Rice University Entrepreneur Society. Ideas to Action Organization. Students. Visions. Results.


Journeys in


Inside America's

Top Consulting Firms

On October 5th, 2005, four top consultants came to Rice University to discuss their personal journeys and help demystify the consulting sector. The event was followed with a catered networking reception.


For several years, dozens of Rice juniors and seniors interested in consulting came to us with the same story. They'd read the literature, met their advisers, and done all the research they possibly could, but still weren’t sure if consulting was for them.

Underclassmen interested in consulting faced similar issues as they planned their college careers. Would they make a good fit? If so, what skills should they focus on developing? In both cases, extended discussions often reveal a poor foundation of personal experience.

Having met few “real world” consultants, students had a hard time thinking through their own life plans – and seeing how consulting might fit.

The traditional solution to this problem is the Informational Interview, where students contact professionals working in sectors that interest them and arrange meetings to learn more about their work.

However, they are highly time-consuming for both parties and limit the exposure of interviewee’s information to one or a small group of students.


This presentation preserved many of the key benefits that informational interviewing offers interested students, while broadcasting to a much larger audience.

Because it was possible that some audience members were learning about the consulting industry for the first time, ITA arranged a basic overview of the sector before the major presenters spoke.

Nonetheless, this event built on the power of personal stories to resolve internal questions potential job applicants may have. Presenters talked mainly about themselves – and their personal voyages through the consulting industry.


Representative range was the key criterion with which speakers were selected for this event. We were lucky to find four highly qualified individuals with significantly different tenure lenghts and consulting specializations.

Dave French - an Associate Principle in the Houston Office of McKinsey &
Company. Since joining the firm in 2001, he has served clients in the Petroleum, Electric Power, and Industrial products businesses on three primary topics: operations turnarounds, capital investment strategy, and organizational design/capability building Prior to joining McKinsey, Dave was a Manager of Planning and Analysis for Altura Energy, a joint venture of Shell Oil and BP. Dave holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University (Wiess ’91) and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Anthony Covington - an Analyst at Accenture. He has spent his tenure on projects that including International Workforce Transformation, IT Organizational Transformation, and Supply Chain Transformation. Anthony holds a B.A. in Psychology and Managerial Studies from Rice University (Martel '03).

Jay Sullivan - a Senior Manager at Accenture, where he has spent the past 8 years. His clients are primarily oil and gas and utilities firms, but also include members of various retail, chemical, and high-tech industries. His project roles for technology industry have primarily focused on business intelligence applications, while his energy industry expertise includes energy supply, trading, and risk management. Jay holds a B.S. in Chemical Physics from Rice University (Jones '97).

Amy Pita - a second-year student MBA student at the Jones Graduate School of Management, who spent this past summer as a Summer Associate at Deloitte Consulting in the Strategy and Operations practice. Before entering business school, she spent six years working in the Business Process Outsourcing industry, first as an accounts payable analyst, and later as a strategic sourcing specialist in HR services. Amy holds a B.A. in Sociology from Rice University (Baker '98).