Episode: 304 |
Davis Nguyen:
Consulting Job Offers:


Davis Nguyen

Consulting Job Offers

Show Notes

David Nguyen is the Founder of My Consulting Offer, a firm that helps experienced professionals and students get job offers from the top management consulting firms.

In this episode, David shares his firm’s process, and what explains how his firm manages to help 85% of its clients get an offer from a top firm.

To learn more, visit:  https://www.myconsultingoffer.org/

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:01
Hello and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which connects you with the world’s top independent management consultants. I’m your host Will Bachman. And I’m here today with David Wynn, who is the founder of my consulting offer. Davis. Welcome to the show.

Davis Nguyen 00:22
Thanks for having me. Well,

Will Bachman 00:23
and Davis, you find yourself you’re normally based in San Francisco, but you find yourself today where

Davis Nguyen 00:30
I’m in Taipei, Taiwan at the moment. Yeah.

Will Bachman 00:32
And you were telling me how you ended up there. You were there before the pandemic started and the borders got closed and just been been hanging out for the last three months.

Davis Nguyen 00:41
Exactly. So decided to stay here besides love it and I was like, Well, I’d expected 2020 but I am in a foreign country living out the the summer as a result. Yeah, global Nomad.

Will Bachman 00:51
So tell me about my consulting offer. What What does your firm do?

Davis Nguyen 00:58
Very simply, in my consulting offer, we help college students, university students, MBAs, and if you’re a student, as well, as recent grads, start a career in management consultants. So anyone who wants to work in a Bain McKinsey, BCG, your audience will know that we help them get into the magic of helping professions. Alright, and so let’s let’s maybe take a business school student who’s interested in getting into consulting, perhaps she was in some other field before Business School wants to get into management consulting, when would that person typically when you do encourage them to start working with you? And what what service do you provide? Well walk us through how you have someone who answered a few questions you have, which is what’s the ideal time to work with us. And the second was that process that we take everyone through. So the ideal time, the joke I like to tell is that as as similar to when you want to, when you want to dig a well, ideally, you want to dig a well before you’re thirsty, and needs a drink from it. And so the best time to start is as soon as possible, because we can always take it at an easier pace. But if you give us three days as you as you have done in the past, it gets a little harder. But essentially what we do is we buy two services very simple is we help you get the interview, and then we help you pass the interview. So when it comes to getting the interview, we take MBA students, no matter if you’re from Harvard, or if you’re going from a University of South Carolina, a Arizona State, what have you and our team is made up of former McKinsey, Bain and BCG, recruiting managers, partners, and so forth. So we help all of the clients that we work with position themselves to get interviews at top firms. So no matter if you’re targeting McKinsey, or you’re targeting le K, the HUDs whole types of firms, we work with you one on one to make sure that your application stands out, make sure that you have the right strategy for networking and everything, and then eventually get you the interview. And then when it comes time to getting their view, our other half is we have to help you pass the interview. So this is done in two ways. One is that every single person who comes to our program gets mentored by a former manager, Principal partner at one of the top firms. If your dream firm is McKinsey, you get paired off with, for example, a former associate partner or partner at McKinsey, who’s done interviews, wrote the cases has like 20 years of experience in interviewing and into consulting space to work with you to pass interview, as well as a curriculum that we built to how to teach people how to think like adults. And so for us, it’s not enough to be able to get you the offer, which we do have about an 85% success. We asked Yes, we our goal is that didn’t make you succeed in the job. So my favorite emails I get is not just when McKinsey accepts somebody, but when somebody emailed me and said, Hey, David’s up for promotion for em or for AP, and it’s just one of those happy months, I like, wow, this person actually succeeded. And I just get them into the door.

Will Bachman 03:47
That’s amazing. Let’s, let’s break this down a little bit. So tell me, you mentioned the strategy for networking, just to kind of get the interview. Tell me a little bit about that.

Davis Nguyen 03:59
So so people, when they think about consulting, they think I have to network my way. And if you do a Google search, how to get in, you’ve always talked about networking. For us that networking strategy is one of the crucial parts of being able to get the interview depending on what school you’re from. So depending on where you are, from so many listeners, you’re probably used to determine the target school and non target school. So target schools or think about your Harvard or Yale or Stanford or Wharton, where firms come to you and actually actively seek out consultants and you have non target schools or just schools where do sometimes then one or two consultants globally a year, but firms aren’t knocking at the door. So depending on what school you go, we have a tailored approach for how to actually go through the networking process by leveraging who you know, and leveraging people who are yet to know and basically walk you through the whole process of how do you actually get connected with people in big consulting firms? How do you build a relationship and how do you eventually get them to want to refer you to the firms? And that’s pretty much the step by step. It’s about how do we build relationships that are actually going To transform your life versus just transactional ones where all right, well give me a referral, and I’m done with you.

