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MBA How I Got the Job: Consultant, Bain

Apr 20, 2023
Connor McClellan (MBA'23) pivots from project management to consulting

By Arial Starks

Connor McClellan graduated from Rollins College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Business in 2018. After school, McClellan spent the first few years of his career working in several roles for Envision Healthcare before ultimately deciding he wanted to pivot into a consulting career. Two years into his career, the healthcare company was bought by a private equity firm and that firm brought in consultants to help with the transition. This was McClellan’s first time learning more about the role consultants can play in an organization. 

“I was a project manager helping solve medium-sized problems within the company, then I saw these consultants come in and they were always taking on the larger problems, identifying additional problems that we didn’t necessarily see,” McClellan said. “That’s what prompted me to think: ‘How do I get one of those jobs – how do I transition into what they are doing?’”

Connor McClellan (left) participates in Deloitte case competition

McClellan knew in order to pivot careers, he would need to further his education. He began looking at business schools and decided an MBA was the next move toward his career aspirations. He was attracted to the Vanderbilt MBA program because of its location in Nashville and the smaller class sizes the school offers.

“The school I attended for undergrad was a small liberal arts school with 1500 students and it felt really similar to the experience I would get here at Vanderbilt, where you have 20-25 people in your classes,” McClellan explained. “It allows you to have meaningful relationships with the faculty, staff, and classmates, so that was a huge draw for me.” 

During his time at Vanderbilt Business, McClellan got involved with the Owen Strategy and Consulting Club. He was able to leverage many of the club’s resources including case prep, while also spending time with the Career Management Center team doing mock interviews and perfecting his resume. This as well as 1-on-1 coffee chats with second-year MBA students helped McClellan prepare for the consulting recruiting cycle.  

“I think the thing that gets lost in consulting is how important it is to be yourself and show who you are and how you solve problems,” said McClellan. “That comes out through behavioral interviews and determines how well you can sell yourself in the early stages of the interviews. Talking to Courtney (Courtney Fain, Vanderbilt Associate Director, MBA Coaching and Advising) about that was helpful and helped me to really craft my story.” 

McClellan began interviewing for consulting internships in January 2022, receiving offers from several companies. By February, he had accepted an internship with Deloitte and participated in the internship during the summer of 2022. McClellan says this is when his passion for consulting was solidified, being able to have that hands-on experience in the industry. In August 2022, Deloitte extended McClellan a full-time job offer, but around that same time, he received a call from a recruiter at Bain offering him an interview slot. He interviewed with the firm and received a return offer in September. 

“I had a 7-day deadline to make a decision, so I spent that time going back and forth calling people from Bain, Deloitte, and my pre-Owen network to help me decide what move I should make and which opportunity made the most sense for my career trajectory,” McClellan said. “I ultimately decided on moving forward with Bain.”

McClellan accepted Bain’s offer as a full-time consultant and is looking forward to starting with the firm in January 2024. He says his career dreams are being made a reality with the help of the Vanderbilt MBA program.

“Vanderbilt Business sells its MBA as this personal scale program that allows you to connect with people beyond a surface level, and it couldn’t be more true,” McClellan shared. “You come into this new environment and you’re worried about, ‘Is this the right move for me, am I going to find a job, and am I going to be able to support myself throughout this?’ I think what you find at Vanderbilt with its personal scale, is a community that is there to support you through every step.” 

Click through the timeline below to see a visual of how Connor McClellan got the job. 

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