, you are limited to a strategy of identifying key consulting skills and showing that you have already had significant past experience (and ideally achievements) demonstrating that you are capable and comfortable in these areas - and, importantly, that you enjoy this kind of work!
This is similar in principle to some of what you should have already done in bullet point form in your resume. Our resume guide is useful here in listing the relevant consulting skills and giving examples that demonstrate them. However, your cover letter differs from the resume here in that the focus will be less on technical skills and more on personal character. You also can't be so schematic as in your resume, but must weave everything into a compelling narrative that leaves your reader in no doubt that you are well suited to, and prepared for, the job.
3.3.2. Finding Things to Say
Some candidates feel the need to embroider their accounts when they explain why they want to be a consultant. Maybe they genuinely think that the only reason they have chosen consulting is for the high salary and exit opportunities. Since they can't include either of these (as discussed below), they then cobble together an insincere-sounding road-to-Damascus story about how they had an epiphany that they should work at BCG or Bain.
However, introspection on the reasons that informed your own decision making can actually be a great source of material here. You might not be able to explicitly state them just now, but there are probably better reasons than you think for your choices.
Think about what exactly it was that led you to believe that you could do a consulting job and why have chosen to apply to jobs in that sector, rather than going into something else. If you want to be totally pragmatic, remember - it's a lot easier to answer interview questions on something approximating the truth than a tissue of lies!
I believe that I would be particularly well suited to the Associate Consultant position as consulting would provide real intellectual challenges, but placed within contexts allowing me to make use of my strong interpersonal skills. As a student representative, I instigated "Student Week" in the Physics department. This was a week where time was given over so that students could organise their own conferences and workshops. In order to make this initiative a success, I faced two main challenges: creating a committed team and getting the academic staff's support. I began by offering all students a stake in shaping the week and created teams in charge of all aspects of an organisation, delegating responsibilities to team leaders. Most of all, this experience taught me how to motivate people, leveraging their potential impact and the rewards to be gained from positive results. In the end, the teams were able to invite an outstanding line-up of speakers. Presenting the week as a chance to promote the school in the media enabled us to gain the final approval of academic staff. Understanding the perspectives of multiple stakeholders and identifying what they really cared about enabled me to transform an ambitious plan into reality. I loved this experience and would look forward to employing a similar skillset as an Associate Consultant.
3.4. Why that Firm?
Now finally, you need to show that you are committed to the particular firm to which you are applying. This is a crucial part of demonstrating your motivation as well as a way of showing your diligence in doing your research before applying. Needing to address why you want to work at your target firm in particular is why you fundamentally can't just re-use the same letter for all your consulting applications.
So, how should you do this?
In practice, there are three main ways to generate firm-specific content:
3.4.1. Contacts and networking
Whilst you might not have seen consultants at work first hand, there is nothing to prevent you from meeting them at career fairs, networking events, and the like.
You can also reach out to consultants in your target office via LinkedIn and potentially even schedule calls with them. You can do this from anywhere in the world. An experienced consultant can also guide you in this process within one of our mentoring programmes
The very best cover letters will grow out of substantial networking with current or former employees from your target firm - ideally from the specific office to which you are applying.
The individuals you speak to might be in a position to recommend you to recruiters. Otherwise, though, they will definitely be very well placed to tell you what is really unique about the company in general or your target office in particular. This is a surefire way for you to be able to make your cover letter specific in a way that actually rings true to those who read it.#
Also, don't be afraid to drop in the names of your contacts where they are relevant (and where this is appropriate, of course). The recruiter might know the people in question and they will lend credence to your application.
Of course, this kind of networking will not always be feasible, and certainly not at short notice. If you don't have access to anyone who has worked for your target firm, you should be able to get access to some of their output in the form of reports and similar material. Being able to comment on these demonstrates your enthusiasm to work at the target firm, as well as your diligence and intelligence. Indeed, mentioning report authors is a good way to shoehorn in the names of company employees whom you have not actually met in real life.
