This blog was authored by Noam Maital.  Noam is a 2012 Babson Undergraduate Alum. He currently works in New York as an analyst at Altman Vilandrie & Company, a boutique strategy consulting firm with expertise in Telecom, Media, and Technology (TMT).

I recently came back to Babson to give an info session for AV&Co. On the train ride up from New York, I pondered, what advice did I wish I got before going into the interview process? My answer: Embrace the underdog mentality!

As a Babson alumnus, I could not have been more satisfied with the hands-on style education I received. It is Babson’s “if you will it, it is no dream” approach that rightfully drives Babson seniors to dream big and compete with the very best candidates for a select highly-coveted jobs. Applicants for these jobs typically come from schools such as Harvard, MIT, Yale, etc. Most have an expansive and long lasting relationship with some of the top consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, and Parthenon Group, to name a few). This translates to frequent guest speakers at their consulting clubs events, organized trips to visit offices of the various consulting firms, and many other partnerships. The advantages are clear; students get exposure to valuable recruiting resources, and are easily able to develop a first-hand relationship with future employers. This benefits the employers as well, who from their perspective have easy access to a new pool of young talent every year. For the Babson students this means we come in to interviews at top consulting firms with a slight disadvantage of not having the same brand recognition and relationships an Ivy League student might have. In other words we are the underdog.

You might ask; So Noam, why are you saying this is an opportunity?

Here is why: The underdog is someone who does not sees himself as inferior to others. In our context (job interviews), it is a student that acknowledges and embraces the need to work harder than the competition. This means joining the Babson Consulting Club at an early stage of your education (Sophomore-junior year). It means walking into the professor’s office to talk to him about his research- not just your homework. It means reaching out to people you know in the consulting world (and people you don’t know) to grab a coffee and ask “So what do consultants actually do?” .You’d be surprised how many candidates can’t properly answer that question. But most importantly, this means getting as much practice and repetition as possible with case style interviews. Get a heads start by practicing cases in your spring-summer of your junior year. If you truly embrace the underdog mentality don’t be surprised when you blow away your interviewer with your polish, creativity, and analytical thinking.