Will Bachman 05:06
What are some of those tips to building relationships? So someone is interested in consulting? How do you suggest they reach out to people at these firms to actually, you know, build relationships with someone.

Davis Nguyen 05:19
I think the way the way to think about it is, there’s multiple ways I’ll share one of my favorite strategies, which is to find someone with a same common interests as you have. So the reason being is that if someone shares something of your interest, it could be from a school, it could be from a hobby, it could be from a membership affiliation, they’re more willing to work with us or to share you a story of someone who was in Toastmasters was one of my favorite organizations. And so she was an active member of Toastmasters. And that even though she went to a school that was, let’s say, work, it’ll be part of actually came and visited. The issue was that every single person was emailing every alum that went to that school. And so she was having this issue trying to stand out. So what she ended up doing was, well, I’m in Toastmasters. So let’s look up who are members of Toastmasters, who happened to work at BCG, who happened to work at Bain who happen to work at McKinsey. And she ended up making this list and it was over about over 60 people, again, reaching out to as you didn’t need to reach out to that many, but ended up getting referrals from each of the firms from someone in Toastmasters because they shared that commonality, and have been members for years on end. And that was a commonality that most people don’t think about. But it doesn’t have to be just a formal relationship, it can be simply a hobby. So we’ve had someone who found someone on LinkedIn, and they both connected because they apparently both spent two weeks hiking the same trail and happened to have that in their LinkedIn. And that was the commonality they were able to connect on. And I find that those genuine relationships are the best ones, because you are able to immediately build rapport with this person when you get on the phone. But also second, you’re able to build on a unique relationship that other people don’t have access to. And every single person can do this.

Will Bachman 07:00
So what and what so you find some common interests? And then what do you suggest to your your clients that they do with that? You know, just reach out on LinkedIn and say, Hey, I see we both hiked the trail, I’m interested in BCG, would you willing to chat with me? Or? Or what do you suggest people people do?

Davis Nguyen 07:19
That’s the basis of how we have people our approach is four things. One is already mentioned, making a commonality that you reach second is to reach out to them in multiple platforms. So LinkedIn might be it by reaction to just email and LinkedIn, because sometimes people check their LinkedIn, but not their emails, and vice versa. So the second is, make sure to vary the way that you’re reaching out. And third is when it comes to the email. Well, it’s a well, you pretty much have it people overcomplicate it by just sending an email thing, I have this combination if you have love to talk, but beyond that, it’s just being respectful and the knowledge and your time. So for the clients that we work with, one of the things we have them do is show them that you only respect their time. So we’re very specific, like just ask for 15 minutes if you need 15 minutes. And usually people will give more than 15 minutes, but you want to be verifying for their time. And then finally, we also make sure that they’re super flexible. So for example, most people in our community accept this is that they’ll take a call at 5am their time, or at midnight, their time, if it’s convenient for the person they’re trying to reach out. But what we found is that when you have a common interest with someone, you’re willing to be flexible. And you’re also acknowledged that their time is very precious to them. The hit rate is quite, quite high. And of course, that’s just the first part is being able to connect those, but the goal is to be able to build that relationship over time.

Will Bachman 08:31
And, and so so you have this call, and what are you trying to achieve with it? I, I guess I wasn’t as aware that it was so important to have someone internal to the firm. Like, you know, men, what are you hoping to achieve that they say, wow, I spoke with this person for 15 minutes, we both walk the Appalachian Trail, I suggest you give them an interview or, you know, I mean, like, what’s the what’s the goal of these calls.

Davis Nguyen 08:58
So the goal is, is to build a relationship out and you don’t need a referral to know where to get an interview at these firms. But it does help you be able to get these interviews, especially if you’re coming from a school that isn’t a Harvard Business School that isn’t an NC at a place where people aren’t recruiting actively. And the goal is this relationship is like any other relationship is the form to learn two things, it’s one to learn more about the company and it gets all these for you. Because a lot of times our clients, you have these calls, and you realize a certain firm isn’t for them. Or they learned that sometimes consulting isn’t for them. And that’s totally fine, then if I can help you decide that certain career path is not the career path for you before you spend the next three years in it. That’s a victory for me. And the second part is to build a champion within the firm. So now you’re not getting agita. We’ve had one exception where a partner actually was very impressed with a 15 minute call that ended up being ended up recommending the person but for most things, the first call is is the one of many to proceed that to build that relationship similar to how you would a mentor or a coach.

