In recent weeks, Claremont McKenna College has been swarmed with blazer-clad freshmen and sophomores rushing to interviews for the many pre-professional groups on campus. The recruiting season, a staple of the CMC, has been in full swing since the third week of the semester, and the three college-based consultant groups have been busy finding their next generation of consultants.
The Claremont Consulting Group (CCG) works primarily with for-profit companies and is an independent organization made up entirely of CMC students. SOURCE Non-profit consultancy, as the name suggests, works closely with non-profit groups. Graphite Group is more focused on consulting for small businesses and start-ups and is the only CMC-based group that hires students from all 5Cs.
According to CCG Executive Director Arielle Lui CM ’22, the communities of certain groups of consultants are very “tight-knit”.
“Two of my three roommates are in [CCG] too, ”said Him. “And I think it’s pretty common from year to year where most of your friends will come from [CCG]. ”
Jasmine Tan CM ’25, who applied to both CCG and Graphite, also noted this sense of community at Graphite, where she recently accepted an associate consultant position.
“It’s not just, ‘Oh, we’re going to be working together on a consultation project,’” Tan said. “There are events, meetings – people just hang around.”
The process of getting into these tight-knit clubs can be difficult, taking weeks and several rounds of interviews. Some groups are also very selective; The CCG, for example, has a 10% acceptance rate.
This semester, all three clubs submitted a written application in the first round. For qualified applicants, CCG and Graphite then had a hands-on, in-person group interview with casual dress code, during which potential members worked on a case with other applicants. Finally, both groups had behavioral interviews for qualified candidates. At SOURCE, after the written application, candidates had an individual assessment and interview via Zoom.
Yahya Yousef CM ’25 noted a dichotomy between collaboration and competition throughout his CCG application process.
“It’s definitely incredibly competitive,” Yousef said. “But at the same time, a lot of people were also very collaborative. Like, helping each other, advising each other… and explaining different business terminologies.
Yousef thinks this sense of community makes the process enjoyable.
“Honestly, I think it was just fun to see people in disguise and go into interviews for all these clubs and things,” Yousef said. “We always got bloated every time people walked by, just ‘Alright buddy, I look fresh. I look fresh. ‘ It was a good time.”
Tan also said that these applications could become competitive, especially during the group stage of the application process, when applicants need to collaborate with each other.
“I think I was very lucky, and everyone in my group was pretty cool,” Tan said. “I think we were all really desperate to prove ourselves, which is to be expected. I have heard stories about a few other maintenance groups. There was one where apparently two guys were really trying to fight over who should lead the group, and that was a bit detrimental to the dynamics of the group because instead of working together it was both. who were trying to fight for power.
For Henry Long CM ’25, the application process at the start of the semester can be overwhelming, but he also finds it rewarding.
“We always joke that it’s like we are applying to college again… It’s a little intimidating. “—Henry Long CM ’25
“I certainly told my friends about it, ”Long said. “We always joke that it’s like we are applying to college again… It’s a little intimidating. You come on campus, you try to get acclimated to your classes and all of a sudden you have to apply to these new organizations, research institutes, pre-professional clubs, ”Long said. “… At the same time, it can be very rewarding to see your application for one of these places come to fruition. “
Despite the intimidating nature of the application process, current members of all three focus groups noted that the recruiting season has been less overwhelming this year. This was in part due to CMC’s policy change, as well as changes in the enforcement structures of some focus groups.
“I think all the clubs on campus now have to recruit later,” Lui said. “[Before] requests were due the first week. And now they’re due for the third week, so it’s a lot less overwhelming than before. But obviously that’s still a lot, especially if you don’t know what you want to do as a freshman.
SOURCE junior manager Kira Hirsch CM ’23 said the group is actively taking steps to become more accessible and less intimidating for students, efforts that can be found in their spring hiring report. These efforts include moving SOURCE’s first application deadline to September 24, conducting interviews through Zoom, creating anonymous apps to reduce bias, removing the casual dress code, and flexibility with their demands.
“We are really aware that people come with very different experiences and privileges,” Hirsch said. “In our application process, we want to make sure that we minimize the impact that these past experiences, privileges and opportunities will give you.”
This year, Graphite Group accepted a record number of applications and second-round interviews with the aim of offering more people the experience of a group interview. However, Matthew San Luis CM ’23, Director of Talent Acquisition at Graphite, still believes action needs to be taken to reduce the high selectivity of these groups.
“I want to find a way to make the process fairer. —Matthieu San Luis CM ’23
“The problem with some of these organizations is that they get 67, maybe even 100 applicants and only 10 come in,” San Luis said. “… And kids who come into one of the organizations have it on their resumes. And they have that validation, which helps them get into the other organization, which helps them get the job. … I want to find a way to make the process fairer, or maybe incorporate another part of our organization that doesn’t reject individuals to give everyone the chance to learn as much as possible and give them an opportunity.
San Luis believes, however, that there are aspects of the current recruiting season that are worth keeping.
“We want to maintain this culture of being an organization that expects a lot from its candidates and members,” said San Luis.
Meanwhile, Lui doubts the overall culture surrounding the CMC application season will change much, as one would expect for students.
“There are a lot of reviews at least at CMC around the first year that are very stressful because you try to get into a lot of clubs and institutes,” Lui said. “And I don’t see that ever changing… just because I think people come to CMC for this pressure. People know it’s a very pre-professional college, and I think they’re getting what they expect.