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Elitism in Strategy Consulting: How Institutional Prestige Influences Recruitment


How and why do strategy consultancies prioritise graduates from elite universities, and is this practice doing them more harm than good? The association of top strategy firms with elite universities is well-known, but this study suggests that the practice is done more for signaling and ‘fit’ reasons than for recruiting outstanding talent. Using anonymous interviews with recruiters, partners, and consultants at strategy firms, and drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital, this paper suggests that these practices may do more harm than good.