Of course, you would ideally be able to write about the first hand experience of working alongside consultants at a company that was a client of your target firm. Otherwise, if you have done your research, you will be able to discuss a successful project in which you have not been involved, but have taken a particular interest (possibly in an industry in which you have experience). This should convey genuine interest and, at the very least, shows you really have done your homework.
An example of how to approach this paragraph is as follows:
Bain specifically appeals to me for a few reasons. At a more personal level, all of the individuals I have spoken to who have worked at Bain have loved their jobs and seemed like people I would relish working with. Recently, I spoke to Sarah McKinney and Benedict Philips from the London office at a networking event. Both were very helpful and encouraging of my application. In particular, I was very excited to be able to talk to Sarah about Bain's recent work with capacitor technology firm NuCell. This was a project I had become aware of via my physics background and was very impressed with the sophisticated but wonderfully elegant solutions that Bain implemented. This was a significant influence in my decision to move towards consulting in general and Bain in particular.
3.5. Closing You Cover Letter
As with the opening, it is easy to get your cover letter's closing right simply by following a few standard rules.
Closing a consulting cover letter really just follows the same rules as a standard formal letter. Note that technically the form of your sign off depends on whether the letter was addressed to a named recipient or not. If you did manage to address your cover letter to a specific individual at the target firm, you should sign off your letter "Yours Sincerely". However, if you addressed the letter "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom it May Concern", then you should sign off "Yours faithfully".
Not everyone will pick up on this, but some certainly will!
I very much hope that I can be considered for an interview. If you have any questions about my application or would like to know more, please do not hesitate to be in contact by email or on +44 7933023234. I look forward to hearing from you.
3.6. An Aside - Blurring Boundaries
For the sake of clarity, we have given quite a schematic picture of how a cover letter is structured. In practice, the separation between the content of the three main paragraphs is often not quite as clear as has been shown so far.
This is something to bear in mind as you are writing. Certainly, it is not a problem that the content of the three main paragraphs somewhat bleed into one another. Indeed, it might well be that the optimal version of your letter gives you more bang for your buck in including points with more than one positive function.
For example, you might make mention of people or reports from your specific target firm in explaining why you chose to enter consulting in general. Simultaneously you will likely be able to include some impressive achievements, relevant to your initial description of yourself, in that same explanation as to why consulting was for you.
4. Quality Control
By now, you should have a completed document in front of you. However, this doesn't mean that you're finished!
Just as with the resume, quality control should be taken very seriously when you are writing your cover letter, and will almost certainly take longer than did writing your initial draft.
First, you should make sure you have followed all the rules we set out for formatting and structuring a consulting cover letter. This is the easy bit, after all, and you shouldn't be making mistakes here when it's something you can easily control for yourself.
The following checklist is useful to make sure that the major elements are in order. Thus, you must make sure that any management consulting cover letter:
- Does not exceed one page
- Is formatted sensibly
- Contains no spelling mistakes (double check names of the company, position, HR manager and your contact information)
- Mentions skills that are relevant to the job
- Has relevant examples to back up those skills
- Reinforces skills that are not adequately explained in your resume
- Explains how your skill set relates to the job you are applying for
- Is tailored to the target firm
Of course, to hammer the point home, it should go without saying that spelling, punctuation, and grammar should be perfect throughout - especially these days, where AIs will be reading applications thoroughly, besides harried humans skimming them.
In particular, though, you should triple-check spelling around the opening where you list your own contact information and state the name of the target firm and specific role. Imagine making the cut to for interview only to have your invitation dispatched to the wrong email address!
You wouldn't believe how many candidates we see making mistakes here - indeed, outside consulting, the former Graduate Recruitment Manager at City law firm Mayer Brown found that 20% of applicants got the firm’s name wrong. If so many high-end, detail-oriented lawyers can make that kind of mistake, so can you - check!