Will Bachman 09:57
Okay. And you mentioned also the On networking, you also help people position themselves well to just get the interview. Tell me a bit about that.

Davis Nguyen 10:10
To be able to get the interview, it comes down to making sure that you represent yourself. So we talked about the networking piece. But a lot of it also is goes into, for example, the application, the cover letter, as well as just what type of firms that you are willing to go to. And so for us, we, we want to be able to help you first find out what firms you want to apply to, because there’s over 400 different consulting firms out there. And you know, this because your company has over 400, because adults that you work with across all these different firms. And for us, it’s five, one binder, right firms that you’re going to be happy with, and that they’re going to help you achieve your professional goals. And then second is making sure that you are able to stand out. So because our team is so variety, diverse in different firms and so forth, we’re able to know what their hiring targets are, for example, we’re able to know what type personality what type of skills they’re looking for. And third, what does that particular office, for example, the difference between, for example, McKinsey Denver versus McKinsey New York versus McKinsey Singapore, and being able to know those differences, it helps us be able to help our clients and know the nuances of the office and exactly what the offices are looking for what type of background where they stand the best chance, so be a bit newer position yourself there. And of course, when it comes to your resume and cover letter, make sure that you sit you tell a compelling story that represents who you are, and the potential and the skill that you bring to these consulting firms.

Will Bachman 11:31
Okay, walk me through a typical engagement with a client of yours. So you can have what sort of, you know, sort of what are the different phases? What’s what types of interactions are they having with my consulting offer?

Davis Nguyen 11:47
over over what duration of time? I’ll answer the last question first, because that says contact, which is how fast as a person goes through our program. So it actually varies depending on it. So even though I don’t encourage this, there are people who come to us with about a week before deadline or a week before their interviews, and we’re able to help them out there. But typically, with every engagement, it starts with working with a former recruiter so for them, I’ll take an example which is, let’s say that your dream firm is to work at McKinsey in Singapore, for example, then what would happen is we would pair you up with for example, the former head of McKinsey recruiting in Singapore, to actually sit with you and talk about is Singapore and is McKinsey the right choice for you versus let’s say if you’re just interested in Southeast Asia, why not call them for why not Manila? Why not Jakarta, and making sure that the further you apply to are the right ones for you that are going to be helping you long term professionally and personally. So that’s the first thing that will ever happen. And second is let’s say you make up your mind like David’s I really wanted to work on McKinsey Singapore, then that former head of McKinsey Singapore recruiting gonna work with you on your resume. Given that he’s gone over hundreds of 1000s of resumes over her time at McKinsey, they will tell you what McKinsey looks for what McKinsey isn’t looking for, especially with the Singapore office. And that’s how we position every single person to have the best chance of being able to break into a particular office that I read. It’s McKinsey, Singapore, BCG, London, Bain, San Francisco, what have you, it’s the same idea. And once we are able to help you get those interviews, the second part is being able to pass interviews. And that engagement involves you As mentioned earlier, a game paired up with a coach for example, if you’re McKinsey Singapore, then you might get paired off with a former McKinsey former McKinsey associate partner, partner or engaged manager from the McKinsey Singapore office, who will work with you and sit down and actually teach you how to think through the case interviews. For us. It’s not about memorizing frameworks, it’s not about being able to memorize ways to solve the case is that memorizing math formulas, it’s about being here, how to think like consultants, how to structure a problem, how to solve it, how to really think about a problem. So this skill is with you for the rest of your life. And so what we do is we break out the case and teach you how to think like the following we teach you how to build a framework, we teach you how to structure thinking, we think about how to do the math, how to do the graph, how to do brainstorming, so forth. And when you can put that together, you’ll solve the case to solving the case becomes like a byproduct of learning how that they like consultant, so every single thing we work with, and traditionally people spent hundreds of hours caping for our community, we find out we’re able to help you get master the case in as little as one week. And then do you have to work hard during that week? Yes. But are you able to learn skills and be able to think like adults, ultimately. And so that’s the second part is making sure that you can actually think like consultant and eventually pass both the interview as well as the fit or behavioral interview that follows after that. is how do you structure that? Is that all one on one working? Or do you have any kind of recorded? I don’t know recorded video content people work through or or how do you how do you do that case prep? Good question. So the case PrEP is done in three ways. So first is you get a one on one mentor who will sit down with you and have mock interviews with you. So you actually get to be given mock interviews as well as feedback on how why you really got rejected, what you did well and how to get there. So you get that one on one. mentorship and coaching on the case interview. That’s the first thing. And second is you get access to our library of case books as well as just material. For example, we have an entire course, on case math. So and that even that is broken down into the speed of the accuracy of the math and the foundation, the map. So if you’re struggling with anything, we have an entire curriculum to help you be able to get to the next level and to think like consultant. So for example, if you’re having issues, reading graphs, and exhibits during the case interview, we have an entire curriculum where we teach you the most common types of graphs that you’ll encounter in your job as a consultant, as well as the case interview and teach you how to actually read easy to grasp the inside how to synthesis, and provide the answer and the recommendation based on the graph there. And so we teach you these fundamental skills. So that’s the second part. So you have the one on one mentor, but you also have the these curriculums depending on what skill you’re trying to build. And third is we also know that practicing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. So we have a community of over 500 people at the moment who are going through the case interview process. And so you can find anyone in the world to cave in to practice with who are both also going through the case interview process as a candidate themselves as well.

