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Alumni Connections

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David Stark 2016

Major: Economics and Political Science
Company: McKinsey & Company
Title: Business Analyst

Why did you choose this industry/profession?

I chose to pursue a role in management consulting after college because I was looking for a role with high exposure to business and strategy topics, a fast pace of learning across different functions and industries, as well as a high level of collaborative client interaction. Like many Rochester students, I started freshman year absolutely certain I’d graduate with a job in a different area than where I ended up. Freshman year I’d set my sights on public policy and research, perhaps with a path to law school. Through coursework and my internships, that passion shifted toward markets and the more results-oriented world of digital marketing. My summer 2014 internship in communications consulting solidified my passion for client services at the entry-level.

How did Rochester help prepare you for this?

Rochester helped me to prepare for a career in consulting in three ways: academics, career services, and student life. Through Rochester’s economics curriculum and our culture of analytical rigor across the social sciences, I gained the core competencies for business analysis, such as hypothesis-based reasoning, critical thinking, and data analysis. Through the career center and the UR alumni network, I introduced to the connections I needed to succeed – an alumni posting for my second summer internship, on-campus recruiting for my third summer internship, and preparation for full-time interviews. Most importantly, I attribute my consulting readiness to my experiences with UR student organizations. In my first year at the Firm, I’ve excelled at conceptual problem-solving, building relationships with senior clients, and capability building for large groups of clients through workshops and hands-on training. I see a direct line between these successes and my experiences debating with peers at the Senate table or working alongside Dean Feldman and Dean Mavrinac on their initiatives.

Do you have any advice or insights for students who want to follow a similar path?

I have three pieces of advice for current students interested in consulting. First, you need to truly understand consulting and why you are passionate about it. Understand your strengths, understand the day-to-day life of a consultant (e.g., problem identification, conflict management, Excel modeling, public speaking) and be able to clearly communicate why you are a good fit for this work environment.  Second, talk to as many people as possible. Reach out to alumni, family, and friends. Build your network. And keep refining your questions as you go. Third, once you understand yourself and why you want consulting, act with the end in mind. Keep your GPAs high. Pursue summer internships that hone the necessary skills and help your resume “pop” to the top in your next application.