Reflecting on Second-Year Recruiting

It’s been too long since I last wrote. For most of the past two months, I’ve been surprisingly busy balancing recruiting and coursework, despite only interviewing with a few different firms. Within the past two weeks I finished up recruiting and find myself with infinitely more free time on my hand. Reflecting on second-year recruiting in consulting, a few key themes came to mind:


More Efficient. After going through the recruiting experience last year, the group of second-years re-recruiting know the process quite well. There’s little anxiety involved, the more administrative items like updating a resume and cover letters go very quick, and you’re usually able to re-connect with a few contacts at each firm rather than establishing new relationships. I definitely still had “networking calls”, but the conversations were much more fluid and fun with only a few people from a few firms.

High Bar for Offers. Firms definitely realize that offers extended during second-year don’t allow any trial period (i.e., internship) to test candidates before full-time employment. As a result, my experience was that candidates had to be that much more polished to get offers this year. Particularly with final-round interviews, there were no free passes (personally, I felt last year there were firms where I could overcome one bad interview out of five; not the case this year).

High Touch. Along similar lines, a few firms seemed to have done a ton of diligence on candidates prior to first-round interviews. I definitely spoke with a lot more partners this year versus last year. I have no idea if all the work done before interviews actually matters (recruiting is always such a black box), but it was a definite change from last year.

Self Selection. At least with consulting, there were fewer applicants with top firms. Obviously, some second-years quickly sign internship offers from the summer and choose not to re-recruit. For other students, there is no longer a need to look across industries after going through first-year recruiting: as an example, last year I looked at corporate finance programs, but after a summer in consulting I felt comfortable focusing my efforts in that industry.

Industry Switchers. After getting to know the group of candidates interested in consulting this past year, it was interesting to see new candidates enter consulting recruiting. Just anecdotally, it seemed investment banking, consulting, and tech companies were the industries where multiple students had a change of heart following summer internships. As internships are usually ten week trial-runs with a new industry, it should come as no surprise that the experience doesn’t always meet expectations.

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