Will Bachman 16:11
Talk to me about folks that are currently in jobs who want to transition into consulting. So someone who, whether they’re pre MBA or post MBA, someone who’s you know, a few years out of school, do they have any chance of of doing kind of a lateral transfer and joining a top consulting firm, and what does it take to make that transition?

Davis Nguyen 16:39
Absolutely. So being out of school, average, your MBA or your undergrad, or any other degree, completely doable. In fact, about half of the people we work with our we’re calling experience, hires or industry hires, which is they have years of experience, and they’re trying to lateral over into consulting. So we can, for example, in the past two years, I was here, you have your traditional background, you have people who are in banking, you have people who are in corporate strategy, you have people who are in tact, you have people who are in product management, and corporate banking, and so forth. We’re trying to go into consulting, but we’ve had anyone from we’ve had wedding, red wedding photographers, we’ve had a musician and we’ve had a physical therapist also transition into consulting. So the background there is variety of it, but be able to come into consulting as an experienced hire or an industry hire very, very positive. In fact, there’s a trend here where consulting firms are wanting to hire more and more serious hires. Because, as you know, from your own work here is that for companies are now bidding on projects and they and consulting firms need that expertise. So they’re looking for more and more people with industry experience to come in within a certain vertical or a certain industry to come in and provide the expertise there. So there’s a huge movement towards these experience hires, you don’t even take my word for it, you can literally go on let’s say McKinsey’s, LinkedIn job postings, and you can find that there is a lot everything from cybersecurity down to mining down to corporate banking down to semiconductors, it’s just the niches that they’re building out on the teams for these consulting firms continues to grow.

Will Bachman 18:11
What advice do you have for a college student, perhaps in the earlier years, first year, second year, who wants to get into consulting, I occasionally get asked these, you know, by some college student who reaches out to me, what should they start doing now to help prepare them to, you know, getting a getting a consulting job.

Davis Nguyen 18:34
So when it comes to helping out first year, the second year, students love that they’re proactive, is that the good news is that there’s a lot you could do your first and second year, that will prepare you to have a better chance of getting interviewed, the first thing I would actually do is just make sure that consulting is actually for you. For example, for most people that we work with their first or second summers in school, they’re not working in consulting. So what they’re actually doing is they’re exploring our interests, to vit writing into journalism, if it’s politics, if it’s tech is finance, whatever it is, they’re going through and trying all these other interests, because once you’re in consulting, is quiet the grind, if you remember from your own recruiting for McKinsey is that it takes time to be able to do it. So my first advice is just explore other things and make sure that consulting is actually what you want to do. Talk to consultants, go to info sessions, have over integers figure out if it’s actually the right path for you. The second thing is challenge yourself and take our class, especially those analytical classes that really test and prove that you have the intellectual raw horsepower to be able to be a consulting because it’s going to help you later on but also just sharpen your thinking skills. And third is if you’re starting early, is start attending some of the recruiting events. spark is all different again to find out what firms are actually interested in. So it’s not enough just to know that you want to work in consulting but realize that there are more firms out there. This is the big one. She knows though. It’s more than just Accenture, more than just a lawyer more than just Bain McKinsey. There are so many different firms out there. So the earlier that you find out what firms you are interested in nine students, the easier it makes when you are a third year student or a fourth year student, and you’re going into recruiting season you know exactly what firms you’re trying to target, you know why you’re targeting them, and you have a game plan for how to get your foot in the door?

