In spring 2021, CEMS student or ‘cemssary’ Ida Salo served as CEMS Club Helsinki Head of corporate relations. In this position she was responsible for the coordination of corporate collaboration with CEMS partners in Finland, finding prospective partners, and launching cooperation with them.
‘We mainly co-organised events with companies. These events ranged from breakfasts to lunches and dinners and from visits to virtual events. The event programmes were either more official, such as solving case tasks or presentations, or more relaxed get-togethers,’ Ida says.
According to Ida, the idea for the CEMS Consulting Week was largely based on her own interest in consulting companies.
‘For a long time, I had considered a career in consulting, but I did not really understand the difference between different consulting companies. Therefore, I decided to start organising Consulting Week, which then took place 5–7 October. I gave the participating companies fairly free hands to present their company the way they wanted. My only request was for the companies to inform the students about possible vacancies and how they as employers differ from other actors in the same field.’
Four consulting companies participated
The four consulting companies participating in CEMS Consulting Week were Reddal, Bain & Co., McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The companies' programmes were different: one held a company presentation, after which the students had a chance to enjoy pizza in a relaxed atmosphere and chat with the company's consultants. Students received mentoring and career coaching according to their wishes. Another company held a presentation and offered both ‘case coaching’ and pizza, too. The students were able to practise case work, i.e., solving real-life challenges for possible interviews, or to just observe and listen to what is required in interviews. Two companies offered dinners where the students were able to discuss anything related to the company or their career development with the consultants.
According to Evita Iiskola, Senior Recruiting & Employer Branding Specialist from Boston Consulting Group, the visit was a great success! ‘It was great to see that CEMS students were genuinely interested in our company and the opportunities we could offer them. These types of events are excellent opportunities for us and the students to get to know each other better. From a recruitment perspective, CEMS students are a very interesting pool of applicants, and their international experiences and backgrounds are certainly taken into account.’
Student praises in-depth discussions
Valtteri Väisänen, a CEMS student, praises the Consulting Week as a fantastic experience. ‘The consulting companies involved provided a comprehensive picture of the field and its career opportunities, as well as how consulting companies operate and what working for them is like. Visits to offices, dinners in comfortable settings and case work offered an inspiring and, as I see it, realistic picture of the field. The visits also made differences in the corporate cultures of consultancy companies clearer.’
‘Discussions with CEMS alumni working as consultants became the highlight of the week. Listening to their experiences and thoughts as well as getting potential tips for seeking consultancy jobs was great and much appreciated. The CEMS Consulting Week was great fun, too! The topics and free-form discussions painted a positive picture of the field and further increased my interest in it.’
According to Evita Iiskola from BCG, Consulting Week was very well organised and BCG appreciated how easy it was to take part in the event. ‘We will be happy to participate again next year.’ The main organiser of the Consulting Week, Ida Salo, should feel very satisfied with the event. ‘After receiving official feedback, I dare say the event is worth organising again! I have already given my successor my instructions and thoughts on this,’ she says.