As with any important piece of writing, you will want another set of eyes on your cover letter. However, a consulting cover letter is not quite the same as for a more "normal" job, and there is only so much that your classmate, your buddy or your mum is going to be able to tell you. These people might be able to help you with spelling, punctuation, and grammar, but not a great deal else.
If you have access to a careers adviser, they will certainly be more knowledgeable and be able to give you more specific feedback. That said, the very particular demands of consulting and how cover letters are assessed means there is no real replacement for someone with actual consulting experience.
As always though, real consultants are incredibly busy people and their time has a high price tag. You might be lucky enough to have access to a consultant who will help you out - perhaps a friend or relative or maybe one of your networking contacts who likes you enough to take the time to look at your application.
However, for those who aren't so lucky, there are still ways to get top quality feedback. MyConsultingCoach offers cover letter review and feedback, both alone on its own and in a package with resume review.
With this service, a deeply experienced MBB consultant mentor, with a minimum of five years at McKinsey, Bain or BCG, will provide the kind of granular, nuanced feedback you simply can't find elsewhere. You can read more here:
You can also have the same kind of 5+ year experienced MBB consultant do this kind of editing for you as part of a wider personal mentoring programme. Find out more here:
Of course, none of these services are strictly necessary, and this guide is here to help everyone. However, professional editing will help you close the gap with your competitors who have the advantage of pre-existing inside contacts.
It is easy to become attached to what you have written. Especially after pouring time and energy into a document, constructive criticism can end up being taken personally and ignored. However, if you actually want to get a job in consulting, you need to swallow your pride and be prepared to make substantial changes if they are advised.
Once you have re-drafted the document, you need to cycle through the same stages of quality control again, always making sure that everything is formatted correctly with no typos and then getting decent feedback on what you have produced. To get the whole thing just right will likely take at least a couple of these iterations. Indeed, this is precisely why MyConsultingCoach's review packages all include three rounds of feedback as standard .
Finally, then, you will have completed your cover letter and be ready to submit your application. You can give yourself a pat on the back for getting everything so far done. However, you still have a lot more work ahead of you if you are serious about making it into consulting!
If you are interested in getting an interview at the likes of the MBBs, Kearney, LEK, Deloitte, or any high-end consulting firm, it is absolutely crucial that your cover letter is the very best that it can be.
To this end, we have given a detailed guide on how to optimise a cover letter, breaking down all the relevant sections. Examples were provided from a sample cover letter for a Bain London application, though it was explained that you should never simply copy from such example cover letters.
We encourage you to read further - starting with our resume guide - and to consider editing from one of our ex-MBB consultant coaches. However, what we have given you here is a very good starting point for you to carve out a great draft cover letter.
If you have followed this guide and ideally found someone to provide decent feedback, you should have every chance of being invited to interview. However, nobody is going to do well if they prepare for a consulting interview the way they would for a more "normal" job.
Management consulting interviews area very different beast to what you might be accustomed to elsewhere. You can read more about the characteristic consulting case interviews here here. Suffice to say, though, that a large volume of preparation is both necessary to so well and explicitly expected by the firms themselves. Putting together your consulting resume or cover letter might have seemed arduous or time-consuming, but what was just the tip of the iceberg!
In particular, you will need to learn how to solve case studies. You can start with our intro to case interviews, which links to other useful resources.
It's important to learn to tackle case studies the right way if you want to perform in the more demanding interviews at higher-end firms. The old-fashioned frameworks you will often find promoted online can be dysfunctional in more complex case studies. By contrast, we recommend the slightly more demanding, but much more capable, from-first-principles method used in real consulting work. You can find out more in the followng video:
To make your preparation as effective and time efficient as possible MyConsultingCoach has developed a comprehensive consulting interview prep course. This teaches everything you need to give your best possible showing in an interview. Included are all the mental maths, business and finance theory and logical principles needed not only to solve cases but to do so in a way that will impress the interviewer - the way a real consultant would. Also included is a set of lessons on how to address "fit" questions about your character and motivation to enter consulting.