Will Bachman 20:20
What sorts of profiles are consulting firms looking for in terms of like extracurricular activities and so forth? Is there some particular things that that get them really excited? Is it important to have a leadership role? Or, you know, is it okay to just be part of an organization? If you’re on the newspaper? Do you have to be to call the newspaper president? Or, you know, is it okay, just be a reporter. Tell me a little bit about the kinds of the kinds of profiles that really stand out and will help get you an interview.

Davis Nguyen 20:54
So this will vary by firm by as a whole. And this is very similar to I imagine your own time here to will is that when when recruiters at these firms look at your profile, your resume your cover letter and your whole application, they’re looking at it holistically. So for example, we’ve had clients who are now at BCG, McKinsey, Bain, who never held a leadership role. They were consulting internships prior, but the things that they did have were these four things. First, is they demonstrate that they can actually solve problems. For example, they might have been just a member of the student newspaper, but the beat that they were on was one where you could tell that they did more than just scrap it, to actually build out the path for themselves as well as actually take the beat that they’re on what they’re writing on, and actually expound on it to the point where they can say, look how many views I had online provider goes compared to the average. So I can demonstrate leadership skills, but leadership skills doesn’t mean that you were president of, let’s say, the debasis xiety. If you are able to organize conferences, if you are able to demonstrate that you can lead a team that counts even if it’s not in a formal title. Third is in consulting, you work in teams. So being able to demonstrate that you’re a team player helps you as well. So if I look at your resume or cover letter, anyone looks at it. And they like, well, john is not a team player, there’s no evidence that you can as you work with people, that’s going to look pretty poorly on you. And then finally, is his entrepreneurial drive. And entrepreneur drive doesn’t mean that you have that started a business or even worked at startup, it basically means that are you willing to take an idea and run with it? So do you have his history of being able to start projects and actually finished them? Or are you just someone who has ideas, but can’t execute on it? Because think consulting? ideas are great, but if you can’t put them into action, they’re not worth anything? And so those are the four things that holistically firms look for is Can this person do the job? Can they problem solve? Second, do they have leadership potential? Third, can I see them working on this team? And do you have this entrepreneurial drive that would allow them to actually proactively solve problems? Or are they just someone who is going to fall into instructions, but not really take ownership of it? Okay, and I imagine the same things apply for folks that are, you know, at, in full time jobs, the experience tires. So the full time experience hires is same, but because you’re an experienced hire, there is some nuances. And I’ll highlight the two big new authors. The first is that you actually have also have to have industry experience at this point of some caliber, right? So it’s a little different. If you’re applying, for example, a principal role, and you’ll be in an industry for eight years, then it’s seen that you have those industry knowledge, you’ve spoken at conferences, you’ve led teams, you’ve been fight on these industry papers, and so forth. But if you’re just two years out of school, it’s saying that was this person able to demonstrate these skills for several problem solving? Were you able to solve a big problem in whatever firm you’re currently at leadership skills, even if you weren’t a former manager at this company, where you promoted to a role that you can lead the team that this company feel like they could put you in a leadership position that this company did? And why should we take a chance on you? teamwork, same idea is what initiatives that you lead and entrepreneurial drive is how did you make the company better? Or were you someone who just showed up at 8am? clocked in at 4pm, clocked out? Right?

Will Bachman 24:11
How do you describe the differences? You know, some people asked me I, I didn’t spend time in them. So I’m not really that. Sure. How do you spend time different explain the differences between McKinsey Bain BCG and other top firms that people are interested in in terms of the culture in terms of the work experience?

Davis Nguyen 24:29
So every part is the guy that questions really good question, too. It’s every single firm is different. So I’ll tell you two quick ways to research it. And I’ll tell you a firm example of it. Which is that the when you think about the differences between the different firms, the first thing I like to do is actually just go on Glassdoor and actually be able to read reviews of what people are saying in terms of the employees who are coming into the firm employees are leaving the firm’s. That’s the first thing I think about. The second is that you just talked to people who have recently left The firm or at the firm, if you did the networking strategy I mentioned earlier on this on this episode, then you’ll know some of the ways to reach out to them. And then the third way to be able to simply reach out is to attend these info sessions. And they’ll tell a lot more about the culture. But I’ll show you an example here is that if you look at even just the staffing models of these firms, it really dictates the culture of how these firms. So for example, at McKinsey, you have this global staffing model, which basically means that no matter where you are, you’re going to be staff, if you’re in the Atlanta Office, you can still be staff to a project in London, if you are in Vietnam, you can still be staffed your project in Australia, so you’re flying all over the world for these projects. Now, as a result, the team that you work on is traditionally from other offices. But if you contrast this with someone, let’s say like a Bain, where they do a local staffing model, basically what this means is that the projects themselves and the and the teams are locally staffed. So if you’re in the San Francisco office, you work with the team from San Francisco. So as a result, when you come back to the office on Fridays, everyone on the office at some point, you’ve interacted with hors d’oeuvre, you’re very team. So you have this culture where events are more prevalent, people spend a ton more time together and they know each other. So that’s why when you read something in life, for example, Glassdoor is best place to work for people always talk about Bain being one of the best cultures, because it’s built into things like the local staffing models. Again, this is just one of the many factors that determines the culture. But just one example of me of how he should affirm differ. And this is before we even talk about the types of projects, the office location, the events, or the how old a certain cohort is compared to other firms with all of these factors will determine if you fit into a certain firms culture or not. One thing I encourage folks to do, you know, in the independent consulting world is to build a portfolio of their work sanitized if necessary.

