Monte Desai returns to HUHC to inspire consulting students
Monte Desai, a Hofstra and Harvard University alum currently employed at Bain & Company, returned to the Hofstra University Honors College on Friday, Sept. 27, to discuss his career in consulting and being named one of the top 30 leaders in the public sector by NextGen. A graduate of the class of 2011, he earned his Bachelor of Science in economics from the Frank G. Zarb School of Business.
After earning his MBA from Harvard Business School, Desai began his career at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) before eventually moving to his present position at Bain & Company, where he works with Fortune 500 companies.
Desai spoke with students about careers in consulting, including the variation of markets and how they create a unique and stimulating career path within consulting. His switch from government work to the private sector was largely due to the variety and his drive to engage in his work. Much of the work he did involved mortgages and student loans.
“[The biggest difference] is variety, that’s why I was drawn to consulting. At the CFPB, I was too junior to see a good amount of variety,” Desai said. “[At the CFPB] we looked at the mortgage market, national remittances and student loans, but we were limited to the financial world. Now I get to see a bit of everything.”
From the perspective of an administrator, Desai revealed the keystone of entering the consulting world: preparing for interviews.
Students preparing for this field should practice as much as possible and be prepared for behavioral questions with open ended answers. Desai also recommended that if possible, students should study abroad.
“I would tell every Hofstra student to study abroad, you will become a better person if you do it, and you will lose a learning experience if you don’t.” The experience gained from exposure to a new and international environment is part of what he attributes to his success.
Junior economics major Ranganath Srinivasan attended the lunch. “Talking to him, knowing what you can do studying here at Hofstra, considering he was [once] where we are right now ... it was a good experience. Something I will definitely do now is practice for interviews. It wasn’t something I looked into initially.”
PeggyAnn Matusiak, alumni director and office manager of the Honors College, hosts these events to benefit students of all majors and have them interact with Hofstra alumni that have gone into their fields of interest.
“When I do these, most time the majority of students are the majors of the alumni doing the talkback, but there are about 20% that come out of curiosity,” Matusiak said. “We’ve had kids change their careers because of an alumni talkback.”