Carnegie Mellon University

tcc trek

November 20, 2019

Tepper Consulting Club Visits Chicago, Boston, and New York

The Tepper Consulting Club met with consulting firms on two career treks this fall to make valuable contacts and learn about the industry.

Over a week and a half between Mini 1 and Mini 2, Tepper School of Business MBA students in the Tepper Consulting Club met with consulting companies on a career trek to Chicago, Illinois, and one to New York City and Boston, Massachusetts. 

With a strong network of recruiters, the Tepper School offers MBA students ample opportunity to connect with potential employers right from the start of their MBA journeys. Starting in the fall semester, student clubs host “treks” to major cities across the U.S. to connect with companies and alumni in various industries and functions.

“Career treks are a significant resource for MBA students to gain valuable insights and make important contacts within industries of interest,” said Stephen Rakas, Executive Director of the Masters Career Center. “The treks provide invaluable networking opportunities and we’re pleased to support our student organizations each year in building strong, lasting connections to our Tepper alumni network and the broader business community.”

On a career trek, students visit companies that partner with the Tepper School to recruit MBA interns and graduates, as well as other leading companies of interest to the students. They may also attend social gatherings to connect with alumni and industry leaders in the area to learn more about the city and build their professional networks.

Essential Business Skills

Tepper Consulting Club offers programming throughout the year to MBA students who may have an interest in pursuing a consulting career, with a significant focus on helping students develop skills that are essential to success in consulting, such as case interview skills, leadership capabilities and networking preparation. The club recently launched a mentorship program, allowing second-year students to coach first-year students one on one. 

“Consulting is growing at Tepper overall,” said Rebecca Moura, first-year MBA student and TCC member. She cited recent employment statistics for the Class of 2019, which saw equal numbers of graduates enter consulting careers as those in the technology industry. “It’s a career path that aligns well with a lot of what you learn in an MBA program.” Consultants must often draw upon their abilities to evaluate business problems and lead a team to address them, which are essential skills for any MBA graduate.  

She believes the TCC has been a significant driver of the growth in interest for consulting among Tepper School students. “There are a lot of people who are in the consulting club who didn’t go into business school thinking they wanted to go into consulting, but have attended these events just because they know you can learn all these networking and soft skills,” she said. “The club leaders have done a good job to help a lot of people who come here with that tech mindset realize that there’s a lot of opportunity in consulting. Especially as we move into a digital age, Tepper’s at the forefront of that kind of thinking.”

Building a Professional Network

Moura attended both TCC treks, visiting a total of 17 companies including AlixPartners, Altman Vilandrie & Company, Bain & Company, Deloitte, KPMG, McKinsey & Company, and PricewaterhouseCoopers across Chicago, Boston, and New York. “It was interesting to see the slight differences in what the general vibe is in one office in Chicago versus the office for the same company in New York,” she said. The club worked together with the Masters Career Center to connect with alumni and other contacts whose firms would be able to host the 34-35 students participating in each trek.

Company visits often include a presentation on corporate culture, a question-and-answer session with employees, and sometimes a case workshop. “Each company was a little bit different, but it was a really good opportunity to get to know the firms on a more personal level,” Moura said. “Could I envision myself coming into this office regularly? Could I envision myself working on a team with a lot of these people? Is what they’re saying resonating with me?”

The most valuable benefit of career treks, Moura said, are the alumni contacts. “If you can build connections with people at these firms who will then vouch for you, that’s how you’re going to get your foot in the door,” she said. “You have somebody who you can lean on a little bit and talk more in depth about the company and what they do.” 

Moura and other TCC members connected with alumni during company visits and social gatherings. A strong network is particularly important for consultants, she said, because your professional network is often what you must rely on to find projects. “The culture at Tepper is so close and tight-knit, and you realize that when you come in,” Moura said. “It’s really cool to see how strong the Tepper network is. When you leave Tepper, you’re still in it.”