Will Bachman 26:56
Can you What’s your perspective on that in terms of if you want to get into a consulting firm, putting together either as a student or if you’re an experienced hire, putting together a portfolio of things you’ve done so you can show what you’ve done, and not just talk about it, but actually show rather than tell.

Davis Nguyen 27:16
So while you’re calling here, we actually recommend that all our clients do is what we call it, almost a master resume, which is listing out every single thing that you’ve done, but keep an inventory of it, because sometimes you did something that you didn’t think was very impressive. But when you look at it from a lens of other people, they’ll tell you quite differently. So give you an example, which is that we had a client who got offers for both Bain as well as BCG, he was a salt software engineer. And one of the things that he’s listed down was that he, he found that there was a feature that was missing in the product divide to lead a team on his own time to do it, he just listed it and didn’t think much of it because he’s like, Well, my it wasn’t in the scope of our product or something I just wanted to do on the weekend. But it turned out to be one of the stories that interviewers love, but his entrepreneurial drive, but he wouldn’t have had that had he not just had we we call it a brain dump where you dump everything that you know and and done into one master sheet. But the earlier you start this sheet, the easier becomes very if you’re a first year student in college, or if you’ve just started your first job and you’re looking to transition into consulting or any other role, it’s just a best practice, I recommend enjoys keeping track of the things that you’ve done, because you never know, when you’ll want to forget it or two will find it is actually a quite an impressive feat that you should bring back.

Will Bachman 28:33
Talk to me about some of the other marketing collateral, if you will. So LinkedIn profile resume social media, what are some of your suggestions for these other aspects of what you could kind of think about as your marketing collateral? Do you do work with folks on kind of refining and upgrading, like their LinkedIn profile, the resume, etc. Any tips on those?

Davis Nguyen 29:03
Yeah, so when it comes to the marketing collateral or the application part, so we actually don’t focus on the LinkedIn and the social media, side cleaning and making sure that there’s nothing there, that’s kind of hot you. But mainly when firms are looking at your application, at least for now in 2020. And for there, they’re just looking at two things, which is your resume and your cover letter. So actually, we think the most impressive piece of collateral you can have is your cover letter, because most people just think that the the cover letter is this sheet of paper, I’m just going to regurgitate my resume. But really what we try to do with people when they come to us is we try to tell a story on their cover letter and think about what do you wish that the recruiter or the person HR they knew about you that doesn’t stand out in your resume. And you’d be amazed that so many people we work with who were let’s say out of school or there were a second year MBA student, they had applied the year prior or two years prior and so forth, these consulting firms, and they didn’t get any interviews. So we had a story of a guy named john who applied for 23 different consulting firms and he got rejected by 22 of them. And then he came to us and one of the things that we fixed was we fix his resume with everything we face was his cover letter. And then a year later, then same job he was he was working in a boutique tax firm. We he submitted the improved resume, but really, they improve cover letter, and all sudden he got 22 out of 23 of those first, actually, this time, give him a chance to give him an interview. And the biggest piece of the change was making sure that his story was told on the cover letter, which there was so many facets about his life and about what he’s able to bring to these consulting firm, but just didn’t say it out, because you can’t naturally put it into a bullet point on LinkedIn or bullet point on his resume in this case.

Will Bachman 30:42
That’s amazing. I didn’t realize that cover letters are so important.

Davis Nguyen 30:46
For I guess, particularly for sort of on campus hiring, if you’re going to a target, if you’re going to a target school for on campus hiring, I didn’t realize that cover letters were that important that they’re pretty much just, you know, looking at resume books, but maybe, maybe that applies more if you’re at a non target school, or if you’re an experienced hire. So this applies to all three. And we emphasize this for all of them, because it’s an important piece of real estate that you’re given an opportunity to, to use. And if you don’t take advantage of it, someone else will. Alright, and what makes for a really good cover letter. So the things that make a really good cover letter are a couple things like we emphasize many, but I’ll focus on the three biggest areas here is one is to actually taking the time to think what on my cover letter, can I include content wise that they wouldn’t get on my resume because they can see it on your resume. They’re just wasting real estate by having it on your cover letter. So that’s the first thing. The second thing that we emphasize when it comes to the cover letter is really digging into the Why? Why would you be an asset to the consulting firm? So a lot of people when they look at the cover letter, like, let me talk about me. But really the approach that we take is quite the opposite. And we think No, don’t talk about yourself talk about how can the firm benefit from having you so think about it from their lens, as it’s similar to when you hire anyone hires his people like to think it’s all about me. But really, it’s about what can I provide to my employer, in this case, the consulting firm. So the second thing we think about is how do you actually communicate the values of the code for the one thing that we have people do is actually go on the firm’s website, look at their values, and demonstrate how you can actually share those values. And the third thing that we have people use a cover letter to is to explain any extraordinary circumstances they might not be able to explain in their resume. So for example, we had a client who’s at McKinsey now who actually had a three year break in her in her resume where she had a medical illness and as it took her out, and but she was able to explain with all the things that she was able to do during that time here that you just wouldn’t have seen on the resume. And the the head of the regional McKinsey recruiting was so impressed with her story that just instantly gave her an interview from that point, I mentioned you would go on get her offer. But had she apply with just her resume? When she did the year prior, she didn’t get any traction, because people didn’t understand her story. And why there was this random three year gap in her resume? Is it is it a place to to do a little name dropping in terms of if you have been doing some networking and saying well, and in speaking to so and so the you know, the head of your XYZ practice, you know, this really impressed me. And this seemed like something that got me, you know, that I could help on, you know, should you, you know, kind of do some of that stuff to sort of demonstrate in your cover letter that you have connections into the firm and you’ve been having discussions. You can, you can and it really depends on the circumstances. But really this comes down to two things is that one is typically when people work with us, if they’re going to name drop someone on the on their cover letter, then traditionally, they should also have a referral by this point from that person. So it used to be more powerful, and it gets attached on to the application template first. And then the second thing that that had is that unless that person is very influential about why you’re applying to that firm, or to that position, namedropping doesn’t really do much for you as in it’s for us, it’s it’s a case by case basis. But in general, if you were to mention someone on the cover letter by name, and it doesn’t quite add value to why this firm, then why mentioned it at all, when you could use it to talk about how you can actually help the firm with their goals. Okay.

Will Bachman 34:25
Now, there are other firms out there other organizations that are helping people, you know, get jobs at top consulting firms. Tell me a little bit about what led you to start my consulting offer and, and and how you how you differentiated from from other firms that are that are doing something similar?

Davis Nguyen 34:46
So I’ll read those two answers. Cool. Gotcha. There’s like our origin story, and then ultimately, what makes us different. So for our origin story, the short answer was that when I was working at Bain, I loved my time at Bain, but how as you got to Bain was I actually had I just I didn’t decide until my senior year of university when there was about two weeks left, before the end of before the resume drop. And it was, essentially we had two weeks, and I decided to go into consulting. And last minute, I didn’t know what a resume was a no other cover letter was, didn’t even know what a case interview was. So I had three ways to prepare by eventually figured out the method. I thought, Well, okay, if I could do this other people can. So I worked at Bain worked on the recruiting team. And eventually though, I would leave Bain to go work at an education startup, still in California. But because we were a startup, I took a pay cut, because we were in education, I think a bigger bacon. And because that we just were starting, and we’re trying to pick out our product market fit. We were we didn’t make money for the first couple. And the part of my compensation was while we need to make profit Davis for you to get part of it. So X percent of zero profits is still zero, if anything, I should owe them money. Every month, we were still losing money. And to make ends meet at the time, one of my family members had a $20,000 medical bill that I needed to get paid off. And so I didn’t have the money at the time. And I thought, well, what, what can I do. And the idea came because a bunch of people just came and reached out online, the heyday is love for you to help me get into consulting. And so I just started doing this on the weekends couple years ago, and this biting point in 2016 2017. And I decided to work on people’s resumes, cover letters, doing some of the case interviews, doing a mock cases, and so forth. And just figuring out how can we help them prepare for these interviews and help them get these interviews. And in the beginning, we had 100% success rate, I was like, oh, wow, the great seasonal work for just a couple months out a year. And eventually referrals led to more referrals. And eventually, once I was me in my living room, does it go out to a team of over 4040 of us, who are now working to help people go into consulting. So that’s that’s the origin story is just started with a 20 $500 medical bill that I needed to pay off. And in terms of was made a different is I would, I would say comes down to three things. Which is, one is for us, we really care about results. So if you go on our website, you’ll see we probably produce, we probably share an update our success rate. So right now it’s like 85%. And we actually share testimonial videos. So not just quotes or pictures as Oprah, you literally could click a video and someone talks about their experience for two, three minutes, and click on their LinkedIn and actually see that they work at these firms. And if they went to a school, you can actually reach out to them and actually talk to them about their experience working with Microsoft and offer. That’s the first thing is that we’re not ashamed of results, we’re really proud of our results. That’s the first. The second is the way that our team is comprised. Just because you were a former partner at McKinsey, for example, doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed a spot on our team to be a mentor. So every single person on the team goes through a 20 hour interview process just to make it. So for example, in the last six months, we’ve had about 210 people applied to be a coach and a mentor in our game, we only took six out of those bunch to be able to add to the team out of that court. So people are asked not only at the top of their firms, but they’re at the top of the 2.5% of mentors and coaches. That’s the second thing that we do. And the third is we just say very up to date on industry. So we have advice, we have people on our advisory board who are currently at the McKinsey is the band’s and the BCG and all these firms who are telling us about how their hiring practices are changing. So we’re ahead of the industry every single time in terms of what firms are looking for.

Will Bachman 38:21
What’s the perspective of the consulting firms on the service you offer? Are they do they feel that you’re helping people kind of like hack the system? Or do they say no, you know, do you get the sense that there’s, you know, you know, they’re helping non traditional applicants, you know, prepare for thing? And that’s a good thing. Where do you how do you think the consulting firm feel?

Davis Nguyen 38:42
So far, it’s been it’s been very positive about how they think about where we fit into the larger scheme. So as we thought partners from McKinsey, Bain BCG reached out to us and praises privately or publicly. And so it’s been, it’s been a pretty good experience in terms of it as well as in I imagine one day if we were setting up bad candidates that they would say something. But again, like our goal is not to change you to get the offer. That’s like a byproduct for others. How can we change you to think like a consultant? And how do we get that mindset into you. And as a result, the people we go in get promoted, they become navigators they go into recruiting, take over active roles within the firm. And so so far, it’s been a pretty good positive result from our alumni. And

Will Bachman 39:24
do you have any kind of admission requirements for your clients? I mean, if you would, you know, work with agree to work with people that basically have very little chance of getting into a top firm. That’s not going to be great for your success rate. So how, tell me a little bit about that.

Davis Nguyen 39:42
Yeah, so you call it one of our secrets is that we don’t take every single person and so in fact, when when people work advisor, they, they absolutely have to go through a screening process, we actually only take about 30% of the people who reach out to us so out of every 10 people who apply to work with us and only take about three. And so that’s part of it is that they go through screening process and those two parties like one is really in depth questionnaire to make sure that you are someone we can actually help. So we will help you if we think that there’s at least a 1% chance that you’re willing to go with us. But if you have a 0% chance, we’re just going to turn your violin to say, Hey, we don’t want to sell you something that we can’t fulfill, like, there’s no pipe dream here. Yeah.

Will Bachman 40:23
Can you talk a little bit about your pricing structure?

Davis Nguyen 40:27
Yeah, so the primary structure is very unique to every single individual. So obviously, some people who need more help, the pricing range will differ. But for us, we do a risk with what’s called a risk sharing model, which is that we really believe in our product and our program or our service is that the majority of the profits that we see don’t happen until you actually get the offer. So we’re in it with you.

Will Bachman 40:48
That’s amazing. Where can people go online to find out more about it, and if they’re interested to to get some help applying to the top firm?

Davis Nguyen 40:59
I believe you can learn more about us what we do our process, why we believe in this risk sharing by simply going through my consulting offer.org or just emailing me at david that Mike booking offer.org. Fantastic. Well, Davis, thank you so much fascinating what your firm is doing. And by the way, congratulations on being named one of the power players of consulting by Business Insider.

Will Bachman 41:22
Hey, I’m honored to be on a list you are well. Alright. Davis eight. Thanks a lot for joining

otter be here.

Related Episodes


Author of Imposter No More

Jill Stoddard


Author of For Profit: A History of Corporations

William Magnuson


Commercial Leadership Roles in Professional Services Firms

Scott Ratliff


How Expert Networks Can Add Value to Primary Research

Ammad Ahmad